As high school and college graduates head out on their own this summer, many parents are finding a bit more breathing room in the family home. Maybe a bedroom in your home has opened up and is ready for repurposing.
Imagine the possibilities: Your newly emptied bedroom could become a den, a library, or even a media room. One of the most popular ways to keep that now-free room functional is to create a home office. With solid planning, it is possible to create a home workspace that you will actually want to work in, whether it is a comfortable, organized space to pay household bills or the headquarters for your home-based business.
In fact, many home owners need a place to work from home occasionally.
A growing number of organizations allow their workers to telecommute and, according to Gopal Ahluwalia, an economist at the National Association of Home Builders, 12 million houses nationwide have a dedicated home office space.
Telecommuters can enjoy the perks of a dedicated home office too. According to Ray Accettella, a professional remodeler and president of Jarro Building Industries, the majority of his home office remodeling projects are dedicated offices that cost between $24,000 - $30,000.
The price however, depends wholly on the office’s purpose and how extensive the renovations are. Many of Accettella’s clients want additions for an office space and include bathrooms and sound boards to keep the space quiet.
Whether you are turning that now-empty bedroom into a home office or adding on, keep the following information in mind.
Begin with a floor plan. Get some graph paper and draw the setup you want. On paper, you can move elements around a number of times until you find the fit that is right for you. Remember to include the locations of electrical outlets, phone jacks and other hookups in this planning stage.
There are also computer software programs available if you prefer a mouse to a pencil. This can be a good time to list what you have and what you need to make your design a reality. Keep in mind that you may be able to find some things around the house, while others will require a purchase.
While the office can be as simple or high-tech as you like, there are several basics for every home workspace.
A table or desk you can work at is a must-have. In addition, a comfortable chair that fits with your desk or table is important. Comfort is key in selecting these basics. A lamp is essential if you work at night or the lighting in the room isn’t sufficient.
Organization is important in making your office run efficiently. Desk organizers to hold pens, pencils, paper clips and other office supplies are great and help cut down on desktop clutter. Filing cabinets are helpful to keep track of important paperwork, and they come in many sizes.
If you start out organized, you are more likely to stay organized. Chances are, you own a home computer. But are you satisfied with its performance? While creating your workspace, you may want to consider a second computer specifically for the office. Employees at your local computer store can help you find a computer that fits your needs and budget. They can also help you select the best software for your office tasks.
Make sure that you can connect to the Internet from your chosen room. Most likely your local phone company, as well as a wide array of other service providers, offers multiple Internet options for you. Shop around until you find one that fits your needs and budget. The addition of a second phone line may also be considered, especially if you work from home. It can be a great way to stay in contact with business colleagues.
Remember, even though it is a workspace, your office should reflect your personal taste. If there is a certain type of décor you like, use it in your office. Paintings and photographs can add a personal touch to a home work space as well. A bulletin board or a small chalkboard also can be useful for posting important information or essential telephone numbers and mail addresses.
Don’t feel pressured to buy everything for your office all at once. Get the room set up and try working in it for a while. The more time you spend in your office, the more you will realize what you need to make it function better.
Creating a home office can be a great way to maximize your newly created space. Office supply stores can be a great resource, as can many furniture stores, in finding what you need to get started.
With thoughtful planning, you can count on a functional and comfortable home workspace.