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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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What is key to a great home office setup?

I'm moving places in a couple weeks and I'm primed to really create a great home office situation.

How should I go about doing this, any tips?

Top comments (64)

nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor • Edited

Some of these points have already been made, but this is what I look for in a home office:

  • Dedicated space, preferably a separate room. I currently have my office in the basement in a roughly 8' x 10' space.
  • Plants
  • A window, because it can get depressing when no natural light is coming in.
  • A decent desk. I'm guilty here. I have an IKEA long desk that I paid 64$ for. It's something I'm looking to upgrade next year. We have standing desks at work, so I will probably go with one as well for home (suggestions welcome 😉) UPDATE: I just got a standing desk setup.

My standing desk was delivered and I just got it all assembled this evening.

So I went with the black desktop. Really excited to start working on this badass piece of office furniture.

The big win of this is it’s a 1000$ CAD desk that was on sale for 439.99$ + tax and I had awards points from work for some cool stuff I’ve done over the past little while, so the grand total came to 27.94$.

  • A good chair. Mine is not bad. I can't remember the model, but I bought a Tempurpedic chair from Staples a couple of years ago. I believe this is the one, I got it on sale at the time, so it looks like it's about 150$ more now.
  • A decent monitor. Mine is not bad. It's a BENQ 27" that is not 4K. I will probably upgrade that at some point.
  • Kungfu Hamster with optional mace. This is optional, but he makes for a great rubber duck when debugging 😉

Kungfu Hamster and Plants

Desk Setup

kingo55 profile image
Robert Kingston

What's the Honeywell device at the back-right?

nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor • Edited
katieadamsdev profile image
Katie Adams

Disagree with you here, Nick. KungFu Hamster is absolutely not optional.

ruffle1986 profile image
Tamas Fodor • Edited

I like the tiger plants. The best things about them are that they don't require too much care and remove toxins (some of them) from the air. Aaand look great of course.

lmuzquiz profile image

Dont forget good ventilation, nice odor. (Candles are welcome), and good light.

healeycodes profile image
Andrew Healey

Plants! 🌱🌿🌾

I really underestimated how they make a space feel. I'm currently trying to automate a watering system 😊.

technoplato profile image
Michael Lustig -

In the same vane as underestimating the plants value, don’t underestimate how good it feels taking care of something (despite the extra effort)

Automating is a cool project, but doesn’t it bring you a feeling of joy when you water them yourself? 💦 🌱 = 😊

healeycodes profile image
Andrew Healey

I agree!

The automation is for when I'm away for a while.

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technoplato profile image
Michael Lustig -

Super cool. What’s your approach looking like?

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healeycodes profile image
Andrew Healey

Preliminary research at the moment.

I have a few Raspberry Pis and bits and bobs I've been testing but I'll be buying the watering parts this week 😊.

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technoplato profile image
Michael Lustig -

So cool! Best of luck.

jonnyeom profile image
Jonny Eom

Thoughts on fake plants?

Or do real plants make a significant difference?

healeycodes profile image
Andrew Healey

I prefer real because then actions are required. It’s the caring that’s significant for me.

Fake can still look nice though 🙂

Thread Thread
jonnyeom profile image
Jonny Eom

Never thought of it that way. I always thought it just the green that helped.

Any plants you recommend?

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healeycodes profile image
Andrew Healey

Sansevieria. It's hardy and doesn't need tons of water or light.

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ruffle1986 profile image
Tamas Fodor

I highly recommend tiger plants and/or aloe vera. They don't require much care so you don't have to worry about them and they'll be always green. I believe it's enough to water them once a month. And they not fake :D

lmuzquiz profile image
lmuzquiz • Edited

I have a separate room on my home. But sometimes i go to the garden or to a Tim Hortons / Starbucks or any kind of restaurant to work. I also some times work on our living room or even in bed. But those are exceptions.

My wife puts odor candles in my office so it smells very nice. It is also very clean and well ventilated.

This is my setup. I also have. One window. Two ferns (one looke more like a little tree) both of them are fake.

And believe it or not we have one big religious image It's a statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe.

my home office

vepo profile image
Victor Osório • Edited

I'm always doing home office. In my house I have a reserved room with a table, lot of books.

But the most important part is make sure that you can isolate yourself from your house. Prepare for work: water, coffee and close the door.

I could work from home all maternity license from my wife... Six months!

elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

A nice view! One that you can stare at while you sit behind your desk.

Being able to not look at the problem you are working on is a valuable tool to solve problems. It's also a nice way to relieve stress. The most perfect case would also allow you to go outside a bit (e.g. a balcony).

simov profile image
simo • Edited

Definitely ergonomics. You are sacrificing a lot by staying alone at home, so why not make it a win?

