affordable standing desk

Introducing the amazing & affordable $69 IKEA standing desk

As I documented here, blogging for a living nearly killed me.

I wanted to try a standing desk, but did not want to pay hundreds – even thousands to get one.

The other problem with typical standing desks is the “sturdy” factor…

Most standing desks are top heavy. And they tip easily. And they shake a lot.

To save money (and avoid tipsy tables), I cleverly thought to wall mount my new standing desk.

This would save me a money (needing half the amount of legs).

And a wall mount standing desk would keep my table steady.

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I set a $100.00 IKEA stand-up desk budget

I have seen IKEA DIY standing desk hacks in the past, but they were tiny, ugly and not useful.

So I put my clever hat on…

My goal was to get a solid and useful standing desk on the cheap.

Armed with a drawing on a 4″ by 6″ index card and a few hours of research, we headed to the cash machine…

My challenge was to spend no more than $100.00 cash at IKEA – not a penny more.

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Thank you late-winter snow…

Fortunately, the store was nearly empty.

(It was a Friday night and snowing like crazy.)

So I was able to pick the brain of a very helpful store employee.

After showing him my sketch, he scratched his chin a few times…

Then we walked from the office section to the kitchen section.

“NORBO. This is exactly what you wanna get. And it’s just $39.”

affordable standing desk NORBO

Cool.

A wall-mounted drop-leaf table.

It totally fits the bill as a DIY standing desk

“Let’s do it!” I blurted out.

With about 10 minutes until closing time, I quickly picked out the rest of my standing desk on the cheap…

I purchased this SIGNUM Cable management system (for just $10):

affordable standing desk SIGNUM

And since I was way under budget, I treated myself with this cool HARTE LED work lamp ($19.99):

affordable standing desk HARTE

Here is my $69 IKEA stand up desk parts – ready to buy:

affordable standing desk IKEA

Time to install this baby and test out the benefits of desk standing (vs. sitting).

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Here is my assembled $69 IKEA standing desk

Before I show you all the steps to install a standing desk for yourself…

Let me show you the finished product:

affordable standing desk final distant

Yes. It is not the biggest office desk.

But that is okay.

Because this is a trial.

A test to see if my health would improve standing while I blog and podcast.

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Installing my new IKEA standing desk

It is crucial to set the height of our new standing desk properly.

The goal is to have our arms form a 90-degree angle parallel to the top of the new standing desk:

affordable standing desk height

(Yes, at first it seems quite high in the air, but this new position is surprisingly comfortable.)

Here is how to calculate the ideal height for a new standing desk (to form a 90-degree angle):

Your height Standing table height
5′ 0″ 36.5″
5′ 1″ 37.0″
5′ 2″ 37.5″
5′ 3″ 38.0″
5′ 4″ 39.0″
5′ 5″ 39.5″
5′ 6″ 40.5″
5′ 7″ 41.0″
5′ 8″ 41.5″
5′ 9″ 42.5″
5′ 10″ 43.0″
5′ 11″ 43.5″
6′ 0″ 44.0″
6′ 1″ 44.5″
6′ 2″ 45.5″
6′ 3″ 46.0″
6′ 4″ 47.0″
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7 steps to a quick standing desk install

My first attempt to install my new standing desk was a fail.

I tried doing it myself.

Big mistake.

Plus, I did not do it in the proper order.

As you might imagine, a 30-minute install turned into a sweaty, frustrating half-day project.

If I could turn back time, here is how I would start:

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Step #1: Mark a line
Since I am 6′ 1″, I marked a level line on the wall at 44.5″ from the ground. (See the chart above for your size.)

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Step #2: Install the cable management system
This almost fits perfectly under the table:

affordable-standing-desk-wires.JPG

See how it bends slightly?

Unfortunately, the triangular, swinging leaf brace sort of blocks the metal from lying flush.

I took pliers and carefully bent down the two center spokes for a better fit.

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Step #3: Assemble the NORBO wall-mounted drop-leaf table
Yes, the IKEA directions are typical.

You might have to unassemble it and reassemble it like I did.

(Come on IKEA, make your instructions better!)

Here is what it looks like when assembled:

affordable standing desk NORBO assembled

Yes.

The table is heavy, bulky and awkward….

I HIGHLY suggest have 2 extra people help with the next step…

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Step #4: Mark holes in the wall
Have two people hold the assembled table centered and level on the wall.

Make sure the top of the table is touching the marked line.

Then use a skinny pen or pencil to mark the holes on the wall.

(I used a tiny screwdriver and punched a marking hole.)

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Step #5: Set the wall anchors
Unfortunately, the pre-drilled holes do not match up with the studs behind the wall…

Fortunately, I have a big box of nylon drywall anchors in my basement. I used them like so:

affordable standing desk holes
Step #6: Mount the standing table

I (once again) borrow my two helpers to hold the table against the wall (while I screw it into the anchors).

WARNING: Do NOT try to do this alone. You will get frustrated and injured – guaranteed.

Here it is installed:

affordable standing desk finished
Step #7: Drill a big ol’ hole (optional)

I could have threaded the wires to the side of my new desk.

But instead, I went for the professional look and drilled a big hole:

affordable standing desk hole

IMPORTANT: There is a lot of hardware underneath this table. Make sure the hole avoids it all. I centered the hole 4 inches from the back-right edge of the table.

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And there it is – a sturdy, affordable standing table

Take a look:

affordable standing desk final close

No, it is not spacious.

But it is comfortable.

Even my podcasting microphone fits in this smallish space.

If you are wondering where my computer is, check this out:

affordable-standing-desk-wires-mount.JPG

It snugly stores my MacMini computer – even backup hard drive.

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Here is the punchline about using this affordable standing desk

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1) My feet hurt
I was all in on using this standing desk full time from the start.

Big mistake.

If I could turn back time, I would have slowly worked my way into standing (mixed with sitting).

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2) I do get more done – lots more
Distractions are no longer a problem since standing gets old quick.

Once my work is done, I take a break sitting at the edge of my office chair and surf the ‘net as my reward.

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3) Get a prop
My children are half my height.

I dusted off an old, cheap step-up ladder. It does the trick to help them use my computer.

Also, the stool doubles as a foot rest.

And it stores away under my standing table.

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4) Anti-fatigue mat
Good anti-fatigue mats are REALLY expensive.

And they wear out quickly, too.

A cheaper solution is to get gel shoe inserts…

These Sof Sole Airr Orthotic Performance Insoles are a fantastic, affordable solution.

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5) Waiting for that good standing chair
I have looked and looked.

But I have yet to find a durable and useful standing chair.

(Check back here in the future for an update on this.)

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And there you have it…

A real, yet affordable standing desk that is sturdy, useful and affordable for any budget.

P.S. Where did the extra savings go?

The next day, we took the extra cash and got a few pound cakes from Stock’s Bakery in Philly.

Yeah, they make the best pound cake ever.

It is so worth the long drive for us.

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Markus Allen

Family man. Truth seeker. Life hacker... more about me here...

 


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