Stand up, cheap!
October 31, 2015 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Ikea Hack: $22 Standup Desk. "Interested in trying a standing desk but put off by the price? Check this out. Colin Nederkoorn, founder and CEO of Customer.io, has designed a simple base that can raise a monitor and keyboard up to standing desk height. Even better, it's constructed out of Ikea furniture that'll only run you $22. Nederkoorn named his creation the Standesk 2200."

"To make your Standesk 2200, take a trip to Ikea for the Lack Side Table, some Ekby Valter Brackets and an Ekby Viktor shelf. The simply follow the instructions on Nederkoorn's blog."
posted by storybored (53 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have co-workers who use this setup. The big gotcha is that the shelf pieces stick out over the edge of the desk. I've lost count of the number of times I have pulled up to help a co-worker with some issue, and in the process knocked over their neighbor's keyboard shelf, or scraped myself on the pointy shelf mounting pieces that stick out past the edge of the desk.
posted by idiopath at 6:25 PM on October 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, the Viktor shelves seem to be sold out.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:44 PM on October 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ikea stuff seems to be built to a bare minimum of structural robustness for its chosen purpose. I'd be surprised if the shelf brackets, and the Lack leg they're attached to, held up to prolonged, non-normal shelf-y, use. Still, twenty-two bucks...
posted by Flashman at 7:13 PM on October 31, 2015


I've been using exactly this configuration for over a year now and it works great. It works well enough that I haven't been motivated to move to something better. The very end of the instructions say that if you get the 11 inch brackets and 11 inch shelf you don't have to screw the shelf in. This is bad advice. It's pretty easy to bump the shelf and send the shelf (and your keyboard and mouse) to the floor. Also note that this particular setup probably isn't going to be awesome for you if you are under 5'9" (my height). I have the shelf all the way down and could probably stand to have it a 1/4 to 1/2 inch lower.

Also, do yourself a favor and spring for a really good fatigue mat if you are going to do this.
posted by Defective_Monk at 7:27 PM on October 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


I actually tried this for a while—not this exact setup, but close, even using the same Lack table. It's not perfect, but it's definitely a good (and very affordable) option if you want to try the standing desk thing without shelling out for a $1,500 standing desk.

Ikea stuff seems to be built to a bare minimum of structural robustness for its chosen purpose.

I hear this kind of thing about Ikea all the time, and I can only assume that people are talking about the cheapest tier of IKEA products—the stuff made out of particle board, fiberboard, and not much else. And, yeah, that stuff is flimsy and doesn't last long. What did you expect from a $10 coffee table? Pay a little more to get the stuff made of solid wood (even cheap, soft wood such as pine), and you'll be fine.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:34 PM on October 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


Two things:

1. I've built two of these and used them both for about a year each, and they work great. The only reason I built the second is because I changed jobs and a co worker really wanted my standing desk, so I gave it away and built the second one. They don't adjust (so you're relegated to standing all the time, which is fine with me) but they're super sturdy and if you put it together well it should last years.

2. IKEA has made some bad furniture but most of it is great. I think the reason it has a reputation for being cheap (easily broken) is because it's made to be assembled, and that means plenty of people have tried to disassemble and reassemble it for moves, which only sort of works. And I wonder how much having inexpensive + (relatively) easily moved furniture has helped engender or at least popularize a certain type of modern peripatetic culture. I know having access to light, easy to build and replace furniture has made me feel much more confident about all sorts of relocations I might have found much too daunting 70 years ago.
posted by heyitsgogi at 7:37 PM on October 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


I know having access to light, easy to build and replace furniture has made me feel much more confident about all sorts of relocations I might have found much too daunting 70 years ago.