  1. Orhotpedic mattress. I know, it's not part of your office, but sleeping in a comfortable bed made a huge difference to my entire well being.
  2. Ergonomic chair, you know, the one that can tilt naturally with your body. It have to have some sort of a weight in it, no idea how that works exactly.
  3. Standup desk. While I can't say I stay up all day, nor do I have a specific schedule to get up, I've noticed that whenever I feel like getting up, it's very nice to have it. Also you can adjust your desk depending on your mood, the tilt example above, or in the cases when you feel like sitting up straight.
  4. Monitor arm. I rarely move mine TBH, but it's nice to have it anyway. It's important to keep your neck straight. It also makes your table space cleaner.
  5. Comfortable keyboard and mouse. I've noticed that having a keyboard with a numpad required my right hand on the mouse to be way to the right. Especially when you are a touch typist, and so that resulted in significant pain in my right shoulder over the years.
  6. Soft padding for your wrists and elbows. Any thick enough and soft mat would do it. Rubbing your arms on hard surfaces over prolonged period can lead to serious nerve injuries.
  7. 120Hz monitor. I know that's highly controversial, most of the people think that's nonsense, but if you are sensitive to flickering it's a must have.
  8. Ear muffs. Yep, I do have headphones, and earplugs too, but in all those other cases when you do need just silence, construction grade over the ear, ear muffs can help you get into the zone.
  9. In case you are in close proximity to a window, you have to be able to control the amount of daylight to the point of complete blackout. Thick blinds can help you with that.

Everything else is a plus. I'm yet to experiment with good lighting BTW.

mmaitoza profile image
Michael Maitoza

I really like your setup. I have a beautiful extra room which is similar to the room you are describing. I think I will work on it some and see what comes out of it.

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

Splurge on the tools to make it comfortable! You'll be spending a lot of time in your home office, so you should make it a place you look forward to being in.

I've invested in a CODE Keyboard, a nice monitor (surprisingly, from a thrift store!), a comfortable Logitech mouse, and pretty sweet JVC HA-NC250 noise-cancelling headphones. I've also been blessed with a solid wood desk from a friend, and a wonderful high-back chair I was given for my birthday a couple of years ago.

I also love physical books, so I have a handy reference section on my desk. I've got a couple of whiteboards, a corkboard, a desk calendar, and this dude for rubber-ducking...

Doctor Whooves

As a result, my workspace is somewhere I legitimately enjoy working.

I listed out the rest of my hardware and software gear here:

simbo1905 profile image
Simon Massey

If there isn't a big window, or you live in a country far from the equator where you can feel winter is coming already like me, then get some sort of ”lightbox” to ensure that you have a bright environment that simulates natural daylight in your field of vision while you are working. This has a huge effect for me.

skydevht profile image
Holy-Elie Scaïde

Not really a home setup, but more of a temporary Airbnb setup:
Separate work\other stuff location
Headphones (Construction site nearby)
Comfort (I travel with my mechanical keyboard and an adjustable stand)
Something to look at (either a picture or a window) while thinking

jacobherrington profile image
Jacob Herrington (he/him)

My home office is designed to help me focus, but also to satisfy my wandering mind.

I can't stress how much having plants in my office has improved my general mood. I have a dieffenbachia, a sansevieria, and two ZZ plants in my office, all great in low light and hard to kill.

It's pretty great to have a whiteboard in my home office. It helps me keep track of the things that float out of my head during the workweek. I also use notebooks like crazy for this!

I've also found that having my Bass in my office is a great way to take a break from writing (words or code). The same goes for having some books in my office. I keep about a fourth of my home library in my office (a few dozen are on the floor and need some shelving).

I have a second desk (previously my gaming desk) that my brother will sometimes use when we pair program on stuff. Generally, though, I prefer others don't come in my office, so it remains a space focused on work for me. My wife (who works from home too) tends to keep to her office (down the hall) or one of the other rooms in our house while I work.

Also, I'm a big fan of candles/scent diffusers, but sometimes I have to ventilate the room when I overuse them.

Unfortunately, I haven't done a great job of decorating the walls in my office and I think that would have a pretty positive impact on my mood. That and adding some ambient lighting are the next two things on my wishlist.

Other things I wish my home office had: better wall colors, more windows (stuck with one at the moment), and sit/stand desk (missing this from my old office job).

My desks, some books, and the walls:

My Bass and some of the plants:

johnbwoodruff profile image
John Woodruff • Edited

Obviously everyone will have differing opinions on what is "required" for your home office. I will simply put down what I have, with the understanding that I absolutely love working from home in this environment.

