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New, inexpensive standing desk

February 3, 2014

I’ve been thinking about it for years, and finally made myself a standing desk based on a friend’s stand-up desk setup. I took the same general design, which is just a set of wire shelves and a nice board, and the project was done – from shopping to complete desk – in less than 2 hours.



  • 72 inch standing shelves, preferably with a good 18″ depth.  ~$70
  • a nice furniture grade board – these are good wood, already sanded – wider than the shelves. I got a board 2′ by 6′. ~$30
  • An electric drill. $30-200
  • A 1 1/4 inch bore drill bit. ~$5
  • Filing boxes or some other storage/drawer solution (optional)
  • A tall chair, if you want. I haven’t bought one yet.


  1. Assemble the first four shelves. The fourth shelf is your desk area, so make sure that it rests at just under elbow height, for comfortable typing. I spaced the lower shelves vertically with filing boxes.
  2. Mark your board: Lay the fifth shelf on top of your board 1-2″ from the edges and mark where to drill the holes.
  3. Drill the holes as marked.
  4. Optional: Paint or stain the board, if you like. I’ve left mine natural for now, but I may take it off and do something with it sometime.
  5. Fit the board: Feed the shelf poles through these holes and slide the board down over the shelf supports, until it rests on the wire shelf.
  6. Put on the top shelf. Make sure it’s high enough to accommodate the tallest thing on your desk, most likely the monitor. I put the top shelf 3 inches below the top, which gives me a little bit of the shelf pole to use as a hat rack or a hook for my headphones.

That’s it! If you already own a drill (or can borrow one), this is a $105 project. That’s a lot of storage and desk space (and standiness!) for less than the cheapest desk at Office Depot.

I doubled my space, as you can see, with a second set of shelves.




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