×
SIGN-UP AND SCORE THE LATEST NEWS ON THE WORLD'S BEST CARRY
Carryology delivered. Your inbox. every two weeks.
Only the best stuff (and giveaways!), we promise.

Insights

How To Build A Stylish Home Office

WORKING FROM HOME

How To Build A Stylish Home Office

by , August 26, 2020

Like most of us, I've been working from home a lot thanks to the Coronavirus, clocking serious hours in my renovated garage. And like most of us, I've been thinking a lot about my home office setup and how to transform my personal workspace and make it not only comfortable, but stylish. Because, let's be honest, it's a space a lot of us will be spending a lot of time in, and a space that's now a part of our home's interior design, so it needs to look good, feel comfortable, and be optimized.

So in this article, I'll touch on some basic tips I've gleaned in setting up my own WFH space, and then I'll reccomend some great work from home accessories that have made my time more enjoyable, while also notching up those ever-important style points. 


Tips

Lighting

Wherever your office of choice (or convenience) is, natural light is super important to help you feel energized, so position your desk near a window and keep the window treatments light and airy to let as much of the magic golden stuff in as possible.

Style it (minimally)

When you’re choosing your WFH essentials, go with classic and timeless design, and in muted colors and shades. Blacks, whites, blues and silvers are easy to find and match. And if you need a splash of color, use an art piece or some plants to do the heavy lifting.

Unclutter

Cables and wires that sweep across your desk like train lines are a big distraction and can jam up any sense of calm and relaxation. Find yourself a great pouch, some Velcro wrap or even a cable tidy solution to keep them together and away as much as possible.

Same goes for storage. If your work requires a lot of documents or charts, then invest in a basic cabinet or even a simple plastic tub to slip under your desk.

Go natural

Oftentimes, home offices can be dull and soulless spaces. One room, a laptop, and four plaster walls; but adding in natural things and materials can really give a space life and warmth.

Plants, for instance, are an easy win. They can bring a sense of tranquility, reduce noise and filter the air, and watering them once a day can be a nice daily routine.

As far as gear: leather, wool and wood bring refinement and a textural element that can make a space a real delight.

Personalize

You can buy all of the nicest essentials in the world, but a space is never really yours until you put ‘you’ in it. Whether that might be framed photographs of your family and friends or scenes from your favorite street photographer, always find a way to sprinkle this stuff in.

Employ ergonomics

If you’re doing this incorrectly, you’ll feel it in your shoulders, back and neck. A good chair, standing mat, and laptop stand can do wonders in this department.


Editor’s Picks: Stylish Home Office Essentials

MOVI Standing Desk

There’s lots of scientific research about the benefits of standing desks. You see, the human body isn’t meant to crouch over a keyboard for eight-plus hours a day (scientists call it ‘prolonged sedentary time’). It’s not good for blood flow or energy levels and productivity and can even cause weight gain. So there’s been a recent move of late in progressive offices, and now WFHers, to move towards desks that can elevate your work game in more ways than one. 

But there’s a lot of choices: from large full-sized desks (which can be expensive), to small compact solutions (which can be too unsteady), to electric ones and those adjusted by hand. For me, I needed something that could sit reliably on the desk I already had. I needed lovely materials. A strong and steady build and warranty (always get a warranty when dealing with electronics and motors). And something with a little smarts built in (I wanted as little distractions as possible). 

And so I found MOVI. It’s an Australian brand that does all of the above. Crafted with a bamboo workspace area (115cm x 70cm ), it’s wide enough for two monitors, it's super steady, and kitted out with an 18V high-speed electric motor, delivering fast and smooth lifting, sit-stand controls (and a stand level that can be saved to your preference), USB ports for charging, and a handy move reminder (when you need to get up or sit down based on your physical needs).

It’s really everything you need, in a damn good-looking, reliable and smart package. 

MOVI-Standing-Desk


AZIO Retro Classic – Bluetooth Keyboard

Keyboards are hard things to notch up style points with – they’re generally made of plastic and overly ‘techy’ in appearance. But not the AZIO Retro Classic. It’s a mechanical keyboard that feels and looks like a retro typewriter. And when I’m hammering down its keys it has the heaviness and satisfying click I’m looking for. 

