Office Tour: Home Office Desk Setup
January 23, 2022
In this post, I’m sharing a detailed tour of my home office and all of the products I use for my desk setup.
For the past few years, I have been working from home as a software developer. Since I spend a good portion of my day here in the office, my goal was to create the most comfortable and productive workspace. Tour my office and desk setup below!
Office and Desk Setup Sources
Here is a complete list of everything I use in my home office:
- Desk Legs (updated): Uplift Motorized standing desk frame
- Desk: Ikea Gerton table top and Ikea metal desk legs
- Chair: Herman Miller Embody (Read my full review here)
- Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 34” Curved Monitor
- Desktop Computer: Custom built Hackintosh
- Work Laptop: i9 16-inch MacBook Pro
- Studio Monitors: Wavecrest HVL-1 Studio Monitors
- Speaker Stands: Synthizer 3S-X Speaker Stands
- Subwoofer: 10-Inch Klipsch R-10SW 300W Subwoofer
- Amplifier: SMSL AD18 Amplifier
- Speaker Wire: Custom made speaker wire with MediaBridge Banana Plugs and
- Headset: Logitech Zone Wireless Headset
- In-ear Headphones: Apple AirPods Pro
- Laptop Stand: Macally Vertical Laptop Stand
- Home Server Shelf: Ikea Bekant Shelf
- NAS: Synology DS418play NAS
- Smart Home and Media Server: Intel i5 NUC (newer model linked)
- Security Camera Hub / Network Controller: UniFi Cloud Key Gen 2 Plus
- Security Camera / Baby Monitor: UniFi G3 Instant Camera
- Network Switch: Netgear 8-Port Gigabit Switch
- Network Access Point: UniFi AP AC Lite
- Printer: Brother Laser Printer
- Sony Battery Charger: Nitecore Battery Charger
- Shelf: CB2 Ladder Shelf
- Accent Wall Paint: Sherwin Williams Peppercorn in Matte
The Affordable Ikea Desk
For the past 7 years, I’ve used the same Ikea Gerton tabletop and metal legs, and they’ve held up nicely. The solid beech wood desktop is stained with Honey by Minwax and sealed with Minwax Semigloss Polyurethane. The beauty of a solid wood top is that it can be sanded and refinished very easily.
Unfortunately, the Gerton desktop and Ikea desk legs are no longer sold. But I’d recommend taking a look at the Ikea Karlby Countertop if you’re looking for a wood desktop. While it’s a veneer, the walnut finish looks great.
I’ve recently been thinking about replacing the desk with a motorized standing desk or finding a set of motorized desk legs. Before working from home, I went into an office where I had a standing desk, and I would end up standing a few hours a day, which I would love to be able to do at home too.
Ergonomic Office Chair
The Herman Miller Embody Chair is one of my favorite items in the office. Most days I spend over 8 hours in the office, so having a comfortable, ergonomic chair is extremely important. If you’re working from home or spending an extended amount of time at your desk, I highly recommend spending a little more on a higher-end chair.
Check out my full Herman Miller Embody review here.
The company I work at sent me a Dell UltraSharp 34” Curved Monitor to use for working from home. Switching from a BenQ 34” 4K monitor, I’ve been really enjoying the aspect ratio of an ultrawide. However, I do miss the higher resolution and sharpness of 4K. If I were to have purchased a new monitor myself, I would have opted for the 38” variant or gone with a larger 49” ultrawide.
The best feature of the Dell UltraSharp is that I can seamlessly switch between my desktop and work MacBook. The monitor has a built-in USB hub where I have all of my peripherals connected. The MacBook connects to the monitor through a single USB-C cable that transmits both data and power. The desktop is connected with a Display Port cable and USB-A cable for the USB hub. Finally, I have an HDMI cable plugged in for when I want to play switch in the office.
The monitor is mounted to a Vivo Monitor Arm. The model that I chose is not the most adjustable but it was on the cheaper end. I don’t move the placement of my monitor often, so I didn’t need anything fancy. I love the extra desk real estate that a monitor arm provides along with the floating look it gives the monitor.
Computer and Laptop
My main personal computer is a custom-built Hackintosh that I built back in 2016. Some of the parts are starting to feel dated, but I did upgrade the graphics card a few years ago from a GTX 1080 to an RX 5700 XT because MacOS dropped support for Nvidia graphics cards. However, it’s still able to handle my workload of photo/video editing, Android development, and basic frontend web development.
