When my wife and I moved into our house almost 7 years ago, I claimed one of the bedrooms as a home office. I crammed a desk, an 8’ folding table, and 2 big bookshelves into the room, filling it up with Linux systems, big CRT monitors, 2 or 3 printers, a couple scanners, and other big, heavy bits of hardware. I wanted to maximize my desk space, so I put the desk and table up against the walls and worked with my back to the door most of the time, never quite understanding why I didn’t enjoy working in there as much as I’d expected.

In 2002, I bought a PowerBook and discovered that I could work from any room in the house; I wasn’t tied down to big chunks of glass and 30 lb computers anymore. So I mostly stopped using my office for anything but storage. There are a couple servers in the corner, but most of the space is full of hardware that I don’t really need.

I finally realized a month or two ago that I actually want a quiet place to work, and that most of the problem with my home office is that the layout is designed to maximize the number of big CRTs that it can hold. That’s irrelevant now, and has been for years. What I really want is a quiet, comfortable room with one or two LCDs, a place to read, and some place to plug in my laptop.

So, I’ve started on a quest to fix my office. My long-term goal is to repaint, replace the nasty old carpet with something more livable, and maybe even pick up a couch to fit along one wall, but for now I’m starting by moving the desk around so my back is away from the door and getting rid of the big folding table. Then I’ll add a bit of extra lighting so it doesn’t feel like a cave anymore, and replace the two big bookshelves with someplace to cleanly store cables, random camera gear, CDs, and a couple dozen books.

I moved the desk around last night, then moved my 24" LCD onto it. Then I dug the speakers that I bought in 2001 and have never really been able to use out of the mess, plugged them into a nice little surround sound decoder, and wired my Xbox 360 and Wii into the LCD and decoder.

I’m only half-done with the “clean the room up” phase of the plan, but it’s already drastically better. Getting the desk away from the door made a huge difference. I don’t know why I didn’t do it years ago.