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Need a Better WFH (Work From Home) Setup? Here are 9 Budget Office Combos That’ll Do The Trick (And Can Transition Back Quickly)

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home of noah riley | photo by david tsay for styled: secrets for arranging rooms, from tabletops to bookshelves

As I sit at my “desk” writing this post, I am so unbelievably grateful to A. still be working and B. have a place I can sit and comfortably work (my dining banquette). But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss my real desk and more importantly my cushioned chair. I am sure some of you can relate. Going from working in an office to suddenly working from home comes with some potential challenges. How do I stay productive? Where and how do I set up a home office to keep me sane?? These are daunting questions so I interview Arlyn (EHD alum if you are new here) who worked from home for two years and wrote a post about her awesome and actionable insight. But today, we’re here to talk home offices.

Now I want to be clear that a dining table is a perfectly fine place to work (she says to herself). But for those of you who are wanting to create a small corner in your home, a place to work away from the distractions (maybe kids? roommates? a lover? O la la..) Julie has put together seven AFFORDABLE office setups to help bring back a tiny bit of normalcy to your work life. And even if you don’t have the space for an entire home office (trust me, I get it) adding a piece of art, a plant, candle, or any other accessory to your work space has serious positive effects.

So for today’s budget rooms (yes, budget rooms are back people!) we decided to include a small to standard-sized desk, a chair, a table lamp, and a few accessories. I don’t have the stats but I know that it’s 100% true for all of us that a pretty space equals more productivity and creativity (which if you come back later today you will see for yourself:)). So let’s enjoy Julie’s office design genius, starting with…

Chair | Chair Cushion | Desk | Table Lamp | Basket | Candle | Tray | Art

Warm, neutral, textural and the classic Scandinavian color palette. Yes, please. I know this is only the first combo but I think it’s my personal favorite. I love the deep but happy blue color of the desk that grounds the rest of the neutral tones. It looks like the calm hug we all likely need.

Hot Tip

Remember you can always add a cute cushion to a non-cushioned chair for extra comfort.

Chair | Desk | Table Lamp | Art | Shelf | Eyeglass Holder | Calendar Pad | Pen

Cool is exactly how you will feel in this little setup. And not only will you feel cool but you also feel smart because this little desk has an outlet cubby. Yep, cord management has never been easier. Cool, right? 🙂

Chair | Desk | Table Lamp | Art | Clock | Stapler | Journal | Pens

This little joyful combo is pretty genius. Not only is it an instant jolt of happiness to the eye with its happy pastel accents, but that desk is a true dream for those having more than one “work from home” person in the house. Also, it’s great for homes with more than one kid doing school work (two sides). Lastly, can be conveniently tucked away when the work or school day is over (note the adjustable leaves). Told you it was a dream.

Chair | Cushion | File Holder | Desk | Table Lamp | Art | Frame | Notepad | Pens | Planter | Tray

Since we’ve been in a very “English Country” mindset lately, Julie thought to bring the feeling of the simple life to your work life. This desk is also a great adjustable option and the colors of the art are perfectly reflected in the other accent pieces. And how freaking cute is that faux lantern?!

Chair | Desk | Table Lamp | Calendar | Scissors | Basket | Clips

Would this roundup be complete without a little glam? Nope. Now, a corner desk is a great option for creating that perfect little nook and this one is super cute. It’s simple but has that copper finish for the right amount of sparkle. Also, Emily actually bought that desk chair for one of her upcoming projects. Stay tuned for that:)

Chair | Desk | Table Lamp | Memo Board | Pen Cup | Notepad | Pens | Globe | Clock

This is another one that tugs at my design heartstrings. Mainly I just love that chair (it would also be a great accent chair). But I also love that it feels sophisticated without looking stuffy.

Chair |Cushion | Desk | Table Lamp | Art | Scissors | Notepad | Shelf

Let us end with the sweetest office setup of all…The Whimsical Hygge. In case you are wondering how to pronounce Hyggee here is a very short video. I figured we all might as well officially learn it now that we have the time. Maybe someday I will look at that word and pronounce it properly in my hea. But back to the office, I have nothing more to say aside from the fact it is a workspace that will undoubtedly make you feel inspired. Also, I really have a thing for lamps because that little $12 cutie is calling my name. Can one be a collector of table lamps in a 363 sq ft apartment?? No? Ok, ok you’re right, you’re right.

