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My Workplace and Gaming Area

Over the last years I did spend so much money on my hobbies that I forgot my home a bit. Ok, I gave all the rooms in my apartment a fresh painting and maybe I purchases some decorative items here and there, but that was all. What annoyed me the most was my old desktop, because it was more practical than beautiful. That’s something I wanted to change in 2018 and I did that at the beginning of December. I actually wanted to talk about this earlier but I was pretty busy at that time and my old keyboard broke as I mentioned in previous posts. So, I will talk about this now because I really like what I did put together. My new workplace and gaming area is a lot more minimalistic and not as cluttered as my previous desk. Here is my new PC desk…

my workplace and gaming area 1

It all started when I saw some guys on YouTube putting small cupboards from Ikea together. I am talking about the white Alex cupboards, they’re cool because they come with a measurement that allows you to use most uncut kitchen countertops or solid-wood boards. I found different ideas on YouTube, no matter if cut or uncut wood. I considered solid-wood boards and went into a DIY store but I disliked the raw surface of those boards or the idea to refine and stain the wood in my apartment. But then I saw someone using a finished kitchen countertop from Ikea. The countertop is called Karlby and I realized I could get it in walnut, which was great because most of the things in my living room are in walnut, not to mention that I love this wood color. So, I went to Ikea and purchased the 186 cm long Karlby countertop and the Alex cupboards. The next day I started putting everything together.

my workplace and gaming area 5

It looked already great and the huge but minimalist work space made me pretty happy. My previous desk was quite a bit smaller but now the new work space felt so relieving. The old one was a lot more clunky and somehow always made me clutter things up on the surface. Maybe that’s how it is if you don’t like something, but now with the new desk it’s very different. Now I have it tidy every day and I love the large and uncluttered work space. Maybe because I think it looks modern, maybe also because I absolutely love to see the walnut surface but definitely also because I wanted to go the minimalist route since quite some time. But soon after I discovered another idea. I discovered RGB tape. Super cheap, you can cut it in whatever length you need, and it’s self-sticking. So, I did stick that onto the back of the countertop near the wall. That made the desk look quite a bit more modern.

I was surprised how bright the RGB LED’s were but fortunately it came with a wireless remote controller that I can use to make it darker or brighter, and of course to change colors and even different RGB modes. But I have set it to a constant color. I have it set to a dim green since some weeks, because I like that toxic RGB color. I also like blue, and sometimes I have it on white when I just need a bit more light. During the day I usually have it off, because even with LED’s I don’t want to waste electricity during the day. But in the evening or during nights, it’s a treat for the eyes.

My PC mouse is RGB too, which means I set it to the same color. My old keyboard needed cleaning but when I broke the space bar, it gave me a reason to finally get a more high-grade one. I decided to purchase a keyboard with RGB feature as well, because I thought that would complete the whole idea.

Days before I got the keyboard, I went into another furniture store because I was looking for something but then some small items got my attention. I never used a pad below my keyboard, I mean why if you dislike your desk anyway? But now I liked my desk and I wanted to protect the wood surface because I thought I would move my keyboard a lot. At that time I didn’t know that my new mechanical keyboard would weight over a kilo and that I wouldn’t accidentally move it. But anyway, the idea of protecting the wood was still right. So, in the tableware section of the store I found a pad that I really liked. Yes, that is not made for PC parts, but why not getting a bit creative, I thought. It was a common table mat, but I really liked the walnut color again and thought it would look decently on my walnut countertop. The pad is grippy, and even more so since my new Ducky One 2 keyboard sits on it.

Then I started looking for a coaster, or rather more than one. I like to have a glass near me, or a bottle of water when I work on the PC or if I play games. I think I don’t have to mention that I never used any of these items on my old desk, but now I really thought it would be a good idea. Even more so when I found some that seemed to be made out of cork and in the color walnut (laugh). I brought two round ones and one square coaster home. I thought the square coaster would be handy because sometimes if we all are online in the evening, I like to take my meal at the desk while I listen to my friends in TeamSpeak. Yes believe me, it’s almost equally good as inviting friends or family to dinner, but don’t worry, it’s not a replacement of real life activities but an alternative that we equally enjoy. Back to the topic, I now usually have my drinks, a plate, my charging phone, my e-cigarette or any other small items on the coaster things.

Having as few things on the desk as possible, I saw how cables could be a problem. I am not a fan of wireless PC peripherals, which means I am fine with the keyboard and mouse cable going over the desk. But visually it can get out of hand if there is also a microphone plus cable on the desk, two cables for the PC screen and what not. Fortunately my PC screen is attached to some kind of a black stem. I got the idea to hide the cables behind the stem and attach them to it with black cable ties. Sure, you would partly still see the stuff from the side, but not if you sit in front of the PC and that was the whole point of my idea. Also I have no stand-alone microphone but a headset and ironically the headphones of it are crappy but the microphone is good enough.

