Creating an office at home doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are ideas for setting up a home office on a budget. I’m sure you’ll be able to create yours without having to spend a lot of money!
Setting up a home office can be a real challenge when you are low on funds.
But the good news is that you do not have to break the bank and flush out your savings to set up an efficient home office!
Whether you are setting up a temporary workspace or a permanent one, here are 20 ideas that I’m sure you’ll find a lot useful when creating a home office on a budget!
So let’s do this!
1. Work with the furniture that you already have.
Working with what you have is the most practical step when creating a home office on a budget.
Furniture is one of the most expensive things you need to purchase. But you do not need to get a brand new furniture when setting up your home office.
Take a look around your home and work with what you already have!
For example, you may have a table that you can use as a desk and a cozy chair in the living room that you can use for your office chair.
Maybe there’s also a bookshelf overflowing with books that you or your family don’t read anymore. Get rid of the books now and turn the shelf into a storage for your office supplies and paperwork.
You can even add a new shelf and that’s your workstation already, like this one! Place it in a corner of your bedroom or living room. Very perfect when you don’t have much space at home.
By the way, here are more home office ideas that you will find helpful when space is tight.
So again, before you buy a new furniture for your home office, do take a real look around your house. When you make use of what you already have, you do not need to spend any cash at all! How cool is that?!
2. Hit the flea markets and thrift stores.
When there’s no furniture that you can DIY at home, then you really have no choice but to buy.
But before hitting the mall or shopping online, check out flea markets and thrift stores first.
My husband and I love shopping at flea markets and thrift stores. And for good reason! There are many affordable furniture deals in these venues. I’m sure you’ll find something for your home office that is within your budget.
Not only that – you may also find antique pieces here. These will give your home office some aesthetic appeal and a sophisticated vibe.
You can even find other cheap items in these venues that you can also use for your home office.
3. Trade or barter within your community.
Trading or making a barter is another way to get a furniture without spending so much money. This cashless transaction dates back to our ancestors and has been going on for centuries!
You can check out sites like Craigslist. Or post what you are looking for in your social media accounts and see who is willing to make a trade with you. There are also bartering apps available – try to check them out and see if anyone is up for swap in your area.
4. Set your desk by the window.
Lighting matters a lot. But instead of spending on additional lighting, you can just set up your home office by the window.
Natural light is the best lighting that you can get during the day.
If you still need to work at night, you can make do with an ordinary table lamp.
5. Use a room divider.
Your office does not have to be a separate room in your home. You can set up in a corner, a nook, the hallway, or against your bedroom wall.
Just use a room divider to separate your workspace from the common space that you share with your family. This also gives you some privacy.
A standard room divider is enough to do the job. One budget-friendly option is installing curtain rods in the ceiling so you can simply drape a curtain on your home office boundaries.
But if you need more storage space, better use a bookshelf as a room divider. Here’s an example using an IKEA Kallax bookshelf.
6. Use a shoebox as a laptop stand.
The top of your computer screen should be within your eye level. This avoids neck strain and also makes you feel comfortable working.
When you are working with a laptop, this set up could be impossible – this is why you will need a laptop stand.
If you have a hard shoebox in good condition, that will do! Place the laptop on top of the box, then have an external keyboard and mouse.
You can also craft the shoebox into the likeness of a real laptop stand.
Or use books instead of boxes!
7. Go digital.
The more paperwork you have, the more office supplies you need. So if you can do things digitally, the better.
For instance, instead of grabbing a notepad and scribbling down your ideas, why not use the notepad in your computer or smartphone?
Also, there are free apps that allow you to use your smartphone as a scanner. You can scan your documents, bills, receipts, notes, letters, etc. and just store the digital copies.
This lessens the need to hold on to so much paperwork, which also lessens the need for more paper supplies and storage space.
This allows you even more to maintain a home office on a budget. It’s going to be a smaller office, but who says you need a big home office, right?
What if you’re old school? How do you go digital?
If you’re old school (like me!) who just loves papers and prefer reading and writing on paper, this is still very much applicable to you. But, don’t rush it!
For example, you can still keep a notepad, a planner or a notebook, and even a binder! I still have these in our home office. Right now as I type this, I can see five notebooks around my desk! (I think I need to declutter.)
So yes you can still have your notebooks! However, slowly trim down on papers that you can do without.
For example, I stopped printing a lot of PDF files for reading. I just download them on my smartphone, then read. I still take notes in a notebook, though. That helps me remember the information better.
I still print some. But it should be something that’s really important – something that I really need to remember, or something that I want to apply sooner.
So I guess it depends on you. What are the papers that you really need to be in a hard copy? And what are those that are okay to be in digital form?
