Creating a Home Office on a Small Budget: Ideas for Work-at-Home Individuals

Once you’ve decided to work at home, one of the first steps toward success is to create a home office. This can be anything from a small closet to a large study. When you are just starting out though, your budget will be your deciding factor. Here are some ideas on what to consider when planning your office and some great ideas for saving some green.

Before purchasing anything, decide what you really need. The basics for most work-at-home individuals usually include a desk, ergonomic office chair, and storage space for business supplies. After covering those basics, you’ll need to consider office equipment and furniture for your specific business. An architectural design agent may need a special type of desk; if you’re involved in online sales, you may need to set aside a ready-made space for taking photos of products. Make a list of the furniture and space considerations for your specific business.

Office desk: Many work-at-home individuals find that their main equipment is a computer and a printer. A small computer desk will usually suffice. If you need some room to spread out papers and books, try to find a desk with a large area. Although it’s tempting to go out and buy a brand-new computer desk, think small at first. Let your business grow and pay for itself. Save money by looking at garage sales, Craigslist.com, classified ads, and thrift stores. By searching these resources you’ll still find a great desk for less than half the cost.

Office chair: Depending on your business, this may be one area where you may want to splurge. If your business requires you to sit long hours at your computer, you’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable. More important than comfort however, is your physical health. Sitting in hard chairs or chairs ill-designed for offices can hurt your wrists and back. Be sure to choose one with adjustable height and tilts. To save money, check consignment furniture stores. While prices at these stores may not be as cheap as thrift shops and classified ads, you’ll usually find newer, well kept office furniture for reasonable prices.

Storage: Here’s the fun part of the office. First, or course, you’ll need to consider what you’re storing and plan accordingly. Are you going to have a lot of papers? An inventory of products? Reference books and manuals? Art or drawing supplies? Consider filing cabinets, bookshelves, and plastic drawers. An old dresser can be a wonderful storage space for products and papers, and is a cheap alternative to fancy bookshelves. Installing stand-alone shelves on the wall above your desk will not only save space but will also save money.

Depending on your budget and your home office needs, you may also want to consider hiring an interior decorator or decorating consultant. Request an hour long consultation, which may range from $50 to $100. A consultant can give you some great ideas for the space you’re going to use, and will be a good investment.

As a last tip, make sure your office is defined as your workspace; it will be easier to focus at your desk if it is not cluttered with family schedules, children’s homework, and bills. It should be a place for your business and nothing else. Have fun with it and be as creative as possible, and you’ll soon have a great home office to enjoy.

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