Did you know that over half of the small businesses in the United States are run out of a home office? According to the SBA, 52% of small businesses are home based—that’s nearly 14 million at last official count. Are you among them?
Most often, a new business is launched from an existing home. That is to say, very few people are starting a business and buying a home at the exact same time. What this means is that many people do not factor a home office in as a priority when house-hunting, and only realize later on that they need one.
That’s why we’ve scoured the Internet for home office tips and tricks that will help you create the space you need to grow your business from the home you already have:
1. Repurpose a closet
For those of us who live in major metropolitan cities, sacrificing a square inch of closet space sounds like a sacrilege. However, if you have a reasonably-sized home, you might find that there’s a closet area you could live without. In this case, turning that nook into a viable office is not only possible, it could be really fun and functional. Check out Remodelaholic’s 25 clever closet offices for some great ideas.
2. Move clunky machines in-drawers
If you’re a person who is particularly sensitive to aesthetics, nothing ruins the feel of a room like office machinery. You can create the most beautiful space imaginable, but if there’s a fax machine/copier in the foreground, everything is thrown off. To combat this, consider getting a desk with large drawers and stowing away unsightly office items for good.
3. Design a desk to fit your space
Who says you have to find a room that fits the desks that are available to you? As a small business owner, you’re sure to have a little bit of that DIY spirit in you (I mean, if you’re a Webs user, you created a DIY website, after all). Find the space in your home that you can forfeit to your business, and build a desk that fits it perfectly.
4. Create the walls you lack
If your home lacks a logical room in which to put an office, you can still create a defined space for your work. This is important because keeping work and leisure separate is key not only to the success of your business, but also to the success of your home life. Try a decorative screen, or even a repurposed bi-fold door to create a make-shift office wall.
5. Cleverly hide your office items
It wouldn’t be an article about the home without something from Martha Stewart. The image below shows you how to neatly pack your office-related items away in a lovely chest that may already be a part of your home decor. The ultimate unobtrusive office storage idea.
6. Use the vertical space wisely
If you lack space for drawers and shelving surfaces, think about building up instead of out. Making use of the wall above the area defined by the width of your desk is a great way to stay organized without taking up more real estate than you have to.
7. Disappear your desk
If you have a small home, and you really need to make every square foot multi-task, you might like the idea below from Homedit. Using a floating shelf with a cubby area allows you to keep handy the items you’ll need when you’re working, without dedicating the space solely to your office. Take away the chair, it’s just an entry table!
8. Use color or pattern to define your space
If the option above of using a screen or a door to define your workspace doesn’t fit your home, you can still carve out a space for yourself using color. In the area that houses your desk, paint the wall a contrasting color or pattern that sets the space apart from the rest of the room. This is especially nice for open floor plans.
9. Organize your cords
In addition to clunky office machinery, another thing that can really kill the vibe of your office space is having a whole bunch of unsightly cords and cables lying around. There are endless tips and devices available on the web for cord cutting and cord hiding, like these from Lifehacker.
10. Make a space you want to spend time in
Above all else, the most important thing to take away from this article is to create a space you are happy to be in. People talk a lot about how you spend most of your waking hours at work, and therefore you should be sure to have a job you enjoy. The same principle applies to small business owners.
Chances are, you’ve already created the job you want; now it’s time to create a space you want to be in. Don’t short-change yourself when it comes to your home office! For some design inspiration, I always turn to Apartment Therapy. Check out their collection of articles on home offices for great ideas.