A Hackintosh allows me to use MacOS for software development and for everyday use along with the ability to play games on Windows. However, the Hackintosh learning curve was a bit steep, and staying up to date with MacOS updates can be a time-consuming process. I’ll most likely get an actual Mac when the time comes.
My employer provided me with an i9 16-inch MacBook Pro to use for work. The laptop usually stays docked on the desk, as I’ve been completely remote.
Simple but functional Peripherals
A friend of mine got me into building mechanical keyboards a few years ago. This custom-built 60% Linear Keyboard is one that I’m rotating back into the setup. I prefer my other 60% Tactile Keyboard, but I felt like switching things up.
The MX Master 2S Mouse has been rock solid. I thought about upgrading to the MX Master 3, but I couldn’t find a big enough reason. I’ll probably wait until the next Logitech MX mouse is released.
I have a 720p Logitech Webcam for video calls. It’s not very fancy but it does the job well. I only use it for video, as I use a headset with a mic for audio.
I never like wearing headphones for long periods of time, so I wanted to have a decent-sounding speaker setup. The speaker and subwoofer combination is definitely overkill for the size of the office, but the setup will be future-proof for when I move to a new space.
Recently, I haven’t been using the speaker setup as often because our son’s nursery is next door to the office. I recently got a pair of Apple AirPods Pro shortly after switching to an iPhone. I find myself using the AirPods when I need to keep the sound to a minimum. The auto-switching feature on the AirPods makes it easy to switch between my desktop, laptop, phone, and iPad.
The speakers are HVL-1 studio monitors from a small company called Wavecrest. The sound quality is amazing for the price and I love that there is no branding anywhere on the speaker. Unfortunately, it seems that Wavecrest is no longer in business, but here are a few other speaker options I came across when researching speakers: ELAC Bookshelf Speakers, Fluance Elite Speakers, Cambridge Audio SX-50 Speakers.
The most recent addition to the setup are these Synthizer 3S-X Speaker Stands. They’re a simple 2 piece speaker stand with a few levels of adjustment. The stands elevate the speakers and slightly angle them up which points the speakers directly at ear level.
The sub is a 10-Inch Klipsch R-10SW 300W Subwoofer. Again, this is overkill for the size of the room, but I keep the gain extremely low to balance with the speakers.
I’m using an SMSL AD18 Amplifier to power the speakers. The amplifier is plugged into the USB hub, so it will also seamlessly switch between my desktop and laptop. The amplifier also has Bluetooth connectivity, so I can connect to other devices like the Nintendo Switch.
My employer was kind enough to also send me a Logitech Zone Wireless Headset which I solely use for video calls. The active noise cancellation is surprisingly good and the microphone quality is much better than the built-in mic on the webcam.
Desk Setup Accessories
I replaced the previous Steel Series Desk Mat with an Oakywood Felt and Cork Desk Mat. I love the textured look of felt in photos, but I’ve found the material to be a little scratchy on the wrists. The next desk mat or mouse pad I’ll get will be leather.
To save desk space, I have a Macally Vertical Laptop Stand. Since the laptop stays docked on the desk most of the time, I have it tucked behind the monitor.
I picked up an Apple MagSafe Charger when I switched to an iPhone. I really like that the MagSafe design ensures that the phone is always properly aligned on the charger.
While power outages and surges are rare, I have all important hardware plugged into an APC UPS Battery Backup (newer model linked). An uninterruptible power supply will continue to provide power to devices along with providing surge protection. In the event of a power outage, the UPS will sound an audible alarm and will continue to power my desktop, monitor, and server equipment for 20-30 minutes, which is more than enough time to shut everything down safely.
Home Server Shelf
I was on the hunt for a shelf that would be able to hold hardware that required ventilation and have a way to neatly route cables. I eventually came across the Ikea Bekant shelf which ticked all the boxes. While it’s one of the more expensive items from Ikea, it’s very solid and was exactly what I was looking for.
Check out my dedicated post on the Ikea Bekant Shelf.
Synology Network Attached Storage
My wife and I store all of our files on this Synology DS418play NAS. A network attached storage is a storage device that’s connected to a home or office network. This allows us to share files easily, and be able to keep an archive of our documents and photos. Google Photos recently removed the unlimited photo and video backup feature, so we recently migrated to the Synology Photos app to back up our photos and video from our phones.
