In this blog, I’ll give you a tour of my minimalist desk setup and share with you how I created a home office that is conducive to my work style and most importantly, a space that I enjoy being in.
For me, my home office serves as a space for productivity and creativity, but also serves as a place of refuge. While I spend a lot of time here during the day working from home, it’s also a place for me to kick back and relax in my personal time.
Given that I steer towards a utilitarian vibe, my preference is to keep the overall design elements of the space as neutral as possible. To brighten up my office, I painted the walls white and hung a geometric self-adhesive wallpaper for the feature wall. The Nanoleaf panels add a pop of color and ambient light. When curating this space, I incorporated elements from my past and present to add my personality and make the space uniquely my own.
The centrepiece of my office is my desk setup. I like my desktop to be clean and minimal with very few distractions or clutter. The foundation of my desk setup is the popular Ikea Karlby countertop. The first time I saw the Karlby being used as a desktop was in a desk setup video from Nobatech around 5 years ago. Being that I gravitate to a mid-century modern aesthetic, a walnut desktop was a must have for me. The 72 inches of desk real estate provided by the Karlby allows me to comfortably accommodate all my desktop essentials.
For the past 6 years I’ve been sitting in a Herman Miller Embody chair that I bought secondhand. This is an extremely comfortable chair that provides all day comfort and exceptional back support. Draped over the back of my chair is a Brazil national team football scarf. I was raised a Brazil supporter, but with Canada qualifying for the World Cup this year, I feel I’m going to need a replacement scarf.
Over the years of being a desk setup enthusiast, I’ve learned that less is more, and my desk surface is a reflection of that. To protect my desktop from nicks and scratches, I’m currently using a wool desk mat in charcoal by Grovemade in the medium plus size. The dark wool fabric of the mat brings the wood tone of the Karlby to life. The texture of this mat is a perfect contrast to the wood grain of the desk. The plus size adds extra depth and is a perfect size for the Karlby. The wool fabrication is very soft and comfortable to the touch. While some Grovemade products can seem like a higher price-point, they are high quality and made to last, making them a worthwhile investment.
I currently keep two different mice at my desk – one for work and one for play. I use the Evoluent wireless vertical mouse during office hours for its ergonomic benefits, and I use the Logitech G305 for light gaming. Neither mouse has any tracking issues on the wool desk mat.
My current keyboard of choice is a full sized Keychron K10 with custom keycaps. While I prefer the aesthetic of 65% and TKL keyboards, I found not having a number pad to be inconvenient while working. Having the numpad is worth the trade-off in size. Due to the height of the K10, I highly recommend a wrist rest for better ergonomics and comfort.
The Grovemade keyboard wrist rest with numeric keypad is the perfect size for the K10. The mix of leather and walnut creates an aesthetically pleasing accessory, while being functional as well. The mix of wool and leather textures on the desktop tie in very nicely with each other and the touch of walnut anchors the overall look.
For my monitors, I’m using a 34” Alienware ultrawide in landscape and a 21” Benq in portrait mode both on monitor arms. I’ve been using this monitor arrangement for a number of years now, and I find using two monitors is best for my workflow.
In keeping with the minimal theme, I’m using the Cooler Master NR200 mini itx PC case to save space on my desktop. To declutter even further, I make use of the case chasse by using magnetic hooks to hang my Quest 2 controllers and an NZXT puck to mount my game pad.
Music plays an important role in my day, and often sets the tempo for me. During working hours, I typically listen to lo-fi or ambient playlists on Spotify to keep me focused. The heart of my audio setup is currently an ifi Zen Dac 2 paired with a SMSL AO200 amplifier. Being that I’m an audio enthusiast, it’s important for me to have clear and crisp sound.
Connected to the AO200 amplifier are a pair of Gallo Acoustic micro speakers. I like these speakers because they leave a tiny footprint on my desk and provide a neutral sound. For added sonic clarity, each of these speakers sits on an Iso-acoustic puck. The improvement in sound when using these isolators is night and day. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to improve your audio experience, they are worth checking out.
For the past few months, I was using the Hifiman HE400se headphones as my primary cans, but recently I purchased the Sennheiser 560s headphones to add to my audio setup. Both the 400’s and the 560’s are incredible values, but the 560s are the clear winner in sound reproduction.
For video conferencing, my webcam of choice is the Logitech Brio 4K, which captures a crisp and wide high-quality image. For my microphone, I’m using an AudioTechnica AT4040 mic. My 4040 is currently mounted to a Rode PSA1 boom arm which has recently become my go to boom arm.
Over the past two years working from home, I’ve found the easiest way to build rapport with folks over video calls is to have a backdrop as a talking piece. I always get complements and questions about my guitars behind me and my statue collection. The back wall in my office is a showcasing my interests and hobbies. The three Radiohead prints are a throwback to my original desk setup, which my wife recently had framed for me. Below is a cutaway poster of the Enterprise D, which I got when I was around 10 years old. I spent countless hours studying this poster, so I think it’s pretty cool that I’m able to put it back up on my wall and reminisce about the days of TNG. Growing up I was a Marvel comic book fan, so it only makes sense to have my favorite characters on display.
To the right of my statues, I have my guitars hung for easy access. I’ve had these guitars for more than half my life, but for the most part, I only play the two Telecasters cause they are my favorites.
One nice thing about having my guitars nearby is if I find myself stumped on a work project, I noodle around for a little bit to help get some creative energy flowing.
In my down time, I’m typically chilling out in my Secretlab Titan chair with a good book, or strapping on my Quest 2 headset and relaxing in a meditation app or watching a movie in Skybox VR player.
The most important piece in my office besides the head cat in charge is the one that is most overlooked and that’s my yellow flag. In my twenties I had cancer, and a year after I’d beaten it, I participated in a Conquer Cancer bike ride to give back to the folks who helped me. While I absolutely don’t believe in hustle culture and the slogans and posters that go along with it, this yellow flag reminds me to always keep pushing forward.
Future projects for this room will be to change up the accent wall for a more modern contemporary feel, and potentially upgrading to an electronic sit to stand desk, but time will tell. Stay tuned for future updates.