Home-based businesses: Making effective use of small spaces

Starting up a small business can be a difficult time. As a cost-saving measure, many people run their first small business from their home, where space may already be at a premium, especially if you have children. How you set up your workspace will affect how efficient you can be, so it’s important to think this issue through carefully so you don’t have to reorganize later.

Freelancers get off easy – all they have to do is set up a desk and PC where they can work and their biggest problem is often finding some quiet time in which they can concentrate. But if you’re running a small craft workshop, making clothes or jewellery, for instance, you will probably need more space for materials, tools and all the things associated with your work. Fortunately there are a number of ways in which you can maximize the small amount of space available to you.


If your small business requires a workbench, it is likely that this will take up a large amount of room. It is possible to install a workbench that’s fixed to a wall with hinges that can be folded away when not in use and held up against the wall with a bracket. This is fairly easy for most people with a degree of woodworking knowledge to make, and can be inexpensive, with the combined cost of parts coming in at under $100. If you do have the space to fit a ready made workbench, you should consider one that comes with a large amount of storage space that’s suitable for your business needs – if you use lots of small items, opt for drawers and cupboards are great for the larger items.


Your walls can double up as great storage space. If you’re looking for somewhere to keep your tools, consider purchasing a pegboard. This material has an array of holes arranged in a grid into which you can put small pegs that can hold various tools. Some people even like to take a felt marker and draw the outline of their tools onto the board so they’ve got a visual aid to where things fit. This not only allows you to store your tools out of the way, but also keeps them within easy reach when you’re working on a large job.

Perhaps you use lots of smaller items in your business. In this case it’s possible to get your hands on special boards that have hooks over their surface placed at regular intervals onto which you can mount little holders and storage devices – perfect for storing things like beads, buttons, hooks and jewellery fasteners.


Another really effective way of making space count in your small business workspace is with shelves. Don’t worry about putting shelves out of reach – you can always use a small fold-up ladder to reach items that are stored on high shelves. They are also incredibly easy to put up and a very cost effective form of storage. You can buy ready made shelving units, but it’s also possible for you to install your own after a quick trip to your local DIY store. You can also think outside the box with your shelving. For instance:

–       If you have to store lots of spray bottles, consider using a piece of shower rail that can be used to hand the bottles by their triggers. Make sure you have enough space under the rail for the bodies of the bottles to hang.

–       Larger pieces of pipe can be used to store aerosol cans. To do this you’ll need pipe that’s wider than your cans. Simply cut the pipe to a 45 degree angle and stick it on the wall and it can be used to hold the aerosol can within easy reach of your workspace.

–       One of the all time classic ways of doubling your space with shelves is by sticking jars by their lids to the underside of horizontal shelving. These can then be unscrewed by twisting the body of the jar, which makes the perfect storage space for smaller items.


Believe it or not, the ceiling can be used as a very effective storage area in rooms where space is at a premium. With a little imagination and practical knowledge it is possible to make the most out of this often forgotten part of a room. One of the most popular methods of using ceiling storage is to fix a couple of metal rails onto the ceiling, which can be used to hang large plastic storage containers. To do this you’ll need to make sure your containers have a strong, durable plastic lip round their outer edge that can slide onto the rails. If you have to store large rolls of fabric or paper, you can use two long pieces of pipe to create a dual rail system on which they can be tucked away when not in use.

Floor space

There are a number of good products available that allow you to make the most of your floor space. The best of these are large stackable plastic boxes and crates that are designed to stack together easily. While these might cost a bit more than cardboard boxes, the traditional storage favorite, you should consider that they last longer, are more resistant to moisture and can be carried about easily from place to place if you have to make deliveries. They are available in a number of different colors so you can even choose a selection to fit in with the color-scheme of your room.

Be creative

The most important thing to have in mind when you’re deciding how to plan out your workspace is to be creative. It’s possible to find new ways of storing your vital equipment and materials with a little forethought and imagination. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and if you’ve already got a brain that’s good at finding practical solutions to problems, there’s nothing stopping you from inventing your own clever ways of getting the most out of any small space.


This post was written by Lee Newell. who manages online marketing, blogging and social media for the storage solutions experts – ESE.


  1. Trish says:

    Good suggestions Lee.

  2. SCHammond says:

    Great usable ideas easy to implement. Artist who work at home will find this useful. Now if I can convince my husband on using the ceiling!

  3. JeanneYocum says:

    I liked the ceiling idea, too! Thought the piece had a lot of good ideas in it; glad you liked it.

  4. Natalie Diaz says:

    This is really an awesome article I would say as I have got an idea out of it. Things have been elucidated in a very professional style here above in the write up. Nice read I would say.

  5. Adams says:

    We have read very interesting article with some good advice by Guest Poster. This post will help me to develop my career and own-self website. http://treasure-hearts.com

Leave a Reply

The Self-Employment Survival Guide can help you succeed. Learn all about it here.

Self-Employment Survival Guide book cover