DIY: Setting up a Home Office

According to the 2014 Cost vs. Value Report fitting your house with a home office offers a return of investment of around 48%. While this percentage may pale in comparison to adding a deck (87%) or converting an attic into a bedroom (85%) there are a few reasons a home office could be even more lucrative. When you take into consideration a home office may give you the chance to telecommute to save gas money and wear on a vehicle or could be written off as a business expense altogether the project becomes more enticing. For some people just having an area to surf the Internet or read in piece is a priceless addition so here are the steps to build your own home office.

Find Space

The biggest obstacle causing many people to miss out on having their own home office isn't money or DIY skills, it's the lack of adequate space. The thing you'll need to do way before setting up a WiFi password or putting a lava lamp on your desk is to set up adequate space to build your own home office. An unfinished basement works perfect and a spacious attic is very peaceful but in some instances you'll have to think outside the box like converting a closet into a work space or having an office under the stairs.

Get the Room to Bare Bones (If Possible)

The easiest way to convert any room into an efficient office space is to get the room down to the studs. When the sheetrock is removed you'll be able to run more outlets in your home office, add calming effects like led lights, wall lights, and soundproof the room for maximum privacy.

Electricity & Lighting

By installing multiple outlets in your home office you'll avoid unsightly cords and wires that look tacky and are trip hazards. The extra plug-ins also allow for more lighting in the room although changing the lighting is also a good idea before you board the room back up. Create a lighting plan with led lights and bulbs on the ceiling and different levels of the wall for a calming effect. In addition a dimmer switch might be useful for taking an office break while CFL lightbulbs and possibly a motion detector for when you're out of the room can cut down on added utility bills.

Select an Office Flooring

One of the big keys in the success of a home office is distinguishing it from the rest of the house and catering it to your personality. A plush carpet in the room might make you feel to much at home to really buckle down and get to work. Patterned designed laminate flooring makes the room its own and allows your office chair to move around smoothly. Hardwood or engineered wood makes the office look elegant in case you entertain clients.

Paint Neutral Colors / Design with Intent

An article in Forbes stresses the importance of painting the walls the correct colors to maximize productivity in your home office. For instance red stimulates the appetite and heart rate whereas blue calms the nervous system. Depending on what your line of work is, either color could be a good choice because a person in sales will want to be excited and aggressive whereas a writer will want to remain calm and deep in thought. Likewise you'll want a color separate from ones in your home to create a psychological 'new place' while also decorating the walls with peaceful, meditative art or lighting.

Optimize Shelving

The last thing you'll need to build in your home office is an adequate shelving system that optimizes your space. You want to avoid clutter in the room with a huge book shelf while at the same time removing congestion on your desk and work space. Depending on the space of your home office either go as vertical as possible with shelving or maximize area close to the ceiling so that you can pace and take breaks in the room.

One final thing to virtually build in your office is a set of ground rules. If it's a dedicated work space tell the kids and spouse that and limit their access. Also set hours just as you would if you were in an office high-rise. Finally, make an effort to enjoy working from home because even though it can be stressful it sure beats a 45-minute commute in ice-slicked roads with the headlights of an 18-wheeler clogging up your rear-view mirror.