It is easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest furniture and equipment for your office—you want it to look fabulous and make a statement about your success. But just make sure to never lose sight of your budget, or your cash flow could easy turn into a debt. Research and careful shopping can help you equip your office on a budget. Here’s a list of the office furniture and equipment you actually need to set up a small or home office with tips on how you can get what you need without spending much.
1) Office desk
Wrap around corner office desk units are nice in terms of office design, but can be pricey. Look first at auctions, surplus stores or your local newspaper or online listings for office desks at a discount. The advantage is not just price, but often a larger usable work surface. However if you really need something cheap you can try and build this DIY simple desk, for less than $200.
Want an even cheaper option? Go to a resale/thrift store such as Goodwill and pick up a used interior door. Refinish it if you like and prop it over two filing cabinets of the right height for you to sit and work comfortably.
2) Comfortable chair
A comfortable chair is the heart of a productive home office. You’ll spend nearly half your day on it; investing in a good one will make a marked difference to your work life. It is possible to find good used office chairs through your local online classifieds, or websites such as Amazon and eBay. Sometimes businesses go out of business and auction off all their office furniture, for instance, and surplus stores often have used chairs for sale. Just look carefully for wear and damage.
Choosing the best office computer can be a daunting task for the non-technical person setting up a home office. It doesn’t have to be however. Keep rule one of office design in mind, and buy the computer you need rather than the expensive model the salesperson wants you to buy. If you really only need a basic front desk type of office task PC, by building your own PC, you will save a bunch of money and learn a thing or three about the inner workings of a computer. If you go prebuilt, you will spend more money but have a more powerful computer capable of heavier tasks. It’s up to you and your needs.
Multifunction printers (combining printer, scanner, copier and fax machine in one) are a great way to save money and space in your small or home office design. Decide what features you want, and look for the multifunction printer that does exactly what you want it to do. Don’t pay for features that you won’t need, for example a fax machine. Also keep an eye on sales, as new models come out constantly, and older ones are sold at amazing discounts.
There will certainly be other items you need in your home office, depending on the type of work you do and how much space you have available. But if you use this checklist to get started thinking about the essentials, you are on your way to creating a streamlined and efficient home office on a budget.