How to Get Yourself a Standing Desk for Next to Nothing

You know sitting for long periods of time slowly kills you.

But in our quest for convenience, we’ve built an infrastructure full of seats, chairs, stools, sofas, and benches.

  • You wake up and sit down for breakfast and coffee.
  • You sit down in your car.
  • You sit down in your office.
  • You sit down for lunch.
  • Sit down in your office again.
  • Sit down in your car and drive home.
  • And yes, sit down in the gym — on the exercise bike or weight bench.

You get the point.

Even if you’re relatively active, you can probably relate to most of the items on that list.

So how do you save your life (or get a few extra healthy years)?

You should buy a standing desk, of course.

But here’s the thing — the good ones are expensive while the bad ones are, well, bad for one reason or another.

If you go to Amazon or IKEA and search for standing desks, you’ll see the average price is the same as an entry-level laptop. And that’s the thing that’s meant to just hold your laptop. And these are relatively cheap marketplaces.

If you want to go all-in on comfort, you can shell out more than $4,000 as some high-profile tech firms know very well.

And now, here comes the big one — where do you put that thing? If you work from home, it’s one item that’s hard to miss in your living room.

So I was pondering all these issues for a while and decided to test a few ways to build a standing desk with what I could find around the house.

The result?

Two ways to build your own effective standing desk — for free or much less than you think.

Here’s how:

Method 1: The Bookshelf

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. A bookshelf with adjustable shelves OR 2x wall shelves to screw into a wall.
  2. External mouse and keyboard (preferably wireless)
  3. Laptop

Here’s how that looks like:

You basically adjust the shelves (or screw them in) so your laptop can stand on top at your eye level. And for the second shelf, aim to position it below the first one so your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Kind of like this:

Got this off Quora, no credit mentioned. Whoever is the designer — please forgive me and keep up the good work!

Next, set up your external mouse and keyboard on the second shelf and you’re good to go!

If you have a desk next to your shelf, you can switch between sitting and standing easily — but you should go for a wireless mouse and keyboard in this case.

If you don’t have the shelf, here’s my preferred way to create your own standing desk (almost) for free.

Method 2: Use a small table on your desk

This is what I’m using right now. Here’s what you need:

  1. A fairly wide desk (120cm +)
  2. A small table (I use the IKEA LACK table for £6)
  3. External mouse and keyboard (preferably wireless)
  4. Laptop stand
  5. External monitor

This is really effective. It doesn’t take extra space and you get lots of flexibility. Here’s how it looks like:

So you just find a table on Amazon or IKEA (or use one from your home), put it on the left or right side of the desk and add your laptop stand and laptop on top.

When you add an external monitor and duplicate your screen, it becomes super easy to switch between sitting and standing.

So you can keep doing your work without interruptions.

I’m sorry, manufacturers of $4,000 standing desks, but even with an electrical sit/stand mechanism, this is still somehow more convenient.

It may not be prettier but it is convenient, not to mention cheaper.

Note: The type of table/shelf that works for you will obviously depend on how tall you are. So before you buy anything, it’s good to measure a) where your arms will rest at a 90-degree angle; b) where to position a monitor/laptop such that it’s at your eye level.


Well, if you clicked through to this article, you know that sitting for too long is bad for ya.

So you need a standing desk without breaking the bank.

These are 2 easy methods to achieve that: The Bookshelf and the cheap IKEA table.

This might be nothing new to some… But I’m sure there are readers who will save a ton of money and time researching expensive desks using these methods.

So, to all of you my friends, you’re welcome!



SaaS Content Marketer | Productivity Geek

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