How to build a DIY standing desk for cheap

May 6, 2014 · 3 minutes read
My standing desk

My standing desk

A few years back, I saw someone in a professional radio studio working on a standing desk. This was way before my time as a web radio host and even before I started thinking about my career (I was still in school). Back then, the ease of moving around in the studio fascinated me.
Years later, when I was producing/reading the news for a smaller web radio station, I got the chance to experience the advantages of working on a standing desk myself. A desk I had also built. It wasn’t the fancy, motorized version I had seen before, but a mere raised counter top version. Still, I loved it! With its faults and everything.
Then I moved, switching universities, quitting the web radio “job” and leaving the desk behind. For years I worked on “normal” desks, sitting all day long.
Every now and then I would hear about standing desks (or treadmill desks), or see one on the internet somewhere. And every time I would think about either buying one or somehow changing my workflow so that I wouldn’t sit as much. Then I would dismiss the idea for one reason or another.

Until I build my own version of a standing desk last weekend.

It was actually quite easy. I had been a big fan of IKEA’s “Ivar” shelves, owing a couple of them, when I was in dire need of additional shelf-space about a year ago. Sadly, my apartment wasn’t big enough. The only free space that was left was the one above my desk. That’s when I put the smaller Ivar shelf that had previously lived in my kitchen on top of my desk as kind of an “office supply and filing cabinet”.
That was the one key ingredient for my standing desk.

Here’s what you’ll need:

If you want to build it from scratch, without the preexisting desk I incorporated, you can get the 12x86" side units instead and add a few additional shelf boards.

The removed side rail

The removed side rail

The shelf itself is assembled as usual. It only gets tricky when you have to remove part of the plastic side rail so that the 33x20 board fits into the smaller shelf and can be used as the keyboard tray. First, mark where you’ll cut the rail (measuring twice!), then cut it using a sharp knife or a saw. When you’ve cut all the way through, you can remove the plastic with the help of a screwdriver. Be careful not to damage the wood! I’d also suggest to secure the shelf to the wall so that it won’t tip over.

That’s it. You just built your very own standing desk. Overall, a pretty cheap solution!

By the way, here’s another pretty similar idea how to build a standing desk using IKEA’s Ivar shelves.