Before we leave, we know that some of you are going to need a more classic style office chair. Sure they aren’t as pretty as the ones you just saw and won’t be a good accent chair for after we all head back into our real offices. But comfort is important and these come HIGHLY rated (by thousands of people) and are still very affordable. We think this one is a good affordable classic leather office chair, this one looks like a good mesh back option and this one is a pretty cute blue fabric one that helps with your posture.

UPDATE: Julie found this great (and highly rated) Ergonomic chair that is affordable and super pretty.

Well, that’s it from me (but come back later for the return of our afternoon snacks). We hope that you are happy with these budget combos and let us know in the comments if you have any home office products you love. Also, yay for the return of the budget rooms, right?! We are just as happy as you are:)

Love you, mean it.

Fin Mark

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Kendall

These are amazing even without the added element of “needing” to work from home!

Hope everyone is healthy and happy over there and thank you for continuing to put out content that allows us to escape even for a few moments.

Kendall

Thank you so much Kendall!

Reva

Hi! Was so excited to see this post… Would be even more excited if ergonomics were considered at all. I’ve been loving Emily’s kick of prioritizing function for family spaces and I think it would be fantastic to apply this functional thinking to a home office. It’s hard to find anything out there on designing a stylish AND ergonomic home office. Any ideas on good resources?

Sarah

There was a recent post on door 16 about working from home. The chair she mentions is not cheap. But there might be advice in the comments.

Lori

Seconded. I desperately, desperately need a desk chair that doesn’t aggravate my back, and I don’t have the budget to buy anything over $250 or so. Does such a thing even exist?!!

Rusty

I worked at WorkSafe, the Aussie Govt place that enforces workplace safety, for a few years and one of my training team was previously an Ergonomist! I learned heaps coz I have a tricky back.
The seat should be adjustable – the seat should NOT tilt down at the front, but up a little at the front.
The back should be adjustable and NOT be down at the bottom, touching the seat, but rather, be up so the thicker part hits the small of your back.
There are great, simple sites that explain this.
Also, the top of your computer screen should be at eyebrow level, believe it or not!
There are affordable versions within your price bracket in Australia and given that furniture is heaps cheaper in the USA, you should find something that does that in your price range.
Good luck. 🙂

Ashleigh

Love some australian suggestions if you have them Rusty! I’m in Brisbane and wanting to upgrade my chair.

Rusty

Officeworks actually has the best quailty range at affordable prices. In fact my chair is from there and, man!, I’ve spent a lotta hours in that chair writing flat out.
I also recommend getting one with wheels and using an old flat rug underneath to ‘trolley’ on. It saves your back.
Forget Ikea and Fantastic Furniture. They’re not up to it. Amart has roughly the same as Officeworks only much less range.
Hopes this helps. Mmwah!

-

Ditto on a good ergo desk chair. Budget friendly, not too ugly sources needed.

Intrigued by the stretchy, top and bottom slipcovers (think they are a Japanese thing?) you see on ads on Pinterest. Although, any second-hand desk chair I’ve ever tried out has been dumped because of weird tilting issues or broken hardware.

Daria

Man I love you guys. These are gorgeous. I have a messed-up back, and, personally, the best thing for me is a hard chair without cushion – thank you for including so many pretty options.

Can’t tell you what a light you guys are for me. Started an amazing job 2 months ago after a year of searching, and just got laid off on Friday. The generosity of ideas and care coming from the EHD team have been so uplifting right now. Thank you so much.

PS if you’re in the mood to do a post on ideas for breathing new life into what we already own, or veryyyy affordable suggestions or DIYs, I’d be thrilled to see it.

Johanna

My husband has been working from home for a week and he is driving me nuts. Two huge screens on my beautiful dining room table, conference calls at all hours and no sense of when the workday ends and “home” starts.
As of today we are removing a huge closet to make space for his new home office so this post was very timely!

Oh wonderful! I hope by creating a definitive space for him to work it will help to also define the workday hours. xx

Roberta Davis

I ordered 2 of the eyeglass holders! Also- Herman Miller is having a sale this week and they have some awfully good office chairs, among other things! Thanks for this post- there are so many things people can do to make their space great. I love that $12 lamp, too. It’s small, right? It will fit!

I am about to order one as well! And I don’t even have glasses at the moment. haha

Roberta Davis

They are expensive, but the corporate furniture manufacturers have the best and most ergonomic chairs.

Check out Herman Miller, Steelcase, Allsteel. Herman Miller is having a sale right now. There are a few that are less expensive (because they are less configurable for comfort).

