Your Home Office: Ideas To Set Up Your Place of Work

by Millie Kay G. on 2009-04-1118

Here are some of our ideas and tips on how to set up your home office.

Earlier on, we shared some general pointers on how to start an online business, where we talked about how to open an eBay store or build a website or blog. This time, I thought to put together a resource list for what we’d need to equip the home office. What kind of equipment do you have in yours?

Start An Internet Business: How To Set Up Your Home Office

Here’s a simple list of typical things you’ll need for a home office:

1. Use a dedicated computer.

Although it’s tempting to use the family PC to run an online business, you’ll run into potential problems if you decide to share the computer with someone who loves to do free downloads or who hogs it to play video games. If you need to go computer shopping, you can let your fingers do the walking by computer shopping at well-known sites like Sony and Dell. By going through the listings for new and refurbished computers, you can gain a general idea of how much to budget for this purpose and the sort of options you’d like.

For instance, if you don’t plan to do a lot of high-end graphics editing or gaming on this computer, then you could live with a less-powerful setup that costs less. Also, you should check to see if the company will throw in cheap or free extras, like a memory upgrade or a webcam. And don’t forget to ask about rebates before you pay for anything!

start an internet business, online business, home office equipmentOffice of the guy who started the internet. Image from

2. Keep your data safe.

If you’re going to spring for a new computer, you’ll also need to figure out how to back up your data on a regular basis. has everything from external hard drives to memory cards at reasonable prices. And once your online business expands so much that you need your own server, you can either buy one here, or decide to lease the space you need at Amazon.

For online backup solutions, I’d suggest either Mozy and Carbonite; I’ve had to make sure to use this kind of service, especially since my area of the country suffers through turbulent weather every so often.

3. Which software do you use?

Of course, you can’t work without software. Some folks may be comfortable with Google Docs, but most standard computer installations also need an office suite that can go a little further. Microsoft Office Small Business works for Windows XP and Vista; Microsoft Office for Mac can help you if you go for an Apple offering; and if you run with Linux or just want an alternative, there’s OpenOffice. To manage any accounting you need to do, you can turn to QuickBooks Pro 2009.

In addition, it’s wise to install an antivirus program. I’ve heard good things about Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2009 and ESET Nod32.

4. Shop for a printer or all-in-one.

If you need to print ad copy or invoices, you’ll need a printer. We have the Epson Workforce 600 Printer, which we like a lot; but if you’re interested in some other models, check out They have a lot of models to choose from, including all-in-one models that can fax, scan, and copy or laser printers for those times when you have lots to print. Since I only send a few faxes a month, an all-in-one model makes more sense for me than a separate machine, but your situation may be different.

You can also look at the ink and toner choices and their suggested costs. To help control your costs for ink, you can consider a model that lets you refill the cartridges at home or through a vendor like Cartridge World.

5. Bring in the furniture!

Could your budding online empire need some extra furniture? If you’ve got a limited shopping budget, you may try out a chain like Target or Ikea to buy a few simple pieces such as a desk and chair. You’ll also need some sort of filing system, a shredder, and a trash can. Also, if you’re keeping any sort of inventory on hand, you’ll want storage options that are pet-proof and can withstand nosy family members. One more thing that can help with organization: for convenience, you can try out a portable, mobile receipt and document scanner or digital filing system such as those offered by Neat Receipts.

6. Get connected with phone equipment options.

Right now, I’m happily using the VOIP service Skype because it’s convenient and a lot of people use it, but there are other options you could also consider, such as Vonage or a landline service. Handsets are readily available, but if you go for a headset, read the reviews first to find a comfortable brand.

7. Stock up on office supplies.

I hate to start a project only to run out of the office supplies I need, so I like to stock up. I don’t have a Costco nearby to buy in bulk, so I typically make a monthly run to an office supply store for the basics.

One place I like to shop is I like to scope out its prices for computer accessories and electronics, and the store often has good prices on shipping.

Well there’s my to do list for the home office. When you’re setting up your internet business, you don’t have to spend thousands to get the office you want. Start with the basics and upgrade as your business expands, and set up a simple budget for your office supplies. And the biggest money saver of all? Don’t forget to check with your tax consultant to see what qualifies for a tax deduction!