Do you mind if I ask how old you are?
posted by Wolof at 7:44 PM on October 31, 2015 [12 favorites]


why are regular standing desk so pricey, even after the initial buzz faded?
posted by Bwithh at 7:46 PM on October 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you're looking something in the middle between a $22 Ikea and some $1500 monstrosity, check out the Varidesk. It's about $350. I've been using a Varidesk for about a year now and it works really well. I love that it's adjustable so I can sit OR stand.
posted by Doleful Creature at 7:50 PM on October 31, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ikea also now has a (in my mind) a reasonably priced electric sit-down/stand-up desk
posted by nightwood at 7:55 PM on October 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


They also have an even more reasonably priced hand-cranked standsit desk. And a larger version, too.

I admit I worry about tossing two monitors up on this one too.
posted by taterpie at 7:59 PM on October 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have a standing desk (like this one, it sits on the existing desk) that I built in a couple hours out of scrap wood I had in the garage. It has worked like a champ for four years now. Total cost was in the range of 2 dollars. Ultimate wood hack?
posted by rockindata at 8:09 PM on October 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think the reason it has a reputation for being cheap (easily broken) is because it's made to be assembled, and that means plenty of people have tried to disassemble and reassemble it for moves, which only sort of works.

Exactly this. IKEA is perfectly good non-heirloom furniture, so long as you leave it where you built it. Every time you disassemble and reassemble it, the connectors get a little looser, the joints get a little strained-er, and eventually what you have is scrap. But if you treat it right (that is, build it once and leave it alone), it'll last years.
posted by rifflesby at 8:11 PM on October 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


I made a standing desk out of some MDF shelving material and PVC pipe. I initially made it with different sized pipes that could adjust the height, intending to use it just to figure out my optimal height after which I'd build a nice one. It turned out to be "good enough" so I kept it. It probably cost me $5-$10 (well, it cost me nothing because it was stuff I had scraps of but you know what I mean)

I currently have a varidesk at home (after getting one at work a few jobs ago) and it works pretty good. I think they are locally constructed (i.e. here in Texas). $300-350 depending on size (I have the big one because I have an enormous monitor on it)
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:16 PM on October 31, 2015


I used this exact desk. It held a dual monitor setup and lasted for about a year before the screws holding up the brackets worked themselves out. It worked really well and gave me a cheap test run on a standing desk. I ended up building a sturdier replacement that's still going.
posted by haileris23 at 8:36 PM on October 31, 2015


Ikea stuff is about a gazillion* times more sturdy if you assemble it with a little wood glue, too. No looseness over time.

*I believe that is a pro-carpentry term.
posted by Brockles at 8:39 PM on October 31, 2015 [14 favorites]


I built this exact desk too due to the affordability. I credit it as being one of the primary reasons why I still use a standing desk and can't imagine going back to sitting all day.

In case anyone is considering making the transition, and I do recommend it, ease into it. I went cold turkey and my back went out after the first week. All of those core muscles waking up, I guess.
posted by vverse23 at 9:19 PM on October 31, 2015


3 lack tables stacked with some goop glue makes an awesome plant stand. Price 20some dollars.
posted by ian1977 at 9:46 PM on October 31, 2015


Yeah, if you add some wood glue to the mix ikea stuff is perfectly fine. I have a bureau that I replaced the cardboard back with a piece of cabinet-grade plywood with screws and glue and that thing is like a tank.
posted by winna at 10:07 PM on October 31, 2015


My stand-up desk I made by putting my desk on top of some cheap two drawer cabinets, ~16" tall. Had to add reinforcement to the cabinents, the desk is pretty heavy. I like to sit as well, so I bought a drafting chair.

Lots cheaper than a motorized contraption, but not as cheap as this setup.
posted by and for no one at 11:10 PM on October 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/standing-desk-sitting-danger-study_561e87aee4b050c6c4a3bb7f
According to a new study, published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology on Oct. 9, standing at your desk may be no better than sitting, and that's because it's the being still that has the negative impact on your health. (Maybe it's time to replace your standing desk with a treadmill desk.)

"Any stationary posture where energy expenditure is low may be detrimental to health, be it sitting or standing. The results cast doubt on the benefits of sit-stand work stations," Dr. Melvyn Hillsdon, associate professor of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter in England and a co-author of the study, said in a written statement.

