Putting Together the Perfect Work-From-Home Office That'll Get You Out of Bed in the Morning

By: Kathy L. Nguyen | Published 2.8.23
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For me personally, working from home has been a major game changer. It's been so liberating being able to not worry about commuting back and forth. I've always been a more independent worker in the office and having the space to focus on my work without people around or worse, a hovering boss, has been such an improvement for my confidence and mental health. 

You also may find yourself working in less than ideal conditions: on your bed or on your kitchen table on a chair that hurts your back. These working conditions might be fine short-term but if WFH is something you want to maintain long-term, it's time to build a home office that'll motivate you to get out of bed in the morning.

When's Housekeeping Coming In Again? 

One of the only disadvantages of working from home is that you are now solely responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your office space.

If you aren't regularly interfacing with clients, it's easy it let clutter build around you as you have no society around to shame you for your mess. 

Scientifically Speaking

After 20 years of research, Princeton Psychology Professor, Sabine Kastner has come to the conclusion that "visual clutter competes with our brain’s ability to pay attention and tires out our cognitive functions over time." That means that while working in a messy bedroom might be fine temporarily, doing so over an extended period of time will have negative consequences on your cognitive abilities and well being. This is no bueno at all.

Let's Aim to Do Better, Fam

I believe that it's important to consider two elements when building your ideal WFH office. Ask yourself how you like to work and consider your lifestyle and living space. Based on my lifestyle and how I like to work, this is what works for me. What I am presenting are suggestions and ideas. If they don't work for you, that's completely fine. 

If some of the items mentioned in this article are not in your budget, there are many great alternatives out there. Let these ideas be just that: ideas.  My intention is to inspire and to get you thinking, not to force anything down your throat or cast any judgments.

So now that we understand each other, without ado, here's what I'd recommend to set up a killer WFH office that'll keep your mind clutter-free and calm so that you can tackle any of the deliverables on your dashboard.

Getting Sturdy: Surfaces That'll Hold It All Down

Have you tried working with a standing desk yet? I have many friends who haven't tried it yet but seem to already think that this method isn't for them. Don't be a hater, just try it. Using a standing desk has liberated me from so much back pain and helped me improve my posture so much. 
I like this model because it uses an electric motor to adjust the height which makes it super easy to switch between standing and seated modes. I usually start my work seated but like to shift to a standing position after an hour or two. With this desk you don't have to commit to either position definitively, making it the best desk for how I like to work. Your shoulders, neck, and upper back will thank you for it.
I also like this model because there's a USB outlet for charging my phone or iPad and it has a slide-out drawer where I can keep my office accessories, leaving my workspace just how I like it: clutter-free.

Okay, even though this article is all about setting up a space to work so that you'll get out of bed to work, we all know that's not happening on some days. And plus, what's the point of WFH if you can't work from bed sometimes

For that reason, this desk is ingenious. I prefer using a bed desk to a tray top because it gives me the ample space I need for my laptop, office supplies, and iPad if I'm working on that along with my computer. When you're done using this desk in bed, you can move it against a wall and use it as a seated desk. 

This isn't the most visually appealing desk of this type but my bed is a California King on a lifted bed frame so it's the only one that's big enough to go around it.

So most of you probably won't need this product and that's totally okay. I just wanted to suggest it since it's not something you typically see but it's something I personally use almost every day.

I'm a classical guitarist and like many musicians,  I use my iPad to read and edit the .pdfs of my sheet music. I used to just plop my iPad onto my music stand but since it doesn't have anything to secure it in place and my iPad would fall off the music stand quite regularly. 

You probably don't want your iPad crash landing onto the floor either, but hey: do you.

Tools of the Trade: Ideal Clickity-Clack Machines

In my opinion, this is the most premium laptop money can buy. 

If I were smarter and more dedicated, I could probably build myself a gaming desktop but high-end video and graphics cards and motherboards are so expensive that I don't even think it would reduce costs significantly. I also wouldn't know what I was doing, so I'd rather trust the folks over at Dell to have it all painlessly packaged for me. This laptop is literally plug-and-play and runs at a breakneck speed I've never experienced.

The keyboard on this laptop is also one of the best I've ever used as well. This makes this laptop good for actual work too and not just gaming. The gaming, obviously, is God-level.

At over 17 inches, I use this computer more as a stationary desktop. Its design and feel just make its vibe so, so premium. 

I've had a few MacBook Airs over the past 12 years and for the price point, I think they are absolute tanks. I've owned various PC laptops within the same price point and these computers both broke within the first year of usage. If you just use your computer for internet browsing, office applications, and word processing, this would be the only computer you need.

The best part about Macbook Air laptops is that they are extremely portable, they're easy to travel with so it's never a problem to take your work with you anywhere you go. 

If you have a nice iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard you've got yourself a decent portable office. You could arguably do all your work on the iPad but you can't install AdBlock on an iPad and who wants to sit through all those ads, yuck.

