Revamping my room

The last time I revamped my room was just after completing my National Service. That was around 5 to 6 years ago. It involved painting my whole room with two complementary colour tones, “Cappuccino” and “Latte”, dark and light respectively. It also involves getting the necessary furniture to make my room, as I like it. It took a while to get the desired look, especially when it comes to picking out the perfect furniture. The look is ever evolving, but essentially the theme and concept remained the same from conception, to final look.  I think the last piece of furniture to complete the look was the two-seater red couch. I bought it quite recently, just a couple of years ago. It started with the paint, and then the new bed, followed by the computer desk (highly unique and hard to find in Singapore, from BlueLounge with excellent cable management solutions) followed by the carpet, which changed twice, and then other smaller furniture like the bedside table, and mid-height Billy bookshelves from Ikea. So you see, it took a while to finally get the look that I want.

Fast forward today, I boldly took a step forward and decided to revamp my room. It is not as drastic as the last time, but it drastically changed how I work and play from today onwards. You see, my room is my only sanctuary in the house. While I try my best to keep it neat and tidy (no one is perfect) I strive to attain a certain look and atmosphere that would give me peace and solitude, enjoyment and happiness. That is partly why, it took me a while to attain the right kind of look for my room. For example, the sofa was extremely hard to find. It had to be the right size, the right look, and the right colour. The quest to find a good one took an incredibly long time. And it is not a decision I trivially make. This time however, as part of the revamp, I just bought one additional set of furniture and nothing else. In doing so, I had to sacrifice the my Bluelounge computer desktop. Yes, you heard me right. I am sacrificing my computer desktop. The desktop has been the center of everything I do in my room. It is where my computer sits. It is where I spend most of my time in my room. Now with that out of the way, how I work and play, will be drastically different.

Essentially, there are two main transformations. One is the removal of my HD LCD TV mounted to the wall, and onto to a LACK model TV console from Ikea. I used that LACK furniture to fill up space in one part of the room to fill up with things to be displayed. Now it has a second function. I removed the wall brackets from the back of the TV and added the stand that came with it. Then I placed the TV onto the LACK furniture. This is now in the center of my room, against one side of the wall where my desktop used to be. And then the sofa sits a short distance from the TV. In addition to those, I bought a simple wooden bar table with 2 accompanying bar chairs. This will be situated just right behind the sofa. So imagine having a sofa for two persons, sitting in front of the TV, and the bar table would accommodate two more persons, in which they will sit in an elevated position, without any obstruction in front of them. So essentially I have enough seats to accommodate four persons comfortably.

The bar table is very simply designed. Made of sturdy rubber wood and two leather, low-backed cushion high chairs, it is as high as a typical bar top counter, and as long as my sofa, which incidentally both of them accommodates two persons each. Its elegant design, and the concept of having a sofa in front and bar table behind is nothing new. But putting it together with the TV console, and the TV, makes the room really inviting. Aside from my bed, which has to be there (for where else can I sleep in at night), the room is, in my opinion, really cozy. It creates an atmosphere of rest and relaxation, something you look forward to at the end of a long day to just sit and relax, listening to easy music, or just unwind and play your favourite video games on the PS4. Or you could snuggle and catch up on your favourite TV shows or movies that you downloaded to your hard drive. In essence, the TV has become the center of my room, consuming all kinds of content.

Some of you might be wondering; where would you be doing your work if you no longer have a desktop? I have been using the Macbook Air for more than 3 years now. All these time, it has become my desktop replacement, plugging it in to an external Dell monitor with a keyboard and mouse. Now, with all that gone, I am left with just my Macbook Air. No more external screens, no more external keyboards or mouse. It’s just the Macbook Air. Everything has been simplified. With this level of mobility, my bar table has become my desktop. In order for me to do a lot of high productivity work. I am tweaking the table a little, adding a little bit of connectivity to it. I plan to stick a USB hub that I have always been using to connect all my secondary devices such as the speakers, HDD and other peripherals underneath the table so that I have additional USB ports to play with. It is a powered USB hub so it needs to be connected to a power source quietly hidden away behind the bar table. The wire will stealthily wind its way up on one of the legs of the table and underneath it where the USB hub will be stuck to it. I will also stealthily wind the charging cable for my Macbook Air along the leg of the table and up to the top so that I can easily connect and charge my Macbook Air. There will also be my DAC stuck underneath and a long jack-to-RCA cable winding behind my bed, along the walls and to the front of the TV console connected to the speakers on the sides of the TV, so that I can blast music from Spotify playing on my Macbook Air. All in all, I will simply have 3 wires going up along the legs of the table. That’s it. It’s really easy to hide those three cables. And those three cables will serve my needs to function my laptop like a desktop machine. The cables will be permanently there underneath, so that gives me the flexibility of either working on my computer on the sofa, or on the bar table.

It was not easy making the decision to proceed with this concept. It radically changes how my room functions, as well as how I would be doing serious work on my only laptop. This new concept was conceived quite a while back. I had to give considerable thought as to how my day-to-day life in my room would change with this new concept. I had to think of all the various scenarios I could think of and come up with workarounds and weigh the sacrifices I need to make if I were to proceed with revamping my room. I had to think about the cable management, assessing if I needed additional items needed to fully realise my concept, the additional costs with buying new furniture, sourcing out the furniture and so on. It is not a decision to be taken lightly.

But I went ahead with the revamp. And now I am left with waiting for the bar table and chairs to arrive this weekend. After doing some cable management, the look will be complete. With this new concept there are a few drawbacks. For starters, it would be impossible to upgrade my laptop to a full-fledged desktop, complete with a monitor, such as an iMac. Since I don’t have a dedicated computer desk, desktop PCs are out of the question. The good news, (I hope) is that I am fine with upgrading my Macbook Air to another portable machine, perhaps a Macbook Pro in the near future. I am used to having a laptop as my main desktop computer and I don’t see why I need to change that. Everything else will still remain the same, just a beefier computer. Now I just have to wait for Apple to refresh their Macbook lineup and I will be set. The second drawback is that I cannot use my bar table as a dedicated desktop. Sure I can still do work on it, but I cannot leave it cluttered and look as if it is one long, stupidly designed computer desk. Eventually, I have to be smart about it and be adaptable at using my iPad mini, or PS4 to augment my laptop. The one distinct advantage is that since I am going mobile, I can (If I want) make my room smart. Internet connectivity is king in my room. And all my digital devices will ultimately be able to communicate with each other; PS4, TV, Laptop, iPad Mini, iPhone, NAS. If I am willing to invest, I could get smart LED light bulbs, such as the Philips Hue to control the lighting in my room. I could also get my very own NAS, dump all my digital content inside so that all my digital devices are connected to it. I could get even get a Smart TV that can communicate with all my devices.  That would make my room, The Future.

Will it all work? Will I be able to adapt to a new way to living? It is still too early to say. But for now, I am excited at the prospects. I am less dependent on my computer sitting on the computer desk, and more mobile, depending more on my other devices to suit my needs. Only time will tell.

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