Standing Desk Conversion Platform




I've gotten really into the idea of having a standing desk lately (due mostly to lower back pain caused by poor posture), but I have a desk that I really love and didn't want to do anything permanent to mess it up. My solution was to build a platform of sorts that my desk can stand on top of.

Step 1: Drawing/math

First, I needed to do some planning. I determined that I wanted a desk to be 41 inches tall (through some trial and error - I stacked books under my laptop until it felt comfortable, then measured the books). My current desk (the Parsons Desk with Drawers from West Elm) is 30". So I needed a platform to be 11" tall. I also decided to make the platform a little wider than my desk, to account for any slipping. Measure your desk, and add an inch to each dimension.

Originally, I had planned to make two seperate platforms for the left and right sides of the desk. I realized pretty quickly that they'd tip over way to easily, so I stuck with that design and added a connector at the back of the desk.

Here's a rough drawing of each side platform (not to scale, and apologies for the blur - your numbers would be different from mine anyways):

Step 2: Supplies

Next, buying supplies. I planned on using sturdy 2x6 for each side platform, and 1x3 for the connector. I totaled up how much of each I needed (14' of 2x6, and 101" of 1x3), and how many pieces of what length I needed (8 - 2x6x8", 4 - 2x6x26", 2 - 1x3x50.5"), and set out to the hardware store.

Regrettably, I don't really have a workshop, so I had to ask the hardware store employees to cut my wood for me - they weren't too happy. While there, I also bought sandpaper to smooth down the cut edges (I'm not too concerned about things I build looking pretty - if you are, make sure to buy sandpaper in a range of coarsenesses).

Upon getting the materials home, I realized I forgot to buy screws, so I went back out. Since I used 2x6 for the majority of the construction, I needed to use screws long enough to go through 1.5" and then some (note - if you are not already aware, nominal dimensions for lumber are NOT the actual dimensions - the 2 inch side of a 2x6 is actually about 1.5"). The shorter screws were for attaching the 1x3 connectors.

Step 3: Assembly

Next, assembly. This was pretty straightforward - attach the 8" pieces to one 26" piece; attach the other 26" piece on the other side. After building the two sides, attach the crosspieces - now's a good time to decide which way goes up and all that.

Here's the lumber right after assembly began. I would've taken more pictures, but this should really be pretty obvious - just follow your drawing.

Step 4: Finished!

Here is the finished product, not under my desk. The two wide "wooden cinderblocks" go on the left and right sides of the desk, and are a fair bit wider than the legs of the desk. To move the desk onto this, I convinced my girlfriend to help lift it up (with laptop and everything else still on it) and move it over. There is a little wobble, but nothing at all worrisome - it's surprisingly very stable feeling. And really comfortable!



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7 Discussions


6 years ago on Introduction

If you're over 6ft/183cm tall, you're bad back may not be "bad posture" but instead caused by every mass produced chair in the world being completely misaligned to your body. It's almost like your forced to sit on children's furniture all the time. It can't be helped, of course, chairs have to be made to fit the middle of the bell curve and not the extremes but for those of us on the tails, it's a literal pain.

When I was Apple, they spent $1800, about four times as much as usual, on a sweet special chair just to fit my 6'4"/193cm frame. Didn't have that home, so a standing or a floor desk were my only options.

Exercises that strengthen your lateral abdominals will also help.


11 years ago on Introduction

I have my desk as a standing desk, but wasn't sure I'd want it to be permanent. It's a desk that sits on two file-drawer pillars. All I did was make two more plywood boxes the same size - roughly - I measured the height so that it would be at the right spot for the keyboard to be comfy. I cut for holes in the cornser of the tops of the boxes to allow the small desk legs to poke through and they stablize the desk on top of the boxes. I tried it out for a while and then, once it worked well, I painted them black to match the desk. I now refer it as an 'heirloom quality' addition. I can still go back to a regular desk by lifting off the boxes, but so far I like it this way and it's been over 2 years now.


Reply 12 years ago

I'd seen that one, actually, and it was part of my inspiration to do this. I'm still not 100% sure I want to keep my desk as a standing desk, so I did it this way to avoid having to physically attach anything to the desk.


Reply 12 years ago

I had my desk on milkcrates for a few months until I was ready to commit. Not that you can't imagine what a desk on milkcrates looks like, but I just love making links.


Reply 12 years ago

Thanks for linking mine! Standing desks are awesome; I'm glad to see another.