How to Build a Do It Yourself, Ikea-Hacked, Stand Up Desk

$379 for that? No, thank you, Amazon.

After reading about how hazardous it is to your health to sit all day long (like here and here), I started to look into stand up desks.

The problem is that most of them are really expensive, and really ugly – an acceptable combination only when it comes to big dogs.

So I gave up my search for a snazzy stand up desk. Then my friend Josh told me about a website called People upload pictures of custom setups they made with components purchased from Ikea.

I did a search for “stand up desk” at the site, and found a couple intriguing options. I considered this one, and this one. The first was too tall. The second used brackets that required bolts that crowded the desktop.

The desk you will see below is a combination of these two configurations.

A bit nicer than that Amazon one. And over $100 cheaper, too.

Necessary features of a stand up desk

There were several “musts” that I was looking for in a configuration.

1. Enough length for a dual monitor setup.

2. Monitors at eye level.

3. Enough desk space to lay open multiple commentaries.

4. A spot for my physical inbox on the desktop, but out of the way.

5. It had to look sweet.

I was able to accomplish each of these goals with my setup.

I posted a bunch of pics below, as well as a list of the components I purchased, and the price tag.


A 59 inch exegetical playground. That’s my school spirit hanging on the walls. Thank you, Moody and Wheaton, for how you trained me.

Monitor shelf

The stainless brackets in the front are only attached to the shelf. The ones in the back are attached to the shelf and desktop.

The “legs” of the desk

Under the hood: bookshelves galore.


More bookshelves. The tower is for the church’s PC, which I only use when I have to. The monitor on the shelf toggles between that and my Mac.

Extra shelf space

These brackets gave me the extra few inches I needed on the desk top, and provided a little shelf for the wireless keyboard and mouse for the PC.

Keeping it off the floor

So that’s where those sandals went! Notice that the front shelf brackets, angled desk brackets, and feet all have a matching stainless finish.

 Office shots

Full view.


For when the knees get tired.


From the other side of the office. (Sorry for the blinding sunlight through the window.)

The shopping list

Here is what I purchased, all at Ikea:

Vika Amon table top

Ekby Amund shelf

Ekby Tore bracket for table top

Expedit shelving unit (one for each side, two total)

Captita brackets, 2-pack (one 2-pack for each side, two total)

8″ Capita legs, 4-pack. These hold up the front of the shelf. I only used three out of the four.

4″ Capita legs, 4-pack. These were for the feet, under the Expedit shelves (one 4-pack, per shelf; two total).

Vika Byske leg.

Fixa cable management.

The grand total for the parts, not including tax and shipping, comes out to 249.93. Not cheap, but definitely a bargain compared to the other desks on the market.


  1. This is way off topic but VERY important nonetheless:

    Where did you get the leather-bound Biblia Sacra?

  2. Zach Kennedy says:

    Eric, how tall, in inches, is the main desktop from the floor?

  3. Brilliant, Eric!

    When were you at Moody? I was there from ’86-’89. Your blog is so much better than the entire homiletics course I took for a semester at MBI.

    • Eric McKiddie says:

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the preaching articles. I was at MBI from ’99 to ’03. Dryer 2.

  4. Great idea! I may have to do this myself!

  5. Rob Kennedy says:

    Here is a great blog I found for men. Not Christian, but full of some good ol’ manliness. The history of stand up desk was a good read.

    • Eric McKiddie says:

      Thanks for the link, Rob. I visit that blog every once in a while, but I missed that one. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Great blog by the way, very glad I found it.

  7. Eric,

    How did you connect the Capita brackets to the Expedit shelf? Did they screw in or bolt in?


    • Eric McKiddie says:

      Hey, Tony. My original plan was to drill a small hole through the top of the Expedit shelf, then a larger, recessed hole in the bottom. That way I could secure it with the washer and nut. Unfortunately, the Expedit material is not solid wood, so I wasn’t able to drill the recessed hole. So I simply drilled holes big enough for the Capita bolts, and I have just had the Capita brackets on top of the Expedit shelves, with the bolts poking a little bit through. I have had experienced no adverse effects from not having the top section of the desk secured to the bottom. Hope that helps!

