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Cover image for My new home office setup
Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

Posted on

My new home office setup

I just moved to a new home, and I am setting up my new home office. We are just renting, so I'm not looking to do any major renovations, but in terms of things I can do to make an ideal home office setup, I really want to do things right.

As we wrote about recently, our team is 100% distributed. Everyone works from a home office or a co-working space.

I have written in the past that what I am looking for in a home setup is primarily routine and consistency. When I have this I am happy and productive.

I also want it to be an enjoyable environment where I can pleasantly spend long hours and keep clean and tidy without too much ongoing work.

I work with one big 43" 4k monitor. Here is a review of the monitor I use...

My computer is a MacBook Pro with a broken screen. I converted it to desktop use rather than fixing it. I have an old MacBook Air which I use when I'm on the go. My next machine will be a dedicated desktop machine with plenty of RAM and CPU.

I'm just getting started with my setup, but I am happy for now. Since my large monitor needs to be further from me than a smaller one, I needed more room than was available on my desk, so I converted a dresser into a monitor platform of sorts and am using the top drawer as storage of machines and wires. The other drawers will be used for additional office storage and play things I want near me during the work day (namely LEGO).

The MacBook is fairly good on heating, but if I run into problems I'll need to add a fan or other cooling situation. If anyone has any ideas about this, please leave a comment. If I move to another type of desktop machine, I'll definitely need some info and I'm not very experienced in this domain. Any kind of quiet coolant would be awesome.

I shaved the corner out of the drawer front so I can run one cable into the dresser without having to leave it open and I drilled a hole in the top to run wires. I'm very happy with the overall cable management situation I have going here.

Without further ado, here are some pics...

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I'll post more in the future when I make improvements.

I also founded a new tag specifically for workstation show and tell, pics required. If you like content like this, follow the tag.

#workstations

Let me know if anyone would like to co-moderate it with me.

Happy coding! ❀️

Top comments (62)

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

I may have mentioned this before, but the CODE Mechanical Keyboard is well worth the investment. :) It's amazing how much of a difference having a keyboard you love typing on makes.

I actually look forward to work sometimes just because I get to type!

(Or maybe I'm weird?)

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antogarand profile image
Antony Garand

If I'm not mistaken, Ben's keyboard is a Das pro 4, which is an amazing product in itself.

I'm more of an Ergodox kind of guy. Once you go split keyboard, you can't come back!
Being able to easily customize the layout with multiple layers is amazing.

Building your own keyboard is also an amazing experience, I'd strongly recommend it if you're into keyboards.
My ergodox for reference:
My build

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suther profile image
Samuel Suther • Edited on

I have one to, and I never would change back to an classical Keyboard.

Image of my Ergodox

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buinauskas profile image
Evaldas Buinauskas

@ben if you really have Das Keyboard, how is it? I'd like to get one myself but I'm hesitating.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Yeah. Das Pro 4. I'm perfectly happy with it, but also have never been overly picky in this way. In fact, I only adopted it because someone else had bought it on our team and was no longer using it and I picked it up from a closet (a luxury that is no longer as simple as a distributed team).

Zero complaints, it's been great, but I'm not picky enough. I'd like to become pickier about my keyboards because it seems nice to have opinions, it's just never been something I'm sensitive to.

It's not as pretty as some other ones, it's kind of generic, and I'm also curious about different ergonomic considerations, but for what it is I've been perfectly happy.

Jasonβ€”definitely going to check that out, but again, just not picky enough.

One thing I'm curious about switching to possibly is something wireless. I don't think the latency would be a concern (seems more of a gaming problem) and the fact that I have a wireless track pad just makes the idea of having no wires on my desk feel pretty dang awesome.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

One of the chief concerns with a wireless is actually security, although that's seldom discussed. It is all too easy to implement a physical keylogger that intercepts a wireless keyboard signal.

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waynejwerner profile image
Wayne Werner

I agree, re: split keyboard, though I use the UHK, which is also amazing.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

I've heard great things about the Ergodex! The Das Keyboard also looks nice.

