How to build a standing desk for less than $30

I’m tired of sitting. For the past year working as an ESL teacher in Korea I felt like I spent the vast major of my day sitting. I’d wake up and sit down to check my email. After showering I’d sit down and commute to work. Upon arriving at work I’d sit down and start planning lessons. In between classes I’d sit and work in my office. After commuting home (while seated), I’d make dinner and then sit down with Beth to watch something on television before going to bed.

After spending an extremely sedentary life in Korea, I’ve resolved to reduce the number of hours each day that I spend sitting down.

Moving into a new house in a new city has allowed me the chance to attempt to break some old habits and establish some new, healthier habits. In this spirit I decided to build myself a standing desk. The decision to build a standing desk as opposed to buying one was largely based upon finances. Standing desks are difficult to come by in most stores and those found online are quite expensive (Amazon lists one of its popular most models for nearly $450).

At first I explored the idea of converting a conventional sitting desk into a standing desk. This article shows how to build a standing desk for $22 using parts from Ikea. While this desk is quite cheap, I find the aesthetics of converted desks fairly off putting. Even the best converted standing desk I’ve seen look like someone has merely stacked two desks on top of each other.

After many hours of searching for the perfect solution with my extremely patient (though somewhat skeptical) partner, I decided the best option, both aesthetically and financially, would be to build a shelf-like standing desk that is attached to the wall.

With a design in my head we went to HomeDepot and bought the following materials: a large board, two wall brackets, a stud finder, some screws, and a level. In total these materials cost less than $30 after taxes.


After doing some reading it seemed like the standing desk experts agreed that it’s important to tailor your standing desk to your own personal measurements. Building your desk too high or too low can put undue pressure on your wrists, neck, or back. With this in mind, Beth measured my idea wrist height and we used this measurement for the basis for the height of the standing desk.

From here the process was fairly straight forward. I used the stud detector to find strong places to anchor my wall brackets. After screwing the first bracket into the wall, I set the board on top of the bracket and used the level to determine where the second bracket should be placed.


Once the two brackets were installed and level all I had to do was attach the board to the brackets. Using a power drill the whole process from start to finish only took about 20 minutes.

Another common recommendation that came up in my research was to buy an anti-fatigue matt to stand on while working at your standing desk. I found such a matt at a nearby store for around $10.

I completed my standing desk last week and so far I’ve been enjoying using it. Due to the chaos of moving and my lack of a routine schedule I haven’t had as much time with my standing desk as I would have liked, but once things start falling into place I should have more time to use it.

I’ll continue to blog about my experience using a standing desk in the coming months. If you have any experience using standing desks, or any suggestions for how I could improve my own standing desk, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

-Ryan Hunt


3 thoughts on “How to build a standing desk for less than $30

  1. I’m interested to follow your experience with the standing desk, Ryan, as it’s something I’m wanting to try out (but can’t in my day-job). I’ve seen a few researchers using these now and they love it. I’m contemplating having one at home…

    • I’m really looking forward to using it. When working at a seated desk I always find myself getting sleepy and unfocused around 1-3 pm. I’ve heard that standing desks are better for maintaining focus throughout the day.

      I’ll write more posts about my experience after I’ve had more time with it.

      Great to hear from you!

  2. Nice. I actually built my own standing desk (well, more like a table, a chair, and some boxes) so that I could see what it was like. When I found out how beneficial it was and how much I liked it, I ended up getting a NextDesk, which is a bit different because it is adjustable in height. The thing I didn’t like about a straight standing desk was that if I did ever want to take a sitting break, well, I couldn’t.
    Not the case with my new desk. I really love it and now I’m thinking about getting their new smaller version (The Solo) for my home too. Check them out!
    Thanks for the post!


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