It’s exciting and terrifying to start your own business, especially as a woman, and you’ve probably been warned over and over again not to over-spend in the early stages. That’s sage advice, but it doesn’t mean you can’t embrace your inner frugalista and spend smart. Work with a CPA and small business advisor to create a budget for office outfitting, especially if you plan on regularly entertaining clients or wooing investors here. If you have commercial space, it won’t do to leave it barren and kitted out in subpar furniture.
From the right pillows in the waiting room to a reception desk that’s high quality, there are a few things your office needs to relay your company’s personality. Many times, going used can be a great way to save money and score some solid wood furniture or other big ticket items at a steal. In fact, Business.com rehashes some of the top benefits of buying used furniture, and remember that it’s also a way to start your company off green.
Here are a few ways to dress up your new office on a budget and quickly:
1. A fresh paint job
If you notice the walls seem grimy, scratched up or otherwise not in top condition, it’s pretty easy to make a fresh paint job part of the move-in agreement with your commercial landlord. This isn’t something you should be doing yourself, but take note of the conditions when you’re shopping around for spaces. A light, neutral tone will go well with any décor and brightens up the space. However, if you’d rather get creative, HGTV offers some tips on choosing wall colors.
2. Choose art or prints that mean something to you and your business
Don’t toss up art or prints just because they’re available, because that lack of enthusiasm is going to shine through. You can’t do with barren walls, but take some time here. This is where both your personality and the personality of your business is going to make the biggest impact. No matter what you choose, make sure it’s framed well. Thrift stores and discount stores like TJ Maxx are great places to find high quality frames on a budget.
3. Bright accessories with neutral furnishings
Having a few pops of color can be a great way to liven things up for a number of businesses. When choosing larger items like couches for the waiting room, which won’t be replaced very often, go with neutral and soothing colors. You can easily switch up the pillows and plant pots with bright colors or designs. It’s kind of like choosing a little black dress, and then a bevy of funkier accessories you can swap out depending on your mood.
4. Lighting is crucial
There might be nothing you can do about those fluorescent track lights the office space came with, but you can certainly bring in some of your own options. Floor lamps with dimmers are an excellent choice, and also make a space seem cozier and more intimate (which is great for certain types of businesses like a therapist’s office). Also rely on natural light whenever you can, so open those blinds and soak up that Vitamin D.
5. Don’t forget the dress code
The most important part of your office is actually yourself and your employees. Together, it makes up the face of your company. Make sure to start your business with a reasonable dress code and hire employees who take pride in your business.
How you’re viewed by outsiders can make or break your business, so take it seriously. It should be part of your business plan right alongside budgeting and future planning.
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