It’s Spring 2020 and many of us are working from home, sometimes in areas of our house which are not normally used for such things. Read on to find out how we’ve managed to create space cheaply and effectively in a normal 3-bedroom house with a small conservatory.
We’re used to working from home occasionally, but the Covid pandemic of early 2020 changed things dramatically. All of a sudden we had to move to working from home full time, and the house we live in is a standard 3-bedroom end terrace. With four of us living in the house there is not a spare room we could repurpose, so after some consideration we rejigged our small conservatory.
A couple of trips to Ikea before it closed for lockdown got us most of what we needed although a few mail-order items came via Amazon, eBay and Ikea as we discovered what we hadn’t thought about. The conservatory is pretty small so we couldn’t go mad with desk sizes. Both desks are 120cm x 60cm in size.
The key things which will make the difference in day-to-day working are a good chair, and a screen at the correct height.
Alev likes to use an external mouse with the laptop keyboard, and extends her screen onto the monitor. Rob uses the monitor only and an external keyboard and mouse. Choose which works best for you and go with it!
Rob is a geek and likes music a lot, so having a way to listen to sound was a must. Alev likes things simpler and quieter so headphones were also sourced to allow for both preferences. Headphones are also extremely useful for the various video calls we have been on. The difference in approach is very much reflected in our desks.
We’ve put links to the various items so that you can source the same items or use them as the basis for a further search. Amazon links do get us a tiny commission if you buy using them.
- Ikea desk with 2x legs and drawer pedestal
- Benq 24-inch monitor (Cheap purchase just to get screen size and decent sitting position. I anticipate upgrading this at some point)
- Ikea Sigfinn monitor stand
- Logitech 2.1 speakers
- Google Chromecast Audio (so Alev can stream to the speakers too)
- Omoton laptop vertical stand
- Ikea Milberget chair
- Novoo port expander for USB-C/Thunderbolt
- Samsung wireless phone charger
- Anker USB/USB-C charger
- Youshiko battery charger for all the AA and AA batteries
- Apple Magic bluetooth keyboard
- Apple Magic Mouse
- 3-1 HDMI switch (for switching the monitor between Apple TV and MacBook)
- Apple TV (version 3, purely for mirroring iPad onto monitor)
- Beats X Wireless headphones
- Ikea desk with 4x legs
- Dell 24-inch monitor
- Ikea Milberget chair
- Footrest – this can add to your comfort quite considerably
Other Necessary Stuff
- Canon MX multi-function printer
- Bisley filing cabinet – we already owned this, and it’s tremendously useful, but quite expensive so have a look on Gumtree or eBay for a cheaper used alternative.
Things we’ve discovered
The lighting in a conservatory is pretty awesome – there’s a glass roof as well as full width glazing on one wall. This is a negative and a positive.
The negative is that when the sun comes out it can be challenging to see monitors and you can find that you’re a bit of a silhouette when on Zoom calls (or even Microsoft Teams calls). On the other hand, it’s lovely to sit with the rain hammering off the glass above your head, watching birds (and the occasional aircraft) fly over, and having the outdoors just a few feet away through the window.
It’s also very cold in the winter, but we have sourced a Dimplex vertical heater which heats things up nicely when required.
Finally, it’s often important to have personal stuff on there to remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing. Many of the desk setups you’ll find on the internet give no clue that a person actually uses the desk at all – no photos, no keepsakes from kids, no actual work, just a clean, tidy, sanitary space. This is (probably) not the daily reality for almost all the examples.