A smart and well-organised home office setup of a product designer

Smart Home Office of a Product Designer in Puerto Rico

“Little by little, I’m turning my workspace into a smart office”

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Name: Jose Munoz

Location: Puerto Rico

Occupation: UX Designer

Room size: 9,3 m² (100 ft²)

Cost of setup: ~$3,5K

Social media: Mastodon, Threads, Twitter

Website: Jose Munoz

Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m a Product Designer at BOLD where I focus on designing and improving web apps that help people create and optimise their resumes.

One of our leading platforms is myperfectresume.com, which you can try.

Since I was young, I’ve had a passion for creativity and building things, possibly influenced by my love for LEGO.

A shelf displaying a collection of intricate models, including a detailed brick-built house and various vehicles, with books stored on the lower shelf

In college, I studied Graphic Design and Industrial Design. Even in college, I began my career as a freelance graphic designer, working on branding projects and advertising for agencies.

In 2015, I transitioned to UX design and have loved it ever since.

In addition to my day job, I enjoy tinkering with my personal website, where I write blog posts about tech, LEGO, and Apple.

 A modern workspace with two monitors, a keyboard, a mouse, a tablet, a smartphone on a stand, and a book titled The Design of Everyday Things in the background

I also create digital productivity assets, such as an icon pack for the Stream Deck and a Notion subscription-manager to help people manage their apps and services.

You can stay updated with my blog through the newsletter or RSS feed, and follow me on Mastodon, Threads, or Twitter.

Take us through your setup

Item Model
Monitor Apple Studio Display
Laptop Apple’s MacBook Pro 14
Laptop stand Satechi
Laptop storage 3D Printed Under Desk Laptop Holder
Keyboard Apple’s Magic Keyboard, KDB 75% Keyboard with custom keycaps
Mouse Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad
Mouse adapter Magic Grip to improve the grip and DELTAHUB Carpio 2.0 for the wrist
Macro pad Elgato Stream Deck with custom icons
Wrist rest Logitech MX Palm Rest
Headphones AirPods Max
Headphones stand Benks
Desk IKEA LILLTRÄSK with Standing Desk Motor
Chair Herman Miller Aeron
Chair headrest Atlas Headrest
Stool IKEA Desk Stool
Docking station CalDigit TS3 Plus
Microphone Currently Elgato Wave:3, previously Blue Yeti Nano
Mic arm Elgato Wave Mic Arm
Desk lamp IKEA SKURUP with Hue White Ambiance Bulb
MagSafe stand Elago MS1 Charging Stand
Tablet Apple iPad Mini 6th gen, iPad Pro 11-inch 2018
Tablet stand CharJenPro MagFlott
Router eero 6
Desk shelf IKEA LACK
Display shelf IKEA EKET
Behind desk display IKEA SKÅDIS
Diffuser Anthropologie

I live in a three-bedroom apartment with my wife and our adorable dog, Max.

Luckily, I have a dedicated room for my home office.

Over the past three years of working remotely, I’ve made minor improvements to create the space it is today.

 An organised office room with a desk, ergonomic chair, computer setup, shelves with books and collectibles, and decorative wall art

My goal was to have a home office and a LEGO display room while maintaining a simple style and monochrome colour palette.

Reddit, Pinterest, and YouTube home office tour videos inspired me.

A room corner featuring a shelving unit with various assembled models and vehicles on display, a collection of action figures, and a selection of books, with a clock and framed pictures on the wall above

My desk setup started with an IKEA kitchen tabletop with a standing desk motor from Amazon.

The kitchen quality top has withstood numerous coffee and water spills.

Initially, I didn’t use the stand functionality much, but now I use all three desk positions — standing for admin work, a stool for deep work, and the Aeron chair in the lowest position for meetings.

Having different setups for each type of work helps with my focus.

The setup’s heart is the Apple Studio Display.

I waited for a new model from Apple for years, but finally getting the Studio Display was a game-changer — it looks stunning.

The adjustable stand was a great choice because my average position was too low. Before that, I used the Thunderbolt Display for over ten years.