So, I never really used the headphones of it, I use a separate and better pair of headphones for listening. So, I did hide the headset behind the PC screen by hanging it up on the stem as well. I did it on a way that the microphone would appear below the screen and asked friends if they would hear me well, and they said it’s absolutely fine. That was important, because I didn’t really want to have the headset on the desk again, while using a separate pair of headphones or having both of them on the desk. I thought all these tiny ideas would make the new desk look tidy or minimalistic.

These were also issues on my old desk, except that I didn’t really care because it was an old and ugly desk. It was not just that. Due to the fact that I am playing guitar and recording it via PC, I also used an external audio interface and a headphone amp. Two more things on the desk but this time I wanted to find a better solution. Fortunately the Ikea cupboards had a prebored hole on the back. It couldn’t be more handy, because now I did put the cables for the audio interface and headphone amp through that hole to be able to put both devices into one of the cupboards.

The front doors of the cupboard have a small cut, that’s where you can open them, but at the same time the cut was handy because I could put my guitar cable through it. So, if I play a lot of guitar this week, the cable is just hanging out there, otherwise I hide the cable in the cupboard. Same for the headphone, because I don’t always need my headphones and on this way I have again less cables on the desk.

There are still a couple of issues I need to solve but I’ve been busy with other things right now. While the cable management on the desk surface is fine even if improvised with cable ties, the issue is not solved yet below the desk. When I got the countertop and cupboards at Ikea, I didn’t have enough money with me to afford a cable management system (laugh). It’s fairly cheap and well thought out and I will order it online from them. It’s basically a cable management system that I can drill into the counter top, of course below it near the wall. I then can threat the cables through it, and I can even put power sockets into it. Then all that mess is not visible anymore near the wall or at the ground, like it is now.

Another thing I am thinking about is to put the PC into one of the cupboards. I mean, since the countertop is a pretty nice length, I have enough space below it but why not going for perfection? But here comes the problem. Since this is a gaming PC, heat accumulation obviously can become a problem, especially in a closed cupboard. I didn’t test this yet but I will. But I could imagine that the heat can’t escape in the back and barely in the front, which means it could build up. I am more concerned about the back because that’s one exhaust point.

My grandpa has a jig saw and I might cut a big hole into the back of the cupboard. Doesn’t matter anyway since nobody will see the hole. I could then monitor temperatures again. I could also remove the front door, would probably still look good as a desk but maybe I don’t have to. The thing is, having the PC in the cupboard would make it look a lot more tidy below the desk and I’d really like that. Another issue is my small rug under the chair. Any cat owners here who have a bad relation with rugs as well?

That damn red rug is not even 3 months old and I tried to clean it regularly but it’s already looking dreadful. My cat Shyna loves to relax on rugs and my vacuum cleaner is helpless against the cat fluff. Makes me happy that I don’t have a carpet but parquet in my rooms. I need to buy new rugs on a regular basis. Is there some kind of trick I am not aware of? A friend of mine said she is removing cat fluff from rugs with rubber gloves, I tried that and it kinda works if you have 5 hours of spare time (laugh). There must be a better way!?

If I solve these things, I am probably ultimately happy with the desktop area. Even if I don’t want to clutter the desk with too many things, I’ve seen small bonsai trees in different stores that I like. Maybe I will purchase two small bonsai trees and put them near the PC screen. I don’t know. I think that was a rather long post. If you made it to this point, let me know what you think about my desk. Have a good time!

19 Comments »

  1. Hi Dennis, I think you have come up with a good set up for your needs. I’m looking forward to the day when I can have a larger desk which won’t be till I move. I’ve had so many desk configurations with old secondhand desks and none are perfect. I think your plan works well for hiding all the ugly cables. I hate cables hanging everywhere it really spoils the look of the room.
    I am all too familiar with your cat hair problem, dog hair is just as bad. My vacuum cleaner has a power head which is quite good for picking up pet hair but I use a brush with rubber bristles to brush my upholstery. I’ve read of the dampened rubber glove idea. I have also read of people using a bathroom squeegee. I would not be surprised if there were rubber head brushes made for vacuum cleaners by third-party manufacturers as it is a big issue for pet owners. It might be worth looking into that because although your rug is small who wants to spend ages cleaning rugs by hand if there is an easier way.

    • I hope you will find a working solution too if you moved. When I found the simple ideas on YouTube I thought it would be a perfect fit for me. My previous desk had all sorts of boards, for example where you could put a printer… but the truth is, I didn’t put anything into these boards. I am not lazy, but I also don’t like extra work… so, these boards and all those corners on the old desk were just collecting dust and I regularly had to clean these areas. With all those corners it was always a chore. With the new desk I just have to clean the countertop, which is fairly simple, and below the desk, which is simple as well.. and inside the cupboards. That’s done very fast.

