The need for a home office has never been more prevalent. Designing and building a home office can be a rewarding task for any homeowner. However, there may be more involved than you first think.
The costs of building a home office can quickly rise. With the average build costing in the range of $20,000 to $30,000, the variables and your ability to plan for the costs will have a massive impact on your overall total.
This guide will attempt to explain the costs of all of the variables you may encounter as well as provide you with ideas and inspiration for your very own home office.
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Several things go into determining your costs when designing a home office. One of the most significant aspects is the size or square footage of the space. Will you be dedicating an entire room for the project, or just a portion of a larger room?
The amount of work needed to create the space will also be determined by what is already there and what, if any, upgrades to existing portions need to be done. Building a new wall to section off a larger room, or upgrading the electrical wiring to accommodate grounded plugs, for example, may need to be factored into your budget.
If on the other hand, you already have space and just need to transform it into a home office with furniture and storage, then you will be able to save a lot more money.
Construction of a home office may require permits, depending on your location and the city or county laws. It is advised to hire a contractor for any building that may need to be done. You should always get three to five bids and ensure their bids cover any extra requirements such as permits.
Other costs to consider for your budget will be things like:
- Cabinets and Storage
- Color and Decorations
Depending on what you decide to do with the space will go a long way in determining your final budget. Office furniture may be just a desk, and a computer or it may include a sofa, recliner, counters, and cabinets as well.
If you repaint existing walls, you can save money as well. There are a lot of options for making the space you have into a home office and can be done with style and color for a very low cost. If you are not building the space and are instead transforming an existing space, you can spend between $400 and $3000.
On the other hand, if you are building a new space that will require permits and contractors you can expect to fall in the $10,000 to $30,000 range or higher.
Because of the different variables that go into creating a home office, you first need to establish if you will be able to use an existing room or if you need to build an addition or an add-on. One popular option is to convert a garage into a home office.
Once you have established where your home office will be located within your home, it is time to plan and budget for the features.
If you are converting an existing space, you need to examine the drywall. If, however, you are converting a garage or attic, there may not be any drywall to inspect. Drywall will wear out over years of neglect; especially if it is left unpainted.
You should ensure that your space has adequate insulation between the studs and the drywall. A room conversion will require insulation before drywall installation.
Hiring a contractor to install the insulation and drywall for you is usually the safest and quickest method of having the room finished. You can have the walls built and the insulation installed for about $1500 per wall.
B. Electrical Upgrades
Depending on the age of your home or the location you choose to use as your home office, you may need to upgrade the electrical wiring. Some older home still use two-wire cables that don’t have the ground wire.
This is unsafe for modern electronics and should be updated to the three-wire cabling. This will help prevent costly damage to your computers and televisions or other electronics in your home office.
Rewiring your home office should be done by professionals. Serious injury or death can occur because of the amount of voltage in home electrical systems. You can have a single room rewired for about $1400 depending on your location.
You may be able to save a little bit of money by installing the outlets yourself. However, this will usually be included in the electrician’s bid and is generally left to the professional to handle.
A home office should be inviting and comfortable. Choosing the right flooring will go a long way to helping that comfort.
You have a wide range of options to choose from, carpet, light, medium or hardwood or even tile and laminate.
Your costs will depend on the materials you use and the square footage they need to cover. On average, carpet installation with padding and tack strips will cost you in the range of about $2 to $5 per square foot, depending on what type and style of carpet you choose.
Likewise, wood flooring will run in a similar range depending on the type of wood flooring you pick. Hardwood flooring will cost you, on average, about $3 to $18 per square foot. See our hardwood flooring calculator and carpeting calculator.
Another popular option is laminate. It is less expensive than hardwood flooring and will give the same feel and texture, unlike carpeting. Laminate flooring installation will cost you between $3 and $10 per square foot, depending on the type and style of the laminate.
Most home improvement shops will sell laminate in bulk, and if you can install it yourself, you can save a lot more money.
Lighting is a crucial part of your home office design. Natural lighting can be used with large windows or skylights which will set you back between $1000 and $2500 each.
The use of overhead lighting and lamps will most likely be your largest lighting investment though, and you can pick up lamps to match your décor at virtually any home goods supply store. Depending on the style and size you can get lamps for between $50 and $300 for every corner of your room.
