I’m a freelance writer and video producer, so I spend a lot of time at my desk. I’m also one of those weirdos that puts their feet up and sits on them every time I’m in a chair. Even at the dinner table. It’s inexplicably comfortable, but I know it’s bad for my knees, my back, and my overall well-being to sit curled like human origami for 8 hours a day. Something had to change.
So I built a standing desk using this DIY standing desk IKEA hack from Jessica Allen in 2012. I updated this hack to 2017 with slightly different materials (times change), and I added a few little touches for my workspace, but the result is roughly the same—a great, awesome looking DIY standing desk that you can make for around $100.
Here's a video of the standing desk build if you're not a reader:
Total Cost: $137 (w/ upgrades)
You can build this entire desk with just a phillips head screwdriver, but an electric drill will save a lot of time.
The Benefits of a Standing Desk: IKEA Hack
I love the simplicity of Jessica’s standing desk, but the real selling point for me was the built in storage and clean functionality of a double decker desk. This desk has a cubby, and it still looks awesome. That’s rare.
I’m a super tidy person. I like right angles and an uncluttered workspace, so the ability to stash all the “work stuff” I need—like a printer, laptop, and day to day things like pens—out of sight without putting it on the floor or hidden away in a drawer is fantastic.
The other great thing about this standing desk build is that it really is adjustable. The OLOV legs max height is 35 3/8” (almost 3 feet!), and the LACK tv stand is about 10” (without the little tv stand legs), so this desk really does fit most people. I’m 6’1” and I don’t even have the desk set all the way to the top.
Plus, I can always drop this desk back to earth if I ever get tired of the whole standing desk thing. Yes, I’d have to take everything off the desk and screw the OLOV legs down to the lowest setting, so it’s not a standing desk that you’d want to convert on a regular basis, but it’s still every bit as functional when it’s lowered.
The last thing I’ll talk about before describing the build is the weight load. TV stands are built to take a lot of weight. The LACK tv stand is rated to handle a max weight load of 143 lbs. That’s a lot. This standing desk can handle whatever computer system you can throw at it, which is important to know when your precious (expensive) gear is three feet off the ground.
Building a Standing IKEA Desk
Here’s how you build your own DIY IKEA standing desk in 3 Easy Steps:
1) Assemble the LACK tv unit
This is super easy to put together—just make sure you build this on carpet or cover your floor so you don’t scratch up the top of your brand new desk. You’ll be flipping this desk upside down to attach the legs, so try not to ruin it on the first day. The support inserts that come with the tv stand are important, but set them aside until after you attach the OLOV legs (if you don’t they’ll keep falling out). Also, don't attach the little legs that come with the tv unit. That's where the OLOV legs attach. Just throw the little wooden blocks out.
2) Measure and Set Your OLOV leg height
I’m 6’1” so I set the OLOV legs to 82 cms (the numbers on the side are cms) and its working great.
The lowest setting for these table legs is 60 cms, so you've got a lot of room to work with. Remember that your desk’s total height is going to be about 10 inches taller once you attach the legs to the desk. Which brings us to step 3...
3) Attach the legs to the tv stand
In Jessica’s example she attached a leg frame to the desk, but with the OLOV legs, you don’t need the additional (expensive) leg frame. The OLOV legs function just fine on their own, which is why they're a little pricey. To screw in the legs, just measure and mark where you want to attach the leg brackets, then drill them into place. Once they’re in, just rotate the legs into the brackets, and voila.
Notes about OLOV leg placement: I’ve been using my standing desk for about a month now and haven’t noticed any sag or instability. The inserts that support the tv stand are great at redistributing weight of my monitor across the entire desk. If I had to do it over again, I’d maybe set the legs closer to the center of the desk by two inches, but that’s just me being nitpicky. That being said, don’t line the leg brackets up with the edges of the desk. It’ll be less stable and just looks bad.
Upgrade Your Standing Desk: DIY Monitor Stand and Wall Shelves
The standing desk is really good to go in just a few steps, but if you have $20 extra bucks, and you want to take your desk to the next level, here are some additional steps.
DIY Desktop Monitor Stand
If you look at Jessica’s initial build, you see this beautiful, sleek standing desk—with a janky computer monitor stand. This one detail ruins the lines and look of this great IKEA hack. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I modified this great desktop monitor stand IKEA hack from Imran Shamsul. He opted for a longer monitor stand, which is great, but I went for something smaller, and I’m glad I did.
This desk stand puts your monitor closer to your natural line of sight, and provides a great shelf for stashing your keyboard and mouse when not in use. I also use it to keep delicate electronics, like portable HD and memory cards, elevated and away from my morning coffee. You don’t need this monitor stand to make the desk work, but I really can’t picture my desk without it. It adds much need stowage space and surface area to make my desk that much more functional.
Plus, if you’re tall, the added height boost to the monitor is super nice.
Notes about the monitor build: I used 1 1/4” screws, which juuuuuust poke through to the other side if you’re not careful. Slip at least one washer, preferably two, between the CAPITA mounting brackets and the EKBY shelf before you screw into place. Or use a shorter screw. If you don’t, the screws will poke through the the other side, which looks terrible, and will...you know scratch you and your expensive computer equipment. Don’t let this happen to you.
Add MARIETORP Shelves for Extra Space
Like I said, I’m super tidy and don’t really like any clutter on my desk. And while this standing desk has lots of storage space in the cubby, sometimes it’s not quite enough. To help keep organized, I added (2) MARIETORP picture ledges as work shelves to the wall behind my computer. I use one to keep my photography gear organized and easy to access, and the other for day to day electronics like my external HDs and iphone, etc.
These shelves match the aesthetic of the standing desk, and again, bring a lot of extra space and organization to the workspace. I highly recommend picking up a few and adding them to your workstation.
Building an IKEA Standing Desk: 1 Month Later
A standing desk is a big committment, and honestly isn’t for everyone. As a freelancer who works from home, I felt that my normal desk was ruining my posture, my productivity, and reinforcing bad habits (like eating at your desk). I’m a month into my standing desk experience and I highly recommend it for anyone ready to get off their ass and take the leap.
I love customizing my workspace just for me and my needs, and this standing desk is exactly that. There’s also the constant pride of knowing that I built this beautiful work station. It helps fuel my day standing up and writing at a desk that I made just for me. That’s a lot different than the slouched, slumped, procrastinating writer I was at my “work desk” before.
- What do you think of my standing desk?
- Is there anything you'd change? Anything you'd add?
- Got any suggestions for how to improve my workspace?
Let me know if the comments below, and feel free to share your own DIY builds here. I'm always curious to learn about more new projects. Thanks for reading, and happy standing!