How To Set Up A Home Office On A Budget
Working from home may have freed you from your daily commute, but after a few days of working from your kitchen table, surrounded by dirty dishes and school projects, you may be wondering if it was worth the trade-off. But don't give up just yet, because setting up a home office could be the solution.
You may think setting up your own home office is expensive, but it doesn't have to be a major renovation project. With some creative use of space, you can put together a home office almost anywhere — and, trust us, it will make working from home a lot easier.
Step 1: Assess your needs
There's no one-size-fits-all home office, so start off by making a list of what you need and what you want. Do you need a space for clients to visit? Do you need quiet for phone calls or video conferences? Do you only need room for your laptop or will you need additional workspace? Decide how much space you need and the features that space should have before you start trying to set up an office.
Step 2: Evaluate your home
Once you have an idea of what you need, it's time to decide where you can carve out space for it. Look for spaces in your home that don't get a lot of use (or at least don't get a lot of use while you'll be working). A spare bedroom can make an ideal office space, but you can also appropriate a quiet corner in the living room, kitchen, hallway, or bedroom. If space is at a premium, desks that fold up or even hide in a closet. The most important thing is to find a space of your own that's entirely for work — and, if you can get them, privacy and quiet will help, too.
Step 3: Use what you have
Putting together a home office on a budget means your first shopping trip should be taken in your own home. You may have a side table or vanity that could serve as a desk, or a kitchen chair that would suit as an office chair. See if there's anything you already have that might work before you go out shopping.
Step 4: Go shopping
Chances are you don't already have everything you need for your home office, which means a shopping trip or two. To save, start by browsing thrift stores, flea markets, and even Craigslist. A quality used item can serve you just as well as a new item, and add a lot of character to your space. When you can't find anything used that suits, be sure to shop around for bargains and consider DIY options: desks can be as simple as a board on top of anything (just be sure it's level) and modular furniture (like at IKEA) can usually be assembled creatively to suit your space.
Step 5: Don't skimp on organization
A cluttered workspace is a distraction when you're trying to focus — plus you won't be able to find things when you need them. Be sure to include organization in your office planning, from shelves to filing cabinets. If you don't have much space, don't neglect the space above and below your desk. Appropriately sized shelves can serve as desk legs and shelving can easily be installed on the wall above your desk.
Step 6: Remember ergonomics
Home office décor is important, but you can't neglect comfort. If your chair or desk are at the wrong height, you can strain your back and neck, making your workday a misery. Even when you're working with a budget, it's worth spending a little extra to be sure you have a supportive chair, a desk that’s the appropriate height, and a computer monitor that’s at eye level.
Step 7: Get inspired!
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