Consider these 15 multiple monitor home office designs to work more productively in your home office.
Your company says you can work remotely, so you set up your home office excitedly having learned from COVID-19’s forced home working just how much more productive you can work from home. You learned that multiple screens could help you get more done by letting you pull up work in more than one place.
You could keep your reference material up on one screen while composing a presentation on another. That kept you from needing to switch back and forth or try to squish multiple windows onto one monitor.
Guidelines for Home Office Setups
How would you lay them out in an office space at home though? You need a configuration that lets you work with what you already own because few people want to buy all new office furniture to accommodate their home office. Essentially, you have five desk options when creating a multiple monitor design, but unlimited monitor options since they come in so many sizes today. The best home office desk for multiple monitors depends on your needs and work methods but purchasing at least one that uses portrait display mode can increase the versatility of your home office. Read on to learn about the most common options for dual monitors.
Side by Side on a Single Desk
Larger desks with ample workspace easily accommodate this dual monitor desk configuration. You situate two monitors of equal or near equal size next to one another. This configuration works with most traditional office desks executive desks or double pedestal desk designs. The monitor cords hang from the rear of their systems and typically plug into an outlet or surge protector.
One Behind the Other
A desk with a credenza, a corner computer desk, or a corner TV stand, lets you set up one monitor behind the other in your home office space. The rear computer monitor sits on a shelf higher than the monitor in front. In this configuration, the rear monitor might display mobile TV or news, or a stock ticker. The desk-level monitor offers an eye-line height view of your current project or paper. These desks typically let the monitor cords hang from the rear of their systems, plugged into an outlet or surge protector.
Using an L-Shaped Desk
Larger desks that use an L-shape offer space for monitors side by side or one on either length of the “L.” Using one on either desk section typically requires an open bottom desk so you can pull your chair up to the 90-degree angle where the two sides meet. An L-shaped desk utilizes a design meant for an office and may include recessed holes or openings in its top or rear that let you run monitor cords through them to hide them. This also makes it easier to do work since the cords don’t take up desk space.
Using a U-Shaped Desk
The other larger desk option uses a U-shape, offering three sides of the workspace. The typical configuration on this style of desk places a monitor on either side of the “U” or two monitors side by side on one side of the “U.” Both of these options leave the middle (semi-circular) area of the “U” open for brainstorming, note taking, or eating lunch. A U-shaped desk also utilizes a design meant for an office, typically including recessed holes or openings in its top or rear for monitor cords. This desk type offers the same space-saving benefits as an L-shaped one.
On Separate Desks
Finally, you might not have a large or fancy office desk at home. Most people didn’t have to work from home before COVID-19, so the only desks they had at home consisted of TV trays, the kitchen table, or a student desk which offers a small sitting area that allows the individual to pull their chair up to the desk and three or four drawers for stashing office supplies. Cobbling together desks can work if you have the right options available but you may need to order something to supplement the existing desk. Using two desks offers the option of having an adjustable desk and a stationary one for versatility.
15 Potential Monitor Configurations for Your Home Office
1. This configuration relies on your laptop or desktop computer and a cell phone. It may be the only multiple monitor system you currently have. If you are tired of squinting to try to double-check data on your cell phone screen or switch back and forth between screens on your desktop or laptop, peruse the following cool monitor setups to find one that works for you.
2. Configure two equal-sized desktop monitors side by side on a large desk for a simple multiple-computer monitor setup for your home office. If you own an executive desk or double pedestal desk, this works effectively. You could even put together a desk the right size for this the way the founder of Amazon did. He used a door and two file cabinets to cobble together a large enough workspace.
3. Here’s another option for using equal-sized dual monitors side by side on a large desk. It also uses a larger desk, but you can make it work with a fold-out dining table of the type that caterers use. Simply cover it with a tablecloth and a desk blotter to create a workable design. If you don’t want the tablecloth hanging down, make the table work-ready by covering it in contact paper.
4. Some professions only need one larger standalone monitor, so combining it with a laptop on a large desk offers plenty of brainstorming space. It also provides a second monitor for displaying reference materials or for video playback.
5. Keep your paper reference materials at hand with this setup that places a larger standalone monitor on an expansive desk with a laptop as the main computer. A bookshelf in front of the desk offers easy access to engineering materials or architectural specifications. The laptop connects to the standalone monitor, or you can use the desktop monitor with a desktop.
6. This potentially overwhelming six-monitor setup using a tiered desk might seem like overkill to some individuals, but it works well for news reporters and large Zoom meetings. This configuration lets the user view video on multiple screens while writing on another screen. It also works well for stockbrokers and financial managers who need to track stocks, bonds, cryptocurrencies, etc. on tickers or graphs.
7. What if you only have a small desk option, such as a lap desk with table legs? You can still organize it using this large monitor with a laptop setup. Although this does not leave room for much else, it does offer two screens to make working easier.
