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How to Design a Home Office with a $500 Budget

Home offices don't have to cost an arm and a leg. Learn how to build one on a budget.
Woman sitting in home office.

It's time to design a home office, and you have $500 set aside for the project. How are you going to do it? The space is there, the colors are in your mind, and you know what furniture you need. Now what do you do?

Clear the Preliminaries

  • It's important to plan flexibly. Keeping your plans flexible prevents you from being disappointed when you can't afford the brand new executive office suite or the $1280 leather chair. Additionally, other factors may enter your designing process that tosses preconceived notions out the window.
  • You may have to start small and build up later. If you're just beginning to work from home, the prospect of having a home office is exciting, but you may need to start modestly and purchase additional items later.
  • You will be spending a lot of time in the office. For that reason, make it nice. Keep the color something you can live inside for hours a day. Make sure that the chair isn't killing your back.
  • Keep it an office. Once you have a room set aside for an office, try to keep it that way. That means that you probably shouldn't try to design a playroom/office. Stick to the office, and that will help your budget.

Now, let's get to the actual designing on a budget. There are plenty of things that you can do to improve a room's appearance and not have to spend much money at all.

Paint the Room--$50

Paint gives a room a whole new look in record time and with very little money. Choose a color that is calming, not distracting, and somewhat professional.

Light the room--$50

Lighting is extremely important. You do not want to work in a dim office, even if your job consists of staring at a computer screen all day. Go ahead and invest in a floor lamp to provide ambient lighting. You can buy these at a store like Wal-Mart for $20. Also, you want to invest in an adequate desk lamp to keep a source of light directly on your workspace.

Decorate the Room--$50

You may think that saving money requires that you abstain from all decorations. Not so. Here is where you can get creative. Visit yard sales. People are constantly rearranging their home's design and selling decorating items at very low prices. Things to look for are framed wall pictures to add some interest to the walls, potted or artificial plants to add some green to the room, and minimal decorations to grace a bookshelf or desk. Presto. With $50 or less, you can arrange an impressive decorated look to your home office.

Furnish the Room--$300

The bulk of your budget is going to be spent on furniture. Here is where the power of Craigslist can be unleashed. Before rushing off to Havertys or Rooms to Go, just go to online yard sale where you can find nearly any time of home furnishing you need. Here you can find a nice desk for under $100, a filing cabinet for $10, or an easel for $7. Realize that you are getting used furniture, but realize as well that you are saving a ton of money.

Enjoy the Last $50

Decorating an office is a fun experience that will help you enjoy working. The best part about the decorating it that it doesn't have to cost a lot. In fact, you have $50 left. Go celebrate!

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