Introduction: Build a Functional Sit-Stand Desk in a Window

The amount of people working from our home recently doubled, to accomodate I came up with this quick install to build a workstation for my wife and I.

With just 2 pieces of plywood (desktop and shelf) and some small blocks of scrap wood, this desk has definitely increased our comfortable work-time and given us a new space to work from while enjoying the views outside.


Tablesaw / Circular Saw


Desktop - size = 15"(desktop depth) x Window's Width
Shelf / Laptop Stand) - 5"(shelf depth) x Window's Width
12-20 Wooden Blocks (size = 1" x Window's Depth)
2" Screws (30+)

Step 1: Determine the Width of the Window

The width of your window is one of the most important measurements. You want your desktop and shelf to fit snugly inside the window. As you can see in the photos, my window is 27.5" wide, So I cut my shelf and desktop to just a hair under this width (27 5/8").

Step 2: Cut Desktop and Shelf

I used some leftover 3/4" plywood I had for these pieces. Honestly I would say 15" is the minumum depth for the desktop piece. The same goes for the shelf, these pieces work great, but any smaller and I think it would feel very constrained when working.

* Remember to double check your window's width before cutting the pieces.

Step 3: Cut 1" Blocks (12-20)

I would just cut a bunch of these, as you may need more than you initially figure to get your desk height correct. You may be able to cut these deeper (3.5" in my example) depending on your window's depth. The more depth your window will accomodate will make your desk more stable.

Because I have 2 people of different height working at this desk, I require more blocks to hold the shelf and more for standing height, the seated desk height stays the same (28").

Step 4: Install Blocks Into Window Sill

Now is the time to figure out the working height of the desktop and shelf brackets.

Each height for the desktop will require a block on the top and the bottom, I used a piece of the desktop material (3/4" plywood) to ensure the spacing between each block was as close as possible.

Seated Desktop Height: Standard seated desk height is 28" (from floor to top of desk)

Standing Desktop Height: Determine this by standing with your arms at 90° angle and measuring from the floor to the height of your elbow/arms

Shelf Height: You will need a shelf to hold your laptop / monitor for sitting and standing.

Step 5: Test Desktop and Shelf Height for Working

This is a good time to check that your measurements were correct, set up your desk at different heights and give it a try!

Step 6: Make a Fold-away Holder for Your Desktop

I installed one vertical block (same gap of the wood thickness from the other blocks) so that the desktop can be stored vertically, this makes the whole system really low-key when the desk is not in use.

Step 7: Get to Work

Well, now you have a new workspace solution. I hope this helps you improve your space and be more functional when working from home!

Remember, it is recommended to change your working position every 2 hours for optimal ergonomics, keep moving, keep working and stay healthy.

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