The researchers concluded that sitting itself won't kill you. Rather, a sedentary lifestyle in general may be what's harmful to your health.
posted by anazgnos at 11:13 PM on October 31, 2015 [11 favorites]


Anazgnos is on to the latest findings, which suggest that it is not the long sitting that causes the problem but the lack of movement in general, whether standing or sitting for long periods of time. The article I recently read suggested taking a brief walk away from your desk every so often.
posted by Postroad at 12:14 AM on November 1, 2015


I love how cheap and cheery the LACK is but while it's a sitting desk, there aren't enough words to describe my love for the discontinued JERKER line of desks.
posted by reiichiroh at 1:04 AM on November 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've built a few standing desks over the years decades. First was an old door stretched between two sets of steel utility shelves. Then, one bay of some modular Muji shelving. But, the latest was using Ikea Algot components. It cost a lot more than 22 dollars, but it's almost two meters wide at standing height with shelves above and below. Whatever the latest research says about standing and sitting for general health, I found it much better for my neck. And, having a really wide standing desk (I know, I'm lucky) means it is easy to shift posture and move around a bit.
posted by Gotanda at 1:13 AM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


That HuffPo article claims that the pro-standing desk people have these amazing expectations of a standing desk, that it will somehow make you fit and healthy in one go. and yet oddly enough ALL the people I know who use a Stand/Sit desk seem to cite "back problems" as the motivation for the desk. That switching between sitting standing during the day means they don't get lower back pain.
posted by mary8nne at 3:15 AM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


When I repurposed an Ikea filing cabinet as a nightstand, I could've gotten plaudits for my economical mind and engineering brilliance in the Huffington Post if all I'd remembered to do was give it a new name. Dang.
posted by ardgedee at 3:17 AM on November 1, 2015


So I just put a little coffee table I made decades ago on top of my desk and put my laptop on top of it. Perfect height, zero bucks. Thanks for the nudge.
posted by Namlit at 3:30 AM on November 1, 2015


ahahahahaha
"existing desk"

hahahahahhahahahahhahahahaa
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 4:50 AM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dang.

Not Dång? [pronounced "dongg"]
posted by Namlit at 4:57 AM on November 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've used both homemade and fancy/expensive standing desks. Right now I am back to a sitting desk; it was nice to have the change but my current office would be difficult to make a standing desk fit.

Overall it's nice to have a job that isn't 100 percent desk work, which is both physically tiresome and mentally draining. I worry more about the physical effects of long hours driving, which is inevitable in this part of the country where everything is hours and hours apart and doesn't come with any options like a standing desk.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:07 AM on November 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm a huge Ikea and Ikea hacker fan, but as mentioned above you really shouldn't treat them as solid wood or solid anything's. The Lack legs for example are tubes with very thin walls, reinforced at the ends. Cutting then shorter or trying to attach something to the side with wood screws is harder than it seems. Worst case you attach something and it seems fine, but really your shelf is holding on for dear life.
posted by odinsdream at 5:48 AM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


According to a new study, published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology on Oct. 9, standing at your desk may be no better than sitting, and that's because it's the being still that has the negative impact on your health. (Maybe it's time to replace your standing desk with a treadmill desk.)

Only people who have never had a job that required standing for 8+ hours a day think that standing is healthy. Take a look at full-time factory workers and you will see an awful lot of back braces and limps.

Get an adjustable table that you can put up and down and vary it and you're probably better off than exclusively one or the other.
posted by srboisvert at 5:49 AM on November 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


For optimum comfort and productivity, I use the Ikea morgongåva and Elvis TV glasses.
posted by peeedro at 6:02 AM on November 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


ahahahahaha
“existing desk”

I recently bought a StandStand for $70, & have fallen in love; it’s pretty great as a solution for folks with laptops. As others have noted, in practice it’s about standing for a little bit and then sitting. More expensive than $22, but portable and doesn't require you to hunt at IKEA for parts.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:30 AM on November 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


