Cheap and Free Improvements You Can Make to Your Home Office

Last Updated Apr 11, 2010 5:20 PM EDT

At work, your office might be a bit utilitarian, but at least you can generally count on your boss to pay for enhancements -- whether it's a new ergonomic chair, more storage space, or a replacement PC.

At home, though, your workspace comes entirely out of your pocket. But that's not a reason to avoid improving your office. I've got a handful of ways to upgrade your office without investing a lot of money.

Want to make your workspace more aesthetic, ergonomic, or functional? Freelance Switch recently collected 10 things you can to improve your home office. Here are the best of the bunch:

Get a recycling system. I've got a pair of bins under my desk in my home office. One is for trash, and the other is for paper. Cost? Virtually nothing -- but it lets me easily recycle my significant amounts of paper waste.

Get a USB cup warmer. Drink coffee or tea at your desk? Get one of those goofy little USB-powered cup warmers. They seem like a gimmick, but they actually do work.

Tidy your wires. Does your office look like the business end of an ill-maintained power plant? One of the biggest improvements you can make to a messy office is to organize and tidy up your wires. Start by binding your wires together. To avoid a spaghetti trail of wires all over your floor, you can clamp them to your wall.

Add some plants. Plants are inexpensive, but can really add some life to your workspace. Conveniently, Rick just told us how to pick a plant for your cubicle or office.

Improve the lighting. Often, a home office is more a compromise of available space than a carefully planned layout. If you don't have enough natural or artificial light, it can tire you out, demotivate you, and cause eye strain. Check out what we've already written to help you improve the lighting in your office.

Photo by mkosut