I’m surprised by the number of times that I'm actually asked this question and once again it comes down to whether the impact of what you're proposing to do is acceptable or not.
For example you may want to convert an existing room such as a box room, loft room or even your garage into a little home office or if your plans are for altering an existing room in your home you need to consider if there is enough room for your desk, enough natural light and space to get all your office furniture in. Don't forget about having access to the internet and a telephone line too. Alternatively, you can do what I have done in the past when working from home and get yourself a little building in your back garden which you can convert into a small office.
The key thing to take on board is whether or not the overall character of your house will change as a result of your business activities. If what you're proposing has a negative impact, you need to ask yourself the following questions… Will your home be no longer be used mainly as a private residence? I have known that you can change up to 30% of the floor area of your house to business use. As long as at least half of your house is still residential use I think that would be acceptable. As a rule of thumb, I would say try not to use over 30%.
Also, have a think about whether or not customers will be visiting the house? Will you need additional parking and would that affect your neighbours? Something else to think about, the activities you are doing within your business, would that be unusual for your area? For example, If you put a building in your garden to do some light engineering work would the noise upset your neighbours? Think about the hours of work, and again it's down to whether you're going to cause undue disturbance whether it's down to noise or even smells. I’ve known people who have wanted to start up a small catering business from home, they're making cakes and curries etc and you have to think about whether cooking at 2 am would upset the people who live around you. There's also the consideration of whether renting out bedrooms to tenants or lodgers constitutes a business. I will cover this in future posts.
So the key question is, is your home still mainly your home or has it become business premises?