True, I work from home, but when I wanted to try a standing desk about two and a half years ago, I just got two largeish, more robust than average cardboard boxes from the basement, gaffataped them together, put them on my desk, stuck a polar blanket over them and stuck my computer on top. It has been serving me perfectly ever since. Every now and then I think about building a wooden box for the extra storage space I'd get inside, but I don't really need it badly enough to actually do it. As a translator, I work sporadically, but I wouldn't dream of going back to sitting: the mild ankle and foot pain I get during a longer bout of work (6-8 hours) is just great compared to the various lower back and shoulder girdle pains I used to get sitting, which have gone. I hereby name my creation the Boxstandesk 2013ish.
posted by holist at 8:53 AM on November 1, 2015


my creation the Boxstandesk 2013ish

I think a big part of your success can be attributed to your four-legged companion.

Also, the desk itself seems like a workable setup.
posted by cynical pinnacle at 9:11 AM on November 1, 2015


why are regular standing desk so pricey, even after the initial buzz faded?

The same reason why so much office furniture is pricey; they charge it because they can, because big corporations are willing to pay ridonkulously overinflated prices for simple assemblages of particleboard, sheet metal, and hex screws. More than once, I've looked through catalogs of library furniture and shelving and wondered if I was in the wrong racket.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:32 AM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's also the thing with moving parts that has to work reliably for 10 years when used 8 hrs/day five days a week - 20,000 hours give or take - and still be presentable if a client comes to visit.
posted by wotsac at 9:40 AM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


But if you treat it right (that is, build it once and leave it alone), it'll last years.

A little wood glue, and it'll be solid pretty much forever. Yes, you can't take it apart, but if you want it to last, you don't want to take it apart.
posted by eriko at 10:04 AM on November 1, 2015


I think a big part of your success can be attributed to your four-legged companion.

It's true, even though he frequently sleeps on the job.

But to stay on topic... the article referenced above says that it is being immobile that's bad for you - but I don't see how one could be immobile standing up. I certainly keep shifting my weight and varying my stance while working. Prior to the standing desk, I used a gym-ball, which also stopped me from becoming completely rigid while concentrating on the screen - but standing works better for me. For the record, I have been thinking about a treadmill desk, too. (And then another treadmill at the side, so I could work and take Alex for a walk at the same time! Adjustable speeds would allow me to work while walking at a leisurely pace while taking Alex for a run! The possibilities! :) )
posted by holist at 10:21 AM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, every time I used to tell people I wanted a standing desk, they would point out this or similar hacks. But standing for 8 hours a day isn't much (any?) better for you than sitting 8 hours a day. I've worked enough retail and food service in my life to know that much, and I was 15-20 years younger then.

I am so lucky that my office purchased a few of those Varidesks and I managed to get one. I love it so much. Just a squeeze of the handles and I can raise or lower to any position I need (and I'm short, so being adjustable to MY stand height and not the height of some 6' giant is great). I have a laptop and an external monitor and I can fit both on it, no problem, so I can use it as a dual-monitor setup.

I usually start the day sitting, when I get bored or restless I switch to standing, and back and forth like that throughout the day. I feel like switching positions is not only good for me physically but also mentally. I will say, it makes you realize which shoes are supportive and which aren't. I might need to add an anti-fatigue mat to my setup at some point.

The only annoying thing about the standing desk is all the coworkers stopping to ask you the same questions about it. "Oh you have one of the standing desks! Do you like it? How long do you stand for? Don't you get tired of standing? I should get one but I think I'm too lazy. You're so good." (Nevermind that it's not about being good and all about my back not killing me every day.)
posted by misskaz at 11:44 AM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have minor knee issues, and I was always curious to try the standing desk thing, but I keep remembering the years I spent on my feet all day every day, back when I worked retail (which are probably why I have mild knee issues in the first place). I'd love to be able to stand after sitting for a while, but the problem with the Ikea setup is that it's not easy to switch back and forth as needed.
posted by teponaztli at 11:51 AM on November 1, 2015


but my current office would be difficult to make a standing desk fit.

