Linus Torvald Home Office Design: What’s Right and Wrong

Linus Torvald home office revealed to the world.

Linus Torvald home office, cluttered desk

Linus Torvald of Linux reveals his home office. This is his “other desk” Learn from his home office mistakes.

It looks like the average home office: tech-focused, bare and cluttered. (In case you are like me and need an introduction, Linus Torvald is the developer of Linux software, an open-source program challenging Microsoft’s world domination.)

Linus Torvald, treadmill desk, small desk lamp

Linus Torvald home office treadmill desk. Note the teeny desk lamp. Linus, you can do better!

Pride of place in the office is Torvald’s new treadmill desk. He gets props for this. He confesses it is set at only one mile per hour, otherwise his mouse jumps around too much to close his windows. This results in a walking pace that he calls “Walking Zombie Shuffle.” The desk itself is small and holds only his monitor, keyboard, mouse and desk lamp (more on the lamp later).

And props for NO paper clutter.

Next he shows us his “other desk” which is buried under a pile of computer hardware bits and pieces. He acknowledges it is a mess. These are clearly his tech toys, as he “would rather play with the new stuff.” The problem is inertia has settled on his old tech toys and hard drives and they have taken over a sizable part of his office. Visual clutter makes it hard to focus on what you are doing. Not good for a visionary like Torvald. Not good for anyone.

Declutter guideline:

For every new item you bring home, get rid of one you already have. Avoid duplicates, this can be a simple way to working on your clutter. I just realized I have two laptop cases and carriers, while I use only one of each. I will donate the duplicates to a local charity for a win:win:win.

Under all that clutter was an IKEA Galant L-desk, a great piece of furniture that can be used in many ways.

Of note: There was NO storage visible anywhere in the Linus Torvald home office. No wonder clutter was all over the “other desk”. A mobile file or two would fit well under the Galant table/desk. The top pencil drawers could hold some of those computer bits and bobs. They roll easily and can be moved closer to the treadmill desk.

Looking at the video of the Linus Torvald home office my impulse was to rescue him. If you are inspired to improve you home office read on for practical tips.

5 Ideas for Your Home Office: Use the Linus Torvald Home Office as an Example

  1. Closet Storage: If there is a closet in, or near, your home office you have a great storage resource. Place shelves in your closet. If you will be storing anything heavy to store like reams of paper, books or equipment then you might consider a freestanding shelf unit inside the closet rather than wall-mounted shelving. A free-standing unit will transfer the weight to the stronger floor than to your weaker walls. Get information on maximum weight load per shelf before you buy. If you don’t have a closet, get a ready-made closet in the form of a cabinet with doors. This will be deeper than a bookcase and can hide the miscellaneous office supplies you need. Small to medium-sized items go in clear plastic bins. Label the bins with what is inside by year, project or type.
  2. Double check the ergonomics of standing desk and four tips on using a treadmill desk
  3. Sun glare on computer monitors can be controlled with translucent honeycomb-type shades. Rather than a choice of sun glare or darkness you have a choice of sunlight or diffused light.
  4. Home Office Lighting: Other than a small desk lamp on his treadmill desk, the only other lighting is light from the window – which is blocked out with blinds most of the time. Torvald is literally working in the dark. The small desk lamp gives an area of bright light about the size of a saucer on the corner of his treadmill desk. The rest of the home office is dark. I suggest a small table lamp with a translucent shade for a larger area of soft, diffused light. Or translucent shaded library lamps mounted on the wall slighting above and on either side of his monitor screen. A table lamp with a translucent shade on the “other desk” will make it more comfortable, welcoming and functional.
  5. Home Office Decoration: Torvald’s home office is basically bare of decoration. Tapping into his interest in scuba diving and photography he might print, frame and hang photos on a wall in his office. His swim fins are boldly colored and sculptural in design. They would look great displayed on a wall. What passions do you want to display to decorate your home office for inspiration and fun.

See Steve Jobs’ home office for comparison.

Five tips can make a huge improvement in how your home office looks, feels and functions. Pick one and improve your home office, today. Linus, even you can do it.

Learn more about creating a great home office, simply. Buy a copy of The Smarter Home Office: 8 Simple Steps to Increase Your Income, Inspiration and Comfort. On Amazon – in paperback or Kindle.

HT to the #homeoffice group at Google+