How to furnish your office on a budget
Whether you’re setting up a new business or moving office and need all new furniture, you’ll want an office space that impresses clients and keeps employees happy but doesn’t cost a fortune.
We have some tips to help you kit out your office on the cheap.
One of the most important things to think about is where to save and where to splurge. Some things are inevitably more expensive, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth the investment. Before you start spending, set an overall budget and then make a list of everything you need in order of importance. Separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves. Plan the layout of your workplace; make sure you know exactly what you need and how it will fit into your space. By prioritising your budget, you can create an office space that suits your current needs and will grow with your business.
Invest in office chairs
If there’s just one piece of office furniture that you’re going to invest in, make it the office chairs. Sitting for long hours can lead to back pain and musculoskeletal problems: one of the most common reasons for workers taking sick days¹. It’s essential to have an office chair that gives the right support and helps staff sit in an ergonomic position rather than exacerbating the problem. Good quality, ergonomic chairs will make the most significant difference to your employees, their health and their comfort.
Consider bench desks
Bench desk systems bring down the overall cost of office desks by sharing framework, creating one large workstation with individual desk spaces. Bench desks also save on floorspace so that you can fit more employees into a smaller amount of space.
In general, although desks may seem the most significant piece of furniture for your office, they are actually somewhere you can look to save on costs. A basic office desk doesn’t need to break the bank; unless you’re looking to buy sit-stand desks, they all offer the same functionality. Weigh up quality with price and choose a desk that fits well within your budget.
Use multi-purpose storage solutions
Storage space is boring to think about but essential to the organisation of your business. There are many different storage solutions, each of which will suit different spaces. If you’re short on floor space, look at wall-mounted cabinets and shelves; shelves in particular offer a very cost-effective solution. If you have a mixture of files, stationery and general office supplies that you need to put away, office storage cabinets that allow you to fit a file crib in the place of one of the shelves will let you store everything in one place instead of you purchasing separate storage and filing cabinets. By thinking about what you will need to store in advance, you can cut down on the amount of storage furniture you need while simultaneously maximising your available storage space!
Buy refurbished hardware
Investing in technology is a must but there are ways to save. Buying refurbished laptops and printers can significantly reduce the costs while you still get hardware that is good as new.
Focus on flexibility
A space that will adapt to multiple ways of working is much more cost effective. In a start-up company, you may find that you need to expand very quickly; be prepared for this change by creating a flexible office space from the start. For example, fixed partitions and individual offices are expensive and take up a lot of space, whereas investing in a layout and furniture that will grow with your needs will give you a lot more flexibility and save you having to spend money on changes.
Don’t neglect the kitchen
Don’t underestimate the importance of the staff kitchen. It may seem like an area that will not directly affect the success of your business, but staff happiness will be vastly improved by having access to a fridge, microwave, toaster, and tea and coffee making facilities. Remember that happy employees are productive employees!
Think about lighting and acoustics
Natural daylight can be a huge boost to employee wellbeing and will also help you save on lighting costs. Think about lighting when choosing an office space but also when positioning desks in your new layout; try to position the most work intensive areas nearest the windows.
High noise levels are one of the biggest complaints that employees have about their workplace. This can be resolved fairly easily and effectively with acoustic screens and panels. While some acoustic solutions are very expensive, desk screens are a relatively cheap solution that will offer protection against noise and also give staff some privacy in their workspace.
Paint the walls
A fresh coat of paint can make a surprising amount of difference to the overall atmosphere and is an inexpensive way to update the look and feel of your office. You can even add pops of colour to brighten up the workspace!
Add plants and get creative with the finishing touches
Plants are a cheap way to decorate and uplift the atmosphere of the office. Furthermore, the influence of the natural environment in the workplace has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood.
Artwork is costly and an unnecessary investment when you’re on a tight budget, but printing your own pictures is cheap to do and you can buy inexpensive frames to display them. Find out if anyone in the office is a keen amateur photographer and would let you display their work. Even large prints and canvases are affordable using online photo printing services.
Buy your furniture from one office furniture supplier
If possible, look at buying all your office furniture from one place. Many furniture companies will be able to offer you much better prices if you’re placing a large order as they save on delivery costs. Ask the company to quote you to get the best prices.
A one-stop-shop supplier will also be able to provide product and design suggestions that you may not have thought of while taking your budget into account, and will often create a plan for you free of charge.
Consider quality and product guarantees
Lastly, think about long-term savings by looking for quality office furniture from companies that offer product guarantees. This may cost you more upfront but, if you can find room in the budget, will be far more cost effective over the lifetime of the business.
¹ The Guardian (2017) UK workers record lowest rate of sick days since records began [online] accessed from: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/09/uk-workers-sick-days-coughs-colds-ons [accessed June 2018]
- Space saving
- Height adjustable
- Durable laminate
- Slim, unobtrusive design
- Flexible partitioning
- Semi sound absorbent
- Space saving
- Durable laminate
- Solid wooden legs
- 8-hour usage
- 18 stone/115 kg capacity
- PCB mechanism
- Airy mesh back
- Synchronous mechanism
- Armrests adjustable in 2 dimensions