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Trevor - Striking Up April 11, 2009 at 9:39 am

Great post. I was searching for something like this.

People can’t be running their work being unorganized and outdated.

J. Wood April 11, 2009 at 2:32 pm

I know mentioned Target and so forth for places to go to find furniture, but I’d highly recommend an ergonomic outlet store like I got a mirra there for a really good price. They have Eames recliners too.

Lisa April 11, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Wow! I thought my office was a mess, but Al Gore’s definitely got me beat. How can he get anything done in there?

Ajay April 11, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Thanks, this post is really great, very helpful for me, I am working from home for long time.

Gavyn April 11, 2009 at 11:14 pm

I don’t think I’d use Carbonite since they just published they lost 7500 customer’s data. I’d use either Mozy or since they seem to be the two most reputable online backup sites.

Ofir Baruch April 12, 2009 at 8:27 am

What about a blackboard or a huge calendar?

BB and T April 13, 2009 at 6:22 am

I want a very simple desk. I want it to have a very large top and only my keyboard and monitor on it. Nothing else. No papers, no printer, etc.

Mikael Rieck April 13, 2009 at 10:11 am

The office chair is definitely important if you are planning to build an online empire where you will be spending a lot of time in front of the computer. Just like having a good bed for sleeping (you’re sleeping 1/3 of your life away) you will need a chair that will support your body for the many hours you’re going to spend sitting down typing. I know a lot of people cuts costs on the chair but it is so not worth it.

Goran Web Design April 13, 2009 at 11:16 pm

I like the pictured office. Having so many screens surrounding you is just crazy, but the more workspce you have in the form of multiple screens, the more efficient your processes become, that’s a fact! On the issue of printers, I would suggest a cheap laser printer if you are going to do a fair amount of printing, as the replacing of inkjet cartridges can cost almost as much as your new all in machine. They are expensive and don’t go very far, be warned!

Meaghan April 14, 2009 at 7:51 am

All great tips…thanks for sharing! It is so important to designate an area specifically for work when you plan on working for home.

Monevator April 18, 2009 at 3:53 am

You seem to have forgotten “create a system of in-trays like in your old office, put slightly important time sensitive stuff at the bottom, then cover it with rubbish and forget to get back to any of them”.

It took me 2-3 years to stop doing that. 🙂

One danger of a dedicated home office is it can stop you doing thins fast, and now, and such speed is a huge advantage of a self-run operation.

If you’re working in the family dining room, you HAVE to clear that paperwork.

Roll Off Chicago August 25, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Very helpful post. Been working at home for years, and only in the past few years has the chaos lessened.

The Office Guide September 2, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Ink refills are a good option but remanufactured and compatible cartridges are easier and probably a quarter of the cost of a new OEM cartride. I think staples offers a good amount of compatible cartridges that they manufacture. They’ll still charge you a bundle for them but they can be a quick fix if you’re in a jam.

etronixmart October 19, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Good idea. I am now running a website, and now my house had became a warehouse of pet supplies. What is worse, i often cannot find files I need.

My suggestion is that you separate your living house and your home office. That will make your lift more manageable. This is what my wife has told me.

Sarah D October 28, 2009 at 1:49 am

Great post, was very helpful. I’ve been working from home for years and loving every minute.

I get to spend more time with my kids =]

Office Design November 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Really good tips here! And wow Al’s office is a mess. A few thoughts…I definitely agree on separating the office space from the rest of the living quarters as privacy is a must to get anything done. I would add that as crazy as Al may appear with all those screens, using dual monitors does wonders in speeding up your work flow and increasing productivity. Also i think most people can do without fax machines these days as there are several websites that let you send and receive faxes online.

Sue Goretti January 24, 2010 at 3:50 am

This is a great article, I use some of these ideas for home office setup for my clients, but find this also very useful. Tnx

Sergio M February 2, 2010 at 10:27 am

I still prefer my Chicago office over my home office. Too many distractions!

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