How to Make a Bedroom into an Office
Starting a home based business takes a lot of work and requires a lot of hoop jumping in order to get up and running. It is a great idea to setup an office in your home as a set aside area to run your business. When my wife and I started our home business, Design Studio Creations, we chose to convert our spare bedroom into an office.
Advantages of Creating a Home Office
There are two major advantages to creating a home office for your small business. The biggest advantage is tax related. If you only use the office for business use, you can write off the portion of expenses associated with it including utilities, furniture, and improvements. For example, if your office is 10% of the square footage of your home, you can allocate 10% of your utility costs to the business. Also, all of the costs associated with creating your office are tax deductible. There are more deductions available if you use the office as a primary location of meeting with customers. My advice is to check with your tax preparer or the IRS to determine what you can and not cannot deduct. A second advantage of converting a spare bedroom into an office is that you can close that area off to distractions when you need to work. A third advantage is if you are planning to host clients at your home, it is a much more professional way to do it. Having a client come over and sit at the kitchen table is okay, but if you want to come off as more professional, a nicely designed home office is the way to go.
How to Design a Home Office
The biggest thing to consider when designing a home office is what you are going to use the office for. Do you plan to use it as a place to meet with customers? Depending on the feasibility, do you plan to produce your product in it? These are important questions to answer so that you can set up your office in a way that makes the most sense. I would also consider any future needs before you start creating your office. By future needs I mean, do you need to run more outlets, phone lines, etc? Another question to consider is what kind of office equipment you are planning to run in your office. A laser printer is a huge power draw. You may need to upgrade the electrical circuit that powers your office or run a whole new one. I would spend additional time planning exactly how you want your office to look and plan how best to use the space that is available.
Size of the Office
Start out by drawing a rough map of the bedroom that you want to convert into an office. Measure the room and write down the measurements. The reason that this is a good idea, is when you go shopping for a desk and other items, you will know whether or not you have room to fit it all. I would also suggest noting where all of the electrical outlets are and any cable or phone jacks.
Determine the Amount of Office Work Space Needed
The next step is to determine how much work space you will need. It is important to think about what office equipment that you are planning to use and to make sure that you have a place in mind where you can put it. Be sure to include ample work space so that you can comfortably work in your office. If you are planning on hosting customers in your office, you will want to make sure that there is room for a chair or two.
Determine How Much Storage You Will Need
At the manufacturing company that I work for, they made a push to go paperless when I started around six years ago. It seems that each year I end up with more paper in my office than the year before. Having enough room for storage is essential in a home office if you are to be organized. It is a good idea for buying a few file cabinets to keep your business records organized. My advice is to buy used ones because they are some much cheaper than new ones. If you are planning to produce a product out of your office, you will need to have storage for all of the parts or pieces that go into your product.
Tips to Design a Home Office
Design Studio Creations Example
The best tips that I can give you on how to make your bedroom into a home office come from what we did when we started Design Studio Creations. The best tip that I can give you is to take the time and plan ahead so that you do not have to go back and rip things up after you are finished. We regret not ripping out the carpeting and replacing it with a wood floor. Another great tip is if you need a large work area, purchase unfinished bathroom base cabinets. All you have to do is finish the cabinets by painting them or staining them, and purchase a counter top that lies across the top of it. Doing this was one of our best decisions as it gives us plenty of room for a computer, big laser printer, fax machine, and paper cutters. The reason that I picked bathroom cabinets over kitchen is that the base height of the bathroom cabinets is lower than the height of a kitchen cabinet. Another tip is to purchase some kind of shelving system for the closet to greatly boost the amount of available storage. It is also important to make sure that the office is bright enough. We did this by adding several table lamps to our office.
There many different things to consider before you make your bedroom into a home office. Think about your space and storage needs as well as what kind of office equipment and furniture that you will need. Careful planning will help to make the transition easier and more efficient. Having a set aside place to run your home based business out of will help to give your business a more professional feel.