8. Invest in an ergonomic chair.
If you have a little money to splurge in your home office, I suggest that the first thing you splurge on is an ergonomic office chair.
Think about it. You spend a lot of hours seated in front of your computer as you work. Using the wrong chair can lead to back pain and posture problems in the long run. We don’t want that!
I know that your finances is important for you. But you still have an asset that’s more than the money that you bring.
That asset is YOU!
So even if you’re striving for a home office on a budget, don’t forget to take care of you. After all, if you get sick, the money also stops coming in. And now you’re sick.
Sick and low on money. Who wants that?!
So take care of yourself.
Investing in an ergonomic chair is one way of taking care of yourself. And don’t worry, ergonomic chairs are not as expensive as you think. There are good ones that you can get for an affordable price!
9. Use a craft table.
A craft table allows you to have a work desk and a storage space in just one furniture!
Craft table comes with drawers, cubicles, and other storage space options. It definitely is a desk and storage rolled into one!
10. Try a folding floating desk!
This desk is really cool and a real space saver!
When you need to work, you pull out the desk. And when you’re done, you simply fold it back and it stays there on the wall.
You can now roam around again in the room, using that same space that your desk just had! Amazing, isn’t it?
11. Floating shelves.
Here’s another “floating” idea – floating shelves!
If you have no room for a bookcase, but there’s a vertical space that’s left unutilized, how about installing floating shelves in it?
Not only does it add to your storage, but you can also place decors on it – your favorite plant or quote – whatever inspires you!
So whether it’s for primary storage space, or just an additional space to your home office, you definitely need to consider installing floating shelves!
12. Hanging baskets on the wall.
Another great and budget-friendly organization option is to hang baskets on the wall.
Baskets come in different sizes and styles. Find a sturdy one which can hold your office supplies and paperwork.
If you have some baskets already around the house, you may not even need to buy one!
13. Use a craft tote.
If you have but a handful of office supplies, you can just place all of them in a craft tote. This bag has a lot of pockets and compartments that will keep everything arranged and organized.
14. Make storage space with crates.
Do you have a couple of crates lying around your home?
Use these crates for a DIY shelf project and arrange around your work station. This could be just the storage space that you need!
You can use wooden crates, milk crates, and plastic crates for this project. If you do not have any crates around but love this idea, visit your local market and see if you can get some from the storeowners at a discounted price.
15. Storage on wheels.
Another budget-friendly option for your home office is a storage space on wheels! This could be a utility storage cart, a small file cabinet, or a combination of both. The prices will depend on the design – the simpler it is, the cheaper the price tag.
Simply roll it by your side as you walk, and then roll it away for storage when you are done. A popular option is to get one that can fit under your desk so that you can just smoothly roll it in and out when you need something.
16. Organize your paperwork using cereal boxes.
You do not need to get a new filing tray to organize your paperwork. You can do a DIY project with a few cereal boxes, and it is very easy to make.
Here is another design that you can use to organize your binders! It’s like a file holder, but it’s actually just a cereal box!
Hmmm…. I suddenly feel like I want to buy some cereals. On our next grocery trip perhaps! (haha)
17. Make your own drawer organizer.
When your desk comes with a drawer, you will surely appreciate this budget-friendly home office idea. Keep everything in it organized and well-arranged by making your own drawer organizer!
You get to control each compartment’s size so all your office supplies can have their own designated place.
This DIY project can help solve “junk drawer” problems not only for your home office but for other parts of your home too – like the kitchen, the bathroom, and your vanity table.
18. DIY your desk organizer.
Some desk organizers are available for a really low price, but you can always make one yourself with just a few boxes and toilet rolls. Save that money for something else that you can’t or that’s hard to DIY.
Making your own desk organizer also allows you to customize how much space each compartment gets. Wrap it with wrapping paper or washi tapes and it will surely look nice!
19. Declutter regularly.
Decluttering is always an essential part of managing the home – even more essential when you’re on a tight budget.
Having a regular decluttering schedule in your home office allows you to get rid of electronics, office supplies, papers, and other things that you do not really use and need.
This way, you do not have to spend money on extra storage options – because you don’t have much to store!
Most importantly, you get a clutter-free and neat work station! Plus points for productivity!
Make it a practice to only plug in your devices when you use them and unplug them when not in use.
Our devices still consume power when plugged in the outlet. Unplugging when not in use can save you money by lowering your power consumption. It may not be that much, but it’s still something.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with starting a home office on a budget. You do not have to begin with one of those expensive home office setups on Pinterest or Instagram.
You just need to have the essentials – what you need and use. Focus on that.
As you get used to working from home, and as your income goes higher, you can then start to change things up – upgrade some stuff.
Just remember that whatever you’re planning to buy next for your home office, it should be something that you really need, or something that inspires you to work and give your best shot!