A photo of Doug Rotherham

Doug Rotherham

I'm a UX/UI Designer – working from home since the start of COVID-19. This is where I share everything I'm learning about creating a beautifully productive home office.

Welcome to the foundational issue of Home Office Inspo.

This first edition is about setting your home office up for success. But it's not meant to be the world's most comprehensive guide. It's a starting point.

A starting point for me with this newsletter. And a starting point that gives you some ideas on how to take your home office to the next level.

Getting started on anything can be overwhelming. There's a shit-ton of content out there. And the truth is, most of it is fluff and filler designed to rank in Google.

My goal with this weekly newsletter is to bypass the algorithm – by handpicking the best resources that bring you real value.

So let's get started ...

Design trends

Simple, but significant

I love clean, minimalist, desk setups. Sure, everyone has different needs. But a minimalist setup is universal and timeless.

A clean and simple workspace reduces overwhelm, improves focus and enhances productivity. As Don Draper said in Mad Men: "Make it simple, but significant". I know, I know! He wasn't talking about home offices. But still, they're words to live by.

For some minimalist inspiration, the links below cover a range of occupations and use cases – complete with product listings and links.

20+ Best Minimalist Desk Setups & Home Office Ideas

Inspiring Spaces by Mich Sole Design

KonMari makeover

If you like the idea of minimalism, but your home office is a hot mess, why not do a Marie Kondo makeover? No need to buy her latest book Joy at Work. Just watch this short video.

[YouTube] How To Tidy A Home Office With Marie Kondo

Space jam

Not everyone has a spare room they can turn into a dedicated home office. So if you're sick and tired of working from the kitchen table (or the couch), check out these creative solutions.

Tips for setting up a work-from-home-space for the long term

Zoom room

That Tiger King Zoom background was fun and all. But virtual Zoom backgrounds are so 2020. Serious work-from-home pros are flexing their personality and style with aesthetically-pleasing backgrounds – also known as "Zoom stages" or "Zoom rooms".

How to Create a Home Office Background Wall for Video Meetings

Productivity tips

How Pat Flynn works

If you're an entrepreneur or marketing pro, you've probably heard of Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income fame. He's been working from home for over a decade. And when it comes to getting shit done, the guy is relentless.

Discover Pat's top productivity tips for working from home in this video.

[YouTube] Top 10 Work from Home Productivity Tips (and How to Not Go Crazy!)

Stand and deliver?

Standing desks are better for you and increase your productivity, right? Not so fast! Before you splash out on a sit-stand desk (SSD) for the health benefits, find out what the science says.

Are You Sitting Down? Standing Desks Are Overrated

How to set up your desk

Perhaps the best reason to choose a standing desk is to properly dial in your correct sitting height. But whatever type of desk you have, learn the ergonomically correct way to setup your workspace in this short video.

[YouTube] Ergonomics Expert Explains How to Set Up Your Desk

Tech tools

Go bigger

Once of the best investments I made during lockdown 1.0 was getting an external monitor for my MacBook Pro. As a designer, I needed a big 4K display and my research led me to the HPZ274K. My next upgrade will be a second 27" monitor, or maybe even a fancy ultrawide.

Get up to speed with the best monitors with this guide from The Wirecutter.

The best monitors

Ditch the dodgy webcam

Have you noticed how some people's video calls look and sound amazing? Tip: they're not using a built-in webcam or their phone.

To get a professional looking result (blurry background and all), you need a dSLR camera with decent lighting and audio. Upgrading your setup can be daunting. But it's not that hard and well worth the investment.

I'll eventually do a tour of my setup on YouTube. But in the meantime, this video guide will help you get started.

[Youtube] Working from Home: Best Livestream Setup

Geek out

This guide to buying tech for your home office just might be the best resource on the topic. Lots of good picks here for everything you didn't even know you needed.

The Ars Technica ultimate buying guide for your home office setup


That's it for the first issue of Home Office Inspo. If you enjoyed it, I'd be grateful if you shared it on your socials. Just use the links below.

Until next time, do your best work.

~ Doug

How to set up your home office for success.