There is an ongoing fascination with standing desks, literally desks that you stand on while you work. After spending the last five years as a freelance writer who spends most of her time at a desk, I’ve developed back problems as well as cases of seemingly inevitable repetitive strain injuries. Maybe a standing desk is the solution to my problems.
It was while browsing the web looking for permanent desktop solutions that I came across this blog post by Colin Nederkoorn. After looking at all the ready made adjustable standing tables on the market and coming to the conclusion that they were too expensive, Nederkorn built his own using his existing table and a few extra bits and pieces bought from Ikea.
It only took Nederkorn $22 to build his cheap permanent desk from Ikea. Which is cheap enough to let anyone test the idea for themselves. I decided to take the plunge and build a permanent table based on Nederkoorn’s plans. It ended up costing me a little over $22, but was still a lot cheaper than the $500-$1,000 required to buy a good quality desk elsewhere.
Before embarking on this mission, it is important to find out what you have and what you need. So I went to Ikea to see the options that were open to me before deciding what to spend my money on.
That’s when I realized I could buy a new table instead of using my existing one, so I added the table and four legs to my shopping list. The only change I made to Nederkoorn’s plan was to buy a smaller shelf for the keyboard and mouse — his was 28 cm deep and mine was 18 cm. This also meant reducing the size of the brackets that the shelf sits on.
N.B. If you decide to follow my example and build this permanent table, you need to decide for yourself what size of shelf you would prefer and buy accordingly. You may even spend less money on one than me. Also, if you have a suitable table that you plan to use as the base for your new table, you can immediately remove the table legs and table top from your shopping list.
On my second trip to Ikea, I bought the following items (prices in brackets are what you would pay for the same item in the US).
Table legs VIKA ADILS X 4 = £10 ($14)
VIKA AMON Countertop X 1 = £9 ($11)
LACK Side Table X 1 = £8 ($10)
EKBY VALTER Brackets X 2 = £4 ($6)
EKBY JARPEN Shelf X 1 = £8 ($10)
Total cost = £39 ($51)
For less than £40 (or just $50), I picked up a new standing desk that can be converted into a regular desk by simply placing the components of a standing desk to one side. Now all I had to do was build it.
NB: the little gray brackets in the picture above were something I already had that I was going to use to attach LACK to the table. But in the end I didn’t use them. Anyone with young children or noisy pets may want to attach a table to a table for extra peace of mind. Do not do this at your own risk.
Ikea furniture comes in flat pack form but is generally easy to assemble. Fortunately, I’m not the most practical of people.
The first task is to assemble the main table, which is an easy way to screw four VIKA ADILS legs into the bottom of the VIKA AMON table top. The result is a sturdy, minimalist desk that gets the job done.
Next, a LACK table is built, which is even simpler. The provided double-sided screws are screwed into the bottom of each of the four legs, and then the legs are screwed into the square top. The result is a small table.