By Lauren | October 6, 2020 | 0 Comment
We’ve been now working from home for about seven months now. Doesn’t it feel like an eternity ago when we were all forced into lockdown for only two weeks? Little innocent us having no idea that two weeks would turn into something much more.
Working from home was always something most of us dreamed about. The flexibility, the ability to not have to get ready and dressed up for work, it all sounded so great. I had toyed with the idea of working remotely full-time a few years ago when I was looking for work, and was offered a remote job. But living in a bachelor apartment in Toronto, without the budget to rent a co-working space, didn’t seem like it would be optimal for my mental health. Fast forward to today, and I never thought I would have worked almost all of 2020 in my little, tiny apartment.
I have to admit, for the first five months I was in a bit of denial. Even though there were no signs from my workplace that we would be going back anytime in the near future, I was still holding onto the smallest bit of hope. From months one through five I was working from my kitchen table. My back ached in the beginning but eventually got used to it. I propped my laptop up on a few books so it was closer to eye level, and then bought a $12 keyboard on Amazon and a mouse. It didn’t compare to my double screen set-up, and ergonomically-friendly chair and desk I had in my office, but it’ll do.
For the first five months, I also spent hours searching for desks that could fit in small spaces. I even at one point was looking at fold-out tables/desks I could install on my balcony to work from in the summer months. Just for a change of scenery (you don’t realize how much you need that change of scenery until you sit in your bachelor apartment and have zero change of scenery from your work and personal life). Anyway, after months of procrastinating on investing in a better work-from-home set-up, I finally caved.
What really was holding me back was the fact that I legit had ZERO places in my apartment for a desk. There wasn’t a single free wall that a desk could fit on. So to commit to getting a desk, I was committing to saying goodbye to some other piece of furniture in my apartment. And when every piece of furniture in your apartment is a centerpiece because your living room, kitchen, and bedroom are all in one room, you really focus on making everything look just right knowing that you’ll have to stare at it ALL. THE. TIME.
We’re now in October and I finally have the perfect work-from-home set-up. So I wanted to share with you some of the items that I invested in to make the set-up perfect (that wasn’t hideous) and works in a small space.
I came to the conclusion that the only spot I could fit a desk was in between my bed and my couch, which meant I had to eliminate a bedside table. I finally found a desk that would be the perfect fit for the spot, and also provide me with added storage with the shelves and drawer.
I found my desk on Wayfair, but I looked at a ton of different “ladder” desks. This was just the best in terms of colours available, and size.
Cost: $250 CAD
Next up on my list was finding a chair. For most people this would be simple. They’d buy a typical ergonomically friendly chair and call it a day. However, not only are computer chairs so ugly, but they also take up so much space. I needed something that would fit seamlessly into my apartment and also tuck in flat to the desk so it didn’t take up more space.
I looked a lot on Wayfair and found some great options. Lots though I noticed came in sets of two, and I just didn’t have the space for one chair let alone two.
I ended up finding my chair that looks very similar to this one on Wayfair at HomeSense.
Cost: $99 CAD
Why is it so hard to find a light that is cute? Seriously though. I spent hours on websites looking for a desk lamp that was bright enough, but also didn’t look like a tacky desk lamp. Keeping in mind that like I said, everything in a bachelor apartment is a centerpiece, so I’m very picky on making things look nice.
After searching high and low, I finally found a lamp at HomeSense. Lucky for me, it was on clearance for no apparent reason so I got it for even cheaper than I expected. Since I hate when people recommend HomeSense for a product, since every store has different items, I also found this one that is similar on Ikea’s website for the same price.
Cost: $40 CAD
The best investment I made at the start of COVID was a keyboard and mouse. Our office now is letting people go in to pick this up from their workspace, but at the beginning they weren’t. So I had bought my own. My keyword was super cheap and was purchased on Amazon here. My mouse was also purchased on Amazon here. Both purchased for around $30 total.
Lastly, one of the big game changers was my laptop stand. It not only raised my laptop to an appropriate eye height, but also freed up space on my desktop. This laptop stand from Amazon is amazing. It is super compact so one day when we are no longer in a WFH setting, I can fold it up and put it away until I need it.
Cost: $55 CAD
Last but not least, now that I have two additional shelves that my new desk provided, I obviously couldn’t just throw random shit on them and call it a day (if you haven’t already noticed, I’m super OCD with this stuff). Instead I had to curate the perfect decor to add to them. Utilizing almost everything I had in my own apartment already, all I bought here was a plant and a plant pot from a local shop, and some bookends on Amazon.
Since I have an ongoing travel theme throughout my apartment, I stuck with that for these shelves and curated some books I had in my collection, and some souvenirs I’ve picked up on my travels. All serving for inspo for whenever we are able to travel again (sigh).
Cost: $30 CAD
Overall, I spent just shy of $500 CAD to turn my workspace into one that I actually enjoyed sitting at all day. As much as I would’ve loved to save that money and put it towards something else, with our circumstances not changing anytime soon, I thought it was a good investment. And hey, if I want to get rid of the desk set-up once we’re back to normal, I’m sure I can sell it to get some money back. I’m also happy that my Zoom backdrop is no longer my kitchen with my dirty dishes behind me. 😉
How have you changed your work set-up since working from home? Or where do you find is the best place to work for you?