By Tina Martin
Thinking of saying goodbye to your 9-to-5 job in favor of remote work and entrepreneurship? You’re not alone. Today, increasing numbers of people are ditching the traditional workplace to work as freelancers and independent contractors or become small business owners.
But if you’re thinking of starting a home-based business -- or if you’ve already gotten one off the ground and simply want to grow -- you’ll need the right space to run it. Here’s how to design a room in your home as a functional space for your business needs.
Need More Space?
One look around your house might confirm that you barely have the space to set up a desk in a spare corner, let alone take over an entire room for your new office. If you’ve already been looking at houses on the market, look for a home with a second bedroom that could easily be converted into a home office. Consider available storage space, too.
But before you fall in love with a potential house and start dreaming about its potential, make sure that you have a solid idea of what you can actually afford. According to Fidelity, you should generally aim to buy a house that is priced between three to five times your annual income. Research home prices in your area and nearby towns (the median listing price in Palmdale is $349,000), and figure out what you could realistically put toward a down payment, monthly mortgage payments, and property taxes.
Find the Right Furniture
Once you’ve chosen the ideal room for your office, it’s time to go shopping. You’re going to need several pieces of furniture, including a comfortable, expansive desk, a swivel chair, a filing cabinet (available on Amazon for under $100), a desk lamp, a small waste basket, and other boxes, drawers, or shelves for storage.
Yes, the cost can really add up if you buy all of these items at full price, but you can shop around to get the best possible deal. Money suggests looking for secondhand items first rather than buying new. Ask your friends and relatives if they have any office furniture that they’re getting rid of. Check out the clearance section at your local home goods store, or spend an afternoon thrifting and looking around at garage sales.
Get Plugged In
When you’re designing your office for your home-based business and getting caught up in all the fun little details, it’s easy to overlook the necessities. As you decide how to arrange your new furniture in your home office, make sure to place it strategically so that you will always have access to several outlets.
You’ll want to be able to plug in your computer and phone chargers, your printer, Wi-Fi router, and any lamps. If there are limited outlets in your office, or they’re simply difficult to reach with cords from your desk, you might want to get a power strip. You don’t want to have your workday interrupted when one of your devices dies, and you can’t easily charge it.
Make It Personal
Now that you’ve decided how you’ll arrange the furniture in your home office, it’s time to brighten up your space and truly make it “yours.” You may want to consider a fresh coat of paint on the walls -- a new shade can make the entire room look bigger.
Perhaps a vase of fresh flowers will bring a little life to your office. You might want to place signs with inspiring quotes near your desk, or display photos of your loved ones. Basically, look to decorate with personal items that will motivate you without distracting you.
When you’re running a business out of your home, you need to be able to separate your professional life from your personal life. Investing time and money into designing a designated room in your home for your business is the key to striking this balance. With these tips, you’ll have your new home office decked out in no time.