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How to build a perfect standing desk

I've used this desk for almost a year, and here is how I customized it to fit me perfectly.

Don't let your desk keep you down!

Don't let your desk keep you down!

Lacey W. for Hearst

Standing desks are all the rage, and never more so than in this work-from-home atmosphere. How do you make the most out of a space that was never meant to be worked in and still be able to live your life? Customization, baby! Through the years I have found that an L-shaped desk is my best bet for a sane work-station. But when I started spending upwards of 12 hours per day at my desk, it quickly became apparent that I needed to be able to move more.

A quick google search on the internet will show you that L-shaped standing desks are hard to find and aren't very practical. Most L-shaped standing desks you come across out there don't have any more desk space than a normal desk would. It just fits into a corner better. Enter my Franken-desk! 

I built this desk with just a few pieces from amazon and Ikea and it fits and works like a dream. (I even fudged the lengths and made it a bit more oversized than it strictly allows) 

Products and materials

The desk is built with two table tops and a cable management shelf from Ikea mounted to a standing L frame from Amazon. The whole reason I decided to do this table a-la-carte (other than I couldn't find a prebiult L shaped standing desk that was what I was looking for) was because I already had these two table tops in use for my current L-shaped desk (sans standing). I LOVED the space of my old desk but I wished it would stand. Enter this amazing piece of equipment from VIVO, that allows you to buy your own favorite table top: Pick your table top color, shape and material with this standing desk frame. 



This desk features a touchscreen electronic height adjustment with memory buttons and will support over 300lbs. At 6’1” my husband can even stand comfortably at this desk and BONUS: if you are vertically challenged  like me, it also goes down to an amazingly short 26 inches from the ground for sitting. Most desks won’t go that low! I never thought I would care if the desk is manual or electronic, but I have to say, after a long workday it’s nice to push one button on the desk and have it magically transform to exactly the perfect height without having to sit and hold the button. Or worse, hand crank!

Where the frame meets the table tops

Where the frame meets the table tops

Lacey W. for Hearst


Building this desk didn't take long. One afternoon (maybe about 4 - 5 hours) but I will say an extra person is almost a must. (The L-shape frame gets built upside down and then has to be flipped over to put on the table tops and that is not a one person job!)

Ease of use

I will say that this (along with most standing desks) takes some getting used to. Problem one was cable management. Any cable that is not staying on your desk (power cables for instance) must be long enough to accommodate the height of the standing desk. Which means when you are sitting, you have the excess length to deal with. Fortunately this desk comes with great cable management (at least that’s what I used it for) The frame for this desk comes with optional hang down shelves that you can use for cable management, or you can go with this cool cable management system from Ikea. 

A power strip I zip-tied under the desk for cable management

A power strip I zip-tied under the desk for cable management

Lacey W. for Hearst
Another zip-tied power strip. This one is a bit messier!

Another zip-tied power strip. This one is a bit messier!

Lacey W. for Hearst

Problem number two was actually remembering to use the standing part of the desk. After sitting for so long it was hard to force myself to stand up, even when I subconsciously wanted to. Fortunately this desk ALSO comes with a built in (and optional) timer to remind you to stand up. I ended up turning this off after a while because I got into the habit of listening to my body and standing on my own.

Standing desk durability

I have been using my standing desk since August of last year (about 10 months) and it has held up well. The caveat? I have strategically positioned heavier items over the most supported part of the desk. To save weight (and because I already had them), I choose to use Ikea table tops which are made from particle or fiberboard as opposed to a more sturdy material like solid wood. Because of this, it won’t be quite as steady or durable under uneven weight but considering how much needed to go on my table, I could use all the weight saved I could get. 

I also stand and sit multiple times throughout the day but let’s just say for math sake I stand and sit seven days a week twice a day. That means my desk has done over 1200 up and downs and it hasn’t started showing signs of wear yet!

How I made it mine! (and how to make it yours)

There are certain accessories that my custom desk would be incomplete without. I use all of these every day whether passively or actively, and just as the table did, they heavily improved my quality of life. Here are my top 10

HEPA Air Purifier

I live in Seattle and have two pets this is a must!

Anti-Spill Cup Holder with Under Desk Headphone Hanger

I have spilled one too many drinks in my day. Plus there is an awesome hook underneath to hang headphones.

Lighting Kit for Zoom Calls

Whenever I have to get on Zoom, I always obsess about how i look. This inexpensive set of lights that take up next to no space have been a game changer.

Cololight Hexagon programmable lights

These are just for fun! You can detach and reattach the hexagons to make whatever shape you want, and it can be programmed and controlled by smart devices

Belkin Surge Power Strip Protector with rotating outlets

This is what I have zip-tied underneath my Frankendesk. I really like how the outlets rotate. I never have a problem fitting weird shaped plugs into sockets.

Amazon Basics Single Monitor arm

Like I said, I've got a lot of stuff so I try to minimize it's impact on my precious desk space. Monitor arms are a perfect way not only to clear up desk space, but it also gives you much more flexibility in monitor placement. 

Amazon Basics

Powered USB Hub

Not only will this hook into your computer to expand your USB port space but it also has a dedicated power strip so it can charge your devices as well. Bonus: each USB port has an individual on/off switch to save on electricity


Reusable velcro Cable Ties

Anyone who owns any sort of electronics knows that cable management is a must! These velcro straps are super easy to use and completly reusable.

Amazon Echo Show

This has become the number one person (item) I talk to during the day. I know its sad but hear me out. I can schedule meetings, listen to music, adjust my lights, tell the time, ask for the weather, have it work out math calculation, set timers and tell me a joke. I use it all day long! 


Bottom Line

This desk has been a huge quality of life upgrade. Being able to comfortably work standing or sitting has made work from a lot more productive and has kept my joints and bones much happier.