02 Jun How to create the perfect home office on a budget
Create a home office sanctuary and improve your productivity
With the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions, there were many changes for us to adjust to, not least of all was the shift to working from home. Although life is starting to move towards normal, many of us are still working at home and will be for the foreseeable future. This new set up was unexpected. Suddenly many of us found ourselves working 40 hours a week at the kitchen table, surrounded by files and paperwork. And not to mention if you have a family and all the kids’ schoolwork and toys piling up around you. It’s no wonder it’s sometimes a struggle to concentrate and work productively. You may be looking around your home right now and thinking seriously about how to make it work better for you.
According to research by Workopolis, 90% of people that work from home are more productive but that does rely on making sure the set-up is right. Ideally, an office space should be a dedicated area in your home that is peaceful, comfortable and practical. Many of our clients tell us that one of the most important elements is being able to separate home life from work life. Adding a new room, creating an outdoor space or converting your loft are ideal solutions but may not be possible but there are simple measures to create the perfect home office. Building and DIY stores have just re-opened and the construction business is back open for business, so now the perfect time to create your office sanctuary.
Whatever your budget we’ve outlined 5 steps to get you closer to your dream home office.
- Get inspiration
The first step in any home improvement project is to do some research for inspiration. Think about the things that are important to you and critical for success – wifi connection, storage, lighting, desk space, chairs, phone lines, light, colour are just a few of the things to consider.
It’s good to collect all your ideas in one place. Creating a mood board is a good way to put it all together. You can use online apps to help like Pinterest or goMoodboard to see all your ideas side by side. These can also prove great sources of inspiration to see what has worked for other people.
You don’t need to make decisions at this stage, it is just a starting off point to begin the transformation and get a feel of you what you would like.
- Look at your layout/floor space
There are many different options to locate your office and some may seem unexpected, but anything is possible with a bit of creativity and clever design. We’ve seen some fantastic and striking home offices that have been created in small spaces. Don’t discount small corners in your house that aren’t currently utilised. It is amazing with the right furniture and storage how much you can achieve.
Perhaps your spare room is the ideal place to create your office, and it will have a dual purpose as an office and guest room. Or you may be fortunate enough to convert an existing room and have a dedicated office. Home offices can be built almost anywhere including garages, garden sheds and summer houses.
Once you’ve identified the location of your office, you need to decide how best to use the space and an ideal layout. Work with what you have and leverage the key features. That may be the windows, a fireplace or ceiling.
Getting the lighting right is also key. Natural light is best for a working environment so look for places near doors and windows to make the most of it. If your only option is to install lighting Light Bulb have some tips on the best practices for lighting your home office.
Your computer will need a strong internet connection so keep that in mind when choosing where to make your optimum set up. For many of our clients, power supply is a critical factor. With a number of electrical devices in a small space, it is important that there are sufficient power sockets – power sockets with built-in USB sockets are a popular feature and efficient use of space. An electrician should always advise and lead on this. Never attempt any electrical installation yourself.
If you’re creating a new space outside, think about the heating and cooling effects of the seasons and factor that into your budget.
- Planning & prepping
In every job we undertake, planning and prepping are the most critical factors in ensuring success. With the appropriate due diligence at the start, a much smoother process is ensured and the best outcomes achieved.
If re-purposing an existing space, you might find it helpful to create a floor plan. Always measure the dimensions of the room/area and draw it out on a piece of paper. Then you can see whether your plans will fit into space.
Make sure that you have the correct permission for any new structure or amendment to your property. Different councils have different rules on what you can and cannot do to the outside of your property. Usually, there are height limitations on new structures, however, some small buildings can often be built without going through the planning process.
Large extensions may need to go through the planning permission process before you can commence works and will need professional drawings and you need to allow a few months for this to happen before your build can commence.
Colours matter. When painting a room it is important to pick a colour that will work. Harrington College of design talks about the psychological impact of colour on mood and considers the best colour for a home office ‘Blue is a great colour choice for a home office or study because it creates a soothing, relaxed and comfortable setting. Blue also helps maintain concentration, lowers your heart rate and boosts productivity’. A ‘pop’ of colour wall may jazz up your space and create energy for motivation.
Typically, lighter colours and white are used in smaller rooms to reflect light and give a sense of more space, however, these are not the only options. House Beauty discusses this and offers the top 15 colours for making small spaces look bigger.
Many paint suppliers will offer samples for free or a small fee. You can test these out on the walls to get a sense of how the light of the room affects the actual colour. Make sure you look at the colours at different times of the day and on days with different levels of daylight in order to stress test your choices.
You need to make a decision on not only colour but what type of sheen you like. Maybe matt would suit your room as opposed to gloss paint. Get testers in the different types to find out what fits you best.
We recommend avoiding the cheaper paint brands if you can as it is often a false economy as you end up having to do more coats, and therefore buying more paint overall.
If you struggle with the choice, Dulux has a guide on how to choose paint.
It is likely that you’ll need more purposeful furniture for your new office, but it doesn’t need to compromise on style. The furniture for this room is likely to need additional storage and a comfortable chair that is ergonomically sound is important for good spine health. There’s a great selection of stylish and high-quality chairs and accessories on SitSmart.
Storage is always a top priority for our clients, consider how much storage you require and how much space you have to play with. Think about shelving, will you use wall mounted shelves or have freestanding units? Choose adjustable shelves that can be repositioned. This allows you to maximise space, fitting the shelves to your items, rather than being left with wasted voids.
Set your budget and look to find the highest quality items within that budget. Think about where you will put your computer or laptop, printer and storage for all of your paperwork. Don’t forget about some plants and pictures to brighten up the place as well. A space you like and enjoy being in is as important as it is to be practical.
Organisation and storage also help to enhance our mood and productivity. According to Entrepreneur.com, keeping your work environment free from clutter helps you think more clearly which will produce better results.
Hopefully this has given you some inspiration and ideas to help create your perfect home working office space. Need some help with storage in your home? Read our latest blog.
And don’t forget to follow our Facebook page for regular tips and tricks on DIY and home improvements. Or if you’re already planning a project please get in touch, we’re always on hand to advise and support you to help make your home improvement dreams come true.