Setting up a new home office can be a challenge. But as more people move into freelance roles, op to work from home or have their own side jobs, equipping a home office is something more and more people need to do. After over a decade of working from home and setting up offices in three different homes, here’s what I’ve learned and my recommendations for essential gear. My goal is set up the office with a full suite of computing equipment and essential furnishings for under $1500.
Here’s the gear I would recommend.
There are so many computers to choose from but, at this budget, choices are a limited. I’d favour portability so something like the Acer Swift 1 13.3″ Notebook at $549 is worth a look. While the hard drive capacity is limited to 64GB you can easily hook up an external hard drive or memory stick. The Lenovo IdeaPad S130 costs a little more at $577 but boosts storage to 128GB and adds microSD slot to the USB ports but could tip us slightly over the $1500 budget.
While a laptop is great for travelling, I think a larger display for the office is handy and will boost productivity. At just $248, the Philips 27″ FHD IPS Monitor offers plenty of screen reel estate at ta great price. If space is limited, or you decided to spend a little more on your computer, the Philips 20.7″ LED Monitor at just $98 is a good option as well.
I’m pretty torn about including a printer but I think a decent multifunction is handy for scanning as well as the occasional print job. I’ve had good experiences with HP, Canon and Epson devices in the past.
I’d suggest something like the HP Envy Colour Inkjet MFC Printer for $68, Canon PIXMA HOME Wireless Inkjet MFC Printer at $78, or the Epson Expression Home MFC Printer for $77 will suit as they offer decent printing and wireless support.
But beware – the general rule is that the lower the initial cost, the more you’ll pay for consumables in the long term.
Mouse and keyboard
In the office, a decent mouse and keyboard is handy. The Logitech Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo at $46 will suit the needs of most users. But, I always suggest testing keyboards and mice out before buying. You’ll spend a lot of time suing that mouse and keyboard so making a choice you like is important.
An external hard drive is great for augmenting limited computer storage and for backups. The Seagate 3TB Expansion Desktop Hard Drive at $119 will tick the box for most users.
When it comes to finding a desk, I think it pays to keep things simple. When I set my office up, I went to my local IKEA and picked up a LINNMON and ADILS combination of table top and legs. A 120cm LINNMON table top with a set of ADILS legs is just $65.
With office chairs, you can really spend as much as you like. But we recently needed a new chair at our home office and went for a Chester Chair for $89. It’s comfortable and has both height and tilt adjustment.
This was tricky but I decided that, for my desk, I only needed a small amount of stuff at my fingertips. I have two Otto Landscape 2 Drawer Cabinets on my desk at $25 each which let me keep cables and other bits and pieces tidied away.
As a buns, they’re just the right height to sit my laptop on adjacent to my monitor.
I also have a pair of Otto Document Trays in Gloss White for papers that come in so I have somewhere to stash them before they’re scanned and disposed of. They cost just under $6 each.
With the various bits and pieces you’ll have connected, a decent powerboard with surge protection is a must. I’ve gone for the Belkin 8 Outlet Powerboard with 2 USB ports. I’d suggest attaching it to the bottom of the desk so its more easily reached and you don’t have a nest of cables on the floor. It’s not cheap at almost $70 but it has plenty of outlets and pair of USB ports as well.
A decent set of desktop speakers is super useful. While your computer may have built in sound, desktop speakers will make listening to podcasts, webinars and videoconferences far more pleasant. The Logitech Multimedia Speakers will fit the bill at $64and keep us under the $1500 budget.