A close-up view of a tablet screen displaying various widgets including a clock, weather, and calendar, with part of a microphone stand visible on the right

Powering my setup is Apple’s MacBook Pro 14 with an M1 chip.

It exceeds my needs, and I mainly use it in clamshell mode, either docked on a Satechi Stand or below the desk in a 3D Print Under Desk holder.

For the keyboard and mouse, I use Apple’s Magic Keyboard and the Magic Mouse.

A desk with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, a stream deck with icons, a smartphone showing the time and a weather widget, and two toy cars underneath the monitor

I have tried many excellent keyboards and mice from Logitech but always come back to Apple’s, mainly because of the Touch ID on the keyboard and the multitouch surface on the Magic Mouse.

I admit the Magic Mouse is not ergonomic at all, so to combat that, I use a Magic Grip to improve the grip and Carpio to better support the wrist.

A close-up of a white desk with a wireless keyboard, a magic mouse, and a black Deltahub wrist rest

One of my most used items is the Stream Deck, which fits perfectly under my studio display. I mainly use it for zoom controls with custom icons I designed.

A screenshot of the Stream Deck interface with various icons for tasks like joining calls, managing audio, and navigation options, along with sections for multi-action, navigation, soundboard, and system settings on the right side

I also have shortcuts and folders, including a button to toggle Stage Manager, a Timery button with preset timer shortcuts, and a HomeKit Button with my most used HomeKit items.

Recently, I’ve also been using Apple’s iOS 17 new feature, StandBy Mode as a secondary control panel on my desk and have been loving it so far.

I can have widgets like my upcoming meetings and smart home controls handy. 

Behind my desk, I have an IKEA SKÅDIS pegboard to display a few knick-knacks.

This is where I also display my mechanical keyboard when not in use.

A pegboard organising a mechanical keyboard, a replica lightsaber, a bobblehead figure, and VR controllers, with a glimpse of a monitor on the right

The keycaps are a custom set I designed because I couldn’t find good keycap sets with proper Mac modifiers.

You can also spot a Legacy Lightsaber, a palm rest from Logitech, a Kylo Ren Funko pop, a spare iPhone X, and a few iPhone boxes.

As you can see, I have a ton of LEGO sets, mostly Star Wars.

A detailed LEGO 75290 Star Wars model scene with a central tan building, a green and brown speeder with a figure, and various characters including white-armoured figures around it
LEGO 75290 Star Wars: A New Hope Mos Eisley Cantina Building Set

I’ve been collecting since I was little, but now it’s getting out of hand, and I’m running out of space.

I’m using IKEA’s EKET modular system to display the sets I can.

I recently expanded to collect LEGOs from popular franchises, including the Home Alone house, one of my favourites.

Having so many LEGOs is cool but also a struggle.

On the wall shelf, there are rows of collectible figures, two boxed figurines, and books including The Lost World by Michael Crichton and Deep Work by Cal Newport

The displays also serve as my zoom background, so I need to set them up in a way that doesn’t look like a toy store.

I would love floor-to-ceiling shelves for more space, but I worry it won’t look professional during calls.

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I made some space to have a “reading nook” which I use to plan my morning day on my iPad Mini.

Little by little, I’m turning my workspace into a smart office.

All the lights are either Hue or IKEA lights, compatible with HomeKit.

I also use a Sensibo to control the AC via HomeKit.

A tablet displaying a smart home control interface showing office temperature, humidity, lighting status, a live camera feed, and controls for various scenes and devices like climate and security

Motion sensors are placed so that when I enter the office in the morning, the light strip and LEGO display lights turn on automatically. When I leave for the gym or end the working day, everything also shuts down automatically.

Although I can control every HomeKit device via Siri, I like to keep analog controls handy for quick access. However, managing multiple remotes can be a hassle.

To alleviate this, I created sort of a control centre with all the remotes side by side.

I repurposed an old iPad Mini as a meeting room display placed at the entrance of the room.

It allows me and my wife to see my schedule at a glance and know when I’m on a call.

