by Emilie DeCoursey
Just because running your own business from home might mean you won’t regularly have customers filtering in and out, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make an effort toward creating an appealing and inviting office. In fact, taking the time to establish a distinct home office can not only help you feel more professional and purposeful, having such an area can boost your mood and help you feel ready to take on the challenges you’ll face throughout your day. So how can you create such a space, particularly on a budget? Your options are endless, but let’s look at a few basics to keep in mind when getting started…
The Power Of Paint
Even if you just have one small wall or corner to work with, you can still make the most of it. One of the least expensive and most impactful efforts you can make toward creating a space for creative thinking and focus is to make use of a bucket of paint. I’m not talking about “beige” or “putty” colored shades, I’m talking about bold, bright colors and patterns. Don’t be afraid, if you absolutely hate it you can always paint over it with “eggshell” again. You might have a favorite color that always puts you in a good mood such as canary yellow or magenta, or a color that soothes your nerves and helps you focus such as sky-blue or a pastel green. Even just painting the wall behind your computer screen without worrying about painting an entire room can make a big difference. Steer clear of really dark, deep shades that might make the space seem smaller or make you feel sleepy instead of alert and ready to work.
Think about how it felt sitting in a dingy grey cubicle under bright florescent lighting day after day, hour after hour. Lighting really makes a big difference in how we feel and in our productivity. Glaring lights can cause headaches and make an area look uninviting and unappealing. Dim lighting doesn’t do much good either, making it hard to feel productive and alert. If you can, set up your desk and laptop area near a window where you can enjoy plenty of natural light. Make use of lamps, whether they’re desk lamps or floor lamps. Choose lamp bases and shades that compliment your newly painted walls and enjoy them as part of the décor of your office setting instead of for the lighting purposes only. Look for lamps that are representative of the type of work you do. For example, if you sell abstract paintings and modern fine art, you might want to look for lamps that are modern and brightly colored with lamp shades that match your best paintings. If you offer carpentry services, you might choose to go with a lamp made out of a tree trunk base.
Toss Out The Typical
When you think of an office desk or chair you might first think of the typical simple black swivel office chair and desk reminiscent of a card table. If you own your own business and work from home, you aren’t required to sit at the type of desk you would at a large corporation where everyone’s area is the same. Enjoy picking out a comfortable arm chair, sit on a giant yoga ball, even pick out a massage chair to sit on, the choice is yours! Take an afternoon to go scout-out the local garage sales or thrift stores for a vintage desk and give it a makeover with spray paint or an extra coat of gloss. You can save yourself the money of ordering an office desk and chair from a manufacturer this way.
Create Your Own Art
We wonder if anyone was really, truly motivated by those old motivational posters about teamwork and accountability so many offices used to hang on the walls. Having your own office space means choosing the artwork. There are plenty of stores that offer framed artwork prints or canvases, but these can be pricey and they aren’t half as fun as creating your own. Buy a large canvas from a local craft store and splash some different strokes of paint on it and have your kids help you with the project if you’d like. You can even just buy a large piece of drywall from the hardware store and glue patterned textiles, fabrics, posters or prints on it. Frame giant prints of your favorite photographs, favorite quotes of leaders or other business builders that inspire you, make a large “goal board” where you can write about or pin images of the goals you want to achieve in business, so you always have them there to motivate you.
Again, these are just a few tips for getting started. As it is with running your business your way, designing a home office space that suits your personality will be up to you! When you’ve got your office ready, visit the Midphase website to get your business website looking just as good.