Over a year ago my wife and I were privileged to invite a little girl in to our lives, whome we named Eden. As we live in 2 bedroom house my office was changed in to a room for her and I moved my office in to our bedroom.

In all honesty the office in the other room was really only passable. I was using a desk that my wife originally wanted when she worked at home and did mainly paper based work. I had ‘hacked’ this desk so it was passable for the programming and design I did as my job. It wasn’t ideal but it worked.

When we moved the desk in to the bedroom it made a passable solution way worse. The desk had little storage. It had some super deep drawer for ‘pens’, which is some writing tool that I don’t use at least that’s what people tell me they’re for. The desk was also huge which made it an awesome spot to collect papers, cups and lots of other junk that had only a passing association with work.

I purchased two okay shelves and piled them high with printers, action figures and software boxes. Said shelves were always sagging and had to be flipped over every few months when the the wheeled Transformers started to drive themselves off the edge.

The room also had enough light for a sleeping area but that light was neither the right type nor pointed in the proper direction for working at the desk. This of course increased eye strain which is a career killer if you’re not careful.

The end result of this clutter was a work area I hated to be at. I didn’t hate the work I just hated the place I had to do the work in.

the old work area
the old work area

As my business became more successful I decided it was time to purcahse a proper working area. Off I went to the Ikea site to find a great desk with an awesome storage space, and I eneded up with a simple small table top (VIKKA AMON) and two shelves (EXPEDIT). Added a few lights and I was able to have a great work space.

the set of Ikea boxes
the desk in flat pack form from Ikea
the new desk is complete
this is the new work area shot from about the same place in the room

As I said above the huge desk that was used previously was a magnet for clutter. The new desk has enough room for my keyboard, mouse, laptop, monitor and tablet. If I need a reference piece of paper then the tablet has to move. This limited space makes sure that nothing can get left on the desk unless it’s vitally important.

Second I needed some lights that were meant for the work area. This was the part I was least prepared for. I had a vague idea of what I wanted but never felt like I new what the perfect solution was. I ended up with 3 LED lights under the top shelf and one wide spread lamp mounted to the shelf pointing at the desk. I hid the switch for the 3 LED lights below the desk where you can’t see it.

under shelf lighting
under shelf lighting

Finally I wanted to manage cables better. My currently 14 month old daughter is like most kids, curious. She wants to pull on everything so getting cables off the floor not only makes everything look way nicer, it makes things safer for her. I ended up using another Ikea product (SIGNUM) to control the cables and then used a picture hanging velcro kit from the local hardware store to mount two power bars on the underside of my desk.

managing all the cables
managing all the cables

The end result is a work area that has lots of light and doesn’t feel cluttered in any fashion.

I do feel like there is room for improvement but I’m just not sure what it is yet. I’m not 100% sold on the lighting but it’s 110% better than it was before. I’m also not happy with the cables yet. Part of the trouble is that I don’t have a Thunderbolt equipped MacBook Pro so I simply need more cables when I want to hook things up, but part is also how they run across my desk. Again I’m not sure what I can do to fix this yet but it’s way better than it was.

The next steps will be the purchase of an Aeron chair in the next few weeks. I’ll also be adding arms to hold the monitor and keyboard off the desk. This will let me adjust them as needed and even provide better from bed movie watching.