I'm not questioning your assessment of your office which I've never even seen. But is your office irregularly shaped or really short or something? I'm having trouble seeing why a standing desk (not a $22 one that isn't flat, but a desk that's the same as a regular desk with a motor hidden in the legs) would be any different with respect to being able to fit. The footprint's would be the same, just... the desk itself is taller.
posted by fragmede at 12:05 PM on November 1, 2015


The footprint's would be the same, just... the desk itself is taller.

There is a low, sloping ceiling over part of the area, making the area available for sitting much larger and more flexible than the area available for standing. It's an unusual configuration; normally, as you say, a standing desk can go anywhere a sitting desk would.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:25 PM on November 1, 2015


Too funny - I did the same thing, but without a separate keyboard shelf, so it was only 19 bucks: http://imgur.com/nkYY6NK
posted by twsf at 3:01 PM on November 1, 2015


I did the same thing, but without a separate keyboard shelf

So did I.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 3:09 PM on November 1, 2015


I've done this hack and it worked fine. Changed offices and now have a more narrow desk, but I have a nicely deep window sill. I put my monitor on the windowsill, a slim lack table on the desk - not the square one- (on its side, with the tabletop facing me - facing my gut, really) a shelf across the top, and I don't have to screw anything together.

I've got room for my mouse, everything is at the correct angle ergonomically, there's room on the legs for my speakers, there's hiding space in the guts for stacks of papers, and the best part: it breaks down in 1 minute. I can sit or stand throughout the day at will, no problem.
posted by vitabellosi at 3:35 PM on November 1, 2015


So I made mine with the LINNMON top ($13.99-$29.99) and four of the GERTON adjustable legs ($30.00 apiece).

Right before I made this one, apparently they had just discontinued an adjustable leg that they sold for about $12 each. Damn.

I gave up on the standing/barstool height desk at home after a few months of coming home from work with my dogs already barking and have since adjusted mine down to desk height.
posted by sourwookie at 3:56 PM on November 1, 2015


There's also the thing with moving parts that has to work reliably for 10 years when used 8 hrs/day five days a week - 20,000 hours give or take - and still be presentable if a client comes to visit.

But you're not moving the moving parts on most of your office furniture 8 hours a day; most of the time, it merely supports or encloses stuff that's not moving (or, in the case of people, probably not moving much). My current desk may predate personal computers, but it's built like a tank. (Which is why it has outlasted so many of its ostensible successors.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:15 PM on November 1, 2015


What did Darth Vader day when he saw Admiral Motti's new stand-up desk?

"I find you faith in Lack distributing"
posted by Reyturner at 8:10 PM on November 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Full disclosure: I'm fairly certain I lifted that joke from the Video Games Hot Dog podcast.
posted by Reyturner at 8:15 PM on November 1, 2015


But... but this is not in any sense a $22 standing desk. It's a $22 foot-and-a-half riser for a desk which you could pretty much get with cinder blocks and a piece of plywood, if you didn't want to just stack books on top of each other.

Seriously, if you want to build an actual standing desk, it's easy. I did it. Mine isn't altogether fancy (although I did add some hinges for a pivot top) and all I needed was a saw, a drill, some 2X4s, some pine for the top, and some good wood deck screws.

But a bunch of cinder blocks and a piece of plywood will also make an outstandingly functional full standing desk, too, if that's what you want.
posted by koeselitz at 8:37 PM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I actually really lucked out with my desk situation. I found a half-built... thing... at Nitori (imagine the housewares department of Target were a whole store. Their goal seems to be to be IKEA but a little less so in every regard) that was originally a desk with a set of shelves on one end, and the surface of the desk sort of slots into place as one of the "shelves." This remnant was only the end shelves part, and as luck would have it, the top shelf was just the right height for my laptop and the next shelf down was just the right height for my (external) keyboard. I have a sitting desk next to it, too, but I keep the charger at the standing desk to keep myself from staying away TOO long.
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:38 AM on November 2, 2015


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