How to turn your basement into an office

How to turn your basement into an office

Working from home used to be a luxury but thanks to Covid 19 it’s an experience most of us have had – and experience that looks like it’s here to stay. Whether working from home is nothing new to you, or you’ve only recently had the pleasure, you’ll be surprised just how well your basement could work as your next home office. We all know the pains that is distractions when working from home. Could be the kids are home from school and want your attention, the television is on with reruns of your favourite show, you’ve got a great view of the deck that happens to be screaming out for some tung oil or wood stain, or perhaps your bed is calling you for a little midday nap. Having a separate office space that is purely designed for your work is a sure-fire way to minimise these distractions and help you keeping focused. 

It’s very common that a basement space will go unused or overlooked when thinking of a home office. Far too often they are deemed only fit for overflow storage, as a man cave or games room, maybe as a makeshift workspace or studio. Once you’ve taken the time to tidy it up, give it a little refresh and add all the office necessities you’ll be surprised you hadn’t thought to use it like this before. Sure, it’ll take a little more effort than simply picking up some home office chairs and a sturdy desk but that will all be worth it when you have your very own sanctuary inside your home. 

First things first, you’ll have to work out how you’re going to tackle the lack of natural light. This will be your biggest barrier to creating the perfect home office. Everyone knows how beneficial lighting can be and how much it impacts our mood and energy levels. Ideally you will want to install light fixtures that provide artificial daylight. These are ordinarily used in lamps designed to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and can generally be sourced quite easily and relatively cheaply. Take the time to really consider where you can install lights to best suit the space. This will also be the perfect opportunity to give your new office a little bit of a quirky edge. Mix it up with both hanging fixtures and standing lamps. You might not use all your lighting at the same time, but it will be very handy for those lower energy days when you need an extra something-something to get you going. 

Your second biggest problem you’re likely to encounter whilst undertaking this project is temperature control. It’s no big secret that basements are generally a chilly place to be no matter the time of year. This will of course be fabulous in those warmer months when you are able to escape the heat, but not quite so great for winter. It’s hard enough to get out of bed some days let alone if your destination is the cold and clammy basement. There are two reliable ways in which you can combat the chill, number 1 being to insulate your walls and number 2 being the installation of reliable heating. Insulation will ordinarily be a slightly bigger task and will act more as a support to other heating tools – ideal if you want to keep those energy bills down and do your bit for the environment. You’re best investing in a couple of small oil heaters or similar free-standing appliances that can keep you toasty when the colder months roll in. 

Next, you’ll have to consider the fixings and fixtures that you’ll need to equip your office. Chances are the original design didn’t allow for many outlets, at least not as many as you’ll need to set up your office. If you’re unsure about the standard of electricity access for your basement it would be wise to get in a professional before you simply stock up on power boards and extension cables. It will also be the time to consider your WIFI accessibility – is your current router strong enough to get down to you or are you going to need to invest in a booster. If you’re feeling fancy (or creative) you may also want to look at installing a coffee station or some build in shelves. Whatever you can do to make the transition easier and more appealing. 

Lastly it is time to decorate starting with your flooring and furniture. Most basements tend to have a cement floor which will not be the most welcoming if left bare. Perhaps you’ve painted your walls and you’re feeling like going the extra mile in laying down a wooden floor. But if you’re keen to forgo the wood floor sealer and timber floor wax polish and settle for a simpler option then carpeting or a nice fluffy rug might be more appropriate for you. Whether you’re a trip to IKEA kind of person or one who’ll research all the office chairsAustralia has to offer, you’re obviously going to need a desk setup. Be sure to avoid a desk that is disproportionate to the room, the last thing you want is for your windowless office to feel cramped. You may also feel the need to include extra cupboards or desk space to make room for all your knickknacks but if you’re strapped for space this can be achieved with built in shelving. This part is important to get right as it will dictate the atmosphere of your office. 

Once your office is functionally set up you could also take a bit of extra time to make it homely. This might mean your favourite fluffy pen or displaying the lego you built with your kids last weekend – much like your main work office, you’ll feel more comfortable if you have some personal items around you. Plants are an excellent way to brighten the room and bring a bit of extra color. Careful to opt for ones that don’t require any sunlight or much maintenance to ensure they don’t die. You don’t want to have to replace your plant friends every other month.