I am like many people that work from home, with my photo business, my videography, and now a hat designing business doing mainly 1920s inspired hats. Figuring out the right location for everything in a small house has been a work in progress.
I want to share six tips to help you start planning and creating a space in a home for an office and video studio.
Here are some ways to get started creating a home office and video studio
1. Plan and organize
What do you need in your space? Can your workspace be broken up into sections around the house? Start asking yourself how you can work with your current living situation in a creative way.
- Create a list of what needs to be done to accomplish the goal of creating your office and studio. Think about what needs to be moved, items needed to be donated to charity, sold or traded.
- If you need to hire someone to move large pieces of furniture or enlist the help of family and friends, add this to your list.
- If repairs or painting needs to done, start by getting estimates for hiring or visit the local hardware store and do the project yourself.
- Figure out how much time you estimate it will take to accomplish this project and how much money you can budget to get it done.
- Start thinking about your desk or table you’ll need to have your computer, printer and other gear. Use items you already have to reduce costs or buy used tables or desks at thrift stores.
2. Pick a location
Figuring out the location at home for your work can be overwhelming when you live in a small house, apartment or maybe just a room. My best advice is to adjust to the space you have and make the best of it.
Areas you might consider for your work include the following: Bedroom, kitchen, hallway, closet, garage, attic, basement, old shed, or barn. Maybe a relative will let you use an unused room or even their attic or basement to help you get started.
Think outside the box to create a space that you will be comfortable working in. Making your largest bedroom your office, like I did, might be a solution. Using an area that’s not being used, like a formal dining room or other space, could offer a solution. It could be just a table in the living room or kitchen.
Having a room where you can close the door or somehow indicate that you are working may help you get focused on your goals and not worry about all the dirty laundry or other household duties. If having a space for a cot, crib or play area for a small child must be in your line of sight — or a bed for the family pet — fit this into your work space too.
3. Get your furniture, office gear and supplies
Tables and chair you already have, or used items from second hand stores, are great selections to help keep costs down. Sturdy wooden lawn furniture that can be folded or other folding tables that will hold the weight capacity of your computer and other items make a great choice too.
I use a 28-inch folding wooden patio table. It’s now in my kitchen being used as a kitchen table as my kitchen table is being used as a sewing table, the sturdiest table I own! Here are a few other furniture elements I use in my home office:
- Bed risers for $24.99 at Target. Use these under a table if you need a work table that allows you stand and work without hurting your back, similar to a kitchen counter height.
- 6 foot folding table for $39.98 at HomeDepot.com. I have it currently stored in my office closet. Another option which I didn’t buy would be this 4-foot utility tabel also at HomeDepot.com. Shop around to see what table will work for you before buying one.
4. Create a client and meeting space
Consider using your home office, kitchen, living room, or other locations at your home. If you don’t want people at your home, simply meet with clients at a public place, such as a coffee shop or restaurant. If your clients have an established business, meet them at their office, but always be safe.
5. Set up your video and media area
You will need an area in your home to take photos and videos to promote yourself, your career and your business. Videos help develop your credibility and show case your skills and talents, no matter what your speciality of work happens to be.
You might think you don’t need a dedicated location for shooting video or photos, but you might want to think again. If you have the opportunity to create great videos for promoting your business, you’ll be a step ahead of your competition. Videos will add credibility to your business.
Locations for shooting video to consider for your promotional videos:
- Workspace area, such as your desk with a computer or with items you create. If you are a fine artist, it would make sense to be with your work.
- Dedicated space with a white or black color wall that’s painted. A professional background cloth or paper is also something to consider, or even large flat bed sheets, but make sure you iron before using. Keeping the background simple helps to focus on you and your message, not your background.
Lighting gear for videos and photos:
There are many solutions for lighting videos and photos for promoting your business. I love LEDs from Promaster. I bought a discontinued model called the Promaster VL 306 kit, with two lights, stands, soft box and more, for $249.77, plus tax (normally $399.99.)
Do It Yourself lighting gear:
If you have a small budget, then consider building your own lighting kit from the local hardware store for about $100 or so. Check out this great tutorial called Down and Dirty lighting Kit by Wistia.com.
Here are several tutorials I’ve done about shooting videos with an iPhone or a small camera:
- Shoot with iPhone http://vimeo.com/104969764
- Small camera and video tips http://vimeo.com/106243069
- More details in my course, Video Promo Essentials – Shoot, edit and share video online
6. Most important tip — Be flexible in a flexible space!
Make your work area a space that can be converted back to its original purpose; ready to move to a more permanent location or a dedicated room in your home.
You don’t have to figure your work space out completely at first, but see what your needs are as you expand, or even reduce. A desk or table in the kitchen, bedroom, living room or any location at home, is just one step closer to reaching your goals.
- Make an action plan with a list of what needs to be done to create your work area. Check each item off to show yourself you have made progress and are on your way to success.
- Don’t become overwhelmed about future needs. If the kitchen table works to get the job done now, then use it!
- Most importantly, be as flexible as possible as you look for your location at home. Remember, many great ideas and companies started in a garage, like Apple and others.
About the author: Jannet Walsh loves cutting-edge innovation and using new technology to engage people’s attention in today’s social media world. Her videos have aired on CNN, CNN iReport, HLN, and elsewhere. With a background as a New York Times Company staff photographer, you can find her latest multimedia work at JannetWalsh.com. She’s also a Certified Life and Career Coach with training by Jay Block.