Build a Home Office on a Budget

Building a home office is easier than you think. Here’s how one couple did it themselves.

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The construction of my home office wasn't expensive. My husband and I stripped the old wallpaper, primed the wood trim and did all the painting. The pine bookcases, mine since childhood, had languished in our basement for years, but my husband sanded and painted them and they look perfect in my office.

I hung a pair of Roman shades that had been in my parents' house-a good reminder that if you get custom window treatments, you should choose a neutral color because windows often are standard sizes and you may be able to use those treatments again if you move.

The furniture-a pine trestle table, a rolling chair and a small drop-leaf desk-was all things we already owned. Because the drop-leaf desk is small, I cleaned out the drawers and use it to store paper, pens, envelopes and other office supplies. I bought an inexpensive white-framed bulletin board and moved in a lamp from the bedroom for my desk.

Since we didn't have to buy furniture, window treatments or office equipment for the room and saved money by doing the painting and other labor ourselves, I decided to splurge on a high-quality Tibetan wool carpet. Even that, though, we purchased online from the manufacturer in a closeout sale for less than 25 percent of the manufacturer's suggested retail price. The result is a room that, aside from the rug, cost less than $200 to turn into an attractive, functional office.

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