Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, there was already a growing trend both in the United States and elsewhere around the world of people choosing to work from home. As a growing portion of our collective work is done entirely from computers, or other mobile and digital resources, the need to physically show up in an office will continue to decline.
According to a recent report from Business Insider, about 59 percent of people believe their job can be completed entirely at home. And, perhaps even more importantly, an overwhelming majority—about 90 percent—say they would like to work from home either all of the time or some of the time.
When combined with the widespread movements to encourage mental health and promote workers’ self-determination, these trends have all resulted in a world where more people are working from home than ever before.
Does Investing in a Home Office Add Value to Your Home?
In response, homes that have a home office have become considerably more valuable than they were in years past. A recent HomeServe report suggests that investing in a home office can produce an 87 percent return on investment. That means if you invest $10,000 in a home office, you can (on average) expect your home to increase in value by about $18,700.
Of course, there are many things you’ll need to keep in mind when making these sorts of investments. And you might also find yourself looking for ways to improve your home office space without needing to spend a lot of money or apply for a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Luckily, there are many ways you can do so. Here are some of the best budget-friendly ways to improve your home office:
1. Repaint Your Office
One of the easiest improvements you can make to your home office (or any room in your house) is choosing a better paint color. If your office currently has very dark walls, consider painting it with something a little bit brighter. As Home and Gardens suggests, “According to color psychology, beige-greens and yellow-greens are the most stress-reducing shades, so they are ideal for a home working environment.” Painting is surprisingly cheap and something that most people can do themselves.
2. Install Additional Outlets
Outlets are essential for a home office to be functional—if you currently have just one outlet in your office you might want to consider installing more. Though you could just use an extension cord, overwhelming this extension (computer, speakers, TV, lights, etc.) can create electrical problems. Luckily, the average cost of installing a new outlet is only $175, according to Forbes.
3. Maximize Light
Lighting can encourage productivity and also help minimize depression, two things that are essential in a home office environment. Adding a window can be very beneficial, though that might be a little expensive. However, investing in a natural “sun light”, incorporating additional lamps, and using warm yellow light bulbs (instead of bright white) can all improve the way your office looks and feels.
4. Add Built-In Shelves
Installing built-in shelves is one of the easiest ways to distinguish a home office from a traditional bedroom. If you are handy, you can likely install these shelves yourself to help create a better office feel. But even if you need to hire a carpenter to do the job, you can usually do so for about $100 per linear foot.
5. Incorporate an Air Purifier
Anyone who is spending a lot of time in your home office—whether it's you or someone else—is going to want to ensure they are breathing clean air. An air purifier, which can be purchased from a variety of home goods stores for $100-$200 will add immediate value to the office and even improve your health.
6. Incorporate Some Smart Technology
Smart technology is a great way to bring your home office into the 21st century. Installing voice-activated devices, climate controls, automated lighting, remote control shades, and other features are all great ways to help modernize your office without needing to spend too much. In most cases, each of these features can be easily controlled from your smartphone.
7. Make a Statement with Art
Purchasing art and other wall decorations are a great way to give your office a little bit of personality and also create a better working environment. Not all art needs to be expensive—you can often find canvas art for under $30, which can help eliminate the “blank wall” aesthetic that many office workers dread.
8. Reconfigure the Room
Sometimes, the best way to add value to a room is to simply rearrange where the furniture is located. Having a desk facing away from a wall, rather than directly at a wall, can help your office feel quite a bit larger and freer. Additionally, removing any furniture that you don’t use (do you really need that giant couch?) can help the entire space become a bit less claustrophobic.
If you are working from home, you might be spending eight hours per day working in your office—that could very well be more than you spend in any other room. While these home office improvements might seem small at first, they can still really make a difference.
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