How To Create a Home Office on a Budget

10 tips for creating a comfortable and professional work space.

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For many companies, offices are a thing of the past. Colleagues communicate via instant messages and bosses use tools like Skype and Base Camp to delegate tasks. Physical work spaces have become less important and, as a result, more people are working from home.

Working from home can be wonderful; you have the option to wake up later, avoid morning commutes, stay in pajamas, and get tax write-offs on rent.

It can also be challenging. There are more distractions, such as television, family members, and household chores. Supervisors aren’t around to keep an eye on you, and you may feel less inclined to work to at maximum capacity.

A home office is the best of both worlds. It is the room in your house reserved for all things business. Shut the door to buckle down, but wander freely into the kitchen for snacks at will.

Here are 10 tips for creating an efficient home office on a budget.

  1. Be creative with your space. Renovating an entire room can be costly. Instead of completely converting the space, consider using a screen to set off one corner for work. Otherwise, set up shop in an isolated, sparsely used spot, such as an attic or basement.
  2. Don’t run to big, chain office stores for supplies. Consider cheaper options like Walmart and The Dollar Store for basic items such as papers, pens, filing cabinets, and bulletin boards.
  3. Go green. Look into smaller computers, electrical outlets, and phone chargers that save energy. Don’t forget to turn off lights and unplug chargers when you are not using them, and recycle paper. You will help the environment while cutting costs.
  4. Use what you already have. Look around your house for much-needed office items. Desks and lamps can often be found in attics or spare rooms while smaller items, such as staplers and notebooks, may be buried in closets from school days past.
  5. Hit the thrift stores and flea markets. If you don’t already have furniture, visit flea markets and thrift shops to purchase items. Many antique pieces are affordable and can add a sophisticated feel to your home office.
  6. Decorate the office yourself. The advantage of working at home is having the freedom to make your space your own. Be creative; hang pictures of family and friends, frame inspiring quotes, or hang your kids’ artwork.
  7. Avoid landlines. Having a landline in addition to your cell phone can be costly and unnecessary. Use a cell phone for all correspondence. Instead of having a fax machine, buy a printer that has scanning capabilities.
  8. Barter or trade with neighbors. Find items you need by posting ads on Craigslist or putting up bulletins in community organizations. If you don’t have extra items to trade, consider offering your professional services.
  9. Shop the sales. Take your time setting up your office; you don’t need every item at once. Make a wish list of everything you need, prioritize the items, and only buy them when they are on sale.
  10. Make yourself a D.I.Y. expert. Instead of hiring painters, electricians, and furniture assemblers, do everything yourself. It will be a fun way to learn new skills, and you will save a lot on these otherwise costly services. 
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