8. Those working in finance or business frequently need to view multiple graphs and charts at one time. This multiple-monitor configuration uses four equal-sized monitors. It suspends two of the monitors above the others using a monitor stand that offers multiple heights and a raised stand. The other two monitors sit on the desk. Stockbrokers or financial managers may find this configuration helpful.
9. Web designers and graphic artists may find this three-monitor setup useful for testing their designs. It combines two side-by-side monitors and a laptop on a single desk. While this desk setup with 2 monitors and a laptop does use a roomy desk in the photo, you could build the same style setup by using two oversized TV trays next to each other or a folding rectangular table.
10. Another configuration that web designers may find useful, this 3-monitor desk setup uses one standard monitor, a large screen cell phone, and a laptop on a single executive desk. Those in graphic arts must test their designs on various sizes of screens before deploying them. While some apps try to model these screens, nothing beats a live systems test to show that the logo or website loads properly.
11. Parents aren’t the only ones who had to work from home during COVID-19. This student uses a multi-tiered desk and cool monitor setups made with three laptops to accomplish his homework. Grownups can use the same type of design with a little larger desk to properly provide for their height difference. While this youngster places his desk lamp on the highest tier of the desk, you could also use a laptop or a desktop monitor on that tier.
12. This young woman does not have a large desk but her organizational style keeps her desk clear of ancillary items, leaving plenty of space for her laptop and tablet. This smaller desk uses a typical student desk design, yet it still leaves plenty of room for her coffee cup and printouts.
13. For those who consume lots of data in each computer session, try this five-monitor setup. It uses two equal-sized monitors, a laptop, a tablet, and a cell phone all on an executive desk. You could also lay out your monitors in this manner on an L-shaped or U-shaped desk. This configuration works as an ideal choice for a web designer or graphic artist who needs to view their designs on various screen sizes or a news reporter who needs to view multiple video feeds or tickers at once.
14. This view from above the desk shows how these two large monitors work side by side with a laptop, a small tablet, and a large tablet. Another option for a web designer or graphic artist, this offers many screens in a compact home office design on a standard-sized desk.
15. Use this type of configuration when you only have a small space to work with or you need a corner computer configuration. Use a corner TV stand or a corner desk to configure this option. Although the photo shows an audio/visual system on it, let’s go through where each piece of your computer equipment would go to make this option work. Remove the TV and replace it with the larger two monitors, then place your smaller monitor where the DVD player sits. Replace the stereo components with your hard drive and printer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Of course, you might still have questions about how best to configure your home office. We’ll try to answer the most common questions here.
Do All the Monitors Used Need to be Made by the Same Manufacturer?
You can mix and match monitors and cable types. Newer monitors use USB connections, but you can use older nine-pin or five-pin cables if needed. The pin cables won’t provide the quick response that a USB cable does.
How Many Monitors Can You Attach to One Computer?
There’s no one answer for this because each computer differs. Typically, you can connect at least two USB monitors to a laptop and one screen via an HDMI cable. Later-model laptops don’t offer an option for pin connections, but most desktops still provide at least one pin connector. How many monitors you can connect to your computer varies by computer, but most units can handle at least three monitors.
Do Multiple Monitor Configurations Slow Down My Computer?
Allow me to hedge this answer. The actual monitors don’t slow down the typically configured computer system of 2022 and beyond, but what you view on each monitor may. That means if you run YouTube or Hulu on all three monitors, each with a different show going, you will probably tax your computer system. It probably will run slowly. On the other hand, one monitor playing a video or music while you type, and that document appearing on a separate monitor won’t tax your system any more than doing that on a single monitor.
Do You Need a Special Electrical Outlet to Accommodate Multiple Monitors?
You should have an up-to-date electrical outlet with a reset button. Plugged into this, you should have a surge protector that protects both your computer equipment and your electrical outlet. Plug the computer equipment into the surge protector, not directly into the wall outlet. This affords you the best protection. A surge protector with power backup can keep your computer running for an extra few minutes to an hour or so, providing you time to save your work and safely power down your system, unplugging each monitor and the computer from the outlet. You can do this by unplugging the surge protector once you shut it all down.
How Do You Choose the Right Monitor for Your Needs?
Those who work long hours will probably appreciate an anti-glare monitor. The old-school CRTs long ago left stores and although it might tempt you to pick a couple up for cheap, today’s computer designers focus on people’s health as well as useful computing. Those old-style monitors wreak havoc on your eyes. Try to find at least one oversized monitor that you like. These 17 to 22-inch monsters let you open two full-sized screens the size of a piece of typing paper. That affords you a large and comfortable typing space. A large or medium-sized laptop (14 to 15-inch screen size) or tablet can easily function as the second screen.
How Many Monitors Do I Need?
This choice remains yours. I suggest making a list of the things you need to do simultaneously. Prioritize them depending on screen size. My personal choice is to write on the largest screen, but this remains up to you. If you need music playing on one screen or a video, try a medium-sized screen for that option. Use a cell phone for checking messages, email, and receiving alerts.