DIY Standing Desk: Pairing Your Tabletop to a Sit-Stand Desk Frame
So you’re thinking of getting an adjustable standing desk to switch between sitting to standing--fantastic! This is the first step to a comfortable, productive workday. Less back pain, muscle aches, and better overall ergonomics sounds much better than sitting all day at a desk that isn’t adjustable.
While there are so many great standing desk options out there, you might not find one you’re completely in love with. That’s totally normal! Picking out the right office furniture is essential to a productive work-from-home setup.
And that’s where a DIY mix-and-match electric standing desk might be the answer to your standing desk quest. You can purchase a tabletop and a frame from two different retailers to create a custom desk.
DIY standing desks are perfect if…
- You’ve got your eye on a gorgeous wooden desk that isn’t adjustable.
- A standing desk frame adjusts perfectly to your height but the tabletop looks a bit too flimsy.
- You want a frame that “memorizes” height adjustment settings, but that store doesn’t carry the tabletop you’d like.
- You’d like to save money on a standing desk by using a tabletop of an existing desk
- You have some handyman skills you’d like to use on a DIY project.
Any of these sound familiar? Follow our guide and you’ll have all the info you need to DIY a unique electric standing desk for your home office!
Where Do I Start DIY Standing Desk?
First, you’ll have to pick a standing desk frame or a tabletop. Once you have one of these in mind, it’s easier to choose a counterpart for it.
1. Choosing a tabletop
Selecting a tabletop can be one of the most interesting parts of a DIY desk--but it can also be the most overwhelming! With so many sizes, colours, and materials, it’s hard to narrow it down.
The most important factor when it comes to choosing a tabletop is the size (yes, it matters!). Think about how big your office is, and consider how much surface area you’ll need for everyday work. Does it have room for your laptop, monitors, and monitor mounts? What about a keyboard or mouse?
Consider the material as well. Hardwood will be sturdier and more durable, but it may require more maintenance to preserve the look. Particle board tabletops are more budget-friendly, but some might be too thin or flimsy.
Does it have a grommet? That’s the little plastic cable organizer that often looks like a hole on one end of the tabletop. Having a grommet is great if you have lots of wires you need to keep together. Most particle-board tabletops come with grommets, so keep that in mind when you’re on the market!
Finally, make sure it’s a colour that you love. This is the surface you’ll be doing most (if not all) of your work on--make sure you like it! Don’t forget that staining hardwood is also an option if it turns out to be a colour you’re not 100% set on.
2. Choosing a Frame
The most important thing to check for is the height range. Will it adjust to your ideal sitting and standing height? You should be able to rest your forearms comfortably on the surface of the desk whether you’re sitting or standing. If others will be using the desk, make sure it works for them, too.
Sharing an adjustable desk is even easier if the desk comes with customizable memory settings! The motor will automatically adjust to presets so you don’t have to remember exactly what height you need your desk at.
Finally, check out the stability. Read reviews--is the frame stable at its highest setting? Wider feet help with desk wobble when in the raised position. Look for frames that are powered by dual motors, especially if you have a hardwood tabletop or a large monitor setup in your home office.
3. Compatibility Check: Table Size vs. Frame Size
This is where the rubber meets the road--or where the table meets the frame, in our case! This is a crucial checkpoint when picking a frame for a table or vice-versa.
The table top should fit neatly on the frame, with little “overhang” (the part of the table top that isn’t supported by the frame). The table should be at least as wide as the feet of the desk to prevent tripping, but not too wide that weight is distributed unevenly on the surface!
When there’s too much overhang, any weight placed on the edge of the desk is no longer supported by the sturdy frame. Too much weight on the edge of the desk may bend thinner table tops. With heavier table tops, this uneven weight could damage the frame (as most aren’t designed to lift tables that are much heavier on one side than another).
Ideally, the table should have no more than 5 inches of overhang.
4. Compatibility Check: Table Thickness vs. Hardware
When you buy a frame separately from the table top, the retailer often sends hardware so you can attach the two together. Usually, this works out well when you buy a tabletop from the same seller. But if you purchased from two different companies, make sure the hardware that came with the frame is compatible with the tabletop!
Firstly, make sure the screws aren’t longer than the table’s thickness. If the screws are too long, it could go right through the surface of the table and damage it.
It’s important to check these dimensions before taking a drill to your tabletop! It’s hard to patch a hole once it’s there, and it could run the risk of splitting or water damage later on.
5. Putting it all together!
When you’ve received your desk and your frame, all you have to do is put it together! With some know-how and an electric drill, you’ll have your desk all set up in no time.
Here are our top tips for assembly:
- Assemble your desk upside down--it’s much easier!
- Measure twice before drilling. It’s hard to cover up holes, even if they’re under the desk.
- A ruler is your best friend! The distance from the frame to the edge of the desk should be the same on both sides.
Take your time assembling the desk--make it a project afternoon!
Our signature collection of electric standing desks and ergonomic office chairs are well-equipped to improve your mood, posture and maximize efficiency in the workplace — wherever that may be for you.