If you’re like most people who have an office job, you probably sit for the majority of your day, only getting up to take lunch or use the restroom. What you’re probably not aware of is just how bad sitting down all day is for you, but many health-conscious users are looking to change that.
You may have heard of a new trend called standing desks that’s sweeping the nation. They’re certainly not new by any means — Winston Churchhill used one, as did Leonardo da Vinci and Ernest Hemmingway. However, they’ve been gaining popularity over the last couple of years, and many users looking to take their health and productivity to the next level are considering standing desks over traditional desks.
It’s becoming more and more well known that sitting down all day is pretty bad for your health in the long term. It’s so bad, in fact, that exercising daily can’t even negate the effects of sitting on your butt all day.
Did I scare you yet? Heck, you’ve probably already started Googling where to buy — or how to build — a standing desk, and that’s good to hear! Standing instead of sitting for a majority of your day is a small change, but it’s a great way to get back into a healthy lifestyle, so we’re glad you’re deciding to get a standing desk.
However, where do you start? What should you be looking for in a standing desk? Let’s get into some finer details.
What You Should Look For
Many of the traits that make a traditional desk great also apply to standing desks. However, perhaps one of the biggest factors you want to consider when getting a standing desk is making sure that it’s sturdy. Since standing desks have longer legs, it’s easier for them to wobble and become unstable. This is why you’ll want to make sure that the materials you use are robust.
Ergonomics are also something you’ll want to be aware of when building a DIY standing desk. One of the most important rules is to make sure the desk is at the right height. The height of your standing desk should be elbow height, so that when you type on your keyboard, your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle. As for your monitor, it should be propped up on a second shelf so that the top third of the screen is at eye level.
Other than that, go crazy. The great thing about a DIY standing desk is that you can build it however you’d like. If you want to make it L-shaped, no one’s stopping you! Here are a handful of our favorite DIY standing desk solutions that you should consider when building your own.
Sawhorses and a Door
One of the easiest, quickest and cheapest ways to build a complete, standalone standing desk is by taking two sawhorses and laying a door across them to make a desk surface. Once you have everything you need, it literally takes five seconds to put together.
However, depending on what you need, the building process may take a bit longer. The photo below is my own standing desk in my home office, made out of sawhorses and a door. The sawhorses were made out of 2x4s with sawhorse brackets. The measuring and cutting of the 2x4s will take the longest, and even that usually doesn’t take too long.
Once you have the sawhorses made, just lay the door down across the sawhorses and you’re good to go. You might want to sand down the door’s surface and possibly even stain it to give it a more presentable look, but overall, you won’t spend much money.
I think I spent $40 total for this type of desk, but that’s mostly because my dad already had some 2x4s laying around in his garage, and I’m sure you know someone who also has extra 2x4s as well, so the cost should remain fairly low, with the biggest money pit being the door itself, which usually only cost around $30 at a hardware store for a cheap one.
If you want your standing desk to be more hip and stylish, you can’t go wrong with Ikea. The types of standing desks you can build using Ikea parts are almost endless. Ikea sells a variety of different table and desk legs, as well as desk tops that you can mix and match to create your own standing desk.
Some people have even gotten creative with Ikea parts and made a standing desk from Expedit shelving units, like the desk pictured above.
One big caveat is that building a standing desk using Ikea parts can be a bit expensive, depending on what you’re wanting to build. Using Expedit shelving units cost at least $200, but if you go a simpler route with just table legs and a desk top, it can a bit over $100, which isn’t too bad.
Pipes and a Butcher Block
If you want a standing desk that has a more rustic look to it, you can’t go wrong with a butcher block top and pipe legs. You can either buy a butcher block countertop or make your own. Word of caution, though, butcher block countertops are pretty expensive, so be prepared to spend some money if you go this route.
As for the pipes, you can get metal pipes at any hardware store, but you’ll just want to make sure that you have the tools to cut them and piece them into their fittings to make the desk legs. From there, you can leave the natural silver color alone, or paint them another color to give them a little bit of character.
Paper Reams or Cinder Blocks
If you’re not sure a standing desk is right for you, there’s no harm in trying one out to see if you like it or not. Plus, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do so, as you can easily modify an existing traditional desk into a standing desk. One of the most popular options is to stack up paper reams or cinder blocks and put your existing desk on top until it’s at standing height.
It’s not the best-looking option (in fact, it might look a bit goofy), but it’s an extremely cheap way to at least try out a standing desk, and if you like it enough, you can upgrade to a nicer option that’s more permanent.
Just Build a Taller Table
If you’re particularly into woodworking and know your way around building furniture, why not just make a taller table as a standing desk? Granted, you probably don’t want to make it as big as an actual dining room table, but you can at least use the same concepts for building a standing desk — just be sure to make the legs longer so that it’s at standing height.
This is perhaps one of the best options for a study standing desk, as there’s nothing quite like a well-built piece of wooden furniture, and it should be relatively cheap, based on the type of wood you use and where you get it.