A small and cosy home office

Small and Cosy WFH workspace in New York City, US

“It screams “me” from every angle, an amalgamation of minimalism and functionality, adorned with an ergonomic design that is aesthetically pleasing and fosters productivity”

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
Cable ManagementDeveloper SetupSmall Space SetupStanding Desk Setup

Name: Daniel Chang

Location: New York, NY, US

Occupation: Software Engineering Manager

Room size: A cosy 40 ft² (less than 4 m2) nest right in my living room

Cost of setup: Let’s just say it’s an investment in happiness and sanity, shall we?

Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when my affinity for technology began.

From a young age, I found myself naturally attracted to gadgets, video games, and computers.

This early interest didn’t just remain a childhood curiosity; it blossomed into a deep-seated passion that carried through my college years and into my professional life.

A side view of a small home office setup

Today, as a software engineering manager, it feels as though each experience I’ve gathered along the way has fallen perfectly into place, shaping the fulfilling and dynamic career I have now.

It’s an environment where my youthful enthusiasm for technology meets the innovative nature of my work, and I find genuine joy in it.

Diving into this field has allowed me to create a space where I can develop and oversee platforms and applications that are not only innovative and aligned with my own technical inclinations but also contribute significantly to enriching people’s experiences and lives.

A small WFH standing desk setup

Regarding social media, I’ve consciously reduced my presence to focus on personal well-being, finding simple pleasures and a good dose of fun in exploring the realms of YouTube and TikTok.

Take us through your setup

Item Model
Monitor LG 38BP85-W
Monitor mount Fully Jarvis Monitor Arm
Desk Fully Jarvis Standing Desk
Desk cabinet Fully Sidekick
Computer Mac Mini M2 2023
Speakers Kanto YU2
Subwoofer Kanto Sub6
Speakers stand Kanto SE2W
Headphones Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX
Digital analog convertor Schiit Modi+
Headphones/speaker amp Schiit Magni+
Keyboard Abec13 Gentoo Mechanical Keyboard, GMK Rudy v1 Keycaps, Artkey Sirius Artisan Keycap, C³Equalz x TKC StabilIzers with Krytox GPL 205, Zealios V2 67g Switches lube with Krytox GPL 205
Keyboard cable Swiftcables - Rudy
Wrist rest Keycult No. 1/65, Deltahub Carpio 2.0
Mouse Logitech MX Master 3S for Mac
Desk mat Orbitkey Desk Mat Slim
Mouse pad Mochithings Pebble Mouse Pad
Coaster Mochithings On the Table Tea Coaster
Chair Herman Miller Aeron PostureFit SL
Chair headrest Atlas Headrest
Docking station CalDigit TS4
Web camera Logitech 4K Pro
Tablet iPad Pro 12.9″
Overhead desk lighting West Elm + Rejuvenation Cylinder Sconce Bar
Desk lighting Philips Hue Double Light Bar
Phone charger Anker 623 Magnetic Wireless Charge
Plant Rattlesnake Calathea
Others An incalculable amount of velcro, zip ties, Extreme Fastener Mounting Strips, and patience

Picture a cosy yet inviting corner situated in a bustling living room, where the urban ambience of NYC harmoniously blends with a gentle infusion of sunlight.

Despite its compact size, it encompasses everything I need.

This is my special place.

It screams “me” from every angle, an amalgamation of minimalism and functionality, adorned with an ergonomic design that is aesthetically pleasing and fosters productivity.

A small desk setup with an ultrawide LG monitor

Along this journey, I’ve found joy in gradually infusing the space with pieces of art that resonate deeply with my personal journey and echo the nuances of my evolving self.

The evolution of this space has been a conscious and deliberate journey, marked by a particular focus on meticulous cable management, culminating in a setup where the entire desk can be moved with ease — thanks to a set of cables neatly bundled together.

It is a living project that mirrors my personality and aspirations.

A small and bright WFH workspace

Over the span of three years, I have sculpted an environment that strikes a harmonious balance.

Nestled strategically between the entertainment and dining areas, it serves as a subtle separator that maintains a distinct identity within the broader living space.

Additionally, the layout of the desk was chosen with care, facilitating occasional gazes out the window during work hours and avoiding the monotony of a blank wall.

The setup even transforms into a VJ station, becoming the heartbeat of gatherings with friends.

A small and productive Jarvis standing desk setup with a mechanical keyboard

Certainly, the pandemic brought its own set of challenges, including escalating prices and extended wait times.

Yet, it spurred a wave of creativity, giving birth to makeshift solutions like utilising Amazon boxes as temporary standing desks.

For a while, my bedroom assumed the role of an office — a setup that, admittedly, wasn’t the most conducive due to the lure of daytime naps beckoned by the nearby bed.