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attkinsonjakob profile image
Jakob Attkinson

I had a huge "crisis" deciding between CODE and Das keyboard.
In the end I went for this. It was love at first sight.

Mechanical keyboards are important!

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jackharner profile image
Jack Harner πŸš€

I really want to get one of the ErgoDox-EZ split ortho-linear keyboards, just got to get the funds together. Kind of hard to budget a $350 keyboard at the moment, but boy does it look sweet.

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antogarand profile image
Antony Garand

DYI is the solution!
I built mine for around 200$ CAD, where the switches and keycaps were over half the price.

It's still expensive, but it's a normal price for a high-end keyboard such as this one!

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jackharner profile image
Jack Harner πŸš€

How much experience did you have soldering before you built yours? Any specific tutorials you followed?

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antogarand profile image
Antony Garand

I didn't have much soldering experience, and none on a PCB!

Regarding the tutorial, I alternated between the three available on ergodox.io: Text, images and video, depending on how much I understood the content.

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bobwalsh47hats profile image
Bob Walsh

is it better than the standard Apple wireless keyboard? Why?

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited on

Two words: mechanical switches

Layout's pretty darned excellent, too, and customizable at that.

So, eleven words?

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itsasine profile image
ItsASine (Kayla) • Edited on

Do CODE have Mac keycaps or is that just for the custom boards on the wasdkeyboards site?

I touch type, so I'm particular about the symbols being right :P

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

It comes with a blank Super key. You can purchase a keycap from WASD Keyboards for Mac (I have one for Ubuntu).

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itsasine profile image
ItsASine (Kayla)

Nice, thanks!

My Das got into an accident right after I got it (beer...) and the right special characters have bad days sometimes, so I've known I've needed a replacement :)

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gummy47 profile image
Gummy

For cable management inside the drawers, consider using a shoebox (or any kind of container really) filled with empty toilet paper rolls so that each cable has its nook and will not tangle with others (like this : lifehacker.com/diy-toilet-paper-tu...).

As far as cooling is concerned, as others have said, since you aren't afraid of drilling into the dresser, drill 2 holes of 120mm diameter on each side (through the dresser and the drawer then) and put 1 blower fan on one side and a sucking fan on the other side (fan -> inside -> fan -> outside), you should find what you need for a few bucks pretty much anywhere.

Other than that, very clean looking station, all the best for the future :)

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dkassen profile image
Daniel Kassen

I have a thought for the cooling part; if you're doing intensive stuff, you're gonna get some heat coming from your mac, and that drawer will keep the heat in. Since it's a macbook pro, it might not be a problem ever, but if it is, taking it out of the drawer will probably be enough.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I'll probably keep the drawer slightly ajar to deal with heat for now, but I am curious about ways I can give off a bit of cooling in the drawer so I can keep it closed.

If there is a coolant system I could run through it, that would be pretty neat.

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Since you're already drilling holes in it, why not one at either side with a little fan on each to draw air in and out?

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nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor

You could cut out a section of the front panel of the top drawer and add a vent like one of these, google.com/search?q=plastic+white+...

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maestromac profile image
Mac Siri

Leaving it slightly ajar is probably not enough. You'll want some form of air circulation. Perhaps a small usb fan.

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scooterphoenix profile image
Scooter Phoenix

YAY! I like your setup. Bigger monitors are the way everyone is going and I love it! I like to alternate between sitting and standing at work and at home. This is my new stand up digs. Someone suggested mounting a 4K TV for a monitor and the rest is history.
My monitor is a Toshiba 4K 43" TV.

Home Stand Up Desk

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Nice!

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horstn profile image
horst

This is my one. It is in a corner of my small tabletop studio, as I'm working now for ~ 60% as a photographer (doing this since 20+ years for 100%) and only the last years working in the programming field too. So it is all black and dark, but when programming, I can move the curtain on the left to uncover a window. :-)

Home office, sort of

I'm using a 27" and a 24" monitor.

