Want to reinvent your workspace with something greener, more ergonomic, and better for your health? You can design and build your own custom standing desk for a fraction of what a new product will cost. And as far as DIY projects go, this one is pretty easy.
Whether it’s a multi-person desk, an at-home desk, or a reception desk, a desk is little more than a horizontal surface to work on, with a few added features for individual needs. Why not create your own custom solution from upcycled or repurposed materials? To get started, here’s an overview of how a standing desk can improve your life, plus some of the best DIY ideas out there.
Standing desks have become popular over the past several years, particularly after a series of studies showed the serious health dangers associated with the modern American practice of sitting all day.
he moment a person sits at his desk each morning, his calorie-burning rate immediately drops to one calorie per minute. Sit for six hours a day, 14 days straight: Muscles stop burning fat, blood sugar rises, and maximum oxygen consumption drops, which makes it harder to move around and puts the body at greater risk for weight gain. After a year of sitting six hours per day, that weight gain would be noticeable, as would higher cholesterol levels and loss of bone mass.
Life Standing Up
Multiple journalists set up standing desks and documented the experience. Surprisingly, these reports didn’t paint such a rosy picture. “Life is just too short to use a standing desk,” wrote Business Insider. A Washington Post reporter actually lost sensation in her feet. Before long, research confirmed what many of us might assume: Standing all day sort of stinks.
In fact, ergonomic chairs were originally developed to prevent a handful of issues, including spine curvature, varicose veins, and backaches.
So what to do? Sit all day and die of a heart attack or stand all day and injure your legs and feet? The simple solution: a little bit of each. A 2011 CDC study confirmed that “sit-stand” desks, which allowed users to vary their position, effectively reduced back and neck pain as well as improved people’s mood.
Movement and Ergonomics
The concept is simple: Our bodies were built to move and they don’t want to be still all the time. Standing desks are superior to sitting desks in improving posture, but more importantly, they make it easier to move—to shift weight from foot to foot, turn around for a conversation, and even walk away.
This is an important idea to incorporate into a DIY standing desk setup. Because DIY allows for more individual design opportunities, you can choose to make it sit-stand adjustable if you wish. Or, build it as an addition to a sitting desk so you can switch back and forth. You can even build a treadmill desk if you’re ambitious.
One more crucial element to consider: ergonomics. Just like a sitting desk, a poorly designed standing desk can cause lasting injuries from repetitive movements. Wherever you can, add in the ability to adjust angles and heights. A standing desk should be positioned so you can stand comfortably—possibly on an anti-strain gel mat—and so your arms rest at a natural 90-degree angle, with your elbows close to the body and without twisting at the wrist.
Standing Desk Ergonomics
If you’ve been considering the switch to standing, you’ve probably made an uncomfortable discovery. A new standing desk can set a buyer back hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars. And since standing desks are relatively new, it won’t be easy to buy a previously used model.
When you design and build your own desk, you have the opportunity to create something that will work for personal space, work style, and aesthetic.
Standing Desk Ideas
DIY Sit-Stand and Treadmill Desks
If you’re up for a bit of a challenge and really want to incorporate movement and flexibility into your workspace, try building a DIY sit/stand desk or even a treadmill desk. Instead of taking breaks to walk around or switching from a standing workspace to a seated one, you can stick with one well-designed desk that does it all.
Both desks show more polish in their details and are far more stable than anything else in their price range. The Jarvis and the Uplift are also backed by generous warranties from established ergonomic firms.
Best Standing Desk Ideas That Just Might Save Your Health (and Your Wallet)
Courtesy Of Mint
This work-from-home business owner purposed a custom height standing desk using supplies needed to build a sawhorse, along with a countertop (costing just $99) from Ikea.
DIY Hacks For Standing More At The Office
If you need a workspace with some extra height you can fashion a standing desk from a filing cabinet.
Floating Desk Is Perfect For Standing
The Cutter is a compact work area that you mount to a wall at your preferred height. It includes two storage cubbies and a built-in cord management system that eliminates cord clutter.
A Modern Desk With A Vintage Twist
The Adler Table by Ohio Design has a look that hearkens back to the industrial era. What makes this a real stand-out is that it uses an old-school machinist crank to adjust the table height from 27-inches to 42-inches.
Tip: An anti-fatigue floor mat can make standing at your desk more comfortable.
An Office That Fits In A Carry-On
Nubo packs a functional work surface into a wall unit that resembles a vintage suitcase. It also includes a retaining bar where you can stash printed material. To use just hang to the desired height.
This Modular Desk Is Super Flexible
The Frey Desk is a modular desk system for people who need a flexible workspace. It has a fully adjustable 30-inch by 40-inch work surface that can quickly transition from a desk to a drawing board. The workstation also has a handy 40-inch by 8-inch shelf where you can store art supplies or speakers.
This Standing Desk Mounts To A Wall
If you need to create a micro home office, the Podpad is a solution that mounts to a wall using a provided French cleat. When open, this compact system reveals a small desk and filing area for papers and mail. When closed the unit turns into a charging station for all of your electronic devices.
This Standing Desk Is Made To Grab And Go
Looking for a portable standing desk? The Storkstand is an easy to carry doctor recommended option that weighs only 4.2 pounds. To use, just attach to your office chair. When you’re done, the Storkstand folds into a sleek 17-inch by 15.5-inch by 2.25-inch rectangle. The desk fits either a 13-inch, 15-inch or 17-inch laptop, and it can support up to 50 pounds.
7 Benefits of Switching to an Active Workstation
- Standing (even at a Desk Job) Lowers Your Risk of Obesity
- Spending a Few Hours Standing at Your Desk Each Day is like Running a Marathon
- Doctors’ Orders: Sitting All Day is Ill Advised
- Standing More Often May Increase Your Lifespan
- Decrease Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Stand Up and Get Moving
- Sitting Isn’t Just Bad for the Body It’s also not great for your mind!
- Standing at Your Desk Improves Your Mood and Energy Levels