Ceiling lights will be the most used, and you can select from track lighting to illuminate art and decorations throughout the space or ceiling fans with light kits to add light with air flow. These will cost in the neighborhood of $200 to $800 depending on the size and style you need to match your space and look.
E. Cabinets and Storage
No home office would be complete without cabinets and storage. You will need to store and display files, notebooks, record keeping paraphernalia as well as books, music, and supplies.
Whatever you use the home office for, you will need somewhere to store the equipment and materials you will use.
File cabinets can be purchased just about anywhere office supplies are sold, and you can get small two-drawer ones or larger five-drawer cabinets. You can even purchase a few to create a small wall of file cabinets for those paperwork heavy offices.
File cabinets also come in a wide variety of styles to choose from. You can get metal ones or wooden ones and even some made from fiberboard and canvas. Whatever your decoration and style demand.
Another option is actual shelving such as bookshelves and built-in wall shelving. These are useful for storing and displaying heavier items such as books and art pieces. You can have shelves custom made by a contractor or purchase ready-to-assemble pieces.
Once you have decided how much of the space to dictate to storage and shelving you will have a better idea of how much material or cabinets you will need to purchase. On average you can have shelves custom made for about $2,000 to $4,000.
Now that you have the space and the features planned out, it is time to decide on the options you will have in the room. Everything from your furniture and equipment to the colors, styles, and appliances.
A home office serves a purpose. It is designed to give you a place to work in whatever field you work in without having to leave the comforts of your home. You should budget to allow these home comforts to invade your home office.
Desk chairs and couches are common furniture fixtures in a home office. Lounge chairs for guests to sit should be considered as well.
You will also need a desk to hold your other options like a computer, as well. Desks come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and styles and you are sure to find one that matches your personality and room style.
Phones and phone lines will need to be installed and can easily be contracted through your phone service provider for a nominal installation fee.
Furniture will run you $200 to $5,000 and higher.
Your electronics should also be considered. Laptop and desktop computers will most likely be at the heart of your home office design. With price ranges from $200 to $8000, you will need to plan and budget for the style of computer system you need and desire. Printers and other computer paraphernalia will also need budgeting.
If you want to have entertainment in the home office as well, things like radios, stereo systems or televisions will need to be planed for. You won’t need to pay for installation, except perhaps in the instance of wall jacks for cable or satellite and their services.
C. Heating and Air Conditioning
If the home office is not a part of the home heating and cooling system, you will need to allow room in your budget to include these options for the home office space.
Fireplaces and electrical heating units are very popular in home offices today. You can have real fireplaces added to the room for about $3000 depending on if you have brick or stone and options such as blowers, venting or chimney installations.
Paint and style may seem like the last thing you need to think about, but they will still need to go into your budget.
Painting a room can add style, atmosphere, and comfort to a room. You can get any color you wish to use for the style of the home office you are after. Leaving the walls beige or white is highly common and will cost the cheapest.
If you do the painting yourself, you are only out of pocket for the materials and paint itself. Likewise, you can hire a professional painter to do the work for you, usually to the extent of including the paint in their bids.
When you decide on a style, you will be better able to make your choices for flooring, furniture, and options such as art and shelving. Deciding on a dark or black theme before you start the room will save you the hassle of trying to repaint or resurface white shelving once the room is complete, for example.
In general, the size of the room is the most important aspect of the overall cost of the home office. Your home office will fall into one of three size categories.
Small offices are usually home offices that are a section of a larger room. Up to about 300 square feet in total size, they are the most cost-effective solutions for flooring, furniture, and lighting.
Medium sized home offices will run between 300 and 600 square feet. They are the most common size rooms and will average in cost in the range of $14,000 to $19,000 for a new construction addition.
Large size rooms are anything over 800 square feet. Your flooring costs and other options will stretch your budget the most. However, you will have the flexibility to expand your office for other uses or to add more luxury and items to the space.
When faced with the task of designing and budgeting for a home office you will need to plan accordingly.
Decide if this will be a true addition to the home or the allotment of an already established space. You will pick your features for walls, flooring, and lighting as well as the options of furniture, electronics, and heating and cooling.
Depending on what items and options you choose your budget will range between $15,000 and $25,000 and could go much higher.
Make sure you have all of the required permits and bids before starting work on the project and view our galleries for more ideas and inspiration for your home office.
Check out all our home improvement cost calculators here.