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How to Build a DIY Standing Desk from Ikea for Under $210

Now that I’m working from home most of the week as a consultant, I decided it was time to make my workspace exactly how I wanted it. And that meant jumping aboard the latest office rage (if there can be anything of the sort): the standing desk.

Really quick: why a standing desk? For a while now there have been numerous reports indicating that even if you exercise regularly, when you sit most of the day at work, you’re cutting years off your life.

Since most of us can’t avoid the fact that our jobs require us to be in front of a computer, welcome to the new fad of raising desks higher so that you stand at them instead of slouching in your $700 ergonomic chair.

Enter the Fränkkjenstÿn.

While I’d like to say this is truly “homemade,” all I did was grab a bunch of different Ikea parts that aren’t designed to go together and, well, put them together. And I customized this desk to my needs but it’s essentially a hybrid of these two other concepts. But as far as building things in your apartment with almost no tools goes, this is as advanced as a lot of us will get.

To build the Fränkkjenstÿn you will need a Phillips screwdriver, an adjustable crescent wrench, and a drill with a half-inch drill bit. 

Another caveat before we get into the specs (if you haven’t already skipped ahead I like would’ve): I’m just shy of six feet tall, so if you’re much taller or shorter than me, this rig probably won’t work for you as it’s got a fixed leg frame rather than being adjustable. Don’t quote me on this, but I bet it would be ideal for someone between 5’9″ and 6’1″. I did a lot of measuring to figure out what my ideal height range would be for the desk before I put this plan together so I recommend you do the same.

Okay, so here are the specs:

1 Vika Amon Black-Brown Table Top. $33.99. I didn’t want anything too huge as this is going in the corner of our living room. It’s about 47″ wide and 24″ deep which is plenty for me. If you have a big computer monitor or a need for tons of desk space, you might want to go for something like this.

1 Utby Stainless Steel Underframe. $109.00. This comes in two sizes. I went for the 41″ tall model. It comes in a shorter version, too, so again, customize as you need. Despite not being at all made for a desk (it’s a kitchen table frame, apparently), it’s the ideal width to match the Vika Amon table top. And being stainless steel, it’ll go with whatever color top you go for — but looks especially sharp with the black-brown table.

1 Lack Wall Shelf. $14.99. This is key, especially if you have a laptop or a smallish monitor. Combine this with-

1 Capita Bracket. $14.99. And you have a second tier to elevate your laptop or monitor up to eye-level. You want to be able to stand up, looking straight ahead while you type to protect your neck and back from hunching. This will do just that.

1 Stig Barstool. $19.99. Since we’re doing this on the cheap, instead of being able to lower the desk to normal level, we’re just going to bring ourselves up to the new desk’s level with a $17 bar stool. It’s not overly comfortable which is fine since you don’t want to slouch anyway and you bought a standing desk to stand at it, right? Right. But you’ll want to sit sometimes – especially the first week or two as you get accustomed to standing. This will suffice.  (There’s also cheaper, shorter model that would work, too, if you’re customizing for a slightly less tall standing desk.)

And now here are the instructions:

  1. Build the Utby frame as designed.
  2. Use the screws that come with the Utby frame to attach the Vika table top.
  3. Measure out where the two Capita brackets will go on the table. (Roughly 31″ from either edge and about 5″ from the back of the table, in my version.)
  4. Drill that 1/2″ drillbit into the table.
  5. Put the brackets into the holes but don’t secure it tightly.
  6. Put the Lack shelf on top where you want it.
  7. Draw around the brackets so you know where you screw them into the shelf.
  8. Then, screw the brackets into the shelf.
  9. Then put it back on the desk.
  10. Use the crescent wrench to secure them and bam! You have yourself a standing desk.

I‘m no carpenter by a long shot so if you have a better way of doing this, by all means: do it. For example: I didn’t have the right sized drillbit so the holes I made were less than symmetrical. Luckily the bracket covers this up nicely. You’d have never known had I not just admitted it here.

One more tip for those of us who loathe going to Ikea: Write all these names down, head to Ikea, go in the exit so you skip having to walk through all the crap. They have these computers there where you can punch in the item and find the exact aisle and row. Write those down, grab a cart, and fly through there getting only exactly what you need to build your standing desk. You can be in and out in 30 minutes. It’s glorious.

And all for under $210.

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