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mateus_vahl profile image
Mateus Vahl

After a long year, my workstation is almost complete

Next on my list:

  1. Monitor: mechanical arm: it's arriving
  2. A new chair
  3. A macbook stand(Any cheap indications?)

workspace

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kayis profile image
K (he/him)

I'm intrigued by that display!

I was looking into buying a new screen soon.

At the moment I'm using a 27" 16:10 screen because I love the additional height in the IDE when having code on top and a shell on the bottom.

I was looking into these 21:9 things because they are big, but I have to admit I'd like something more ... square XD

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I don’t like turning my head from side to side too much. So I like a bit of extra vertical space more.

This monitor needs to be quite far from you to be comfortable though!

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kayis profile image
K (he/him)

I see.
My home-office is only 2m wide and the desk alone is 70cm, so I guess I'd go for something smaller, thanks :)

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owenconti profile image
Owen Conti πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

I just sold that monitor yesterday. It was nice but I found the DPI too low which was causing eye fatigue. I also had it much closer to my face than your setup, though.

Good idea about keeping everything in the drawers! Maybe drilling some holes or leaving the drawer cracked will help with the heat issue.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I suspect I'd definitely feel that way if I were closer. I now have it further than I even had it before and feel better than before.

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jdp80 profile image
jdp80 • Edited on

Something to watch for - if you’re spending long periods at a desk, according to our workstation assessment people, we should try to have

  • feet flat on the floor/footrest
  • elbows at 90 degrees
  • back fully supported by the backrest
  • allow some 'lean back' movement in the chair
  • top of monitor(s) at eye level

We're all different shapes and sizes so it can be tricky to solve all these suggestions at once - don’t discount cheap fixes like footrests, desk risers, monitors on books before buying new desks and chairs.

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mintii profile image
Brittney Braxton

Ergonomics are so important. I really strive for that at home and at work. And lately, I think about it while in rideshare. Like, "this chair is not ergonomic enough. Let me adjust all the settings to get comfortable" πŸ˜…

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katnel20 profile image
Katie Nelson

Looks awesome! And you get to stare out the window all day when you're not typing.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I know, it’s awesome!!

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

The keys can all be pulled, and either rearranged or replaced with different keys from WASD keyboards. Unfortunately, the hardware switches at the back are only for switching between QWERTY, DVORAK, etc, but perhaps you could theoretically tell your computer to treat it like a Spanish layout anyway. The only other downside is that the WASD replacement keys don't support the backlight. So...blah.

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suther profile image
Samuel Suther • Edited on

Nice clean HomeOffice. I'm working since 2005 99,8% in HomeOffice.
I really like the clean look of your office, but I think you should at least add some "live" to your Office like a plant, or an (big) Image (maybe of Landscape) you love.

It makes "looking around" between phases of high concentration more comfortable and give your Eyes a place to rest (and refocus) for some seconds.

For me, my Keyboard (Ergodox) also is a piece of "feeling Home". It's the ergonomically Keyboard I found outside. (BTW: I didn't use qwertz or qwerty-Layout anymore, but NEO2, because I'm a Programmer which often needs special-characters like \/{}*?()-: ...)

So long in short - what I try to say: Not only make your room comfortable, but also your working-schema and create some routines (e.g. break for 5 Minutes every hour (Screen-Free-Time!)..).

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amandaiaria profile image
Amanda Iaria

So not to derail but the reviewer's keyboard is amazing and I need it. Mostly for the colors :P

Anyway.

I like the dressser idea. Storage and keeping all those cords hidden. I get anxiety from too much shit on my desk :P

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ninjabunny9000 profile image
πŸ’Ύ bun9000

YAYYY!!! #workstations hype!!!!

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wshayes profile image
William Hayes

I can definitely recommend the Ikea sit/stand desk for that large monitor. I also have a 40" 4K monitor. I put it on a little 5" shelf on the Ikea desk and the desk/monitor moves up and down as I stand or sit. It's just above my laptop screen so I can use both screens as I use my laptop directly with the attached monitor.

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