A door-mounted tablet displaying a digital clock and calendar schedule, with a blurred background showing a room with shelves, collectibles, books, and a dog lying on the floor

My closet is the last part of my office, which I use for clothes and organising tech... mostly tech.

I installed another IKEA pegboard and use it to “display” my everyday carry.

From watch bands to Apple cases, I like that everything has its place.

A pegboard organising space with various phone cases hung up, charging cables, a smartwatch on a stand, wireless earbuds in a case, and a multi-port power outlet on the left

While I’m satisfied with the current desk setup, I have a few improvements in mind.

To enhance my Zoom calls, I plan to acquire Elgato Key Lights and upgrade to a DSLR setup.

Although the natural light is sufficient, the quality of my view diminishes during evening calls.

Additionally, I would love to have a separate desk specifically for building LEGO, but it’s not feasible due to the number of displays I have.

What’s your favourite item on your desk?

My favourite item on my desk is the Studio Display.

The quality of the display is stunning, and I love the hardware design.

I had been using Apple’s now-discontinued Thunderbolt display for ten years, so I was excited when they released this update.

It costs around $1,6K, but an extra $500 if you add the adjustable stand. The stand is a must because it allows me to adjust the height to match the ergonomic position, whether standing or sitting.

An organised workspace with a monitor, a keyboard, a stream deck, a microphone, a smartwatch, wireless earbuds, a model car, and a book titled The Design of Everyday Things on a shelf above

I also appreciate the camera and the speakers.

Although the webcam has some controversy, it works well for my Zoom meetings. Apple recently released an update that allows you to adjust the framing.

The speakers on the display sound impressive for a monitor.

I used to use the HomePod minis as speakers in my previous setup, but now, with the good display, they have become glorified Siri assistants.

A green reed diffuser bottle with sticks on a white surface, with a blurred background featuring a pegboard and a black speaker

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

Choosing between my top tools is a challenge, but I’ll try!

Things 3 has been my go-to todo app for years, and I use it on all my devices.

A screenshot of the Things 3 to-do list application with tasks organised under Today, including various personal errands and reminders, with completed tasks checked off and different contexts like MIT, Errands, and Home on the left side panel

It helps me stay on top of household chores, website improvements, and work-related to-do’s.

I love the UI and design and how well it works across devices.

Notion is where I organise my personal life, from finances and subscriptions to travel planning and tracking our dog’s vet visits.

A screenshot of a subscription management table within the Notion application, listing various services with details on category, frequency, renewal dates, usage, action required, and associated email addresses, organised to track and manage monthly expenses

While some people use Notion for everything, I find it particularly effective for managing data.

My favourite feature is how you can view the same data in multiple ways.

Figma is my primary design app.

A screenshot of a website design interface in Figma showing a preview of a personal webpage for Jose Munoz with sections for a greeting, writings, and online presence, and the design tool’s interface elements and layers visible around the edges

I switched from Sketch a few years ago and have not looked back.

I prefer keeping my personal projects separate from work, so I have separate accounts.

I use Figma’s regular app for personal projects and the beta version for work.

Additionally, I use Figma to mock up home projects like my office redesign.

A screenshot of a design software interface in Figma with various workspace layouts, furniture components, and bookshelf references, indicating a project for organising or planning an office space

Apart from these key tools, I also rely on several small utilities that are crucial for my productivity:

  • Cleanshot X for screenshots, screen recordings, and annotations.
  • CleanMyMac for keeping my Mac running smoothly.
  • MeetingBar to easily display and join my next meeting.
  • Timery for time tracking my work hours.
  • Raycast for launching apps and utilities.
  • Bunch, Moom, and Divvy for window management.

If you’re curious about all the apps I use, you can check my “uses” page.

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

I mostly listen to the same group of podcasts, but my favourites are Connected for tech and The Best One Yet for news.

This year, I started reading The Daily Stoic, and I also recently started the latest book from the Star Wars High Republic series.

A shelf holding a variety of books primarily focused on Star Wars, design, and graphic arts, along with a LEGO Star Wars helmet model to the left

For blogs, there is a current trend where people post a list of their default apps. Currently is up to 300 entries!

I have found a ton of interesting personal websites and blogs through that.

