12 Ideas for Creating the Perfect Work-from-Home Office Space

There are so many people working from home these days that a home office has become almost an essential space in a lot of homes. But not everyone has a big budget for decorating, renovating, converting and outfitting a once unused space into something resembling a professional office. No worries. We're here to help. Below are a dozen hints, tips and ideas for creating your own comfortable, practical and productive home working space without breaking into too much of a sweat or busting your budget:

1. Define your workspace

The key to a good work-from-home environment is to make the best use of whatever space you have available, whether it's a spare bedroom, a walk-in cupboard, or an unused corner of the dining room. For the most efficiency, you'll want a space that can become a dedicated home office area. Here, you'll be able to work without interruption, and concentrate on doing what you do best--earning a living!


2. Make a plan

You might be tempted to simply move pieces of furniture around until the space feels comfortable and practical. But spending time actually measuring the space, (and the furniture,) and then creating a proper floor plan will be much more satisfactory and give you the best chance of achieving the results you hoped for.


3. How much can you do yourself?

Any work you do yourself will save money! Painting the walls of your home office yourself, for example. Apply a fresh, lively colour or a sedate, calming tone. And don't worry if you're not a decorating pro--most of the room's walls will be covered up with furniture anyway.


4. What do you already have?

Consider moving furniture or accessories from one part of your house for use in your new home office. This could save you a lot of money. Do you have a comfortable chair in the guest room, for instance, or some pieces of inspiring and decorative art forgotten in a cupboard somewhere?


5. Why not build your own desk?

Okay, don't panic. Sometimes creating a desk can be no more complicated than placing a wooden board between a pair of filing cabinets. Of course, you can spend time staining the board, moulding the edges, and painting the filing cabinets to match the stained board, but if the space is comfortable and has everything you need, then voila--welcome to your new office desk!


6. What else can you create?

Brainstorming other ways you could use inexpensive materials to create storage systems, shelves, in-and-out trays, etc. is a great way to save money. You could use a decorative vase to hold pens and scissors, for example, or purchase shoe shelves to hold a printer, papers, files and books on multiple levels.


7. Shop around for the best bargains

People are always getting rid of bookshelves and desks, and you'd be amazed what you might find at a garage sale, flea market, or your local charity shop. Clean and sand down the pieces, then paint them all the same colour. The effect will be pleasing to the eye and thoroughly professional too.


8. Be open to the idea of used furniture

Professional offices and quality hotels redecorate about every 4 to 5 years, so it's worth checking out your local news outlets for relevant info. Perhaps you could buy a used desk or chair there? On the other hand, does your own business have any extra furniture you could give away? And you can always ask neighbours to let you know if they're getting rid of stuff you just might be able to use.


Also, be on the lookout for used furniture stores or a furniture rental outlets. They will often have individual pieces for sale. But always be sure to take your measurements with you. There's nothing worse than finding the perfect desk at a bargain price, only to discover that it doesn't fit through the door of your home office.


9. Purchase new at bargain prices

From time to time, discount stores, home centres, furniture outlets, lighting showrooms, and home decorating centres all offer amazing assortments of sales items at discounted prices. Check out your local press for sale dates, or closing-down announcements and you could be surprised to find a fantastic desk right next to a bargain bin of factory-second towels. And everything at prices you'll love!


10. Swap stuff with your friends and neighbours

Have you considered trading furniture with your friends? Perhaps you have a dining table you've been meaning to get rid of--why not try and swap it for a second-hand desk from your neighbour? Or maybe you have children's furniture that a friend could use in exchange for a set of bookshelves?


You could even consider swapping your services for furniture, too. Offer your skills for an office chair or a desk lamp, or make some curtains for a neighbour who could set-up your workstation. Ask around, and you'll probably be surprised at what some of your friends and neighbours have to offer.


11. Find more ideas online

The Internet is full of helpful blogs and websites with literally hundreds of ideas for DIY office makeovers. A simple Google search is usually all it takes to find the inspiration you need to create a unique working space you can learn to love.


12. Ambience counts, too

If you plan to be working from home full-time, be sure to include adequate lighting, comfortable seating and even an option to have a music or news channel playing in the background. Bring in some pieces of inspiring artwork and a selection of your favourite plants. Remember, you'll probably be spending a lot of time in your new home office, so it should be more than just a space where you get the job done, it should be comfortable enough for you to enjoy your time there.

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