* If at all practical, remove any existing furniture and plants from the room or space that you will set up as your home office. If you're converting a closet, remove all clothing and other items from the closet. This will help you start with a blank canvas that you'll fill in with your home office design ideas one step at a time.
* If you need some remodeling done to accommodate your home office set up, the next step will be demolition to remove existing partitions, shelving, etc. that are not part of your new home office design ideas.
* Install any electical, phone or cable outlets, cabinetry, shelving, and/or wall partitions on your plan - ideally while the space is already empty.
* Thoroughly clean and paint, wallpaper, add floor coverings, hang light fixtures, etc. before bringing anything into the new space. Without furniture and equipment to get in your way, this step can be completed much more quickly and easily. However, while you don't want the furniture in the way at this stage of setting up your home office, you'll want to make sure you know exactly where your furniture and equipment will be placed in the room. For assistance, see the Home Office Furniture Plans step in this series.
* Start bringing furniture into your office space. It's best to start with the larger pieces first so you'll still have the maximum amount of floor space to move them around. As you set up your office and bring in furniture, dust and polish it as needed.
* Bring in your home office equipment and place it where it needs to go in the room. As you place each piece, check to see if it needs to be cleaned, oiled, or otherwise serviced, and that all cords are long enough to reach your outlets or power strips.
* Before connecting everything, make sure you're still happy with your home office design ideas, especially the layout of your work area and that no unexpected problems have cropped up – such as a monitor screen receiving too much glare from a nearby window, or your desk area not receiving adequate light. Sit in your desk chair and take in the view.
* Place your wall hangings, artwork, bulletin boards, white boards, chalkboards and other items.
* Bring in smaller items to complete the set up of your office at home, such as lamps, organizers and desktop items. If needed, clean or dust them as you place them in the room.
* Make one last check to be sure you're happy with the layout and that it will serve you well in the days ahead. You home office design ideas may have seemed great, but when you go to set up your office at home you might find they really don't work well for you. A few adjustments now will save you grief later. Your work area needs to function efficiently so you can be more productive. Accessing files and supplies needs to be an easy chore so you'll spend less time doing it and more time working. Once you're satisfied that your home office design ideas are going to work, connect and test all equipment to make sure everything's working properly, that all cords are long enough, and that you haven't overloaded any circuits.
Try to Stay Flexible with Your Home Office Set Up
Once you've set up your office at home, you'll want to monitor how well your home office design ideas are working for you in actual practice. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you settle into your new home office space and get to work:
* What do I like most about how my office at home is set up and laid out? What do I like least?
* Did I overlook some important home office design ideas? Was I not able to put some of those ideas in place when I set up my office at home? If so, can I now make or plan accommodations to correct what's not working out with my home office setup?
* Is my work space quiet enough? Cool enough or warm enough? Too bright or too dark? What needs to be done to make corrections?
* Fill in the blank: "I could be more efficient if I only had __________ when I set up my office at home."
Keep an Open Mind to New Home Office Design Ideas
A good home office work environment means you'll work more efficiently and will be more likely to enjoy working in your home.
Even the best home office design ideas and plans can be improved, and hands-on experience is the best way to learn where improvements are needed and how they should be handled. Will you need to think about adding more space in the future? Make note of any mistakes or incorrect assumptions that you'll want to avoid when the time comes to expand or improve your home office.
Look at it this way, you can learn from this valuable experience now that you know how to set up your office at home.