Although working from home cuts the costs of commuting to and from work every day, setting up your home office isn’t a totally free alternative. Between the new desks, computer chairs, organizing items, and layered lighting that distinguish good home offices from so-so ones, the costs of setting up a home workspace add up fast. But with the below budget-friendly home offices ideas, they don’t have to—read on to learn more.
Six home office ideas while on a budget
The below are just some of the many ways that you can set up your home office space without spending a ton of money. You can (and should) mix and match these methods to best set up a workspace in your home while on a budget.
1. Use what you already have
That comfy reading seat in your living room might also work great as your desk chair. And that calendar you keep on your bedroom wall might make a better organizer or planner than anything you might go out and buy. Additionally, if you ever transition back from remote to office work, you can bring smaller home items to your office to use there too.
2. Stick to the basics
Often, items that you already have can cover the basics of a good home office. If you still need more items, you can dip into your spending budget, but to keep costs low, only buy the bare essentials. That means budgeting for task lighting first and office decor later.
3. Maximize your storage
Clear your desk and its drawers of anything not related to your work, then move these items elsewhere. With more free space, you’ll get a handle on how many new office storage items you actually need, potentially saving you from having to spend more than is necessary. And when it does come time to buy, you’ll have a better assessment of your needs: A small, inexpensive tabletop basket, for example, might be large enough for your needs -- and less expensive than a big file cabinet.
4. Don’t buy new unless necessary
Although some home office items are best bought new, others may be better to buy secondhand if you’re on a budget. That means buying a used monitor stand if you don’t have much to spend, but it doesn’t mean settling for second-best on ergonomic items such as laptop stands and computer chairs.
5. Don’t neglect decor, but don’t put it first
There’s no reason to splurge on a fancy print for your walls when you could paint or photograph your own DIY art of the countryside or sunny shores. Or if you’re not much of an artist, just head to your nearest department store and stock up on wall painting supplies. These supplies don’t cost much, and when you use them to create an accent wall in your workspace, you become more easily able to modify your office lighting.
6. Layer your office lighting
A bright accent wall can reflect more light back into your workspace, but painting a bright contrast wall is no substitute for layered office lighting. When you’re working from home, you’ll need ambient light to provide the foundation for your home office lighting and task lighting to illuminate any desktop corners or shadows that your ambient lights can’t quite cover.
Nine home office setup tips
In addition to the above ideas for a home office on a budget, keep the following non-budgetary office setup tips in mind:
1. Carve out a dedicated home office space
Look around your home and figure out how you can dedicate one part of it solely for use as a home office. For example, if there’s an empty space about the size of your desk in your living room, move your desk there and make it your home office. Similarly, if that empty, awkward space below your staircase has never gotten much attention, now is the perfect time to reimagine it as your home office.
2. Plan every dimension of your office
If you’ve ever prepared for a move into a new apartment, then maybe you’ve sketched a rough floor plan to know where to place your belongings. You should do exactly this for whatever space you designate as your office. Plan every detail from where on your desk your computer will go to how you’ll arrange all your office storage items. In doing so, you’ll set up your office space to keep you organized and efficient from the jump.
3. Go DIY when you can
As mentioned earlier, you can make your own office art if you’re talented enough, and anybody can properly fill in an accent wall. That’s why, as you set up your office space, it’s important to go DIY as often as you can. For example, if you love doing pottery, make yourself a clay pen holder instead of buying one elsewhere.
4. Make your workspace inviting
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that, since you’re working from home and thus away from other people, it doesn’t matter how your home office looks. This notion is misguided, as having a home office doesn’t prevent you from hosting in-person business meetings in your space.
Even if you conduct all your meetings via video conference, the people with whom you meet might not feel as relaxed and focused if your workspace isn’t inviting. Plus, if your home office isn’t inviting, you might feel more tempted to distract yourself from starting your work in the first place.
5. Prioritize an ergonomic office
An inviting workspace isn’t always a healthy one. If your job involves staring at screens all day, you could be hunching over your laptop screen in an unnatural position for hours without quite realizing it. You could also be typing with your hands and wrists at angles that could cause cramping or long-term issues. These concerns, among others, are why making your home office ergonomic is as important as any lighting or decoration tip.
The good news is that you don’t always have to buy new office materials to make your space ergonomic. To perfect your laptop posture, you can stack your laptop on a pile of books instead of purchasing a laptop stand. You can also support your wrists by buying a used computer chair that has armrests to support your forearms. And really, given the potential long-term health effects of unergonomic work, this is a category for which you can (and should) spend more.
6. Stay organized
Comfy office furniture and high-speed internet don’t cancel out the negative effects of working in a cluttered, disorganized space. The good news is that, as described above, you can easily keep your office organized without breaking the bank. Even if you do spend money to organize your space, the money you save by working more efficiently could eventually cover your office setup costs.
7. Go for light and bright
Natural lighting can make you more productive, so it’s smart to keep your home office bright and full of light as much as possible. To achieve this office environment, don’t skimp on lighting fixtures, and set up your home office near windows that you can keep open during the day. You can also paint over dark-colored walls in brighter shades such as yellow or blue to potentially increase your productivity. Keep this in mind while selecting your space, too: The basement may seem like an opportune place to set up a home office, but the lack of light may be a drag.
8. Don’t be afraid of colors
When making space in your home for an office, colors can both make your office appear larger and aid you in your work. Walls painted with brighter colors such as white, green, and blue can make your space appear larger, and blue colors can enhance your brain’s cognitive processes. Painting your office walls isn’t the only way to bring an ample dose of work-friendly color into your life – you can incorporate colors as you light your space too.
9. Get creative
Office lighting is a great example of where creativity comes in for the best home office ideas on a budget. Colorful LED lights, for example, allow you to fill your room with your favorite hue or to choose from one of many hundreds of options. Laser lights shine more concentrated, less foggy light than LED lights in red, green, or blue while emitting less heat and using less energy than LEDs. This makes laser lights great for clear and inspiring patterns in your home office, like twinkling stars. With BlissLights in your home office, the (starry) sky is the limit.
StarPort USB Light
One tiny light. Thousands of stars!
Light your home office with BlissLights
As you consider budget home office ideas, don’t neglect the importance of lighting. From traditional off-yellow ambient lighting to task-assisting blue lighting, the lights you choose are paramount to a great home office experience. And with BlissLights, you can elevate your home office with all kinds of inspiring laser projectors and bulbs! Browse our collection to find the perfect laser light for your home office – all without breaking the bank.
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