This iPad packs quite a punch when it comes to power and is used and is highly recommended by many of my friends who are animators and designers.

I'm neither a designer nor an animator but I am a devout user of GoodNotes and this application has literally changed my life. 

If I was still a private academic tutor as I had been in the past, GoodNotes to all my students as iPads are compulsory at many independent schools. 

Not only are you able to create and share the most beautiful, efficient, notes in your entire life but you can also upload .PDFs of your textbooks or class reading onto the app for annotating. The functions offered on GoodNotes for active readers to highlight and mark up texts far outshine the simple markup tools in the Books app. I swear I'd be a 4.0 student if I could go back to high school or college with it.

I upload all of my sheet music onto GoodNotes to annotate my music too and I haven't looked back nor printed anything physically since.

Office Essentials To Give You 'That Edge'

This printer has revolutionized my home office. This is my first ink tank printer and I absolutely love it. I need to do a lot of mid-volume printing, and this printer gets the job done quickly. I also like that you don't need to re-feed your paper if you need double-sided prints like my last cartridge ink HP printer.

The inks that the printer comes with will last you two years. This alone should be a selling point. 

A comfortable working position is super important to me. If seated incorrectly or if my shoulders are hunched over, I can end the day with severe upper back and neck stiffness. Being able to use my laptop as a monitor as I type using an external keyboard offers me the best visibility and comfort.

Like I said earlier, I like to shift between seated and standing positions during my work day. If you haven't noticed, comfort is super important to me. This executive chair has massage and heated options making it one of the most decadent office chairs I've ever come across.

I live in New England where temperatures fall below zero at night in the winter, on cold nights, having a heated chair has offered so much relief on my back. The massage functions aren't as amazing as a high-end massage chair but it does offer just enough relief to my tired muscles so that I'm able to get recharged and power through those tight deadlines.

Lastly, for all its great functions I like that this chair looks like a "normal" executive chair. I think it gives one a certain professional edge in Zoom meetings or Slack calls that a gamer chair just wouldn't. Sadly, in the professional world, optics matter and if you're a person of color like me, every inch of credibility counts.

Clickity-Clack Machine Accessories: Extras to Ensure You 'Whistle While You Work'

Look, if there were no unhinged, ridiculous shopping suggestions in this article, it wouldn't be a listicle written by me. Hear me out, we all need a break from work sometimes right? Super important.

Remember that Alienware laptop I suggested earlier? Now that you have access to your full Steam account, Xbox Game Pass, and basically any triple-star release you buy at your fingertips, you're gonna need a controller for that "console" experience. Every gamer knows that the Xbox controllers are the best to have ever existed, fight me if you think otherwise.

Don't cheap out and buy a shitty dupe, just get the real thing and live your best life. This shade of Mountain-Dew Neon Green is also crucial, try to find it if you can.

Tisk, one of the things I dislike is that I can't use my first-generation Apple Pencil on new iPads. If you use your iPad for a lot of drawing or writing as I do, make sure you grab a PaperLike matte screen protector or a similar product.

Don't rely solely on the touchpad mouse provided on your laptop unless you intentionally want to get tasks done much slower. Having an external mouse boosts your working speed and offers far more precision. This gives you an edge in basically any 'puter related task you need to accomplish. I'm not sure about you but I need to be able to access right-click, literally, at the touch of a button. I truly can't imagine living any other way.  

I've been using this cute Logitech mouse for 2 years now and it's still going strong I don't even think I've had to change the battery yet. I've also dropped this mouse many, many times from great heights. There have been many times when I'd accept that I had surely broken it. Nope! I just snapped the front cover back on and we were back in business. 

Lastly, I've also received many compliments on this mouse when I've used it in public. It's adorable, in a subtle way, and people certainly take notice. This feels good.

Logitech keyboards are always such a pleasure to use. I find myself falling through meditative trances sometimes when I'm really in the flow of my writing. This keyboard really elevates the sensory experience of writing which has been such a pleasure to experience. 

The size of this keyboard allows for easy storage. I like to bring it along when I'm traveling. I like to use the hotel's TV as a monitor and lay back on the big hotel bed as I plug away. I imagine that this is the luxury to which, formerly, only kings and queens had access too. What a time to be alive!

ACTION REQUIRED: Remember to Shut It All Down Too

Having the right tools around and creating a great work environment for yourself is something you deserve. You'll be able to thrive when you are feeling good as you work and my intention is to mitigate as much unnecessary physical strain as possible. By staying comfortable and organized, I'm able to produce the best work possible. But remember, work isn't everything. We work to live, we do not live to work.

With an amazing set-up like this, it can be easy to get completely sucked in or overly consumed by your work. Make sure to take care of yourself too, detaching and disengaging from your work at the end of the day. Creating beautiful spaces for yourself and making sure you're working with the best tools is a mode of self-care so make sure you're taking care of yourself in the other spheres of your life too.