There's something magical about keeping things simple. Like many people, we tend to over complexify things that shouldn't be too complex, especially workstations. While the perfect workstation is somewhat akin to the One Ring
from Lord of the Rings (something you desire, but can never attain), it's always best to work with what you have and try to make simple and minimal improvements over time without spending too much money.
It's always easy to say that we want to keeps things simple, but it's a lot harder to do so in practice, especially on workstations that are used daily. They can get quickly cluttered and it's not easy to clean them up if you wait until you're overwhelmed to do so. If you are, you should ensure that you can clean your desk as quickly as possible
, so that you don't procrastinate too much when you need a purge.
Our own workstation is pretty simple. We use an IKEA Jonas desk, with a CFL Philips table lamp, and our MacBook Pro to get things done. Since the desk is propped up against an IKEA Enetri shelving unit (two stacked next to each other in our living room), we can use it to store our peripherals and a lot of books. The printer and scanner are all out of sight since we use the shelves that are hidden by the desk to store them. The total budget for this workstation was about $300, including the shelving, lamp, and desk. Since all of the cables are hidden behind the desk in the shelf, we didn't need to think hard about a cable management solution.
The simple yet effective look will easily let you attain a minimal workstation look, which is something many people want because an uncluttered office is a lot easier to work with. Simply adding a strip of LED lights (IKEA Dioder strips
come to mind) will add a touch of class and light up your room in a soothing manner, which is important when you spend long hours in front of your desk. Another smart idea includes adding a bright light behind
your computer monitor, which can be added on top of a LED lighting strip and table lamp, to make it easier on the eyes.
While the perfect table (Herman Miller Airia) and the perfect ergonomic chair (Herman Miller Embody) might be something to add in the future, when you've saved up, there's nothing stopping you from starting to keep things simple by using smart and minimal workstation layouts without spending to much money.
IKEA Dioder LED Strips
IKEA Jonas Workstations
How to Be Able to Clean Your Desk in 5 Minutes
Herman Miller Airia Media Desk
Choosing Your Workstation Layout
(Images with permission: Flickr member Jon Hume and Range)