The kids are going back to school shortly, and soon there will be lists of school supplies and the aisles of local stores will fill up with notebooks, pencils, binders, and ruled paper. After decades of living through the back-to-school excitement (or dread), I am still conditioned this time of year to go out and buy office supplies and notebooks. As a small business owner, I’m still doing homework. Except now it’s home work. I work out of my home office, and having my workspace feel inspiring and fresh is critical to feeling motivated to work, rather than stepping foot in a cluttered, dim space that’s oozing stress. A happy home office doesn’t cost a ton to build, and there are quite a few DIY and affordable solutions that won’t break the bank!
DIY standing desk
This project works best in a recessed area with three sides that can support the desk. A recessed area with two sides also can work by adding a table leg on the third side to support the desk.
- Particle board or plywood
- Shelf support bracket (optional)
1. Measure the distance between walls to determine how wide your desk will be, and then measure the depth of the area and decide how deep you want the desk to be. Once you have your measurements, you can cut your particle board or Plywood to the size of your desk.
2. Now, create the platform for the desk to sit on. Measure and cut the 1x3s to fit the walls, then install them with screws (making sure to hit studs), ensuring that they are all level and at the height you desire the desk to be.
3. Once the 1×3 platforms are attached to the walls, you can slide the desk into the recess on top of them. From the top, screw the desktop down onto the 1×3 platforms around the edges of the desk.
4. If you need a support bracket to support an extra-wide desk, install that now. You may need to screw in an extra piece of 1×3 extending vertically downward to create a level backing for the bracket to sit against. If you prefer, you can install a leg to support the middle of the desk instead, or create your own support.
DIY hanging shelf
- Screw hooks and anchors
- Wood planks (I used Ekby Tryggve shelves from IKEA)
1. Drill holes in the shelves in their four corners, about an inch in from the sides.
2. Decide how far apart you want your shelves to hang. Cut a length of rope long enough to go from the top of the shelves and back to the bottom, plus a couple feet.
3. Tie a knot at one end of the rope and push the other end through a corner hole on the first plank. Tie the next knot at the distance apart you decided to make your shelves and then push the end of the rope through the next shelf’s corresponding corner hole.
4. Repeat with each shelf. When you reach the top shelf, create a looped knot at the top, forming a right triangle so the shelves hang level from the screw hook you’ll be hanging the shelves from.
5. Now, take the rope down through the back holes in the shelves, tying knots at equal distances as the first set of knots so the shelves hang level. When you get back to the bottom knot, cut off the excess rope. Repeat with the second side.
6. Measure the distance between the two rope sides to determine how far apart you’ll place your hooks. Decide how high you want the shelves to hang, then install your screw hooks. You might want to put anchors in, depending on what kind of walls you have and how heavy you predict the items on your shelf will be.
7. Once the screw hooks are in, you can hang the shelf!
Tips for creating your perfect home office space
- Make sure your space reflects you, your business, and your brand. If you don’t run a business out of your home office and it’s just for personal use, still try to create a space that reflects you and inspires you to do work.
- Visit thrift stores to find cheap furniture, shelves, and file cabinets.
- Have enough storage so that you are organized and not cluttered.
- If you’ll be meeting with clients in your home office, make sure there is somewhere comfortable to have them sit while you have your meeting.
- Find spaces for functional items like a printer, scanner, and any other items you’ll need frequently.
- Take your time building out your office. Especially if you plan on thrifting or Craigslisting items, it might take a while to score the perfect items for your space.
- Place artwork on the walls that inspires, excites, and soothes.