Welcome to SoHo working (Small Office Home Office). Whatever your reasons, professional or otherwise, it's easy and cheap to build a space that allows your creativity and concentration to flow.

By sourcing items for your SoHo from the salvage stream, you not only save your hip pocket but have less impact on the natural environment. It’s easier than you think to create a functioning workspace that will inspire you to greatness – or in the very least keep all the tools you need handy.

office area

Photo credit: Reverse Garbage

CONSIDER YOUR SPACE. Perhaps you rent, or perhaps you don’t want to put holes in a newly painted wall. By creating a backboard you can keep all your stationary at hand without causing damage. Remember that if there are small children around it’s always a good idea to make sure that items like backboards are secured in place.

IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS. Knowing what you need to make your space workable, the next step is to visit salvage and resource centres such as Reverse Garbage Queensland or Brisbane City Council Tip Shops to hunt down the materials you could use. Let your imagination fly, be flexible and versatile with your ideas. Let the materials lead you.

hanging shelf with threads and books

Photo credit: Reverse Garbage

FINDING MATERIALS. When searching for materials try to imagine what something would be like with a coat of paint or if it were sanded. It’s amazing what a new finish can do.

CONSIDER COHESION. Try to stick to a particular set of colours and textures – it will help pull the final product together. Consider textures and colours already existing in the room.

Office organiser/dividers

Photo credit: Reverse Garbage

PLAY. Once you have your selection of items, have a play with how to arrange them on your backboard. Try different options and take a photo in between to compare. Keep asking yourself what are the things you most need within reach. Decide what you would like to be visible (leather/timber/metal finishes) and invisible (anything that requires painting the same colour as the background – brackets, fixings etc). Consider using blackboard paint.

GIVE YOURSELF TIME. You’ll need half a day to construct the items for your space, so set aside time and don’t rush it. You want this to be something that is both helpful and inspiring. Preparation is key – sand those rough edges or consider doing an undercoat if you want a really vibrant colour.

Working area

Photo credit: Reverse Garbage

MEASURE. Use a few key pieces of equipment to guide you –  a ruler, spirit level (there’s a phone app for that), pilot guide for drilling and template (easily made from a piece of A4 paper). Remember the golden rule of DIY: measure twice, cut once.

GET HANDY. Grab that drill or hammer and go. It’s just one of the advantages of having sourced all your materials from salvage: you can afford to make mistakes!

Hanging shelf with threads and leather cable wraps

Photo credit: Reverse Garbage

TA DA! After your paint is dry and your glue is stuck, it’s time to put it all together. Hang your hooks, pin your notices to your corkboard and fill your space with the stationery and devices you need.

birds eye view of office

Photo credit: Reverse Garbage

Spending a little bit of time and a small amount of cash on making your SoHo will yield  a workable space at very little cost. Now you can write a card, wrap a present, take some creative time out, or actually sit down and do some work.