A few years ago, a friend of mine bought one of the first standing desks when they hit the market. I fell in love with his standing desk until I heard how much it cost him — over $600!
More and more standing desk alternatives have hit the market, but the costs still hover in the several-hundred-dollar range. I knew there had to be a way to drive down the price, and in less than 30 minutes, I figured out the solution that I’m going to share with you here today.
Here, I’m going to show you how you can make a standing desk in 30 minutes for less than $20. Yes, I did say $20.
Do I have your attention now?
A Little Background on the Standing Desk
The standing desk is a godsend for those who are doing their best to shy from the sedentary lifestyle. According to Kelly Starrett, famed physical therapist, standing desks assist with avoiding musculoskeletal injuries, but the key is to take it slow and work your way into using one. Using a standing desk exclusively can create back problems when acclimating too quickly. The positive benefit? Standing while working can increase caloric expenditure by as much as 300 calories per day.
With that information quickly covered, let’s get cracking and get you standing!
Step 1: Measure the distance from the floor to your elbow.
Using a ruler or tape measure, find the distance from the floor to your elbow. My measurement was roughly 40 inches, the approximate point that your keyboard should be to provide a comfortable working area for productivity.
Step 2: Find a lifter for your desk or table legs.
Channelling the hidden MacGyver in me, I did some research and found an incredible bargain! Instead of buying a desk, hydraulics, or some space-age leverage system, I found just the item I was searching for. It’s called a bed riser. This little gem is what allows you to raise your existing desk, raising and resting the legs within this inverted plant pot-shaped device. Depending on your height, you may need to stack a few of these risers. I’m 5 feet 10 inches, so one was plenty for me. Bed risers are available at IKEA, Wal-Mart, or any place that sells beds. A set of four at IKEA costs $4.49. Other places sell them at $11 for a set of four.
Step 3: Adjust to your preference.
Once my wife and I safely set our existing desk onto the risers, we needed a few adjustments to get the keyboard closer to elbow height. Luckily, I found some wood in my garage. Using a plank and two 2X4’s, I screwed it all together. My standing desk cost me $4.50 out of pocket. With wood to purchase or asking for remnant pieces from the hardware store, the project could still be completed for around $20 — certainly for much less than $600!
Conclusion and Review
So, let’s review what you need to do in three easy steps:
- Determine the right distance from the floor to your elbow.
- Using bed risers, place the legs into the risers.
- If the risers aren’t enough, make the adjustments required for a happy standing experience.
After two weeks, I concur with the recommendation to take it easy the first few days. If you are not used to working on your feet, take a break every few hours or use a barstool as pictured above. I’ve noticed an increase in my mobility already, and the ability to move around has enhanced my creative thought processes as well. So if you’re up for a quick DIY project that will help your health, I recommend the $20 Standing Desk strategy.