Fitting out your start-ups’ office from scratch is not an easy task. Whether you’re in a new building or renting a property, you’ll want a space that makes your employees feel happy, comfortable and motivated, and your clients impressed. However, doing all the shopping to create the design you want with the right layout, furniture and lighting can be quite a challenge when you’re working on a budget.

Here are several ideas to help you get on with your project and stay within the limits of your available funds.

Be rational

When furnishing an office on a budget, it’s good to go with a clear head. Whether it’s a new building or a converted space, consider what you can afford. Take into account the lease, the size of the space, reinstatement costs and any other potential obligations. Be practical and prudent as around 80% of the space cost is lease and operational costs.

Besides a great location, the key to creating an engaging office is in clever and practical use of space and the right furnishings. Going with an open floor concept with only one meeting room will cost you less than a reception, several meeting rooms and a tech office.

Be flexible

Many designers today are advocates of flexible layout, multi-functional spaces and a wireless tech platform. These are the features that will allow you to create a more friendly space that can cater to different needs of your employees, especially the ones from Generation Y and Z. Create a space that will keep them, so think about modern office furniture solutions for businesses of all sizes, bike racks, showers, common facilities, and a space that’s more social and less formal.

Incorporate lots of light

Great quality lighting and lots of natural light as well should be one of your priorities. It has numerous beneficial effects including improved mood, motivation and productivity. And it also gives you a chance to express yourself creatively: leave exposed ceilings and install trendy suspended light fixtures. Use a variety of different light sources to create focal points and a wow factor.

Spend wisely and be creative

Be wise and think ahead when you choose flooring, wall coverings, window treatments and furniture. Always bear in mind their easy access and replacement and low maintenance cost. Instead of laying stone flooring, choose carpeting. It’s much easier and cheaper to remove if you ever have to remodel again or move.

It also helps to downsize and be practical. For instance, if you don’t have a lot of visitors, there’s no need for the reception area. It works great for companies with many clients coming in and out every day. But if your business doesn’t have them, don’t set it up. Typical reception desks are quite expensive and that money should better be spent on your rental and maintenance costs.

Even though you have to stick to your budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t be creative as well. There are excellent design hacks that are cheap and easy and can give a spark to your office space. For instance, taking an inspiring photograph or digital artwork and blowing it up to create wall transfers is not as expensive as it used to be. Plus, you can use an image or a quote that reflects your business principles.

Also, recycling and upcycling items can be very effective: doors made into coffee tables, ladders turned into shelves, wire milk crates transformed into lights. It will give volumes of character to your space and reinforce your green credentials.

Keep it clean

If you’re going to create a great office with high technology, great furniture, and amenities such as shower facilities, they all need to be fit for everyone to use. Most of all, it all needs to be well maintained and clean. Messy office, dirty floors, windows, and showers cannot be tolerated. It’s simply about good leadership, so you need to accept the fact that it has its price. But, it will be worth it since it’s far less expensive than having to replace skilled and trained employees.

The key to a great and cost-effective office design is finding the right balance of elements and their price, but you need to embrace change and diversity. Getting out of your comfort zone in order to transform an office design will result in satisfied employees, better work quality and increased productivity.