In the hand, it feels super premium. It has a great weight and no flex. And the real secret is in the analog switches beneath every key. These mechanical switches not only deliver a modestly clicky and satisfying tactile feel, but actually register each keypress about halfway down in the keystroke — meaning you can type lighter, faster, more accurately, and more comfortably.

With its sleek backlit key set, the Retro Classic combines vintage styling with modern features in a handsome, stylish package. The LED backlights are situated perfectly at the center of each key, illuminating the keyboard evenly and beautifully. And an additional feature is the custom embossed logo plate made from brushed anodized aluminum. It also offers lovely contrast with a genuine wood backplate and a zinc aluminum frame that’s anodized to look like gunmetal.

The keyboard is compatible with both Mac and PC layouts, and includes interchangeable keycaps that correspond to each. Connectivity-wise you can connect via USB or Bluetooth technology, with a dual USB and Bluetooth interface available. And for racking up those long hours it has a ginormous 5,000 mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery. With the backlight off, usage time is up to a year, which is pretty darn impressive.

How To Build A Stylish Home Office


Sennheiser PXC 550-II – Over-Ear Wireless Headphones

When I’m working, I’m either jamming in Hangouts or bumping good tunes to help me power through my workload, and my headphones rarely leave my head. So quality sound and comfort are high on my priority list. And the Sennheiser PXC 550-II’s most certainly nail those key criteria. They have thick, cushiony ear pads covered in a soft synthetic leather that really hug your ears, and only weigh 227 grams, so they don’t start to feel like barbells around your ears after a heavy 9-5, pulling long-hauls in your home office (or on a plane) no problem. 

Then, of course, there’s the sound. Sennheiser get it. They have a long and rich history in the audio world and they’re meticulous about their craft. It’s just well done: curvaceous low frequencies, a textured and detailed bottom end, bitey treble, solid mid, a rounded and lively bass (although as a hip-hop head I would love just a little more bass, but that’s just me). 

The look is very clean and stripped of OTT branding. They have a very low-key and mature style, blending in well with any desk setup. They’re foldable too, and sit inside a clean-looking case that looks good at a desk.

On the feature side there’s a bunch of smarts built in. Active noise cancellation with an adaptive mode to ‘adapt’ to suit different environments by altering the strength of ANC. There’s also an option for anti-wind mode if you install the app. 

The right earcup is your control panel with touch-controls. You swipe up and down to change the volume, tap once to play and pause, etc. It’s very easy and intuitive. 

The battery lasts for a good 20 hours with noise cancellation, and an even better 30 hours if you leave it switched off. So that’s nearly one solid work week without juicing up! 

All in all, I’m incredibly happy with these. They’re the most comfortable headphones I’ve owned, even more comfortable than my QC25s and Beats Studio3s. The sound is incredibly balanced and rich. And the feature set adds to the user experience, without being too much or too complex. This is a fine example of Sennheiser doing what they’ve always done: nailing audio. 

work from home headphones


Nomad Base Station Stand Edition

Nomad are known for their phone accessories and wireless charging, and the Base Station Stand is their premium answer to wirelessly charging, while keeping your phone portrait or landscape (instead of flat) and accessible and visible desk-side. 

Aesthetically speaking, it walks the line between function and form beautifully, with a precision molded aircraft-grade aluminum body that is sleek and minimal, and has a good heft in the hand out of the box. The charging pad is leather. The base where you place your phone is a grippy silicone, and the stand itself has a border of no-slip rubber ‘feet’ to keep it from sliding around your desk.

It can charge a range of ‘Qi certified’ devices, from iPhones to Pixels to AirPods. And it also comes with a couple of adapters for travel and a smart light sensor at the rear of the unit that senses changes in light and dims the front LED accordingly. 

It’s simple, good-looking, and a delight to use. 

Nomad Base Station Stand


Sonic Editions Run D.M.C

You simply can’t beat great art on the walls. And if you can frame up something that speaks to you personally, even better. Me, I love black and white photography. There’s something so classic and timeless about it. And I’m a huge hip-hop head. So when I stumbled across this print of RUN D.M.C. taken by Derek Ridgers in 1985, I had to have it. Not only does it capture and distil a moment in time in a single frame, but it’s an image that has real unadulterated joy in it. It makes me happy every time I look at it, no matter what kind of day I’m having – DMC’s face gets me every time! 