Smart Home and Media Server
We’ve been using Home Assistant for controlling our smart home automation since moving into our current house. I previously had it running on a Raspberry Pi, but it quickly became a bottleneck once I kept adding additional devices and automations. So I upgraded to an Intel i5 NUC (newer model linked) which has more than enough power for our Home Assistance instance. I also recently set up a Plex media server on the NUC. It’s been really convenient streaming local content to our TVs.
When researching baby monitors, I couldn’t find anything that would allow us to store footage locally. All of the baby monitors required some sort of cloud subscription. I did a bit of research and decided on trying out UniFi Protect running on an UniFi Cloud Key Gen 2 Plus since I was already using UniFi networking gear. UniFi had also just launched the $30 G3 Instant Camera. This solution has been a solid baby monitor along with a few security cameras around the house.
A Netgear 8-Port Gigabit Switch and custom length Cat 6 ethernet cable were used to hardwire all of the equipment on the shelf. The office also has the UniFi AP AC Lite which provides WiFi for this floor of our townhouse.
I originally wanted to hide the Brother Laser Printer in the closet, but I realized that it fits perfectly in the Bekant Shelf. The printer itself has been great. I highly recommend a laser printer if you print infrequently since the toner that laser printers use doesn’t dry out ink in inkjet printers.
Sony Camera Battery Chargers
There’s a small battery charging station at the top of the Bekant unit. I just picked up the Nitecore Battery Charger for Sony A7IV batteries and love the additional charging information it shows over a normal battery charger. Finally, I have my Nintendo Switch and Pro Controllers on the Bekant for easy access.
Modern + Minimal Office Shelf
The shelf to the side of my desk is a CB2 Ladder Shelf. The 96″ height of the shelves fits perfectly with the 9 ft ceilings of the office. Highly recommend this shelf if you’re going for a modern minimal look – super sturdy and great quality!
The lower half of the shelves are used for functional storage or items that I need to access often like camera lenses, GoPros, keyboards, UE Megablast Bluetooth speaker, and a few leather storage bins. While the top shelves have decor and a small display of Apple boxes.
Monitor Light Bar
The most used light in the office is the BenQ ScreenBar Plus with Desktop Dial. This ScreenBar attaches to the top of the monitor, and the light emitted is directed down onto the desk surface. None of the light hits the screen, so there’s no added glare. The ScreenBar comes with a dial that controls brightness and color temperature. The dial also has a light sensor that can automatically dim the light bar as the light in the environment changes.
The ScreenBar is always on while I’m at my desk. During the day, it’s nice to have a little extra light since the office doesn’t get any direct sunlight. At night the ScreenBar is the only light I’ll turn on. The office stays dark and moody while preventing any eye strain from a bright monitor.
Nanoleaf Light Panels
Above the desk, I have a set of Nanoleaf Light Panels mounted on the accent wall. At night I’ll usually keep the color as pure white and turn the brightness way down to add a little fill light in the office.
The office has an 8-Light Semi Flush Mount ceiling fixture (similar Amazon option) that’s paired with a hardwired GE Smart Switch. The smart switch allows us to control the light with either the Home Assistant dashboard on our phones or with a Google Assistant command.
I picked up a BMW F80 M3 a little over a year ago, so I was on the hunt for an M3 poster I could hang in the office. I eventually found HivePosters on Etsy, who sells a BMW M3 Evolution Poster. The poster contains all of the different M3 generations. I found out that the seller does custom orders, so I’m thinking of ordering a custom print of my exact car.
The print is framed in an 18×24 frame Fametory Metal Frame. We’ve tried a bunch of frames in the past and these are our favorite frames to achieve a modern minimal look.
I grew up playing with Legos and my dream motorcycle was a Ducati 899 Panigale, so it was a no-brainer to get a Lego Ducati Panigale V4 R for the office. I’d love to pick up a few more sets and build up a Lego Technic collection, but some of the sets get ridiculously expensive or are impossible to find. I was eying the Porsche 991 GT3 RS, but it appears to be discontinued and hard to come by.
Dark Accent Wall
I always loved the look of dark and moody setups. After comparing a bunch of different color swatches, I landed on Sherwin Williams Peppercorn in a matte finish. I found it to be a good middle ground between pure black and too light of a gray.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of my office and that you gained some inspiration for your own workspace. If you have questions about any of the products, feel free to ask them below, or reach out to me on Instagram @tdchow!
This post was all about my home office desk setup.