When every dollar is often spent before it’s even in the bank, your office space likely doesn’t make the priority list.  Your space speaks volumes though- it’s a statement of who you are as a company and the culture you are building.  The right environment will go a long way towards making a good impression, enticing employees and creating a comfortable culture for your team.   You don’t have to break the bank to look legit. Here are five ways to look luxe, but spend less (or nothing!).

1. Share!

Sharing office space has advantages well beyond the reduction in rent.  Co-working spaces allow you to pay for only what you really need, and they often come furnished with the amenities you’ll need for basic day-to-day operations. These spaces also let you connect with other entrepreneurs in your community, facilitating shared learnings (and support).

2. Design your space for work &  play

Richard Branson has a theory that you learn more over drinks than you do in meetings, so make your work space function for both.  The ubiquitous ping pong table isn’t a luxury if it also functions as a boardroom table. Filing cabinets can hold documents …and snacks. Find furniture that can function both in a boardroom or a lounge, allowing you to rearrange your space depending on the day’s agenda.

3. It’s new to you

Canvas your friends and family to collect the furniture sitting in their garages, basements or offices that they’re happy to pass on.  And a coat of paint in your company colours makes the ‘gently used’ pieces ‘new & improved’!

4. Brand it

Your office works hard. It helps to create your culture, sets the tone for meetings, and makes the first impression for new clients, investors or potential partners. Branded pillows, framed images of your product or service, and furniture in corporate colours (see above) will help to make your space special and uniquely yours.

5. Use what’s free

With digital now a preferred form of business communication, there is a growing bank of free tools available for everything from videoconferencing to document sharing.  Most digital apps will have both paid and free subscriptions, so start with the most basic and move up as necessary. Leverage free trials to see which platform works best for you. Google, Dropbox, Speek and Evernote will let you organize almost every aspect of your business, absolutely free.  And free is pretty amazing, right?