home office on a budget

Creating a Home Office on a Budget: Finding Low-Cost Items for Work at Home Success

Working from home comes with a lot of excitement – and maybe a little trepidation – but regardless of how you feel about the situation, you need a home office space to get everything done.

You excitedly head off to Pinterest and Google to find some inspiration for what your home office should look like, only to quickly become defeated when you realize how much all this stuff costs.

Luckily, it is possible to create a beautiful home office on a budget.

All it takes is a little consideration and some savvy shopping.

As hard as it seems, make the conscious decision to close those Pinterest tabs and step away from the mindset that your home office needs to look like a picture in a magazine.

Unfortunately, trying to replicate an exact look often means the costs add up real fast. When you’re trying to create your home office and you don’t have a lot of money, the last thing you want to do is shell out a lot of cash upfront on things that aren’t really useful to your business anyway.

Focus instead on what items you truly need and how you can fit those into your budget.

Follow these steps as you work towards creating your ideal home office on a small budget.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

Determine Your Work Space

There’s no sense in buying anything until you know exactly where your home office is going to be.

You might be one of those lucky people who actually has an extra room in your house you can dedicate to work, but chances are you’re like so many of the rest of us who are trying to fit in a workspace in an extra corner or against an empty wall.

The thing is, you really need to determine where you’re going to work before you can figure out what you’ll need. That way you can shop for items that fit the space.

The whole point of working with a budget is to try and save money wherever possible. The last thing you want to do here is spend needlessly because you buy a desk that’s too big, or a lamp that has no outlet to plug into.

Don’t be afraid to stretch your imagination to figure out a spot that works. Sometimes nooks and corners under stairwells, in closets, or at the end of a counter work best for home office spaces.

Focus on the Basics

Sure, it’s nice to have an executive desk that comes with a matching credenza, but you probably don’t need all that when you’re working from home.

Instead, determine what you really do need. This really varies from profession to profession, but generally you’ll probably need at least some of the following:

  • desk
  • chair
  • computer and printer
  • lamp
  • bookshelf
  • filing system

If you’re really bare bones (like I am), you won’t even need all that stuff. In my office (which doubles as my bedroom), I have a desk, a chair and a printer (as well as my laptop). That’s more than adequate for me to get all of my work done as a freelance writer and blogger.

While it’s nice to have a lot of the fun doodads and extras, if you’re on a budget you need to figure out only what you need and then go from there.

Shop Your House First

Is there furniture somewhere in your house that’s not often used? Have an old chair sitting in the attic or a bookshelf in the garage? Think long and hard before you decide you need to go rushing off to the store!

Don’t dismiss an old piece just because it’s worn or a little beaten up. Often, a can of spray paint or can of paint can do wonders in refreshing a piece and making it look like new.

Sure, refinishing a piece is more of a DIY project that you may have planned on, but if you’re looking to save money on your home office it can be worth it to put a little elbow grease in up front.

Think Outside the Box

If you need items for your home office, try thinking about other, potentially less expensive or more convenient items you could use instead.

For instance, if you need a desk, you don’t necessarily need an actual desk. If you’re really trying to save money, a simple spare piece of plywood set across some blocks could do the job.

Sure, this is not pretty at first thought, but try and envision it painted with a fresh coat of paint and topped with a pretty houseplant or vase of flowers.

Don’t have a desk chair? Don’t think you have to run out right away and purchase a fancy seat. If you happen to have a large exercise ball lying around, why not give this a try instead?

In fact, sitting on an exercise ball while you’re at your desk is said to help your posture and could even strengthen your abs. Even if you don’t have one, the price of a new one is only about twenty bucks – far less than the price of a new chair.

Shop Smart

Once you’ve done all the above steps, you might be ready to shop for your home office supplies. Again, this doesn’t mean you need to pull out your wallet and be ready to spend.

If you have time on your side, you can really use it to your advantage here. Spend time scouring tag sales, yard sales, thrift stores, and online marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook marketplace for your main furniture pieces.

My town even has a “Buy Nothing” Facebook group which is an amazing source of items that people are giving away for free.

Utilize Free Stuff Whenever You Can

Thrifting works great for the larger furniture pieces like a desk and chair, but there are also ways you can accessorize your home office for free.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to hang up my children’s artwork above my desk. It’s bright and cheerful and adds a much-needed pop of color to the space, and it also motivates me when I’m feeling less than productive. After all, my kids are the reason I work from home in the first place!

Another way to do this is to repurpose old items that were probably headed for the trash. For example, if you have a lot of pens and pencils that need a home, don’t rush out to buy a desk organizer.

Instead, find empty jars and use them instead. You can decorate them with Washi tape or chalk paint for a fun and stylish look.

If you want a houseplant (fresh greenery always adds a good touch to an office space), look around your yard before you rush to buy. A few flowers from the yard can add just the touch you’re looking for at no cost at all.

Budget-Friendly Options for Your Home Office

It may be the case that you don’t have a lot of time to spend hunting the thrift stores or you’d rather not buy secondhand.

If this is the case, you can still create your home office on a budget.

After you decide what you need, consider these cost-effective items:

Desk

Best Budget-Friendly Choice: Coavas Writing Computer Desk

This Coavas computer desk is lightweight and easy to assemble, yet it’s sturdy enough to get the job done. It has a low-profile, so you can tuck it where ever you have the free space, even if that’s the corner of the living room or against the wall in your bedroom.

This desk is also perfect if you’re short on space. When you aren’t using it, simply fold it up and store it out of the way.

Chair

Best Budget-Friendly Choice: BestOffice Ergonomic Office Chair

This office chair is budget-friendly, sleek, lightweight, and ergonomic. This BestOffice Ergonomic Office Chair hits the mark, at a price that’s hard to beat. Plus, it comes in a variety of fun colors, which makes this a really fun addition to your home office.

Lighting

Best Budget-Friendly Choice: TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp

I really love this TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp because it has so many different features that make it perfect for home office use. It is dimmable and has seven different brightness levels, which makes it easier to find the perfect brightness to light up your work without straining your eyes.

It also has an adjustable swivel head and a built-in USB charging port for convenience.  

Printer

Best Budget-Friendly Choice: Canon Wireless Pixma All-in-One

There’s really no need to go high-tech or extremely expensive with a printer if you’ll only use it occasionally. This Canon Wireless Pixma All-in-One is the printer I have and it does the job just fine.

I also use it pretty heavily for our homeschooling, so it’s in regular use. I also like that it is compact and has convenient features like wireless printing.

Paper Shredder

Best Budget-Friendly Choice: AmazonBasics Office Shredder

Shopping for a paper shredder isn’t exactly the most fun part of outfitting your home office, but if you deal with a lot of paper it’s definitely necessary.

This AmazonBasics Office Shredder is the perfect budget-friendly home office addition.

It gets the job done with a 3-minute continuous run-time, cross-cut 8-sheet capabilities, and an easy-to-empty bin. What more could you ask for?

Are there any must-have office items on your list that I’ve missed? Leave a comment below and let me know. And don’t miss my guide, 100 Work at Home Jobs for Moms. Just sign up below to get your copy!

Read More: 7 Tips for Creating the Perfect Home Office

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Hi, I’m Bridget Sielicki. 

I’m a freelance writer and a mom of four. For the past 10 years, I’ve been working from home as a freelance writer, creating content for major brands like Hertz Car Rental, Bankrate.com, and Credit Sesame.

Working from home has been a dream come true for me. Now I want to share my expertise with you, so you can make money while you’re home with your own kids. Learn more here.

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