Before Covid-19 reared its ugly head, not many people worked from home, but since then, many have retained that option as it was more convenient for whatever reason – some had young families and it meant it was easier than finding a child-minder, others were able to do their job just as easily from home as from an office.

One thing a lot of people might have found difficult was drawing a line between home life and working from home. Clearing a space on the kitchen table for your computer isn’t ideal, nor is sitting on the sofa while the kids watch cartoons, but you can set yourself up in a proper working space quite cheaply and easily. It’s important to retain some sort of ‘work environment’, and the first thing to find is the space to use, and it shouldn’t cost the earth. It's all about giving a nod to DIY, and getting out of your Pj's!

First, find your space

Location, location, location! Look around your home and check to see if there is an awkward space somewhere that is dead space anyway, or if there is space in your loft or attic that can be converted. Converted attic spaces make ideal offices, they’re tucked out of the way so you can get that much needed peace and quiet for your Zoom meetings or phone calls. You don’t need lots of space, a simple desk, chair and lamp will suffice. If a loft isn’t an option, then define a special place in your existing room – be it your living room, kitchen or bedroom – and perhaps create some makeshift wall dividers – you can buy these quite cheaply or the do-it-yourself option would be to create something with hinged pieces of hardboard that would fold away when not in use. If your space can include a window, you will get good light as well as a view.

Construct DIY Furniture

If you haven’t actually got a desk – and this is an important part of your workspace – you can create one if you can’t afford to buy one, or perhaps a proper one wouldn’t fit your allocated space. A piece of hardboard cut to fit will do fine, prop it onto a couple of stacks of books or some building blocks - better still, a couple of cheap bedside tables will fit the bill, plus give you some drawer space to shut all your stuff away when you aren’t working. Use what you have, or shop around for some cheap bargains, even your local charity shop might have something you can use.

A good chair is important

You might be spending up to eight hours a day sitting, so making sure you have a proper office chair is important, rather than dragging up an uncomfortable kitchen chair. Again, try charity shops first, if you can't find one, push the boat out and check around at office supply stores (or a certain Swedish furniture outlet) for a great chair. Your back will thank you.


Again, natural light would be ideal, but a good desk light might be a worthwhile investment anyway, especially if your workspace ends up being that space tucked away under the stairs or a dark corner.


Now you have your space set up, a lick of paint over your wall divider or wall space, or some sort of covering over the desk if it is raw wood, will complete your office. Hang up a calendar or planner if you use them, and an old mug (maybe that one you broke the handle off that is still in the back of your cupboard) will keep your pens and pencils handy. If you have the space and need it, shelving and brackets can be bought cheaply and fixed into place on a bare wall.

Whether you want your space to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your home's decor or if you want it to ‘pop’ and be more of a work of art, you can bring the most brilliant home office ideas to life even on a shoestring.


Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. 

Marilyn Sheridan