A small WFH desk setup with the Herman Miller Aeron ergonomic office chair

As I think about future enhancements for my workspace, I’m considering adding a sleek Apple Studio Display or perhaps splurging on a Pro Display XDR (though it’s quite pricey) to give my setup a visual boost, inviting a stream of natural light to brighten up the room.

I’m also eyeing a stylish Craig Hill Eyewear Stand to keep my glasses handy while adding a dash of sophistication to my desk.

On top of that, I’m on the lookout for the perfect chic desk footrest. If you have any recommendations, I’d welcome them with open arms!

What’s your favourite item on your desk?

Oh, let me tell you about my Gentoo keyboard.

When the pandemic started, everyone in NYC seemed to turn into a baker overnight.

A Gentoo mechanical keyboard on the desk

Not me, though.

I went down the mechanical keyboard rabbit hole. Yes, it was quite a journey with a few bumps along the road.

Tracking down the right parts turned into a treasure hunt, with a fair share of waiting and hurdles. But, you know, it’s all been worth it.

A side view of a Gentoo mechanical keyboard

Now, I have this fantastic keyboard that is just a joy to use. It looks great and feels even better.

Though I’m not that active in the community anymore, this keyboard is a precious reminder of that vibrant period.

A Gentoo mechanical keyboard and a Logitech MX Master 3S mouse on the desk

Then, there’s my standing desk, a real game-changer for my daily routine, especially since I’ve been grappling with back pain for a while.

It nudged me to embrace a more dynamic working style.

A person working from their standing desk setup

I’ve learned to alternate between standing and sitting, keeping things fresh throughout the day.

Initially, standing desks were quite a luxury, so I got creative with boxes and whatever I had lying around to make my makeshift standing workstation.

Standing Desk Setup Tours
Level up your productivity with a sit/stand desk for your home office.

Thankfully, now I have a proper one that I can adjust as I please, and it’s made a massive difference in my comfort level.

Moving on to my chair, it’s another favourite of mine.

I’ve always had a thing for the sleek Aeron design, a classic from Herman Miller.

A top view of a small desk setup with an Aeron chair

It’s not just a chair; it’s a piece that brings together style and comfort in the best possible way, making my working hours a delight rather than a chore.

Lastly, I can’t forget to mention my little green friends.

Initially, I didn’t think I had a knack for taking care of plants. But I decided to give it a try, and guess what? It’s been a joyful journey.

A potted Rattlesnake Calathea plant

I started with one, and now I have a small, but growing green family.

While I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a “Plant Dad”, nurturing these plants has indeed brought a new, lively energy to my space.

18 Unkillable Plants for a Home Office with No Windows
Brighten up your dark or windowless space with low-maintenance indoor houseplants.

What apps or tools do you use to get things done?

Oh, where would I be without my trusty digital helpers?

My everyday routine is peppered with the use of a handful of apps and tools that just make things a breeze.

They help me keep my life organised and my ideas flowing freely, always by my side like a reliable buddy.

Three posters and a hand-painted skateboard on the wall in a home office

First off, let’s talk about Apple Notes.

This simple yet nifty tool is pretty much like my digital notebook.

It’s the hub where I jot down all sorts of things, from to-do lists to my sudden bursts of creativity, where I find myself sketching or editing PDFs.

A small home workspace zone in a cosy room

The seamless integration across all my devices is just the cherry on top! However, I must say, I do wish it played with Google Keep. That would be a great match in my book!

And speaking of Google, I can’t even imagine my day without Google Calendar and Google Tasks (well, G Suite) weaving their magic in the background.

My mantra?

If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist!

This helps me keep a clear focus on my daily goals, ensuring I don’t stray off course.

And can I just say that finally adding the new recent feature of appointment schedules has been a game-changer!

Then there’s ChatGPT, my go-to space for stimulating chats and developing ideas that spark my interest.

It’s been an exhilarating journey, exploring the vast avenues of conversation and watching this groundbreaking technology reshape our world perspectives.

I must admit, diving deep into fascinating topics with ChatGPT has become a cherished part of my daily routine, opening doors to new possibilities and ways of thinking.

What books, blogs, or podcasts recently caught your attention?

Lately, I’ve been completely absorbed in Maker Stations, a haven for someone who has always been fascinated by the world of desktops like me.

It blends my love for technology with a sense of style, making it a perfect match for my geeky tendencies.

Workspaces and Desk Setups
Get inspired by home office workspaces and desk setups from makers across the globe.

While I’m not usually one for podcasts, Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown has caught my ear and quickly become a highlight of my listening routine, offering intriguing insights into mental health and emotional well-being.

Jonathan Cohen and Mayim Bialik, co-hosts of a Spotify podcast called Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown

But my interests stretch far beyond the digital screen.

