How to Build a Standing Desk for $60

Do you work from home?

When I started working from home, I realized that your desk set up can REALLY makes a difference in your work productivity (of course), but also in your overall comfort.

The Ikea table top/legs combo desk that I’d been casually using for the last several years was no longer cutting it. I had the most ridiculous pain in my wrist that slowly worked its way up my arm into my shoulder.

I knew if I was going to be successful working at home, I was going to have to modify my work set up.

Since too much sitting and inactivity is being compared to much scarier health hazards lately (like smoking), I thought it would be easier to take quick walking breaks if I was already standing — and ultimately I decided on a standing desk.

My dilemma then became about how to afford one. Have you priced standing desks lately?

They run anywhere from $100ish (for cheap versions and stand desk converters that sit on top of your regular desk) up into the $700 range.

I decided to craft a DIY version instead.

First, I started by plugging my height into an ergonomic desk height calculator. Based on my height (I’m 5’7), the monitor should be approximately 64″ and the keyboard height should be 43″. Getting these measurements right is really important, as my keyboard was not at the correct height at my other desk and caused me enough pain to wonder whether I would have to go back to working a job that did not require me to spend as much time in front of a computer. Learn from me and do it right the first time.

I used some basic laminate shelves and a wall track system with brackets from my local Home Depot to create a standing desk that is suited exactly to my height.

Supplies (with links):
24 inch laminate shelf –1 at $4.98
36 inch laminate shelf –1 at $8.97
Wall tracks — 2 at $8.98 each = $17.96
Brackets — 4 at $4.98 each = $19.92

Total: $51.83 + tax = $55.46
(You can shave off a few bucks if you choose the white tracks. I wanted the black look, so I just paid a little extra to get them already black rather than spray paint them – but that’s an option to save a little).

All you need is a drill, some screws, tape measure, and a level.

Plug in your height into an ergonomic desk calculator to determine the heights that your shelves should go. Space your shelves 19″ apart if you’re using the same size shelves. (You can choose different shelf lengths that may suit your space better, just try to imagine your shelf length in thirds and try to get your tracks to line up within the middle of the sections.)

Use the level to make sure that the brackets go onto the wall straight. Add the brackets at the appropriate heights and sit the shelves on top.

Keep in mind the size of the screen you’ll be using, this could affect the height where your brackets click into the wall tracks. You’ll want the screen to be at eye level. This track system will allow you to adjust the shelves up or down by simply moving the brackets up or down a peg.

A couple of other tools that really help me be comfortable are a bluetooth keyboard and a wireless mouse. I personally use this bluetooth keyboard that is very similar to the feel of my Macbook keyboard and this ergonomic wireless mouse. I also have this anti-fatigue standing mat in my cart because the thin kitchen mat I currently use is not really doing the trick for longer than 15 minutes or so. You can start with one of those (we already had one) but it’s not really enough.

This is a weekend afternoon project that can be completed in less than 2 hours including the trip to the store. Like I said before, it can also be adjusted if I were to swap in a different screen.

Happy DIYing!

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