A bookshelf featuring a selection of Star Wars books and encyclopedias, with LEGO Star Wars helmet models displayed on top, and other books blurred in the background

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

Start small: For those just starting or looking to enhance their setups, remember that it will take time. Treat creating your setup like designing a product.

Do small changes at a time and test it to see what works and adjust accordingly.

Start small and build up, and keep a wish-list of desired products or features that you can iterate towards bit by bit.

Invest in a good chair.

 A close-up view of an ergonomic office chair with a focus on the armrest, overlooking a desk with a monitor, keyboard, and a speaker, all in a modern workspace setting

You will spend most of the time sitting. Your back will thank you!

Also, getting a standing desk helps to change things up.

It will never be perfect or finished.

No matter how much you improve it, you will see someone else set up and think, “Oh, I wish I had that.” Enjoy the process, make it unique, and work for you.

What does your typical day look like?

I’ve been working from home for three years now.

Initially, I used to go to the office daily, but my company switched to fully remote due to Covid.

My routine has changed over the years, but I’m happy with how it works.

Morning: I wake up at 6 am, make coffee for my wife and me, and enjoy it on the couch while catching up on news and blog posts on my iPad Mini via RSS.

A modern minimalist workspace setup with a tablet mounted on a stand, paired with a mechanical keyboard on a white round table, and a cosy living area in the background

This quiet and relaxing time is the best part of my day.

Breakfast: After that, I tidy up the house before having breakfast.

Gym & Errands: Around 8 am, I go to the gym for weightlifting and cardio.

Getting out of the house helps me get in the right mindset for work.

I also try to complete any errands during the day so I can spend the whole afternoon with my wife.

Work: I start my “work day” when I return around 10 am.

My work as a Product Designer can be categorised into admin work, deep work, and meetings.

A desk with a weekly planner pad and a pen, some written tasks for Tuesday, and two model vehicles on either side, against a backdrop of a work environment

Admin Work: Since most of my team is on the West Coast, I have the entire morning to work without distractions.

I begin by catching up on Slack and email and reviewing my daily tasks.

A close-up of a mechanical keyboard on a desk, with blurred background elements including a mouse, a tablet on a stand, and part of a monitor

Deep Work: During my focused time, I work on designing, prototyping, reviewing team members’ work, and providing feedback.

I prioritise essential tasks that I discover while catching up on admin work.

A close-up of desk setup peripherals and accessories

Meetings: Starting around 1 pm, I have back-to-back meetings until around 6 pm.

I schedule breaks in between for meals, as it’s difficult to accomplish work tasks during calls.

After Work: I like to spend quality time with my wife and our dog, Max.

I make sure to close the office and disconnect from work.

We watch TV, have dinner, and play games on my Switch or the PlayStation Portal.

Then, I go to bed around 9 pm, scroll through Instagram reels, and fall asleep by 10 pm.

Your tips for working from home?

Time Blocking: One technique that has greatly benefited me in my three years of working from home is time management.

To maximise my productivity, I use the time-blocking technique.

This involves planning my schedule hourly, including breakfast, gym time, and work.

By doing so, I can be realistic about what I can accomplish daily and ensure that tasks don’t drag on longer than necessary, following Parkinson’s Law.

A close-up of an Elgato microphone on a Wave Shock Mount

Assign a purpose to each space: Another helpful principle I’ve learned is to assign specific purposes to each space in my home.

It’s surprising, but most of the time, the best ideas don’t come when you are at the desk.

For instance, I use my iPad on the sofa or in my corner chair for thinking and planning, while I reserve my desktop solely for work and meetings.

An IKEA VEDBO high-back armchair and some LEGO scenes in the background

This helps my brain associate the desk with creative work.

Additionally, stepping out of the house for the gym or errands once a day helps me maintain focus.

Shutdown Routine: Implementing a shutdown routine is another beneficial habit.

After wrapping up my meetings, I take a few minutes to tie up loose ends in communication and organise my tasks for the next day.

This grants me peace of mind, knowing everything is taken care of or will be, allowing me to disconnect from work mentally.

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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.

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