Make Your Own $30 Standing Desk!

I have wanted a standing desk for a very, very long time. Two years ago I started working as a new teacher mentor, and spend 90% of my work day in my car or sitting with a teacher in his or her classroom. So.much.sitting. 

I think I gained close to 10 pounds last year because of all the sitting I do. 

With this job, I also have a lot of paperwork and time on the computer when I get home for the day, so I found myself sitting even more in our home office. Sometimes I would camp out in the kitchen at the island and stand while finishing paperwork, but the height was uncomfortable and working in the kitchen wasn't ideal. 

I knew I didn't want to purchase some plastic-y standing desk for our home office. A more natural wooden attachment for our beautiful office furniture would be ideal. 

While shopping at Stuff Etc a month ago, I saw this rickety, rotten old podium for sale for $15. I was tempted to buy it, slap some paint on it, and call it good. 

Even though this podium would have served my needs, it wouldn't have met the aesthetics I was looking for. After snapping a couple pics, I walked away to develop a plan for asking John to make this  standing desk attachment for me. 

Much to my surprise, John was able to replicate this podium and customize it to a height comfortable for me while standing and working on the computer. 

He spent about $30 at the hardware store, purchasing a nice piece of birch for the top, and a two pieces of 6-foot long x 12-inch wide x1/2-inch thick el-cheapo "select wood" for the sides. I had intentions to paint the base of the standing desk and stain the top, so I was delighted that he went the affordable route for the base. 

Here are John's measurements, which are customized to my height and the height of our desk: 

Top: 16" x 20"
2 sides: 14" deep x 11" tall on the front, and 12" tall on the back 
(the height can and should be adjusted based on how tall you are, and a comfortable height for you)
Back: 18"long x 12" tall
Shelf: 16.5" long x 11.5" deep

After careful measuring and cutting each of the pieces (which took about 25 minutes), John grabbed some wood glue and his air nailer to begin assembling the two sides and the back. 

Then he added the shelf for added support. The shelf is about 3 inches off the bottom of the base, which allows me to store papers on the desktop as well as on the actual shelf.

While he was assembling the base, I sanded the top with 220 grit and stained it with some stain from our remnant stash in the basement. I wish I could tell you the shade of stain, but all I know is it was Minwax. We never throw away paint or stain, and the label wore off long ago during another project.

I quickly realized a foam brush was not a good choice for staining, and used a shop rag for the rest of the project. After two coats of stain, the top was ready to dry and later seal with poly. (Again, from a leftover can from another project.)

John then attached the top to the base using 1/4-inch wooden dowel pins and wood glue. I didn't want nail holes in my beautiful top! I also painted the base a creamy off-white/linen color in eggshell using, you guessed it, a small paint sample can from our basement. It was the perfect amount of paint to give this base two thick coats.

I love this standing desk.

I also love how it's not a permanent fixture, and can be removed quickly and without any damage to my regular desk. We used felt pads on the bottom of the base to prevent any damage.

My home office is getting better and better after every project. Even on cold winter days, our office is bright. Now it's even more functional!

This almost makes up for the fact that I spend 8-9 hours each day sitting.

Almost. But not quite.

Do you have a home office? Tell me about your favorite feature, and least favorite feature!


  1. Great idea. This way will save a lot of money and he was done great job.

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