Home Office Design

Creating your work space

Having an office at home means you'll be able to work efficiently without leaving home. Although it will take some time and effort, you can design a home office tailored to your unique career needs.

The first task is to choose a room for your home office. Select a room that is away from the main rooms of the house, so you can have some privacy. The farther away from the living and dining areas, the fewer interruptions you will have while working.

A possible choice is an unused living room or family room, however most people opt for a spare bedroom as the best place for their home office. This choice makes sense because the room can be closed off from the rest of the house. Also, the closet can double as storage for office and work-related supplies, or even the file cabinets.

Once you decide on the room, you need to decide what kind of workspace and furniture you need. A desk plus more surface space to spread out papers and books may be what you're looking for. A must-have is a credenza that holds files or a two-drawer or four-drawer file cabinet. Of course, you won't much work done without a comfortable chair. Leather office chairs are popular for their sleek, professional look as well as their supple comfort. Also, ergonomic office chairs are becoming more popular as people gain greater awareness of work-related stress and strain injuries.

Will you need a space to keep reference books? Bookshelves are useful in a number of ways: they provide space to store tools, office supplies and papers or projects you are working on.

Costs for furniture items range from $350 to $1,000+, depending on the items you select.

Of course, your computer set-up will be the main focus of your home office. Decide if you prefer a desktop versus a laptop computer - if y you want to be mobile, then a laptop will be your best choice. Other must-haves include a printer that doubles as a fax / copier. Complete computer packages (computer and printer / fax / copier) run from $500 to $2,000+.

Next, decide what office tools you will need. A desk lamp that provides ample light is very important. File holders for placement on top of your desk are incredibly useful for fast location of files you routinely need. Also of help are desk baskets or boxes to hold important papers and supplies. These containers will keep you organized and allow you to access items quickly.

Don't forget typical office supplies: paper for the printer, a stapler, pens, pencils and file folders. Allow a budget of at least $300 for these and other relevant supplies.

Total costs for your home office will range from $1,150 to over $3,000. Keep in mind that you can shop garage sales, secondhand stores and sales at discount stores to get the items you need at lower prices. Perhaps you already have some of the furniture or items necessary for your home office, in which case you're ahead of the game.

Designing and setting up your office at home can pave the way to success in your work. With the right furniture, computer equipment, and supplies, you will be prepared for anything and increased work efficiency may be just around the corner.

By Rita Chaney