How to Create a Home Office for Under $500

This week’s theme has been all about home offices. Something many of us need right now is a healthy, happy space to work from home in. In this post I’ll show you how to create a home office space for under $500!

Spare bedroom before the home office makeover

We’re lucky to already have a home office, but since the Coronavirus lockdown both me and my husband have been working from home. Usually one of us will work on the kitchen island, which is fine for a day or two, but for a long period of time it just doesn’t work. I created a makeshift temporary home office in our downstairs bedroom / TV room for a while. But eventually we bit the bullet and decided to convert a spare bedroom into a multi-purpose bedroom / home office space, and here’s the result.

Multi-purpose bedroom / home office

Given that we weren’t sure how long we’d need a second home office, we didn’t want to spend a fortune doing it. So I’ll share my 3 top tips on how to create a home office for less than $500.

Tip 1: Recycle What You Already Have

We already had a spare desk stored in our basement from IKEA. It was pretty old and battered up, and the black didn’t really work with the light and airy look I was going for, so I sprayed the legs white. I used Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Semi Gloss Spray Paint in White. I used about 2 cans on these legs to get a nice solid finish over the black. It cost me about $8 to complete this makeover.

Desk legs being sprayed white

Tip 2: Shop on Facebook Marketplace

We decided that a daybed would be the ideal solution to a multi-purpose bedroom / home office, as it takes up less room when folded away, but can open up to a full sized bed when needed. I loved the IKEA Hemnes daybed, but at $599 it was beyond our budget for this particular makeover. So I scoured Facebook Marketplace (you can also use other reseller websites like eBay or Craigslist) for a second-hand one. Second-hand they tend to sell for anywhere from $150-$300 depending on the condition. I managed to find one in great condition with one mattress for just $150! Remember no contact pick-up and wipe down with disinfectant afterwards.

We also managed to get a cane chair for $40. I’ve loved cane chairs for ages, and when I saw this one I couldn’t resist! I have zero upholstery skills, and right now I don’t even have a sewing machine. So this one with off-white cushion appealed to me as I could re-use the seat cushion without added expense of getting it reupholstered.

However after washing the cushion, and painting the chair, the cushion color just didn’t work. So I decided to find someone that could make me a new seat cushion cover. All in, the chair cost $110 – $40 for the chair, $20 for the fabric and $50 to get the chair cushion made. A little more than I wanted to pay, but it turned out so well I think it’s worth it. Stay tuned for a full step by step post on how to makeover your own cane chair in the coming weeks.

Tip 3: Get Your Paint Roller Out

Originally I wanted to do a whitewashed wood feature wall, similar to our master bedroom. But when I priced it up, it was going to cost around $400. So I searched for ideas for cheap feature walls and found ideas that cost nothing more than a bit a tape, paint and time.

You don’t need any artistic skills to do this easy DIY feature wall, you just use the painters tape to map out the trunks and branches. I’d recommend stepping back and looking at it from further away before you commit to painting, so you’re 100% happy with how it’ll look. I’d also recommend doing a few trunks at a time and peeling the tape off, as the tape makes the trunks look like they’ll be a lot thicker than they actually are, so evaluate them before doing more. I’ll be posting a full step by step guide on how to achieve this look in the coming weeks.

If you don’t want a birch tree mural, you could just paint a wall a different color to add some interest. Or try painting bold stripes using a level and painters tape, like this stunning design by LollyJane.com

Grey and white painted feature wall by LollyJane.com

I also decided to change the wood windows and trim for white to give it a more modern and fresh feel. I’ll be talking more about paint transformations in week 3 of the 10 week quarantine DIY home projects.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these three tips for creating a home office for under $500. You really don’t need a huge budget to create a nice room. You need to be savvy and roll your sleeves up! Happy decorating!

Thanks for reading!

Jo @britflipper

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The Best Home Office Desks Under $1000

I’ve scoured the internet for what I think are the best home office desks under $1000 available online now. So what’s stopping you from graduating away from the kitchen table? Or even, ironing board!?

Under $250

The IKEA Finnvard / Linnmon is a versatile and affordable option for under $250 at just $129.99. You can mix and match your choice of table top and legs. The legs come in white or birch options, and the table tops come in multiple different color combinations and sizes. You can even choose a flat or tilted table top which is good for either laptops or drawing.

IKEA LINNMON / FINNVARD Table

The Nova Contemporary Industrial Computer Desk available at Walmart is a sophisticated option for under $250 at just $218.66. It’s clean lines, yet rustic feel are perfect to add a touch of class to any home office.

For something a little more glam, the Kason Desk by Joss & Main at $216.99 is a great affordable option in chrome and weathered grey manufactured wood.

Kason Desk

Under $500

The Mong Credenza desk from Wayfair is a stunning mix of rustic and modern for just over $250 at $259.99. Available in brown, taupe or grey wood.

Mong Credenza desk

The Driftwood and Gold Metal Cristela Desk by World Market is a vintage modern looking desk with gold legs and a driftwood grey finished wood top. It wouldn’t look out of place in a bedroom or living room, if you don’t have the benefit of a separate office space. Available for $399.99.

