COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization two years ago. Lockdowns have affected millions of people. Many have made the abrupt transition to working from home as a safety precaution against the disease, and with the current state of the world still uncertain, more and more workers are making that big shift.
With so many people doing remote work these days, a home office has become necessary. No matter who you work for or what you do, you’ll need a comfortable, well-equipped workspace to get things done.
You don’t have to spend a lot to set up a home office. You don’t even need an entirely separate room, though it’s an excellent way to avoid some of the unexpected challenges of working from home, such as distractions. It makes sense to furnish your new workspace on a tight budget. After all, remote work may seem to go on for some time but may not be for the long term.
Need a work-from-home set-up on a budget? Here are 10 tips on building a complete home office on a tight budget.
- Make a List
A home office space should contain items you will need for work, so it is better to know what you will need ahead of time to determine how much you can afford to spend on your new office. Some essentials for the home office include:
- Ergonomic chair
- Computer hardware
- Specialized equipment
- Office equipment
- A safe place for documents and files
- Internet and phone service
- Home and office decoration
- Create Your Own Office Space
Find a space dedicated to a home office area for maximum efficiency at work. You can create a small and cozy home office out of whatever space you have available, whether it’s a large stairwell, a small closet, a spare room, or an unused corner of the living room.
- Create a Fixed Budget
When setting up your home office, it’s easy to overspend due to the current high cost of living. Before shopping for office furniture and supplies, check your budget to see if you have any money set aside for an office.
You can also pay for your new office set-up with money saved in a household expenses account or a savings account set up for planned purchases. Since you’re now working from home, you can redirect the money you’d typically spend on transportation and meals out to home office expenses.
- Use What You Have
Instead of immediately going on a shopping spree, consider whether you can relocate furniture or accessories from another room to your home office. You’ll save a lot of money if you don’t have to buy some items.
Is a comfortable chair available in the guest room? Do you have any pictures in your closet that would be inspiring and decorative on the walls of your workspace? Examine your surroundings to see what you can incorporate into your new home office.
- Construct DIY Office Furniture
A desk is necessary for a home office, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money on this enormous piece of furniture. You can make a simple desk by laying a board across two filing cabinets in your office space. For a low-cost desk with plenty of storage space, sand the edges and paint it your favorite color.
Consider other ways to make shelves, filing systems, and in-and-out boxes from inexpensive materials. To store pencils and scissors, use a decorative flowerpot. Purchase several multi-level shoe shelves to hold a printer, paper, or books on the desk.
- Accept or Use Repurposed Furniture
Check to see if any professional offices are being renovated. Every four or five years, high-quality hotels redecorate their guest rooms. Perhaps you could find a used desk or chair there. Is there any extra furniture in your company that isn’t being used because people are working from home?
Check if your area has a store that only sells used office furniture. Look through a used furniture store or rental store, as well. When you bring the pieces home, be prepared to do some repairs.
- Shop for Cheap Bargains
Purchasing used or antique furniture or refurbished electronics in bargain bins or garage sales is great, but if there is none available nearby, you can always go to flea markets, consignment shops, and thrift stores, not to mention the wide market that Facebook marketplace offers.
Since people seem to be getting rid of bookshelves and desks all the time, and you might just find what you’re looking for. Even if your space is limited, you can find a stylish small desk to complement it.
Clean the pieces, sand them down, and paint them all the same color. It will appear as if you bought them to match. If you don’t want to deal with hand-me-downs, keep an eye out for furniture sales or check online sources.
- Shop for Sales at Bargain Prices
Discount stores, home centers, furniture outlets, lighting showrooms, and home decorating centers have a fantastic selection of items at discounted prices. You might be surprised to find a lovely desk for a reasonable price next to factory-second towels.
- Swap Furniture
Consider exchanging furniture with a friend. If you have a dining table that no longer fits your home, why not trade it for a desk you need? Or do you have any children’s furniture that a neighbor could trade for bookshelves?
Consider exchanging services for furniture, as well. In exchange for a chair, offer your decorating skills. Alternatively, you could make some curtains for a neighbor who could build you a desk. Everyone has something valuable to contribute.
- Get your employer to contribute.
If you work from home, find out what your company can contribute in terms of equipment and supplies. Often, you will not need to purchase your equipment because your employer will provide you with it.
Having a home office makes a huge difference in your overall productivity and provides you with more financial freedom. While it’s tempting to go online and order furniture and decor right away, not everyone has a large budget for outfitting a home office nor afford to hire a professional space planner to design a home office space.
While you would have to spend money to create that space, you don’t have to go into debt or break your budget to do so. Plan the office layout and design by focusing on what you need and what will help you be more comfortable as you work from home, so you don’t overspend.