Well you have finally decided to start your own home lab environment for learning. At this point you are probably feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start. I know because I was in your same shoes at one point. There is some pointers I would like to share before you get started

First off you need to come up with a max budget to start with

cost vs benefit is VERY important to consider

hidden costs- noise,budget,time,space, and a big one is power costs

Next before anything is purchased you need to decide what you need to start with and what path you are going to go down – are you going to start with a firewall box,storage server, other servers , and etc

Another big thing to consider is what do you have at home that is worth repurposing. What is important for you, and what it is you want to learn

When you are first starting out the worst thing you can do is over purchase and rush things. This is where money gets wasted on things you cant use, or aren’t compatible with what you are building. Getting started takes a large amount of patience looking through craigslist sometimes for weeks on end, ebay, amazon,newegg, co workers, news papers, trade forums, r/homelabsales, and more online reselllers.

A big mistake that people over look is location of where this lab is going and  what is needed to cable everything to get to various needed locations in house .

I think i have covered most of the important points that I wish i would have considered at my start. Otherwise I could have avoided alot of pointless purchases in beginning. Once you have addressed all of  these concerns for yourself I think you would be in pretty good shape to get started. Please see other post regarding what you might install and use for good information I am passing along.

I hope this helps you in your adventure down the rabbit hole!!! See you on the other side.