11 Tips To Make a Home Office on a Budget

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KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images/iStockphoto

A room of one’s own is quite a luxury, but it’s an increasingly important one as more of us ditch the commute and work from home. The demand for a separate space specifically meant for work is reflected in homebuyers’ criteria, many of whom now require a home office, (as such, it’s no coincidence that we’re seeing a lot more mentions of “home office” in real estate listings).  Additionally, 58% of people are considering a move to a larger home so as to build out an office space, according to a survey from CommercialCafe.  

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Having the space for a home office is one thing, but wholly converting it into a workspace is quite another. How can one create a home office that is both functional and appealing but doesn’t break the bank? Let’s explore some affordable and creative ideas.

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Plan Ahead 

“Plan out your space before buying anything so that everything fits together nicely,” said Linda Haase, an NCIDQ-certified interior designer. “You’ll want enough room for a computer monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer or scanner (if necessary), filing cabinet or storage containers for files — and even space left over for coffee cups.”

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Make the Most of the Space you Have  

According to a Fixr.com survey, 41% of experts say dining rooms are the most likely room space to be used also as an office, while 34% think that temporary screens or walls are the best solution for a shared workspace. 

“Your dining room table can easily double up as an office desk,” said Adam Graham, an industry analyst at Fixr.com. “Rather than spending out on a new desk, you can opt for screens to separate your views from the living room or kitchen to help focus.” 

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Install a Computer Armoire or a Closet Desk 

“Whether the main bedroom or a guest bedroom, one way of avoiding having to splash cash on converting a whole room into an office space is by purchasing a computer armoire or closet desk,” Graham said. “Computer armoires combine storage and desk space, often including a pull or fold out desk space to be used while working, and stored away when not. Closet desks work in much the same way, also being able to be incorporated into areas such as hallways.” 

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Get Noise-Canceling Headphones 

“Rather than spending large amounts of money on soundproofing an office space, consider buying noise-canceling headphones,” Graham said. “This type of headphone will allow you to focus without being distracted by some other noises that may come from around the rest of the home. This is especially important for those who work from communal areas such as the dining room.”

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Prioritize the Desk Chair  

“When it comes to creating a home office, furniture such as a chair with good lumbar support should be prioritized in your budget,” Graham said. “Storage, soundproofing and wall paint can take a backseat until you have more disposable income available.” 

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Rearrange Furniture 

“Doing a complete overhaul of a guest bedroom might not be a necessary expense,” Graham said. “Consider the floor plan of the room and make the desk location the key priority. Experts recommend desks to be placed next to a window for work, to get natural light and avoid eye strain. Push that double bed into a corner if need be.” 

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Paint an Accent Wall 

“Painting an accent wall is a great way to add a professional touch to a space,” said Cameron Johnson, the CEO and founder of Nickson Living. “The key will be color selection. You can buy everything you need for the project at your local Home Depot or Lowes and get it done in a day. This will not only add more personality and ‘vibe’ to your space, it will also upgrade your Zoom background.” 

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Go Vintage 

“‘Office furniture’ has been around for quite some time, so shopping for used, consignment, and vintage items can allow one to find great pieces for a fraction of their original price,” Johnson said. “Also, if you are willing to refinish a piece yourself, then you can really find deals and make a piece special (e.g., stain it in your favorite color or your company’s brand color, etc.). This strategy can help your office space look very well done as vintage pieces can serve to carry the room even if accented with decorative pieces and a chair from Amazon or IKEA.” 

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Use a Binder Clip or Bread Bag Tie To Organize Cords

“A budget-friendly way to keep your cords from tangling is to wrap up the cord and use a binder clip to keep it together (a bread bag tie could also work for this),” said Kerry Sherin, consumer advocate at Ownerly. “To be even more organized use masking tape and a pen to create labels to put on the binder clips. Place them all in a dedicated drawer or box and you will never lose a cord again.” 

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Zen Out With Plants 

“Plants can be a great budget-friendly way to bring color, warmth, and new energy into a home office,” said Julie Maigret, an interior designer. “Some plants even have extra benefits that go way beyond the fashionable. Check out golden pothos, English ivy, philodendron and bamboo, which are top contenders in helping rid the air we breath of toxins such as ammonia and formaldehyde. Plus, caring for plants can be an effective stress reducer, potentially making your home office environment more stylish, healthy and peaceful.”

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Keep It Simple

“My best tip would be to be very selective with everything you need and only buy essential items,” said Andrei Vasilief, an architect and interior designer. “There is a strong tendency to clutter and there is a lot of marketing around new and cool home office accessories. In many instances though, a few items will get you a long way, which makes supplying a home office cheaper and will aid with productivity.”

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