Low Cost Home Office Ideas
Written by: Lindsay Shugerman
July 24, 2014
Filed Under Decor
Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
Businesses spend thousands of dollars on office furniture and equipment. Chairs that cost several hundreds of dollars and desk that cost thousands are not uncommon. Home offices are a completely different. The budget is usually a bit tighter. Okay, let’s be honest…a whole lot tighter.
And yet you need a functional office to do your work well. Fortunately, there are many low cost home office options that can give you the tools you need without spending the fortune you haven’t yet made! As someone who’s worked from a home office for years, here are my favorite tips for cost-conscious work-from-home warriors.
10. Make it welcoming
One of the biggest mistakes people make in their home office is to skip over the appearance and feel, and race right into the functionality. You want a home office to be a place you like being, not a space where you have to be (leave that feeling to the corporate cubicles!)
Paint your office a color that suits you. Add inexpensive wall art. Use mirrors to make small spaces feel more spacious, or to reflect the light and sky from a window. None of it has to be expensive…just make it comfortable for you.
9. Look for multi-use furnishing
Hoe offices seldom have the space…or the budget…for specialized office furnishings. Instead of trying to squeeze in a desk and a bookshelf and a printer desk and file cabinets, look for pieces that can serve double or triple duty. A large bookshelf can hold book, and still have room for a multi-function printer on one shelf. A desk with drawers down both sides might now look as sleek as that chrome and glass desk, but it will eliminate the need for separate file cabinets. Shelves above your desk can hold supplies and reference materials just as well as a credenza, but without taking up precious floor space.
8. Build a wall of inspiration
No matter what kind of business you’re running, you will need inspiration. Designers and decorators create mood boards and project boards as they work on projects. Software developers do, too. So why not designate a wall (or a large bulletin board) as your inspiration wall?
Hang individual boards to segregate things by project or aspect of your business. Or turn a whole wall into place to post ideas and images by using chalkboard paint, magnetic paint or a mixture of those and cork squares to use as pin boards.
7. Increase productivity with lighting
It’s pretty well established that good lighting improves productivity and reduces fatigue, so this is not a place to skimp when you’re setting up your home office. Proper task lighting, as well as general room light will be more than paid back in efficiency and well-being, making it a very low cost element in the long term.
6. Color code everything
Something as simple as a color coding system can make all the difference in how well your office works. Choose file folders, in-baskets, storage containers and shelf tags based on the color system that works for you. Even sticky notes in different colors can help you keep track of which notes, messages or ideas relate to each client or goal. Very low cost, very large potential impact.
5. Buy in bulk
When you’re buying notepads or folders to use around the house, you’re fine shopping at the nearest retail store. But when it comes to running a home business, you need a different mindset.
Look for wholesale or B2B office supply stores that offer a discount for business customers. Set up an account with a printer for frequently used forms, business cards or ad flyers to reduce the cost of each piece. Not only will you save money, you’ll save time you’d otherwise have to spend shopping, printing or ordering.
4. Shop where the pros do
Shopping for office supplies and printing aren’t things you need to rethink. Look for office equipment and electronics merchants who regularly deal with small businesses. Shopping where business professionals do can not only garner you discounts, you’ll benefit from the expertise of sales people who understand what your business needs. That could save you from buying the wrong equipment, then needing to replace or upgrade it down the road.
3. Share bigger purchases with other businesses
Sure you can save a bunch by buying cases and cases of printer paper, but what if you only use a few sheets a day? Cash in on the big volume discounts and still keep your cash flow on target by splitting with other small business owners. That way you can keep your home office well stocked…and still have room to walk around!
2. Don’t forget the floor
Who knew the floor of your home office would be so important? But it is. A rug can absorb sound, add color and tie together the look of your room. Think of it as the sprinkles on the ice cream cone…it’s okay without it, but it’s so much better when it’s there.
Look for an inexpensive rug that will hold up to your rolling chair and clean up well when a coffee cup tips over.
1. Go thrifting
If your budget is already stretched to the limit, consider furnishing your home office with thrift store finds. Balancing new and used items can keep costs in check, and still give you the look you want. Go ahead and splurge on the desk of your dreams, then save the budget by finding an office chair at the consignment store.
Creating a professional, welcoming home office doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you shop carefully, and plan ahead.