  8. Hi Eric,
    I like this idea, but what about when you want to sit down? Is not a hassle to have to use these two desks? I was doing the same thing for a while when working from home. I had a “home-made” standing desk, but then if I needed to sit down for a bit, I’d have to move to my regular desk– and stop what I was doing, move all my stuff, etc. etc. It was irritating and it took up too much space for both.
    Anyway, I use a NextDesk Terra at work and these guys just came out with a new, small version of their adjustable height desk called the “Solo.” I am getting it for my home since it is adjustable, smaller, and more convenient than moving to and fro. Also much less expensive than their regular, full-sized NextDesks.
    Just thought you might want to consider it! Thanks for the post!

    • Eric McKiddie says:

      Those NextDesks are cool! A bit out of my price range, but very innovative. My only complaint would be that it doesn’t get your screen up to eye level.

      I actually like using two desks. I like the change of pace. When I want to sit at my tall desk, I use a stool with an ergonomic cushion. Lifts me up high enough and saves my back.

  9. It looks like from the picture that you used 3 ekby tore brackets. Is this correct? You didn’t state how many. Also, three items (the ekby tore brackets, the ekby amund shelf, and the fixa cable management) are not available for online purchase. We are 300 miles from the nearest IKEA, but this desk is something my husband needs desperately. He’s been looking for something like this for years. Any help on substituting these items if I can’t have IKEA ship them?


    • Eric McKiddie says:

      I used three of the ekby tore brackets, one in the middle and two off to each side. As far as substitutions are concerned, I really don’t know what to tell you. My trip to the store was invaluable for piecing the desk together. There were some other configurations I was considering, but upon seeing the components in store, realized immediately that they would not work.

      Perhaps give a store a call and see if they would ship them to you? Good luck!

  10. Hi!

    Love the ideas here…

    How “sturdy” does your desk seem? Do you think it will stand the test of time?

    Geoff Curtis

    • Eric McKiddie says:

      I have been using the desk for 5 months and it is holding up great!

      • Itook inspiration from your post, namely using the expedit “legs” and the capita brackets. However The bolt that fastens the round end of the capita does not fully penetrate the top of the expedit shelves. Did you come across the same problem? How did you overcome this?

        • Eric McKiddie says:

          I did come across this problem. I had envisioned drilling a recessed hole underneath the top part of the expedit shelf, and then attaching with the washer and nut. But when I got into the project I realized that it wasn’t solid wood, so that couldn’t be done.

          I resigned myself to placing the upper part of the desk on top of the bottom part unattached, and this has worked perfectly fine. That capita brackets rest firmly in the holes I drilled through the expedit shelves. I cannot tell that it is not attached.

          The only problem I had with this is that the bolts of the capita bracket are just barely longer than the width of the expedit shelf. So I had to drill all the way through the shelf so that the bolt could poke through just a tad.

  11. I was thinking of adding a third “Expedit” (it would go in the middle) and then increasing the size of the desktop by using one of their butcher block countertops – but only doing the monitor shelf for the left or right 2/3 of the desk…That would give me an 8 foot workspace, with roughtly a third of it that could be more conducive to other types of non-keyboarding work…or even a 2 person desk…


  12. Thanks for sharing this – we just converted our living room into a home office and I was looking for a standing desk but wasn’t happy with the size or price of those I had found in stores. This is perfect and I was able to build it last weekend. So far I’m loving it.

  13. what laptop stand is that?

  14. David Anderson says:

    Very nice setup. I had a question however: the shelf on the desk is standing on 8″ Capita legs at the front, and the Ekby brackets at the back. According to Ikea’s website, those two don’t match in height – even at the shortest setting for the Capita legs, the shelf would sit 5/8″ higher at the front than the back.

    Is that the case with your desk, or are Ikea’s measurements off? If it is the case, did you compensate for it at all?

    • Eric McKiddie says:

      The Capitas are 8″ and the Ekbys are 7 and 7/8″. That 1/8″ doesn’t effect it much. I actually never even noticed that they were off until I saw your comment! I’m away from my desk right now, but now I’m curious to check when I get back. My OCD might run wild over this.

      • David Anderson says:

        Thanks for the confirmation, I just wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed anything 🙂

        I agree that 1/8″ isn’t going to be terribly noticeable. Worst case, if you remove the plastic washer from the Capita legs, that’ll make it even closer to level.

        I ended up going with Capita legs front and back for my desk shelves (thank you very much for the inspiration!), and some heavy duty double-sided adhesive to secure them to the desk. Not quite as sturdy, but serviceable.

  15. Just wanted to let you know I borrowed your monitor design for my custom desk and it’s been working out great.

    • Eric McKiddie says:

      Glad to hear you are enjoying it! I’m still using mine almost two years later.


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