A Mini Office Refresh + Autonomous Standing Desk Review

I’m happy to be partnering with Autonomous for this post!

With bar exam studying right around the corner, I’m really excited to give my home office a refresh.

I’ll finish law school in May 2021 (this used to sound so far away– how is it almost here?!), and I’ll start studying for the bar exam almost immediately after. It’s kind of wild to think that, at this time next year, I’ll be a lawyer.

But first…I have a few more months of law school to finish up, and then I have to make it through bar exam prep and the big test itself.

It’s typical to study for the bar exam all summer like it’s your full-time job (40+ hours per week). I’ll definitely have to plan some fun breaks and things to look forward to throughout the summer!

For now, I’m working on refreshing my workspace to make it prettier and more functional to use for school, blogging, and bar exam prep. With just new lighting and a new standing desk so far, it’s already a much better workspace.

First up: New Lighting 

To start, I did an easy switch that made a huge difference– I replaced the warm yellow bulbs in the room with cooler, brighter bulbs!

This room is very shaded and doesn’t get much natural light. So, the room used to be dark and the lighting for all of my Zoom calls was dim and yellow-tinted, even when I opened the curtains and blinds.

Now, with whiter, brighter light bulbs, the room is more energizing and cheery. Good lighting is everything, and I can’t believe I waited so long to make the simple switch.

The details: We replaced 40 watt soft white traditional bulbs (incandescent) with 60-watt daylight CFL (Compact Fluorescent). The daylight is just whiter, and the increased wattage made it brighter. Another option is to just use a LED bulb or CFL with a higher light output.

A New Standing Desk

I’ve been thinking about getting a standing desk for years, so I’m really excited about my new Autonomous adjustable standing desk.

I used to place my laptop on top of my dresser and stand there when I needed a sitting break, but my new setup is way better. Being able to elevate my desk so I don’t naturally slump forward is so helpful.

Nonstop laptop use during 4 years of undergrad, plus 3 years of law school has started to take a toll on my neck and back. I’m starting to try to reverse my slouching, and I’m hopeful this new set-up will help!

I’m also definitely the type of person who works most productively in a clean, pretty space with a cute planner and a good drink, and this desk helps complete my perfect workspace.

My new desk is the SmartDesk 2 Premium from Autonomous. Here are all of my thoughts on the desk itself:


Customizable – I really like that you can customize the colors of the desktop and legs.  I personally love the “white & light wood” style, and the natural bamboo top option is awesome. The Autonomous website currently has three frame colors (white, black, and gray) and a bunch of top options. Just select “Customize” on the product page, and you can mix and match to get the exact frame & top combination you want.

Easy assembly – I assembled the desk with my very sweet, very helpful dad, and it took us about 70 minutes. I think you *could* do it with one person, but two made it easier. The assembly was simple and the instructions were relatively easy to follow.

On a different note, I learned about TaskRabbit recently, which you can use to hire someone in your city for all sorts of errands and tasks, including furniture assembly. I’d definitely look into that option for bigger future furniture assembly if I’m on my own!

Easy to hide the cords – The desk has a few cords, and it comes with small adhesives you can use to secure the cords to the underside of the desk to keep them out of sight. As you can see in the first and second photos, my nearest outlet is low on the wall, so one cord remains visible. If anyone has ideas for how to fix this, feel free to let me know!

The size – I was looking for a small computer desk where I could easily spread out a couple of drinks, a snack, a few textbooks, and my computer, and this fits the bill. Double monitors would fit, too.

Even though the desk surface feels spacious, it doesn’t take over the small guest room I’m using for my office, so I think it works well as a standing desk for a small workspace. My SmartDesk 2 Premium dimensions are 53″L x 29″W x 1″H, and some of the table tops are available in an XL size, too.

Performance & presets – I appreciate that the buttons allow you to set up to four presets of frequently-used desk heights. As far as performance, the desk is sturdy, even at a standing height, and it moves up and down quickly. A friend has a similar standing desk with a crank, and I have to say, I love that this desk has a motor!

The price   I think this is a relatively affordable adjustable standing desk option, especially for being fully automated. And you can save 10% by using the code 26HEALTHYLIV.


Shipping – While you do get free shipping, Autonomous was transparent to let me know that they’re experiencing some delays with FedEx and UPS, as well as a high surge of orders with the increased demand due to lots of folks working at home. So, if you’re hoping to get a new desk within a few days, this may not be the best bet. 

Comes in 2 parts – If one part is back-ordered or delayed during the shipping process, you could have just half of a desk sitting at your place in a box for a while. I received half of my desk several weeks before the other half. Fortunately, this wasn’t a huge deal for me, but it definitely could be an issue if you’re in a time crunch.

To learn more about Autonomous desks, you can check out this Autonomous video. Overall, I love my desk’s easy assembly, performance, and look. And you can save 10% by using 26HEALTHYLIV as a promo code at checkout!

One other update I still want to make to this space is adding a desk chair, too. Any ideas of what type of chair would be functional and cute with this type of desk for sitting breaks every once in a while?

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