When I took the leap into full-time self-employment, one of the biggest things I was looking forward to was breaking free from the creative restraint of sitting in a cubicle everyday. However, after a few short weeks of performing all work-related duties from my not-so-comfortable couch, I realized that I couldn’t forgo the office setting entirely. This time, however, it would be from a guest bedroom, not a hi-rise on the other side of town.
With the guest bed off to Goodwill and the room ready for takeover, I was then faced with the task of making it feel like a space I would want to sit in for hours upon hours every single day. Add to that a significantly pared down budget and I was faced with quite a challenge.
Here is how I managed to make it work.
I put money into the things that mattered.
Once I began working from home, I quickly learned there’s nothing that derails productivity quite like an aching back. So one of the key areas I decided I would spend some money was on a desk chair.
In visiting several different stores, there was one glaring difference: the return policies. Some office stores won’t allow you to return chairs unless they are still in the unopened box. I wasn’t willing to bet my money that the chair I selected would still be as comfortable two weeks in, so I opted for the store with the more liberal return policy instead.
Two hundred dollars later, I had the most expensive piece of furniture in my office – and, more importantly, a happy back.
I pulled items from other areas of the house.
As a previous HGTV junkie, I’m fascinated by the ability of some decorators to take what you already have in your home and repurpose it for something the average person might have never considered.
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This was my goal in creating my new office space.
A glass TV stand that no longer held a TV suddenly had a new purpose as a book, supply and printer shelf. A lamp with built in shelves that had been collecting dust in the garage, received a nice scrub down and was utilized as a bookshelf for the remainder of my collection. Artwork that didn’t have a wall to hang on before, was collected and arranged in a way that breathed new life into each piece.
Finally, picture frames were collected from other cluttered areas around the house and arranged on my desk to make the space feel more like me.
I became a frequent visitor of thrift and discount stores.
When it comes to smaller items like picture frames, candles, and decorative storage, there’s nothing that can beat thrift stores and discount stores like Ross and TJMaxx. Not only will you find these items at a fraction of the cost of other stores, but the brands are often the same.
So unless you have a strange attachment to getting this year’s picture frame style versus last year’s, there’s very little reason to shop elsewhere. Even candles that sell for $30 in other stores are available for as little as $6 at these stores. I promise, it’s well worth the sorting required.
While I was lucky enough to receive an unused desk from my parents, I saw several wooden desks in good shape at thrift stores that would look brand new with some sanding and a new paint job. The price? Well under $100.
I took advantage of various deals online and in-store.
Unless you’re a frequent crafter, you might not realize that Hobby Lobby has become a mecca for home decorators. It’s full of items I really wanted to put into my brand new office space.
Luckily they also have a coupon available for 40% off any one item. This coupon seems to be available in their weekly ad and on their website all the time.
In addition, I noticed that online photo shops like Shutterfly and Photobucket are routinely running sales that cover their canvas prints. When I noticed these sales, I pounced on them, allowing me to score a 24×24 canvas for under $50.
The key here was being ok with filling the space gradually, taking advantage of deals that spanned several weeks – not just paying top dollar to complete my office immediately.
Have you decorated your own home office? How did you manage to save money? We’d love to hear your tips!