Upgrading your office can make you more comfortable, more productive, and can even make you look more professional. Even simple changes, like investing in a better desk or adding a tasteful bookshelf in the background, can make a profound impact. And if you have a budget of thousands of dollars, it should be no issue to get all the fancy items you desire.
But what if you only have a few hundred dollars to work with?
If you’re working with a tight budget, don’t worry. There are plenty of options you have to make your office more comfortable, more productive, and more professional.
How to Upgrade an Office on a Budget
Here’s how to upgrade your office as efficiently as possible:
1. Plan your budget in advance. First, make sure your budget is as accurate as possible. You should have a clear idea of what you can realistically spend and what you’d like to spend. How much extra money do you have in your savings? Could you increase this amount in the span of a month or two? How much is a nice home office “worth” to you? Ideally, you’ll have at least a few hundred dollars to work with.
2. Choose the right furniture store. Look for a well-reviewed online furniture store where you can make most of your purchases. Good furniture stores will present you with a wide variety of options, but all of them will be professionally designed, effective for helping you maintain good posture, and best of all, a good value for the money. You’ll get the most value for what you spend this way.
3. Set priorities (and know what you can compromise on). Next, work proactively to set some priorities for your office. Which features are most important to you? Which ones aren’t as important? For example, it may be vital for you to get the right chair, so you have adequate support for your lower back, but it may not matter what your desk looks like.
4. Invest in one thing at a time. Don’t think of this as a single project. If you try to upgrade the entire home office in one fell swoop, you’ll be stressed, you’ll be inefficient, and you’ll blow through your budget too quickly. Instead, focus on upgrading one thing at a time. You’ll feel much better about the process this way.
5. Get recommendations from others. You don’t have to go through the home office upgrading process on your own. Consider reaching out to other people who have gone through this process in the past. Are there coworkers, neighbors, or family members who have recently upgraded their home offices? What recommendations do they have?
6. Look for gently used items. There are some things you shouldn’t buy used. For example, if you’re upgrading your office chair, you’ll probably want to buy a new one. However, for most of the fixtures in your home office, a used version is perfectly acceptable; it will save you money and serve the same function. Don’t shy away from this option.
7. Declutter. If your home office is filled with clutter or if it needs a good cleaning, take some time to take care of it. It won’t cost you anything, but it can instantly make your office feel like it’s brand new.
8. Improve natural lighting. The right lighting can make your office feel warmer, more inviting, and more comfortable – and make you more productive at the same time. Instead of buying more lamps, consider improving the flow of natural light in your space. And if you don’t have access to a nice window, consider moving the office altogether.
9. Make minor design changes. Sometimes, even small changes can make a huge difference in how you perceive your space. Painting an accent wall a different color or adding an area rug that you like can improve how you feel in the room.
10. Add more personal items. Finally, consider adding more personal touches throughout the office – especially since they may not cost you anything. Paint an original work of art or frame a photo of you and your family so you have something beautiful to look at between tasks.
Alternative: Get Out of the Office
If you’ve followed these tips and you still feel like your home office isn’t where you want it to be, consider working elsewhere – at least part of the time. Even with the best home office, working from home can make you feel trapped or uninspired over time. That’s why it’s important to get a change of scenery now and then; consider working from a local café, library, coworking space, or even a park to get some new perspective.