Jenn

Slowly putting together my home office and love everything you’ve put together. You’ve made it hard to pick a favorite! Thank you for the inspiration

Thanks Jenn! We hope you can make your home office dreams come true. xx

Janine

Yay! Budget rooms are back! Love this series so much. Even the tiniest rays of sunshine are appreciated these days.

We love to bring those rays to you! More coming soon xx

Tracy

Really enjoyed this quick design fix for my morning. It felt like old-school blog in a great way!

Thanks Tracy, I hope you have a beautiful day xx

Rachael

I really appreciate this post, mostly for the inspiration. And I am really looking forward to budget rooms. Might I suggest the ultimate budget-friendly situation: a deep shelf attached to the wall with brackets, similar to the photo at the beginning of the post, and DIY instructions.

Rachael, I completely agree! That is a great solution, we just wanted to provide options that anyone could achieve without the use of power tools. 🙂

Amy

This is great. Now how do we nice-ify the dark corner of the basement where we are life-streaming our gym studio workouts?

Sarah

Seconded! I have set up a bike trainer in my office. Looks pretty disgusting.

Samantha

Can you paint? I painted my (previously!) dingy laundry room bumble gum pink and it is now one of my favorite spots in the house. If the ceiling is open, get some clamp lights (from ikea or elsewhere) and clamp them to the crossbeams. helps a lot with brightening up the space and very inexpensive.

Jessica

They’re still not cheap, but if you want to pay less for a truly ergonomic chair you can get them refurbished: https://seatingmind.com/ (a friend is happy with the one he ordered)

Andrea

Can you please do a round up of best wall mounted bookshelf systems? I’m talking about bracket style shelving for home offices / libraries / conventional office spaces. Thank you!

OOOH, I’ll pass this along to the editorial team. I know that our very own Caitlin has some like that in her living room that she loves and installed all on her own!

I second this!! Yes, please! And thank you team for all of the great content!

clarissa

What a great post. Would love to see another with desks that are larger for those of us who tend to need more space.

Clarissa, what size desk are you looking for? I am more than happy to find one that might fit your needs!

Sherry

So I’ve been lucky enough to WFH for 3 years and I use the ghost chair with arms as my desk chair. I supplement it with a small 13×9” pillow for my back and it works great!

I love my little office and I think this post is great.

That is so smart! Thank you for sharing xx

Mindy

Any ideas on how to integrate or hide a desktop computer tower? Prefer not having to convert to a laptop, but that big black rectangular tower is giving me a design dilemma!

I wonder if you could get a cabinet to sit under or next to your desk that either already has a hole for wires or if you have a drill to make holes. Hope that helps Mindy!!!

Jacqui

Yay budget rooms!!! Thank you!!

Wow, this was a great post! Although I’ve been a reader for years, this is my first time ever posting a comment. Just wanted to say thanks for the thoughtful, relevant content.

Thank you so much, that means the world to us! xx

LA

Serta and La-Z-Boy have some fantastic ergonomic office chairs on Amazon! More affordable than Herman Miller, but just as effective IMO

Laura

My kindergartener is using a kid’s stepstool as a chair and an ottoman as a desk! My 2nd grader is using the laundry hamper as her desk. Hard to homeschool 3 kids in a 600sqft apt with 2 adults WFH as well!

Kat

I would read an interview with you about how you are managing that in a HEARTBEAT!

Mora Suarez Morales

Would live to see how would you store the at home printer.. never had one before the virus hit and now have to get one

Avid printer user here!! I got this one from HP — https://rstyle.me/+1hHxBOoF3TSRq5w0YezISw — because it’s pretty compact and light. I break it out when I need it and then store it in the bottom of a credenza in my dining room (along with paper!) when I’m not using it. Highly recommended!

The desk looks so beautiful and organized!

Some very lovely combos. My favourites are the warm scandi (I love this blue desk) and the organic clam (this olive chair looks fab, plus I cannot not love a gold accent). Also, I love the rainbow sorted bookshelf on the cover photo.

Have a good day, stay safe.

Renaud
http://blogbyrenaud.wordpress.com/

A

This is THE BEST and I have just made some mix and match purchases from this round up for my own (new) home office nook! My husband has an office in our house but I’m a teacher and haven’t “worked from home” in a traditional sense until… now. We are both on Zoom all day and can’t be in the same space because of the noice. I CAN’T WAIT for that adorable little IKEA lamp that looks like a gas lamp to arrive–I love nostalgic special items like that <3

Thanks for being a beacon of normalcy and light in weird times! Love your work, especially when it's in my budget 🙂

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