Fixing Your Home Office on a Budget
It’s the room where you get your work done, and it’s the room where you earn your income, but if your house is anything like mine it’s also the room where you store old soccer cleats, boxes of tax returns and that sewing project you started last year but didn’t finish.
You wouldn’t let your kids study in uncomfortable chairs or work at a desk that didn’t have enough light, and you wouldn’t invite guests to dinner at a table covered with boxes, but these things seem like less of a concern when you’re thinking about your home office. After all, moms are supposed to make sacrifices, right? After you decorated the kids’ rooms, the master bedroom, the living room and the bathroom, there wasn’t anything left for the home office.
It doesn’t have to be that way. If your home office is in need of a fix-up, here are a few things you can do this weekend that will give you a well-organized, effective place to work without breaking your budget.
Store your stuff
If your office is also the space where you keep off-season clothes, personal papers and anything that doesn’t belong anywhere else, it’s time to get that stuff off the floor and out of sight. Depending on your personal taste, either hunt down a faux-antique sailor’s chest or a series of large, colorful plastic tubs. Put everything that doesn’t belong in your office in those tubs and store them in the closet or against the wall. Your floor space – and your mental space – are now free to focus on work.
Fix your lights
Lighting is the most important part of your office – more important even than your chair. Make sure you have enough light to fill the entire room, and put a lamp directly on your desk for extra brightness. Invest in lightbulbs that imitate natural light; they cost only a few dollars more than standard lightbulbs and help you focus on your work for longer periods of time.
Solve your windows
You don’t have sheets covering your windows, do you? I saw a home office once where the owner had put up sheets to keep out the afternoon glare. You are a professional, so instead of just hanging a sheet invest in vertical blinds and use them to control the volume of light coming in. Vertical blinds are better than a single windowshade because they allow for multiple directions of adjustment, thus controlling both the light and temperature in your home office.
Invest in a chair
Although your desk can be as simple as an old card table, it’s important that you have a high-quality office chair. Without a chair that supports both your posture and your weight, you run the risk of health problems down the line. Ergonomic office chairs are often pricey, so look for used ones in thrift stores or online resale sites. This’ll be the most costly investment you make in your home office, but it’s one that’s well worth it.
Add inspirational decoration
Let your office walls reflect what you want and where you want to go. Display family photos, inspirational quotes and favorite landscapes. Hang your degrees, certifications and awards. Either buy some inexpensive frames or go college-student style and use sticky tack to affix your decorations. Adding a few posters and motivating items is much easier – and much faster – than adding a fresh coat of paint.
Organize your desk
Lastly, take a moment to organize your workspace. Some people love having piles of books and papers around, while other people can’t work if even a single pencil is out of place. Whatever your style, make sure you have everything you need where you need it. If you can never find a pen, run down to an office supply store to buy a pen holder – or grab an old mug from the kitchen and put your pens and pencils inside. Pro tip: there are very few desks that aren’t improved by the addition of a label maker.
Start with these six tips to fix up your home office without spending a lot of money or time. If you are looking for additional inspiration, check out our Top 5 Considerations Before Designing Your Home Office.
Do you have home-office decoration tips to share, or a favorite picture of your home office? Let us know in the comments.
Photo credit: thehilljean.com