Have you heard that sitting is killing you? Probably, because we’ve mentioned it a few thousand times. While you can solve the problem by moving around every hour, a standing desk can keep your metabolism from slowing down, build up your leg strength, and simply offer a healthier solution for your workspace. These desks can be expensive, but there are plenty of options you can make yourself on the cheap. Here are our favorites.
I’ve sectioned all our DIY standing desk options into levels of commitment so you can choose the type that suits you best. We’ll start off with options you can use to see if the setup is right for you and make our way up to the fully committed, perpetual standing worker.
I’m Curious About the Standing Lifestyle
If you’re hesitant about joining the standing community, you may want to try it out first. That’s not necessarily an attractive prospect if it involves spending a bunch of money and time on getting a desk together. Here are some options that involve very little work so you can see how you feel about standing up at work before taking the plunge.
The Simple and Portable Standing Desk
Don’t want to make a commitment? Want to be able to take your standing desk with you? Only have about $20 to your name? This is the standing desk for you. By combining an IKEA LACK side table, a couple of brackets, and a shelf, you can just plop this creation down on any existing desk and stand to your hearts content.
The Office Chair Standing Desk
If $20 is too rich for your blood, and you don’t really want to put any effort into finding out how you feel about standing all day, just put your office chair on top of your desk and let your laptop (or monitor) sit on it. In most cases this should bring your computer’s display to eye level and you can work standing up. You’ll have to figure out where to put the external keyboard and mouse, but at least you can use this method to test the waters and see how you feel.
The Standing Dresser
If you’ve got a spare chest of drawers lying around, chances are it’ll make for a decent standing desk. You can store all your stuff in the drawers and then just place your computer up on top. Certain bookshelves/bookcases may work well, too, if they’re large enough. Consider any excess furniture in your home as a potential standing desk and go from there.
I Want the Real Deal, But I’m Not Ready to Fully Commit
A simple, low-commitment option like the ones above are only useful to a point. You won’t get the full experience with any of those “desks.” In this section, we’ll take a look at a few standing desks you can build for minimal money that will offer the full experience.
The Optional Standing Desk
Standing desks are just taller desks, so you really just need a wide platform that rises up a little higher. This optional standing desk is such a platform, but it only takes up half the space. The other half is reserved for sitting so you can alternate in the begging if you find yourself getting tired.
The Double Decker Standing Desk
This double-decker standing desk won’t cost you more than $30 and offers a few neat benefits. First, when in standing desk mode you get to use the lower platform as a storage area. Second, since you’ll be standing you can use the space underneath the desk for even more storage (since your legs won’t be down there, kicking everything around). Finally, if you decide you hate standing and want to angrily destroy the top floor of your new work area, you can just rip it off in a monstrous rage and have a regular desk instead.
I’m Ready to Stand Forever
You’re ready to take the plunge and want the best standing desk a small fraction of your paycheck can buy—or at least buy the parts to build it. Here are some serious standing desks you can make yourself on the cheap.
The Wide, Height-Adjustable Standing Desk
You may not know this, but people come in different shapes and sizes. One of the key differences is height. As a result, a standing desk that works for a 5’2″ person might not suit someone who’s 6’8″. While you can build one to your height, an easier option may be to just make one that’s adjustable—like this standing desk. This option is just an inexpensive IKEA table with variable length legs. It’s as easy to assemble as any IKEA table (which is pretty simple, especially when comparing it to their filing cabinets), and you’ll be able to make the desk whatever height you need.
The Truly DIY Standing Desk
If you want a true DIY project, here’s a standing desk that lets you do all the hard work you want. It comes from reader Timothy Bohen who built his out of MDF sheets with pine trim and painted the whole thing black. You can find more photos here if you’re looking for additional inspiration and information. If you want a truly unique standing desk, this is the way to go.