Today I join the ranks of those working standing up. Inspired by this Ikea hack standing desk, I fashioned a similar one. (Specifications below.) Here is another standing desk option that isn’t as elegant and takes up more space, but the white pulls it all together. I managed to create the solution you see above for under $200.
A rash of articles like this and this made the rounds about the health hazards of sitting too long. Little by little I’d hear of friends working at standing desks. As a designer who logs long hours at a computer, I needed a more sustainable option to sitting all day.
When I cook, which is often, I feel alert and energetic. Occasionally I’ll prop my laptop on a stack of books on the kitchen counter to write or do other work that doesn’t require my big screen. I feel less trapped and more likely to move and stretch. And after sleeping for eight hours, sitting down isn’t the first thing I want to do in the morning.
It was also time to try something new to ease nagging neck and low back pain. Not knowing if sitting is the cause or if standing will create new problems, I decided to give it a shot. (Ikea has a 90-day return policy.)
I was impatient to hurry up and stand up, but I did do some research and found few good options. Most desks were very expensive or decidedly unsexy, like some kind of surgeon’s cart.
Even with Ikea’s good variety of table top and leg options, there are only two telescoping legs. Vika Byske goes to 42″ but they’re not stable enough to use four together. Instead, one would use two legs with the other side of the table top hinged to the wall. The other legs, Vika Kaj, only go to just over 35″.
Most of us need need to work in the 40″ (plus) range. I’m 5’4″ and my desk measures 40″. The key measurement is from the floor to your elbow. You want your arms at a 90-degree angle when you work.
The frame I’m using is Utby Underframe, a brushed stainless steel sturdy frame meant as a kitchen island table that’s 35 3/8″ tall. They discontinued the 42″ tall frame so this required more height. A surprisingly elegant solution was to create more height using Capita legs (detail at left). These come in 2″, 4″ and 6″ tall. This required two table tops. Shown is Vika Furuskog, an unfinished solid wood that I can varnish or paint.
The table tops vary in thickness so make sure you do the math to achieve the right overall height if you’re hobbling together a solution. For added keyboard height, this hack used Ekby Alex shelf.
Your monitor is another issue. As you can see, I’m using a stack of books to test the height. Your eye should be in line with the upper third of your screen so you can gaze down a bit. Another set of 4″ Capita legs and a small pine shelf should do the trick for me. I love the gap between the two tops for storing papers, tools or other objects.
A found piece of wood on the bottom cross bar of the frame holds my printer. I didn’t even bother screwing the table tops on, saving me a good bit of effort. For a hobbled-t0gether solution, I’m happy with the open, airy result.
The Specifications + Cost
• Frame: Utby Underframe ($89.99)
• Two Vika Furuskog solid wood tops ($80.00)
• Capita 4″ legs ($10.00)
• 4 bars of chocolate ($4)
I have an additional work space next to this one that I can use if I need to sit down. But the next addition might be a tall adjustable stool.
Do you work at a standing desk? Do you like it? Where did you get your desk?