How to Set Up a Home Office

How to Set Up a Home Office. Once you're ready to set up shop in your home, it's time to turn your little corner into a real corner office.

Establish a permanent space within your home for your office. A separate room is ideal.

Decide on an office arrangement. The best is a U-shaped arrangement, which lets you use three surfaces to keep everything within reach.

Choose an L-shaped arrangement that provides a secondary surface if space is limited. A parallel arrangement can provide two full-sized working surfaces if they are placed opposite each other.

Consider a V-shaped arrangement, which consists of a small working area in front of you (generally used for a computer monitor) and two surfaces angled to your left and right if your office area is very small. This is similar to a U-shape, except the central working area is much smaller.

Establish two business-only phone lines (one for voice and one for fax and/or Internet) for your office. If you'll need to forward calls to other offices, ask your phone company about related services.

Buy office furniture that suits the arrangement you've chosen. Include desks and tables, chairs and desk lamps.

Buy a phone with a built-in answering machine and a hold button. If you'll be transferring calls from within your home office, make sure your phone has a transfer button.

Buy a computer system, including a printer. Consider built-in fax software if you'll be sending and receiving files created on a PC.

Purchase a separate fax machine if you'll be sending and receiving photos or articles from newspapers or magazines by fax. To save money, consider buying a fax machine that can also serve as a photocopier.

Stock your office with standard office supplies. If you're self-employed, budget the cost of these items in your monthly business expenses; otherwise, your employer may provide these supplies for you.


  • If you don't have a separate room available, use devices like screens, bookcases and directed lighting to create the necessary separation between home space and office space. Consider getting a small headset for your phone, both to free your hands and to block out background noise.