Office Overhaul: the Dirt-Cheap Standing Desk

As I mentioned a while back and then never again because I was too busy moving into a new house: I recently moved to a new house. And while there are plenty of brag-worthy, utterly genius things that I have done to the place (installed towel racks! organized my spices! hung a picture!) the one area where I have focused most of my attention has been my new office.

IMG_2947The dog came with the room and won’t leave.

My previous office was a glorified closet, so when I gained a little bit more room to work with here, I got excited. (Some have suggested that painting the already-white room a slightly whiter shade of white is not “getting excited” but rather “nutballs”. I respectfully disagree.) If you’re like me, you are alarmingly rabid about seeing and hearing other people’s workspaces, so in the upcoming weeks I will try and post some of the highlights of what I’ve done with the place. But for now, we’ll just start with my pride and joy: the thrown-together-yet-classy cheap-ass standing desk.

I know that standing desks are kind of a fad at the moment, and have been called everything from life-changing to The Dumbest Thing Ever, but I once worked at a job where the computers were at a raised level and I detected a notable difference in how productive I was when standing. Plus, writing books requires a LOT of sitting. A lot. As in, see above at how comfy my office chair needs to be. It’s practically a couch on wheels.

I was beginning to feel like a beached whale, if beached whales ever blob up on shore with a laptop and a deadline. So I decided that I’d try a standing desk for everything other than actual writing – blogging, website-maintaining, emailing, etc. (As for the area I will now be using for writing…that’s a future blog post.) But since I didn’t know for sure whether it was something that I’d stick with, I didn’t want to drop a lot of money on it. So I improvised. And since improvising means working with what you’ve got, I looked around at what I had.

What I had was moving boxes. Dozens of them.

I grabbed four big ones, taped them up, painted them white, and got to stacking. (As for the dangers of using mere cardboard to prop up a desk: there are none. As long as they’re positioned right, they’re perfectly stable.) (I hope.) For the desk itself, I used an old table top from Ikea. (Yes, I shop at Ikea so much that I just have random Ikea table tops lying around. GO AHEAD AND JUDGE.) I painted that sucker white as well, then ran into a problem: the paint wasn’t completely smooth, and was slightly tacky to the touch, which wouldn’t bode well for desk-related activities. So I headed to my new second home, the hardware store, where I found a sheet of clear acrylic that I got cut to the size of the desktop, then slapped that puppy on top.

It fit perfectly, but something was missing. The desk was too white. It needed something snappy, something cool. It needed…words.


So I printed up the first couple of chapters of The Count of Monte Cristo (a personal fav), slid them under the sheet, propped up my monitor with some giant books, and there you have it – a fancy literary standing desk for less than $50.

IMG_2936Detailed analysis of all the crazy crap on my walls may begin…now.


  1. The cow. And the scythe. LOVE IT. I must say, I did not expect this color scheme from you! Was maybe thinking something darker. Ah, well. It is quite lovely.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s