A Proper Home Office


Here we share the story of setting up a proper home office at no cost, with things you already have.


We were approached to figure out a way to create a functional work space for a salesman who works from home.  At first, he had set up a good work area in the basement for privacy so he could make calls uninterrupted, as well as store all his work materials, brochures and pamphlets nearby.

But months later, he realized he underestimated how miserable he’d be down there because it was dark, damp and cold.  It was also the general stash for everything in the house that didn’t belong anywhere.

There was a TV room on the main floor of the house that the family was willing to sacrifice to create a better work environment for Dad.   In fact, he was happy to keep the TV nearby to catch up on news and sports scores.

The plan was clear:  let’s move the office upstairs a turn it into an optimal workspace.  Here are the before-and afters of how we did it:


The larger couch can be donated to a family member.

We will reuse this shelving unit for work supplies.

The rest can be moved elsewhere in the house.
Functional and organized, but still not as productive as he would have liked because of its surroundings.

His officemates were very distracting 😉


Spacious, bright and streamlined.

He was ecstatic to finally work with some daylight!  We removed the curtains to let in as much light as possible.

Luckily the room was already a nice color so it didn’t need to be painted.  In the coming weeks, the room would be decorated with photos of the family’s travels, a project they’d wanted to start for a while.

We set up a workspace that has everything he needs right at his fingertips:  computers, phone, printer and basic supplies.  There is a little drawer caddy on his left to keep all that accessible and out of the way.

To maximize space and efficiency, we only kept the sales materials he needed in the office.  The rest stayed stored in the basement.

We kept the loveseat to welcome visitors and have a spot to watch TV.

The loveseat was kept to offer seating when family members come by, as well as for TV watching.

We also kept the exercise bike in the office so he could take quick breaks to clear his head.  Overall, he found he was so much happier and now able to work for longer stretches of time.  His productivity improved…  and he was no longer freezing cold all the time 🙂

Total cost of this transformation:  zero dollars.

These kinds of makeovers are the best!


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Val Lonergan is the founder of ZenShmen.com, where she shares happiness hacks for purposeful people. To get the ZenShmen cheatsheet to jumpstart your joy - 10 easy things you can do right this minute to hack your way to increased happiness - join the free newsletter.
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