Tall Chair for a Standing Desk




About: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is Sam and I'm a community manager here at Instructables.

I know what you're thinking:

Well this is just stupid. A tall chair for a standing desk?? How moronic!

Just hear me out, if you will. Here's the story:

About 6 months ago I got sick of sitting all day at my desk (despite my brand new wooden floor mat) and decided to convert my desk to a standing desk.

I have enjoyed this tall desk set-up immensely, and have kept using the wooden floor mat to protect the carpet from unnecessary wear.

However, there were times where I just felt like sitting for a little while.

I had no desire to build or buy a desk that raises and lowers. Since I already had a comfy office chair that wasn't seeing any use, I decided to just build a tall extension base for it.

Now I can stand for while and sit for a while, depending on how I feel at any given moment. It's great!

The base is made from a handful of common 2x4 framing studs, some glue and screws, and a bit of paint. The primary tools I used were my band saw (a jig saw or hand saw would work just fine) and a couple of drills.

If you're interested in making something similar I hope you'll find this tutorial helpful.

Step 1: Cut Pieces

The base of my office chair has five legs so I decided to build a five-armed structure to support those legs directly.

Ten pieces of 2x4 were cut 14 inches long, with a centered 72-degree angle on one side and a rounded over end on the other.

I then cut out four 12-inch discs from 1/4" MDF scrap which will be used as braces for the top and bottom arm structures of the base.

If you're making something like this, depending on your chair and your height you'll have to adjust the measurements accordingly.

Step 2: The Wooden Starfish Stage

If you mark and cut everything accurately you should have five arms that meet together nicely.

For the top set of arms on mine I needed to cut the pointy tips off to make room for a pipe that extends below the base of my office chair (photo 3).

Step 3: Layout Guide

Prior to gluing up the arm structures, I drew a layout guide on some scrap material to help make sure the pieces were all fastened together precisely.

Step 4: Glue Up Arm Structures

The arm structures were fastened together with the MDF disc/braces with wood glue and screws that were fastened into pre-drilled and countersunk holes.

Vertical support pieces were cut at this point as well.

Step 5: Add Vertical Supports and Horizontal Braces

Vertical support pieces were cut and glued in place at this point, joining the top and bottom arm structures.

To do this, I put a bit of glue on both surfaces to be joined and then added screws through pre-drilled holes.

I then added horizontal braces between all of the vertical supports in the same fashion.

Note: Please disregard the height of the base at this point! I grossly mis-measured the needed height, and after testing it, I had to remove the screws, knock it apart, trim the vertical supports, and re-fasten it all back together. The procedure didn't change, so I chose to not re-shoot the photos for this step.

Step 6: Paint and Add Wheels

I painted the base with flat black paint, and then added the original casters from the office chair. These were simply press-fit into 7/16" holes drilled in the wooden base.

Step 7: Fasten Chair to New Base and Enjoy!

The chair was fastened to the new base with 5/16" 3-inch long lag screws through the holes that held the casters in their original location. Be sure to pre-drill the holes for lag screws like this.

If needed, I could remove the casters from the new base and reinstall them into the chair, say, if I ever wanted to sell it in its original condition.

I wish I had made this sooner; it's been a great mod and is rock solid.

While I still spend the majority of my day standing, I now have a comfy place to take a load off but keep on working.

Thanks for taking a look!



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    27 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Great modification to standard office equipment and a real "money saver" at the same time! At work, I had a stand up desk with a tall chair. Both were great for relieving overall fatigue of standing or sitting. I did notice a problem with the standard tall chair in that when you leaned back the chair, it had a tendency to tip over. In your chair I believe the correction would be to extend the base arms where the caster wheels are attached maybe 4 inches. This would give a larger base diameter thus reducing tip over problem. Just a thought. Keep up the GREAT work!!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you!

    I've tilted the back all the way as far as it will go, laid back, and made all sorts of unnatural movements to see what it would take to tip the chair over. And I haven't been able to tip it . . . and I'm no lightweight.

    If I had built, say, a 24" lift rather than a 12" lift, the results would have probably been different though! But as is, it's stable enough to ease my mind.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    I think my hubby needs one of these. I showed him your instructable, maybe he will make one lol. Thanks for sharing and do have a great week.


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    3 years ago on Introduction

    This is great. Many people do not realize that standing all day when your working does have negative effects overtime. They don’t realize that sitting down and taking breaks is a must for a standing desk. Good idea.


    3 years ago

    This is nicely done. I used a standing desk setup for a couple of years after my back surgery, and there were many times when I needed to take short breaks. A chair like this would have been perfect!


    1 reply

    3 years ago

    A chair for a standing desk? Oh, I see... :)

    Why did you address that in the intro, I wanted to write it!

    Do you maybe have problems that because you sit high up, It feels like the chair almost lose it's balance and falls?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Nope, not at all! :)

    It's very sturdy and I've had no problems with stability. The base is pretty darn heavy, and I've never been able to tip the chair while sitting in it.

    I love that this integrates an existing office chair so you can keep the comfort and adjustability! The only thing I might try differently would be to use the inside of the chair stand as a magazine or book rack. Voted!


    3 years ago on Step 7

    Awesome. As soon as I saw this I thought, 'There's my answer!' Thank you, Sam.

    I used a bar stool with a low style back, never even thought of elevating a desk chair like you've done. Then again I have great trouble keeping from dozing off so I can't get too comfortable. Mind you I can always stand to stay awake. I essentially made boxes out of plywood and put my computer desk on top of them and made locking doors for the boxes thus making them into cabnets. I was practical and affordable and looked great after painting it up. Thanks for your ideas!

    Do you think this would work to adapt an office chair for a tall person? My son is 6'4" and complains that he can't find an office chair that "fits" him. He got a table with adjustable legs to use as his desk so he can get that at the right height, but even the adjustable office chairs don't go high enough for him. What do you think?

    2 replies

    Absolutely! This extension adds 12" of height, but it could have been made shorter or taller as needed. I think that's exactly what he needs. Good luck!


    Thanks! I'll show him and see what he says.

    In the meantime, I want to check out your wood floor mat. I think that's what I need for my office chair as it's currently on carpet.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Voted and am sharing with my telecommuting team at work. It's so easy to get caught up and end up sitting for hours at a time without ever standing up or moving. So bad for cardiovascular health! Standing all day isn't ideal either though, and convertible desks are expensive... Thank you, this is awesome!