When designing or remodeling a home office, don’t think you have to sacrifice design for function.

Most home office workers spend their days working out of converted bedrooms, garages or corners carved out of kitchens or former dining rooms. Shared spaces work for a while, but when your business gets serious, so should your office. There might come a time when you have to boot out the kids and claim a space of your own.

  • Why not create a dedicated office once you generate enough work and profit? Check with an accountant to see which remodeling expense are deductible before jumping in.
  • Plan your home office to reflect your business needs, function and a little bit of style. If clients come to your location, have a separate entrance if at all possible and be sure to present a professional appearance. Having said that, a little personality works for some professions. Artists certainly can display their work, for example.
  • If your office is all your own, make it the sort of productive and creative environment that supports your work. Once you move out of the garage, you deserve a real bookcase, not a piece of plywood across concrete blocks. If you can’t afford furniture from an office store, pick up easy-to-assemble pieces from your favorite department store. Add a few collectibles, framed prints or fun bookends to make it look more sophisticated and add some style to its function.
  • Can’t afford to remodel a bedroom? Then make the most of the existing closet by putting an inexpensive file cabinet, shelving system or other storage method inside. You can close the door, but use the space for convenient access to files and office supplies.

Finally, have a little fun with the room. As long as you own it and don’t have to share it as a guest or living space, decorate it as you like. If you’re the man of the house who had little input into the rest of the décor, go masculine in your home office. Or maybe you love antiques but they just don’t fit the home’s style. Purchase an old secretary; they’re efficient pieces of furniture for office spaces and much more attractive than modern assembled pieces.