Jan 26, 2011

How to: Make the 5-Second DIY Standing Desk

created at: 01/26/2011

It's Workspace month on Curbly.com, so I've been doing tons of research into home offices studios, and all the desks, desks, desk, desks!

And I've learned something: sitting at a desk is really bad for you. It's bad for your health, bad for your posture, bad for your emotional wellness, bad for your muscles, and bad for your bones.

Rather, it is more ideal to be lying down flat (which brings along other implications), or preferably, standing up. As a person who makes his living online, I knew I needed to start changing my habits now if I didn't want them to affect me in the long run.

Thankfully, I came up with a no-cost solution that allows me to maintain a traditional desk with standing options. And by no-cost, I mean free. And healthy. Whatup.   The trick lay in something I already had around: office storage boxes. See, standard desk height is 29 1/2 inches. Add an 11 1/2" storage box (like the IKEA KASSET magazine box), and I've got a store-able solution that puts my keyboard at exactly the height I want it, at six-feet tall. If your shorter, IKEA also makes a 10" and a 7", all of which have bases wide enough to support most laptops. (Mine has  a 15" screen). My partner's only 5'3", and she finds the larger box perfectly comfortable.

To make sure everything stays nice and safe, I keep two squares of ribbed shelf liner in the box, and put one on the bottom of the box, and one between my computer and the top of the box to prevent anything from sliding around. With the box full, it's very secure, and I have no worries of my computer falling or getting knocked off.

No, it's not permanent; this isn't something you'd want to leave your laptop on forever. But it's meant to be a temporary solution that gets me off my butt when doing computer tasks like emails, feed-reading, editing, etc.

It wouldn't really work for a desktop computer (unless your monitor was high enough and you put your mouse and keyboard atop), but my office isn't set up for a permanent computer station...it's why I have a laptop. So, for a space where flexibility is key, it's a perfect solution. I've been doing it for weeks now, and I'm sleeping better and have less pain in my lower back.

Plus, it's free, and gets put away when I'm done.

Win, win.



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Kathleen on Feb 13, 2013:

Hah, very nice. I hadn't thought about storage boxes. Pretty rudimentary, but I guess it's a step up from what I'm typing on right now... 

My "DIY standing desk" at home consists of a table, a chair, and two boxes. So hats off to you!

At work, though, I use an actual standing desk from NextDesk. Also very beautiful, but not at all DIY. If you're looking for an already-made beauty, though, you might want to check them out on their site www.nextdesks.com.

And as always, thanks for the post Chris!


Claire Dé on Jan 27, 2011:

Dear Chris,

Writing while standing up was in fact quite usual during the 19th Century: Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, just to name two, used to write standing up!  Each of them had a kind of stand-up writing desk, or pedestal if you like, on which they wrote their gigantic oeuvre!

Having seen those pedestals, when I started to write, I asked my then boyfriend to built me such a standing-up desk.  Still, since I didn't have the same energy as those two geniuses, I came back writing while sitting.  Yet, for a few decades now, what I have found to be very comfortable is that my legs are stretched out on an ottoman, under my metal desk, so I'm sitting with my legs stretched, quite happily I must add.  It's always a pleasure to read you.  Keep on with your excellent work!