      I will solve the cable mess below the desk the next weeks. I do agree, you can have a new desk and all tidy, but these cables make ithe room look bad. The underside of the countertop is black. I also thought about using black tape… attaching the cables below it with tape. It would actually hide them even more than those cable management systems. But that only works if I don’t want to change cables often. A cable management system is probably more practical in the long run.

      I never seen brushes with rubber bristles but that sounds a lot more practical than brushing stuff with rubber gloves. I will see if I find such a rubber brush in the stores. I guess even that would work faster than rubbing the rub with gloves cm by cm lol. Rubber head for the vacuum cleaner, that sounds fantastic, I didn’t think about that! I will start looking for that!

      • I have a hand held brush which works fine on upholstery but if there is such a thing a vacuum attachment would be faster and save having to get on the floor to clean although with your little rug you could easily pick it up if you have a surface you can place it on while you brush it. It also saves the problem of having to collect the fur afterwards. There are actually grooming tools you can attach to a vacuum cleaner, providing of course that your pet does not hate the noise of the machine.

        • Hehe, Shyna would be mad at me 🙂 When I use a vacuum cleaner, she runs in the other room and is hiding somewhere. She doesn’t trust any vacuum cleaner 😀

          For grooming I have a special cat grooming brush. She loves that, I think it’s massage for her. She does even switch sides to tell me “Now brush the other side human!”. It’s so cute. But I realized even that doesn’t really help to reduce cat hairs in the apartment… I still brush her for the grooming, but that’s just to make her happy. She will always lose cat hairs… I think it’s because she has thin and very short hair. I usually liked to wear dark things, but since quite some time I wear more bright things. If I wear a dark shirt for example, it takes just one jump on my lap and a bit of cuddling and the t-shirt would be full of her hairs. So, I had to get a brush for the clothes as well, a brush with sticky tape works kinda well but it’s also a chore.

        • Yes, tell me about it. Cindy is a cream coloured dog so you can imagine what my dark clothing looks like. I have a special comb for her but usually do the grooming in the garden. I sometimes see birds flying away with loose hairs that I missed picking up. I also have a glove with rubber nodes on it which both Cindy and Polly like. Neither like the vacuum cleaner but Cindy will actually let me run the upholstery brush over her coat if I power it down.

        • Hehe, you help the birds finding material for their nests 🙂 You bring a good point, it’s also about the color. Shyna’s white hairs are the biggest issue as well.. the black ones are somehow invisible, even on bright clothes lol.

        • I found a nice cable management system at Ikea that I might go with. I can even put power outlets on it… and since it would be on the back below the countertop, it’s barely visible. Also would allow me to easily change something if I move the PC or get new components. I thought about the pipes too, but I really like that Ikea system. But I used cable ties below the PC screen, pretty handy to hide the cables behind the screen stem and not having them loose on the countetop.

        • My previous desk was old and ugly and I didn’t care about visible cables… because the whole package was ugly lol. But when you have something new and more modern, I am totally with you on this. When I finished my new desk, the cables started annoying me a lot. Definitely gonna solve that issue. They disturb me now too 😀

  2. You did well with a minimalistic setup. I like it, the only thing I would recommend that I find useful is a 2nd monitor. It helps no matter what your goals are. As a writer I like being able to do research on one monitor and typing my prose on the other. As a gamer if you choose to stream you’ll want two monitors as well. Just something to think about (if you haven’t already).

    • I had two screens some time ago but when one broke I never got a second one again. Mainly because for my usecases it was nothing more than a gimmick and rather a waste of energy. I use the PC to write, to edit photos, and to play PC games. That can be very well done with just one screen. It would make sense if I would be a streamer, but I am not. I am not interested to stream, and when I realized this, I never bought a second screen again. I see how it makes sense for streamers, but I personally didn’t find a lot of use cases that would justify a second screen again.

        • Everything fine 🙂 I understand why many people find it useful. Almost all of my gaming buddies have two or three screens. They tried to convince me again too 🙂 We actually had the topic about personal choices a couple of weeks ago. We laughed (respectfully) a lot when we realized how different our demands, wishlists or goals with the PC are, and in general. I actually like to hear of people why they need certain things, how it makes sense to them and how they work with it. 🙂

  3. Your set up looks clean and uncluttered, I swear my kids are the worst and messing up my space. I just started using the double screen myself, it still feels a little strange for me.

    • Haha, kids are kids 🙂 I can imagine that. I don’t have kids myself but when family kids are here, the room becomes a playground as well 😀

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