Introduction: Office in a Box - Standing Desk With Storage

About: Architect, Urban Designer, all-round tinkerer of odds and ends. Small solutions for big city living. Dreaming of lands faraway where garages are big enough to build a workshop in, or lakes are there for taking…

Well it looks like a lot more of us are going to be working from home from now on (WFH for short).

After a year working from different parts of the house, I finally settled on my ideal set-up: working from a standing desk setup at my kitchen island. Only problem was that keeping all my work stuff away at dinner time was a bit of a pain.

I'd been propping my laptop up on a cardboard box for months, so I figured I should just make a more permanent solution: an all-in-one desk organiser, standing height laptop riser, and storage bin.

Click on the video for a quick stop-motion animation of how it works!


I made this with stuff around the house, but you could use any handy rigid materials to make this simple box. Plywood, MDF, even extra thick corrugated cardboard could work as a temporary solution.

Outside Box:

IKEA LEKMAN Box (33x33x37cm)

Inside Drawers:

8mm Wooden Boards (from local dollar store)

9mm rigid felt boards 'Acoustic Panel' (scrap)

Step 1: Finding an Ergonomic Height for You

This is the most important step to making the best standing desk solution for you. I experimented with various cardboard boxes to prop up my laptop and keyboard, before settling on the ideal dimensions that suited me.

Important tips:

Screen Height: The laptop screen (or external monitor) should be just below eye level. This also looks much better for Zoom calls than if the laptop cam was pointing up your nose from below!

Keyboard Height: The keyboard should be just below elbow level, so that your forearms and hands are straight. There shouldn't be any bending at the wrist, to avoid repetitive strain injuries.

Step 2: External Box

I used an IKEA box I had on hand, that had the added benefit of fitting perfectly back into my shelf at the end of the day. When stood up on end, it was the perfect height to prop up my laptop with the addition of a small folding riser.

Step 3: Finishing the Inside of the Box

The box was a little flimsy and moulded with hollow sides, so I finished it off with 9mm Acoustic Felt panels on the insides. These panels are easy to cut with a box cutter and a straight edge. I just glued them on to the inside with construction adhesive.

I also made runners for the upper drawer out of the same felt material, glued to the side walls.

Step 4: Make the Drawer Boxes

I made two drawer boxes to fit this.

Box 1: The upper drawer is just for storing stationery and stuff. I made mine at 30.5*25*8cm, but in hindsight I would made it taller to fit more snugly so that it doesn't move around so much.

Box 2: The lower drawer doubles up as my keyboard riser, which I needed at 16cm above the countertop height. Mine was 30.5*25*16cm

The boxes were just glued together again, with a combination of wood panels and acoustic felt panels. The wood panels were cut with a jigsaw and hand-sanded smooth, and the acoustic felt cuts cleanly with a razor blade.

Step 5: Make a Box for a Raised Mouse Pad

Box 3: I needed one more box to use as a raised mouse pad, so I made one that stows away within Box 2. Mine was 25*14.5*12.5cm, but on hindsight I would have made it as big as possible to nest neatly within Box 2. It works, but could be bigger.

I also made a keyboard wrist pad out of two layers of the Acoustic Felt.

Step 6: Multi-Functional Desk Buddy

This little box packs a punch! I use it 3 ways:

1. As a desk organiser with 2 drawers for office essentials. Notepad and pens, earpiece for Zoom calls, etc.

2. As a mini pin-up board - I covered the rear of the plastic box with acoustic felt as a pin up board. You could use Cork board as an alternative.

3. As a standing desk riser, as shown. I made a little wrist pad as well out of Acoustic Felt, to keep my wrists at the same level as my fingers.

This really is a very comfortable solution. I love working from a standing position, as it keeps me focused and active all day long. The only other upgrade was to buy a foam floor pad specially made for standing workers. I believe they were first made for factory workers to relieve some of the pressure on their feet from standing all day. It makes a huge difference, especially for someone with flat feet.

Step 7: Packing It All Back

At the end of the day everything fits back in the box. The two drawers were intentionally made shallower than the depth of the outer box, so that when I slide them all the way in, there is still space to stash my laptop and wireless keyboard on top.

The whole box fits right back into its place on the shelf, and I can log off from work and enjoy family time clutter-free!

Hope this is useful for lots of ya.

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