Definitely agree with the comments about a clear separation. It needs to have a door that you can close. That way you "go to work" in the morning and "come home" in the evening. (or whenever) For me since I have a wife and son, it's easiest for me to have a lock on the door. If I'm in there working, I lock the door.

Comfortable sitting environment. This means quality desk and chair. I personally use the Autonomous SmartDesk Business Edition as well as their ErgoChair2. They're super affordable compared to other options for high quality comfortable working conditions.

Excellent monitor(s). I have one large 49 inch ultrawide monitor and it's incredible. I never feel like I don't have the room I need. It's not 4k, as much as I'd love it to be, but it's way more than I need.

Comfortable keyboard. I LOVE my CODE Mechanical Keyboard. Full size, clear switches, it's beautifully simplistic and super comfortable to type on.

Quality headphones. I don't want to hear my family and I don't want to subject them to constantly hearing my music muffled in my office. I use the Bose QC25's and they're amazing, I put them on and I'm able to easily get in the zone.

Also, I personally have two laptops. One is my work-issued laptop, and the other is my personal laptop. I recommend this for a number of reasons. First, you don't have to worry about whether it's okay to do personal projects on a work machine. Second, I don't have all my games, applications, etc., from my personal machine on my work machine. Those are temptations for me when I'm working, so I keep work stuff on my work machine. That's just what works well for me.

Natural light. This is important to my mental health. If I'm working in a place that's dark or poorly lit, I don't feel as good. Natural light is excellent at staving off those feelings.

Some fun things to make the space yours. For myself, I have various Legend of Zelda decorations around my office, as that's my favorite game franchise. Just make it yours.

alansolitar profile image
Alan Solitar

Sit standing desks are awesome and I would never work again without one. I love the mental clarity, improved health, and ability to switch between standing/sitting whenever I feel like it.

If anyone is interested about standing desks, feel free to check this out.

quantiumdev profile image
Don Ferris • Edited

My number one recommendation- multiple monitors. 2 is infinitely better than one, and 3 is a big step up from 2. This is especially essential for coding, IMO. I’ve had 3 monitors for 4-5 years now and I still can’t imagine how I ever got by with a single monitor. I know a guy who has a big ultrawide monitor. It’s pretty cool (and he loves it for gaming) but I much prefer my triple monitor setup.

My number 2 recommendation is to make it your own - whether that means Star Wars memorabilia everywhere or framed Salvador Dali prints or whatever. Paint your walls your favorite color... make it a place you’ll enjoy spending time. If you’re a music lover, don’t settle for crappy computer speakers - get a really nice Bluetooth speaker (I LOVE my Marshall Kilburn) or go all out and setup a receiver and some good bookshelf speakers - maybe even a subwoofer. My office/lab has “floating shelves” high up on the walls (we have high ceilings) on which I have many Tiki gods, parrots, conch shells, hula girls, and a set of bongos. There’s also a hanging puffer fish lamp for ambiance. When I walk into my office, I say, “Alexa, take me to the Tiki Lounge” and she turns on the puffer fish lamp and starts playing vintage Hawaiian music on my Marshall Kilburn Bluetooth speaker. Always makes me smile!

I also really LOVE my 19” equipment rack... (get a 4 poster - NOT 2! Sometimes businesses actually throw them out/give them away so watch Craigslist and don’t overpay.) I put my main PC in a 4U rackmount case and it lives in my rack along with my media server, a rackmount UPS, power conditioner, switch panel, 2 printers, and a couple shelves to hold small miscellaneous stuff like my modem, router, and a few Raspberry Pis (home automation hub, Pihole, etc.) I used to have a vintage Harman Kardon receiver at the top connected to a pair of Klipsch bookshelf speakers but I got a really good offer on the Klipsch speakers and decided the Marshall Bluetooth speaker was good enough for my office (background music) needs.

Oh - and if you’ll be doing multiple things in your office, consider more than one workspace(/desk, etc.) I have two desks in an L-formation and I roll my chair from one to the other. It’s fantastic!

darksmile92 profile image
Robin Kretzschmar

First of all: measure every centimeter of your space! You'd want to have a digital or physical note with all the measures when you shop for a table, a chair, decorative stuff and so on. It's really a time safer!

I recently bought an electric standing desk (Ikea "Bekant") and I love it!

Make sure you have enough power strips for your equipment because nothing sucks more than moving and noticing you don't have enough of them afterwards... Trust me on this one 😅

After that, follow the other tips in the comments here :)

pedrohba1 profile image
Pedro Bufulin

a chair that goes 180 degrees.
Also, if you don't have a separate room for your working related stuff, buy a blanket and put over it. I heard it helps as much as having a separate room to leave work-mode

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