Turning a garage into your dream home office may not sound appealing at first. But there are easy ways to achieve the look you want and the functionality you need. Get ready to join the estimated eight million Americans who already work from home with these tips.
Establish a Budget for the Job
There’s nothing like starting a project and exceeding your budget before you get anything worthwhile accomplished. Before you begin your garage conversion, outline how much you’re willing to spend. Research average costs for the amenities you want—such as a half bath addition or another door—and budget for those.
Plus, depending on what type of business you operate, you may be able to skip higher-cost renovations. For example, removing the garage door and replacing it with a standard entry can be costly. Steps like adding a fresh coat of paint, dropping in a space heater or portable air conditioner, and rearranging your garage storage, however, are relatively cheap.
Sort Out Storage
Moving your home office into the garage means you need to change your preconceptions about the space itself. Instead of wedging your desk between boxes of Christmas and Halloween decorations, invest in storage solutions that make the space feel bigger. If you can go vertical, consider stowing large containers on shelving or even ceiling racks. Put items away behind closed doors so you don’t stress over clutter. Make as much space as you can for your office—and don’t let other objects take over.
Prioritize Your Purpose
Do you plan to see clients in your home office? Would you prefer a single workstation or room to spread out? Are carpeted floors a must, or are you hoping for low-maintenance flooring for high-traffic areas?
As HomeAdvisor points out, it makes sense to contemplate your work style, plans and habits when you start designing your office. List what you hope to achieve in your space and outline the purpose of each area. A workspace for an information technology professional, for example, will be vastly different than that of a therapist’s office. At the same time, a seasonal artist’s workshop has different needs than an administrative professional’s workstation.
Choose Elements for Productivity
One of the best benefits from a home office is better productivity. You can boost your performance with built-in features. For example, natural light can help you buckle down and get more accomplished. According to PR Newswire, employees working near windows reported higher productivity—about a two percent increase—than other workers. Achieving natural light might be as simple as placing your desk next to a window. If your garage lacks windows, however, that could be a costly addition to your budget.
Ergonomics can also influence just how much you get done during working hours. Especially for those who work with computers, proper spinal alignment helps avoid pain and discomfort. Harvard Health Publishing notes that over time, you can incur serious health problems from bad posture. Plus, an uncomfortable chair won’t encourage you to sit down to start on tasks.
Try out different chair and desk combinations to see what works and feels most comfortable for you. Keep in mind that since you’re working out of your home, you don’t have to stick with conventional standards when designing your space. If you work better sitting on the couch, for example, you can incorporate a loveseat into the office. If you prefer the benefits of standing workstations, that’s doable, too.
Incorporate Technology Seamlessly
Instead of running an extension cord along the floor of the room, think about ways to make technology more convenient during your conversion. Depending on the amenities of your existing garage, you might want to run wiring underground. If you have high data demands, a separate phone line and internet connection may be necessary.
Designing a home office is a daunting task. Fortunately, there are simple ways to make sure you get your dream office when the dust settles. Lay your conversion plans out carefully, and soon you’ll be able to join the many Americans already working from home.
It’s no secret that stress affects all of us — and sometimes, it feels impossible to escape. I believe that the last place you should feel overwhelmed is your home. Whether you rent or own, occupy an apartment or a mansion, or live alone, with a roommate or with your family, your home should be your haven.
If it doesn’t feel that way now — or if you think there is room for improvement — I’m here to help!
My mission with Happier Home is to offer you insight into how to turn your home into a sanctuary that you’ll not only be happy to come home to, but will actually make you feel better when you’re there. As I’ve always said, “There’s no place like a Happier Home!