My spirit thrives on the rhythms curated in Spotify’s custom playlists and their fresh DJ feature — it’s my personal dance party at my desk, a moment of joy in the daily grind.

Outside the virtual sphere, I am passionate about photography, fashion, and interior design.

I find immense inspiration in my travels around the world, soaking in various cultures, a journey that continually enriches my soul.

A small and well-organised minimal desk setup

Whether it’s a leisurely walk through the dynamic streets of NYC or absorbing profound insights from TED talks, I constantly seek avenues to broaden my horizons.

And let’s not forget the virtual treasure trove that is YouTube, housing gems like Mark Rober’s engaging channel and the sartorial wisdom found in publications like GQ and Mr Porter Journal, making it a well-rounded source of daily inspiration.

Five models showcasing men’s formal fashion
Photo by Mark Sanders

Any tips for other makers who want to improve their workspaces?

To revamp your home office, start with a clear desk — it’s my golden rule!

Stash away the extras in a box, keeping only the essentials, and then reintroduce items as needed, finding them a permanent spot.

And don’t forget to sprinkle in your personal style with elements that uplift you, like a bit of art or your favourite tunes, to create a perfect balance that boosts your productivity.

55 Tips for Working from Home (2023)
How to work from home happily and productively. Creators and makers all over the world share their experiences, challenges and actionable WFH tips.

What does your typical day look like?

My mornings start with a can’t-miss ritual — whipping up a hot cup of coffee.

While I wait for it to brew, I take a minute to skim through new messages and notifications on my phone.

A blue Le Creuset mug on a yellow tea coaster

Group chats aren’t really my thing, but I try to keep up with recent messages and replies.

Once the day really gets going, work becomes my main focus.

But it’s not all work all the time, thanks to my two playful pugs, Frida and Gala, who make sure to sprinkle bits of joy throughout my day.

Frida, always on the move, is often by my side looking for treats or just some affection, while Gala prefers to spend her time snoozing on the sofa.

Their little interruptions are a delightful break, reminding me to enjoy the small, happy moments even on busy days.

To keep things organised, I block out times in my calendar for different tasks.

A person working at their small home office setup

This isn’t a rigid schedule, but more of a flexible guide that helps me focus on the most important tasks each day.

It’s a straightforward way to steer through my day with clear goals and direction.

I’m not tied to one spot for work in my house.

Sometimes, I switch it up and set up at the dining table with my iPad tagging along.

A small dining table with an iPad, a keyboard, and a water bottle on it

And when the weather is just right, I love taking my work to the park nearby to enjoy some fresh air while I respond to emails or make calls.

Changing my surroundings from time to time not only breaks up the routine but also freshens up my mindset, giving a nice energy boost to my working day.

After wrapping up work, I love to chill with my PlayStation, the PS5.

I’m a big fan of Destiny 2 and have loved it since the days of the original Destiny, treasuring moments like getting the Gjallarhorn rocket launcher for the first time.

To mix things up, I dive into Overwatch 2 for a game or two.

A large TV screen displaying the game Destiny 2: Lightfall for PS5, alongside a marble side table with some books, a vase, and a game controller

The pandemic reshaped how we work and has made me value those casual team meet-ups to strengthen bonds and team spirit.

It looks like many companies are getting into this work-from-home groove, making room for occasional in-person meetings, a shift I feel creates a more vibrant and connected work culture.

Your tips for working from home?

You know, winding down at home after a bustling workday isn’t always straightforward, especially when your commute has turned into a walk from your desk to the couch.

I’ve found that a small but significant ritual has been a game-changer for me — tidying up my desk.

It’s like saying, “Hey, work time is over!”

I must admit, I do miss those commute times when I could just unwind with a good book.

So this little end-of-day clean-up has become my new signal to switch off from work and slip into my comfy, homey vibe.

A tiny yet productive WFH desk setup in a cosy space with lots of plants

Now, about meetings — oh, they can be quite a handful, can’t they?

I found my groove with this neat little trick: starting meetings five to ten minutes later than the scheduled time.

It helps to have that buffer, a moment to catch your breath before jumping into the next discussion.

A top view of a small, bright, and minimal working-from-home desk setup

I enabled “Speedy Meetings” by default on Google Calendar, helping me avoid that whirlpool of continuous back-to-back meetings.

Just a small tip: it works wonders if you’ve got a well-maintained calendar — it’s like giving yourself permission to take a mini-break, making the work-from-home journey just a tad bit lighter and more pleasant.

How to Take Better Breaks When Working from Home
Improve your productivity and cut down on stress with these ideas for taking better breaks while WFH.

We’re a reader-supported publication. This article might contain affiliate links. It means we may receive a commission if you click a link and buy a product that our maker has recommended. The interview was done independently.

Cable ManagementDeveloper SetupSmall Space SetupStanding Desk Setup