Sitting around all day at work is a big problem when it comes to your health, and one potential solution that’s been gathering steam lately is the standing desk. We’re starting to see more and more of these upright stations make their way into the workplace, but have you seen the price of these things? A basic standing desk can run you upwards of $250—a major investment just to get you on your feet. Luckily there are a whole bunch of ways to build your own for just a fraction of the cost. Here’s one of them:
The $20 Standing Desk
I’m going to assume that you already have a workspace you want to convert, so you’ll probably be starting out with just a normal desk or table. Your first objective is to get your monitor or laptop screen up to eye-level. The simplest and most effective way to do this is to go out and get yourself a small side table like this one for $10 from IKEA. Assemble the table, haul it up onto your existing desk and set your laptop/monitor on top. If this is still too low, prop up the monitor with a couple of thick textbooks or a laptop stand to get some extra height.
Now you’ll need to position your keyboard and mouse so that your elbows are bent at around 90 degrees as you work. You might get away with setting them on top of your existing desk (depending on how high it is relative to you), but more than likely you’ll need to elevate them somehow. Get yourself a cheap shelf and a couple of brackets, and attach the whole lot to the legs of your new side table. When finished, you should have something resembling this. Total cost? $20 or less.
Tips and Troubleshooting
A well-set up DIY standing desk can be just as effective as the real thing, but you might encounter a few niggling issues. For one thing, your new desk isn’t as easily adjusted as most store-bought models, meaning you won’t be able to sit down without disassembling the whole thing. To get around this, see if you can pick up a cheap bar/counter stool that will help you sit tall whenever you need to take the weight off your feet. Shop around and you should find one for 30 bucks or less.
If your monitor/laptop is wobbling around as you type, then your cheap flat-pack table probably isn’t sitting flush with your desk. If this is the case, use the tried and trusted beer-coaster-under-the-leg method to stabilise your setup. For a more professional solution (and some added shock- and sound-proofing), invest in some cheap felt furniture pads and stick them to the legs of the table.
Finally, make sure you have some kind of comfortable mat to stand on. Your feet will get tired, especially early on while you’re becoming accustomed to standing up for extended periods. Again, you can go as cheap or expensive as you want on this. Dig out an old rug or exercise pad you have lying around, or fork out for a dedicated anti-fatigue mat like those used by chefs and gardeners.
Q: Got any DIY standing desk hacks of your own? Tell us about them in the comments below.