But you don’t have to be a hip-hop head to enjoy something like this. And that’s where Sonic Editions comes in, an online retailer that runs with a stable of the world’s most talented photographers and works with huge photo archives to deliver gallery-quality photography of the greatest musicians, film stars, cult heroes and cultural icons, from Bowie to Biggie to Paul Newman and Mahershala Ali. If you’re looking for your own ‘moment’ or icon to add some art to your space, then I highly recommend. 

sonic editions - street photography


LARQ – Self Sanitizing Water Bottle

This water bottle does everything other bottles do, it’s easy to clean, and it keeps your cool drinks cool (24 hours) and your hot drinks hot (12 hours), but has two very distinct advantages: one, it looks like a sculptured art piece. And two, it uses a powerful UV-C LED light that intelligently activates every two hours to destroy harmful bacteria and viruses from your water or beverage. And it does that for one month on just one charge, so it’s low maintenance in the best kind of way. And in a time when we’re worried more about viruses in particular, it’s a real plus. 

Good-looking, smart and kicking goals in the hygiene department, this is a great desk companion.

LARQ Bottle


Grovemade Walnut Laptop Stand

Your laptop stand is the centerpiece of your desk, it’s what a great desk setup builds around. And you won’t find a more elegant and beautiful object to inspire your new look than this walnut stand from Grovemade. Handmade in their Portland workshop, it’s a sight to behold. With its smooth and clean lines, and soft to touch, the craftsmanship is apparent as soon as you take it from the delivery box.

A heads up, this isn't the most flexible piece as far as ergonomics. There's only one angle to work with and it relies on you adjusting your chair height and your laptop screen to find the right setup for you. So with that said, if you're looking for a solution with more flexiblity, I'd recommend investing in a monitor screen and Grovemade Monitor Stand instead. You'll still have a stylish centrepiece, but with the ability to adjust your monitors height for an even finer tuned result.

The Roost Laptop Stand is also worth checking out, which can be adjusted to just about any angle (but you’ll lose a few style points for this one, ha!).

Grovemade Leather Desk Pad

A lot of leather products can arrive and be underwhelming, with too many blemishes showing on the hide or unfinished and frayed edges. Good leather and craftsmanship is a fine art. But when you get your hands on it done well, it can add so much class to your gear. Case in point, this vegetable-tanned leather desk pad from Grovemade. It’s like a one-layer instant makeover for your desk, transforming a regular service into something special. The leather is lovely and supple, the edges smooth and clean, and the bottom grippy and textured, so it stays in place and where you need it. 

How To Build A Stylish Home Office


Grovemade Titanium Pen and Stand

Whenever I’m doing creative thinking, I put pen to paper. It just rewires my brain in all the right ways. But having a cheap pen that labors across the page breaks my focus. So I like a good pen by my workstation. And there’s nothing quite like the Grovemade Titanium Pen. The weight and handfeel are perfect. The look is clean and classic. The Schmidt P8126 rollerball writes super smoothly. And the weighted stand makes it a real showpiece, upping anyone’s desk game a few notches. All handmade in Portland, USA, by a brand that’s incredible at rethinking office and daily gear. I highly recommend!

 

Grovemade Titanium Pen and Stand


Moleskine Notebook

We’ve covered a bunch of notebooks over the years, and everyone’s different, but my personal favorite is the Moleskine Classic Hard Cover. It’s basic yet super classic, and it feels more substantial to me than other soft cover options, like it’s a notebook that only the good stuff gets scribbled into, and for me that’s brainstorms, interview notes, and lightbulb moment ideas – there’s no doodling here.

Bellroy A5 Work Folio

You couldn’t really ask for a more premium folio to have at your desk, and Bellroy’s Work Folio in A5 is a total showpiece blessed with beautiful lines and wrapped in some of the world’s best vegetable-tanned leather. This of course is paired with their signature smart pocketing, allowing for a tablet, phone, passport, notebook, cards and pens which seamlessly slip inside while maintaining a compact and lithe profile. I’m spoilt and got this for free, and it’s likely overkill for some, but if you want style and something that travels well and brings a little statement to an important business negotiation (when those are done face-to-face again), then this is a beautiful object with serious smarts.

Bellroy A5 Work Folio


And it'd be remiss of me, as managing editor of Carryology, not to mention some very basic and very white plastic hooks to hang the bags in your current rotation.

Carry on!

Mystery Ranch x Carryology


Subscribe

Carryology delivered. Your inbox. every two weeks. Only the best stuff, we promise.