This post was written by Daniel Mrdjenovich. Follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

At Priceonomics, we’ve fully experienced the standing desk revolution. Within our office space, there are at least four standing desks rising above everyone else. Health experts have lauded standing desks as a partial solution to our increasingly sedentary lifestyle. They aid in achieving better blood circulation by flexing muscles more continuously and have been linked to the alleviation of back pain and stress injuries.

a person sitting at a desk with a computer and other objects

Image credit: Marco Arment.

While these proven health benefits are certainly appealing, this change in lifestyle often requires a costly initial investment. It comes as no surprise that desk manufacturers are willing to impose a high premium for improved health. A mere adjustable clamp such as the Ergotron WorkFit-A starts around $300. If you’re looking for an entire desk, you’ll have to shell out at least twice that amount.

Always eager to set up our users with the best deals, we’ve discovered novel standing desk hacks to save money. Although admittedly there’s nothing wrong with the top of the line standing desk, these creative alternatives do provide the same ergonomic benefits at a fraction of the price. Happy hacking!

The Standard Ergonomic Desk

a person standing in front of a desk with a computer

Image credit: Priceonomics intern Forrest trying out Cole’s setup.

Before we dive into our list of hacks, it’s best to get a perspective on what’s already available on the market. Cole Krumbholz, founder of backlift, was gracious enough to offer his work station for this post. Pictured above is the ModTable adjustable desk (priced at $649 on Amazon). A side crank allows you to easily change the height when you feel like sitting for a period of time.

From a design perspective, this desk is the clear winner. However, it’s price tag might dissuade you from changing your work habits. If you want a more affordable solution, drive down to IKEA and put together these workstations.

Standing Desk with Utby Legs

a computer on a desk

Image credit: Seth, IKEA Hackers.

If you’re pressed for space and just want a simple desk for yourself, try this hack. This design offers you just enough space for a monitor, laptop, keyboard, and everyday storage. Given the price, it’s a wonderful piece of furniture but pay attention to the final height since this desk won’t be adjustable once built.

Materials: 1 Vika Amon top ($20); 1 Utby underframe ($90); 1 Ekby Jarpen shelf ($15); 1 set of Capita legs ($14)

Total: $139

Relative Difficulty: Easy. Only requires assembly of main desk and platform with a screwdriver.

Wide Standing Desk

a desk with a computer and a chair

Image credit: Martina, IKEA Hackers.

As the name suggests, this hack is the best option for those who prefer a wider workspace. Although this setup isn’t necessarily completely adjustable, it contains two tiers that allows you sit and stand at your leisure. Also, the base legs extend up to 42 inches giving it more range than our first hack.

Materials: 5 Vika Byske Legs ($150); 2 packs of Capita Brackets ($30); 1 Lack Shelf ($20); 1 Vika Amon Table Top ($45)

Total: $245

Relative Difficulty: Medium: Assembly of main desk should be simple. Attached shelf could prove difficult because it requires drilling into desk top. Power drill required.

Expedit Standing Desk

a desk with a laptop and speakers

Image credit: Peter Marks.

If you need a more robust desk to suit your storage needs, check out Peter’s contraption. Fashioned almost entirely out of Expedit shelves, this unit allows you to stand around all sorts of drawers and shelves. As he mentions, at less than $250, it’s a great value for the size. Although this is our favorite design, it doesn’t necessarily have any sitting area.

Materials: 2 5×1 Expedit shelving units ($120); 2 2×2 Expedit shelving units ($80); 1 Lack Shelf ($20)

Total: $220

Relative Difficulty: Medium. Assembly requires bolting separate shelves together. Power drill and 8 metal braces also needed.


If you want to change your work habits but don’t necessarily want to pay top dollar, definitely consider these IKEA standing desk solutions. Although manufactured standing desks might provide more flexibility and require fewer construction skills, these hacks offer an affordable yet functional workspace. A typical standing desk might offer higher quality, but, let’s be honest, it’s a lot more badass to say you built your own desk.

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