The Aldwin Home Office Lift Top Desk by Ashley Homestore is an aesthetically pleasing desk and practical all for under $500! At $349.99 the lift top design extends the desk surface to 41.5″ high, giving you the flexibility to sit or stand.

Under $1000

The Camden Writing Desk available at Target is a more refined architectural drawing style desk. With adjustable height from 28-38″, this sturdy desk made of pine solid wood and veneers will surely stand the test of time.

Camden Writing Desk - Distressed Brown  - Treasure Trove - image 1 of 4

The Morris 60″ Desk by Crate & Barrel is a beautiful pinewood desk made from reclaimed pallets. Available at $799 in Ash Grey or Chocolate Brown, it’s a great option for an authentic vintage look.

Morris 60" Chocolate Brown Desk | Decorist

The Printmaker’s 48″ Desk by Restoration Hardware is great for small spaces. Available in two finishes: Espresso Pine and Antiques Pine, this piece is crafted from distressed solid pine. With the RH Membership the desk just makes it into the best desks for under $1000 at $918.

Printmaker's 48" Desk

I hope you enjoyed reading this round up of the best home office desks under $1000. From rustic to modern and everything in between, there’s something here to please everyone. Thanks for reading!

Jo @britflipper

(Prices correct as at 10/5/20.)

5 Tips for Creating an Effective Work From Home Space

During the global pandemic, those of us who are fortunate enough to work from home have been thrust into a new situation that we now call our ‘new normal’. While many of us probably worked from home occasionally, we likely didn’t work from home full-time, while trying to home school kids and concentrate over our partner’s continuous teleconferences. With the ‘new normal’ likely here to stay for the foreseeable future, it’s time to create an effective work from home space with actual furniture! Here are my tips to create an effective space without breaking the budget.

Get the Right Furniture

I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories of people working from their sofas, kitchen islands and even ironing boards! While this may work temporarily, it’s not good for the long term. Slouching, hunching over or laying down to work can play havoc on your body. It’s important to have the correct position when working at a desk. This diagram below from the Mayo Clinic shows the correct position for optimal ergonomics while working at a desk.

Office ergonomics: Your how-to guide - Mayo Clinic
Image courtesy of Mayo Clinic

Noise

Ideally you should position your home office away from sources of noise and distraction. So if your kids are yelling and screaming in the living room all day, or your partner is talking loudly on teleconferences for 7 of the 8 hours, try to find a space away from these noise sources, ideally with a door that you can close.

While blocking out distracting noises, try to invite in welcoming noises that aid concentration, such as birds singing, or the wind gently rustling through the leaves. You can do this by positioning your home office by an open door or window, or better still in a garden room like this one by Backyard Room.

Wooden garden office
Image courtesy of Backyard Room

Light

Having the right amount of natural light is also important in creating an effective home office working environment. It’s also good for your overall health. This is one of the main reasons I enjoy working from home so much. In the office I have very little natural light, and I find it really drags my mood down and make me tired. At home I’ve positioned my desk in a room with plenty of natural light from large windows, which really lifts my mood.

However, you can have too much of a good thing. If your desk either faces a window or has a window behind it, you may find that at certain times of the day you may not be able to see your computer screen. If you can’t position your desk where the light doesn’t impact it, make sure to have blinds or curtains that you can close while the sun is affecting your view.

Image courtesy of Open Sourced Workplace

Organization

Have you ever heard the phrase “A cluttered space makes a cluttered mind?” Having good organization and storage solutions for your home office is not just important to help you find things more easily, but it can also help your mental health. Having a disorganized, cluttered environment can cause poor food choices, less effective thinking and generally poor mental health. So at the very least, clear the clutter off your work area, and ideally invest in a few simple storage solutions. Wall shelves, desk caddies, filing cabinets, or rolling carts can all help to clear up the clutter. Try IKEA for great cheap storage solutions.

Gina Rachelle Design Project Westlawn-DSCF9545.jpg
A tidy office with an affordable storage solution. Image courtesy of Gina Rachelle Design.

Make it inviting

Just because your home office should be practical, doesn’t mean it has to be ugly. Don’t forget to add some accessories or artwork to make it more inviting, and feel more like home. After all it is a ‘home’ office. Here are some of my favorite desk and home office accessories that are practical and also stylish.

  1. Codify Pencil Holder by Anthropologie, $48
  2. UBrands 150ct Wooden Push Pins with Jar available at Target, $5.49
  3. Marble And Gold Metal Maxwell Letter Holder by World Market, $24.99
  4. Lund London Nordic Modular Stacking Boxes Set of 3 available at The Container Store, $27.99 each
  5. Apothecary Black Wood Drawers by Kate & Laurel available at The Home Depot, $36.99
  6. Drona storage box by IKEA, $3.99
  7. Bigso Linen Marten Paper Drawers by The Container Store, $19.99
  8. White Marble Mix & Match Wall Shelves by World Market are available in 2ft or 3ft sizes, shelf brackets sold separately, $39.99-$59.99

I hope that with these tips you can set up an inviting, stylish and effective work from home space. Stay tuned for more posts this week on the theme of the home office.

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Thanks for reading,

Jo @britflipper