IDEAS for Small Home Business
Tell me if this sounds familiar: your family’s living space needs have swelled into every square foot of your 2-bedroom house, edging your home office into your drafty attic or dungeon-like basement – spaces that suit a vampire just fine, but aren’t ideal for mere mortals.
It’s a sacrifice you gladly make as an entrepreneur. But dark, cramped, and unappealing spaces could actually be doing harm to your business, not to mention your psyche.
Tech startups are famous for investing heavily in swanky office spaces for their employees. While it might feel like money-burning, there’s plenty of research to support that thoughtfully designed spaces can increase productivity and happiness. And happy workers do good work – the ROI is obvious.
Investing in yourself, via a space that inspires you, is an investment in your business. Here are some home office ideas for every budget:
DIY vs Designer
Should you do the work yourself, or hire someone to do it? Weigh the options:
- Are you handy and creative, or will your novice mistakes end up costing more in the long run?
- Do you have the time to spare in your busy schedule?
- Can your budget make room for the cost of hiring a professional?
- Is it a basic re-design (cosmetic finishes, rearranging furniture) or a major overhaul involving contractors?
For more involved or complicated projects, Interior Designers are the space experts, and can actually save you money by leveraging labour contacts and industry discounts on materials. Search for professionals in your area using Houzz.
Find pros via Houzz
Otherwise, there are plenty of cost-effective DIY ideas that don’t require a ton of skill. Pinterest and YouTube are replete with step-by-step tutorials and ideas for home office design.
Collect your home office inspiration in a Pinterest Board
Plan the Space
Location, Location, Location
Choose a room in your home that can accommodate every aspect of your business, allowing all tech, supplies, and equipment to be close at hand.
Professional designers work with minimum dimensions of 60″ (150cm) by 84″ (210cm) when designing a workspace. Your desired location may not meet these minimums, but it’s important that you consider how you’ll move in the space: is there enough space to slide out the chair? Can you comfortably complete your daily tasks?
If you’re a maker, and your home office is also your production space, you may need even more room. Consider alternate spaces in and around the home: heated garages, finished basements, hobby sheds, coach houses. Take over the guest bedroom, and add a murphy bed or pull-out couch to save room and make it a multi-functional space.
Tiny living spaces like condos can also accommodate a dedicated home office. Think closets, multi-purpose rooms, or clever fold-away furniture.
When determining placement in the home, ask if you’ll be using the space for meetings, or greeting customers. Choose an area on the main floor, close to the entrance.
Lastly, eliminate distractions. The kitchen is a typical hub of activity and can be convenient for parents who work from home, but can also distract. Conversely the workspace can distract from family time once you’ve “clocked out”. Carve out a dedicated space to provide distinction between life and work.
Designing the Layout
An interior designer can work with you to establish a layout that meets your needs. If you’re going the DIY route, there are plenty of online tools and apps that can help plan the space:You may want to consider designated spaces for different tasks – separate areas for thinking, meeting, working, order packing, production – to help with focus and avoid clutter.
If Feng Shui – the ancient Chinese system that examines how energy connects people with space – is important to you, use its guiding principles to help choose a location, design the space, and arrange the objects. The philosophy says that proper arrangement of a space can affect wealth, success, and happiness.
Before pulling out the rollers and tackling the cosmetic aspects, spend time on your tech setup.