What never to spend money on in your home office

So you want to set up a home office? A little nook to call your own?

I’m on board, but we should talk about the budget. Because there are some pieces to invest in, and others you can happily do on-the-cheap.

Before you go out and buy yourself a whole new home office suite, let me first tell you about the pieces you don’t need to spend big on.

The desk

KULLABERG, $195. Picture: IKEA

I know what you’re thinking: Chris, you’re nuts! But a desk is not the most important part of your home office. You know what is, though? Your chair.

That’s what you’re going to want to invest in, because comfort is super important and your chair provides it day after day. It also ensures you’re sitting ergonomically so you don’t get back, shoulder or neck injuries.

So, put your money toward a kick-arse chair and don’t go crazy on the desk. Just ensure the top surface of the desk is thick. Thin desks buckle in the centre over time – especially if you have a large computer monitor.

Storage solutions

Another area to save some of your hard-earned cash: Storage. A home office won’t need a lot of it (unless you’re running a biz from home), so go budget on a set of drawers.

Even if you do need a few sets, retailers like Ikea have got you covered. As long as it looks good and functions well, why fork out an arm and a leg?

Ikea can provide easy solutions to your home office storage needs. Picture: Ikea


The best part of setting up a home office is choosing a stationery theme and running with it (or is that just me?). Hit stores like Officeworks, Kmart and Kikki K, and go for your life.

You’ll want to grab an array of pens, paper, post-its, scissors, paper clips and all sorts of other bibs and bobs you probably won’t even use. That’s why you don’t spend much money on them, right?!

Choosing a stationery theme is the fun part, so knock yourself out. Picture: Typo


Any good home office needs some mood lighting. When you’re at your desk after dark pretending to do work when you’re actually on YouTube, you need light.

There’s no need for anything too elaborate here. Hit your fave retailer for lush lighting (Bunnings is a personal fave of mine) and grab a table lamp that speaks to the overall look and feel of your desk and its surrounds. But honestly, if you’re paying hundreds, you’re doing it wrong.

A table lamp is important to have, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Picture: Unsplash


Greenery is an essential element in a home office, but I don’t advise getting an expensive fiddle leaf fig. In fact, I don’t even advise it be a real plant at all.

Fake plants rock my world right now, and they’re such an affordable way to bring some (faux) life to your space. Pop an option from Adairs on your desk and you’ll revel in the fact that despite it being so lush and lovely, you won’t ever have to take care of it.


Lastly, a fab home office nook needs some sources of visual inspiration, so get creative displaying the mementoes, keepsakes and slogans that mean something to you.

Grab a cork board or similar from a craft store, and start pinning pictures of things that make your heart sing. You know, like people used to do before Pinterest came along.

This desk organisation idea showcases a dreamy example of a creative yet clean desk where chunky printers are out of sight and out of mind. Picture: Erinna Giblin

Originally published as What never to spend money on in your home office by Chris Carroll. Author at realestate.com.au.