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How to Make a Cheap Standing Desk

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Julian Moffatt
Julian Moffatt CEO / Partner
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Julian Moffatt Purveyor of Good Times

If you follow our blog, or are into staying healthy, or read about technology, then you know that sitting in a chair all day is not the most healthy thing in the world for you. In our recent move to our offices at 102-110 Princess Street, we lost our nice 4' middle wall The old 4' wall at 141 Bannatyne that allowed a few of us to work standing up for parts of the day. To make up for this minor loss, we have been hacking around with pieces of shelving, table leaves, stationary boxes and other bits we had lying around in a MacGyver-ish, do-it-yourself, hobo-style standing desk configuration. Since it doesn't appear that people want to sit down all the time, Wil and I have been looking into ways to make more permanent standing desks. If you want to build your own standing desktop, here is what we have done:

Dig Through the IKEA website

Having a decent working knowledge of what is available at IKEA (it's a curse) we immediately looked for some low-cost legs and table surfaces. We set a budget of $50 for each setup with the goals of having it look nice and be functional. We ended up choosing the CAPITA Legs and the LINNMON table top. The CAPITA legs are usually used under kitchen shelving and as such, have a nice adjustable feature for balancing out uneven surfaces. The LINNMON table surface is very light, sturdy (although you may not want to stand on it) and has nicely finished edges in all directions. The cost here was $25 and $9. With taxes the entire setup was under $40!

Some Light Assembly Required

With our pieces in hand, all we needed to complete the job was a screwdriver and a little muscle.

supplies and tools for desktop build
Supplies at the ready.

pre-drilled holes and capita base desktop build
The pre-drilled holes do not match up. No problem.

pre-drilled holes and capita base desktop build
We used the outer hole as an anchor and hand cranked 3 new ones.

2 legs completed desktop build
Halfway there!

completed desktop build
All legs on. Now to test it out.

Enjoy a low-cost desktop extension!

completed desktop in action
Our setup worked like a charm. Cables can run below with the laptop, and there is lots of room on the new, extended-height, desktop for keyboard, mouse and Cthulhu!

The entire build process for each of these units is about 30 minutes of assembly and 90 minutes of running to and from IKEA here in Winnipeg. For under $50, we now have some much less hobo-like standing desktops in the office. The other major bonus here is that cords, cables, notebooks, backup and external hardrives and the like can all slide neatly underneath the table top, leaving you a nice, large area for your keyboard and mouse. Awesome!

Other possible surfaces from IKEA

If you are looking to spend a little more at IKEA, you can look into larger surface areas like a solid wood GERTON table top or a high-gloss finish on the LINNMON which might actually be glossy enough to use as a whiteboard, although this is untested. There are of course a ton of legs to choose from if you don't like the look of the CAPITA. Regardless of what you go with, if you find a neat solution or found this article to be useful, let us know. Drop a comment, send an email, or tweet us.

Footnote: we get nothing from IKEA and are not affiliated in anyway. We just found their stuff perfect for the task and very affordable.