Building the Best Home Office: Regardless of Space or Budget
Once you have become successfully self-employed, it’s time to start constructing your very own home office. This is the fun part, but also an expensive one.
Your budget – as with anything – will dictate what you can do with your space. Sure, we would all love to an amazing workstation to call our own, but a lot of us don’t have WeWork’s budget to hire a local artist to do a mural either. Another thing, your space won’t have is well…space.
You’ll have to get creative, but building something for yourself is something you should be used to by now since you are a solopreneur!
Whether you decide to work at the kitchen table, the garage, or that really small guest room, there are absolutely home office essentials. Take a look at some of my favorites for inspiration of your own.
Desk & Add-Ons
1. Minimalist Desk
All good offices start with a desk, and our list will be no different.
I’m partial to a minimalist desk with no drawers.
This is because I prefer to work in an uncluttered space, as it’s been shown to make you more productive. When I have drawers I end up shoving useless nicnaks and pens in it for years at a time. Instead of having to clean those out every year, I go with a simple table with 4 legs. No wasted space here! Everything you have is visible to you (and others) to keep you accountable and organized.
2. Standing Desk
If you are working with a little bit larger budget, consider splurging for a standing desk. They will really change your life.
For those not familiar with them, they’ve recently caught on in tech startups around the world due to their many benefits. When that after-lunch tiredness kicks in, simply pop up on your standing desk for another boost of energy.
They are full standing desks that have presets that adjust to your height with a click of a button. Those run anywhere from $300 to $1000, and I doubt that falls within your budget. My recommendation to you though is to get an adjustable starter one.
They are much more affordable (anywhere from $50 to $200), and they allow you to live the standing desk lifestyle without the high price tag. Essentially it sits atop your desk, and you can adjust the level of your laptop so that you can stand instead of sit. It’s more manual, but certainly a nice way to burn a few extra calories during a long work day!
3. A Second Monitor
According to a NY Times study from a few years back, adding an extra screen can help increase output and save you time. All together, they estimate that it increases productivity 20-30%.
Though I haven’t charted the exact benefits, I can attest that adding an extra screen is a great way to save yourself a few extra clicks. Instead of searching around through all your open tabs, you’ll be much more organized with a second monitor. Space permitting, you can simply have your laptop with another (hopefully bigger) monitor next to it.
If you really want to go out, there are some adjustable monitor stands so you can move the monitors to maximize efficiency! And then you can use the laptop screen as a THIRD one!
Ergonomic Office Accessories
4. Lumbar Support Pillow
We haven’t discussed your office chair yet! This one can be tough for penny-pinchers and those on a budget. Some really nice chairs can run for $500.
My recommendation is to get a lumbar support pillow for your lower back. It promotes good posture and will help alleviate back pain for those who sit for prolonged periods.
It’s especially helpful if you are working in an uncomfortable chair already. With the addition of this pillow, it’s suddenly not so bad!
Though a little awkward at first, ergonomic keyboards can help prevent carpal tunnel, RSI, and general pain caused by typing. It’ll take a few weeks of getting used to, but once you start using one, you’ll never go back!
For about $50 you can save your joints some unneeded movements. It will probably be worth the investment and then some down the line!
The same goes for an ergonomic mouse. Though not as essential as the keyboard for a home office, the weird-shaped mouse will provide some of the same benefits for less than $20 in some cases!
7. Coffee Warmer
Any worker (in general) knows the importance of caffeine. Without it, we are all mindless zombies – but maybe I am just speaking for myself.
One of my pet peeves is when you start drinking your cup of coffee, get distracted by something else, only to come back to your cold mug. Then, you either have to make yourself a new one (wasteful) or microwave the one you have (tastes worse).
That was the case for me until I discovered these handy mug warmers. You set your coffee on it, turn it on, and you never have to worry about this problem again – easily worth $10!
8. Essential Oil Diffuser
This is another personal recommendation. I use an essential oil diffuser to make my work area smell a little nicer! Using essential oils like orange and peppermint, I let it roll throughout the day. I don’t vouch for it’s benefits as much as the other things on this list – I just find it to be a nice addition!
9. Bullet Journal
Organizing your digital world with an old fashion pen and notepad can be weirdly liberating. I use a Bullet Journal to keep myself on task and organize my day.
It’s almost unrelated, but I thought I would give the seal of approval and endorse one of my favorite productivity tools. I keep it next to me whenever I’m working, so it’s technically on my desk!
Bonus Item: Dotti
This is a fun (if not dumb) one, but I enjoy it.
It’s a digital screen that alerts you of calls, texts, and other notifications from your phone.
The Dotti app needs some work, but it’s just a cool thing to have on your desk. You can create your own designs to display – giving your home desk some much needed personality!