Four Steps to Make My Ikea Hack Standing Desk

In a previous post on standing desks, I was thinking of making my own version of a standing desk by taking some ideas from these two examples:

– Ikea Hack Desk by Jane from Enough Good

Ikea Hack Desk by Jane from Enough Good

Simple Adjustable Standing Desk by Jessica from jessica’s blog

Simple Adjustable Standing Desk by Jessica Allen

My original plan was to use an UTBY underframe and a LACK TV bench by literally combing my two examples. I was not sure how high the LACK TV bench without legs would be, so I decided to make Jane’s Ikea hack desk if the total height did not work out with the bench.

Here are the four steps that I took to make my Ikea hack standing desk!

  1. Decide the Height of the Standing Desk
  2. Find Out the Best Combination of Ikea Components for My Height
  3. Shop for the Desk Pieces
  4. Build the Standing Desk

STEP ONE: Decide the Height of the Standing Desk

One crucial preparation that you cannot miss in order to make your standing desk is to figure out how high your desk needs to be. Tinkering Monkey‘s diagram for standing desk ergonomics was really helpful to figure out what I needed to consider beforehand:

Tinkering Monkey's Standing Desk Ergonomics

What I did in order to figure out the height of my standing desk is very simple: pile up shoe boxes and books to figure out the height at which my wrists and arms feel comfortable typing. I also measured the height of my elbows from the ground to get a better idea. I figured that the height slightly below the elbow height was more comfortable for typing, so the height that I chose to achieve was slightly lower than my elbow height. I forgot the exact height that I decided to pursue, but it was around 110 cm. (FYI, I’m about 6 feet tall.)

STEP TWO: Find Out the Best Combination of Ikea Components for My Height

A plethora of Ikea products may cause some problems for people who do not know where to start to make their standing desk, but having examples like the ones by Jane and Jessica give us a head start. As I said above, I was uncertain of the height of the LACK TV bench without the legs, so I calculated heights for some different combinations of VIKA tabletops and legs. The UTBY underframe was 90 cm high, so I needed the desktop part to be about 20 cm.

– Ikea UTBY Underframe, stainless steel

utby-underframe__69390_PE184361_S4

Since I have been using a white VIKA AMON 150 cm wide tabletop for over five years and wanted to have a little smaller desk, I decided to use its 120 cm wide tabletops, which are 30 cm shorter and 15 cm narrower than the 150 cm. Each top is 3.4 cm thick, so the total height from the two tops is 6.8 cm, which means that the legs between the tabletops needed to be about 13 cm high.

– Ikea VIKA AMON tabletop, white, 120 cm x 60 cm 

vika-amon-table-top__30746_PE119397_S4

Two options that I found were Capita Bracket, which is 17 cm high, and Capita Leg, which comes in three lengths, 4″ (11-12 cm), 6″ (16-17 cm), and 8 ” (21-22 cm). Since I needed 13 cm to go, I figured that I should pick 4″ Capita Leg.

— Capita Leg, 4″ (11-12 cm)

capita-leg__32651_PE099369_S4

So the total height that I would get from an UTBY underframe, two VIKA AMON table tops, and Capita Leg is…

90 cm + 2 x 3.4 cm + 11-12 cm = 107.8-108.8 cm 

This height is close enough to what I estimated originally (110 cm). About 1 cm shorter height is better than 3-4 cm higher with either Capita Bracket and 6″ Capita Leg since a desktop higher than my elbow height could potentially strain my arms.

As I was getting ready to go shopping at Ikea, I checked store inventory to see if any of the Ikea stores near Toronto—North York, Etobicoke, and Vaughan—had all these items in stock a day before my shopping day. Among these three locations, only Vaughan was carrying UTBY underframes at the time, and the inventory information indicated that the store had only one left. I checked the height of a GALANT desk, and it was 90 cm as well, so the combination of GALANT base frame and A-legs became my backup option.

—Ikea GALANT Desk with A-legs

galant-desk__21139_PE106138_S4

STEP THREE: Shop for the Desk Pieces

The first thing that I tried to find out was if the store still had the last UTBY underframe in stock. I went to see the shelf area first, but it was not there, so I asked one of the floor staff in the area if she could find it. Sadly, she could not find it. The UTBY underframe was out of my plan at this moment, and my backup option of GALANT came in. Since I could adjust the length of GALANT A-legs, I decided to get 6″ CAPITA Leg instead of 4″ so that I could have more storage space.

By this time, I was liking the idea of using two VIKA AMON desktops more than a LACK TV bench, but I went to the showroom area to check the height of the top part. Happily or not, it was too high for what I had planned, so I decided to stick to two VIKA AMON desktops.

At the end, I purchased the following items for my standing desk:

  • 4 GALANT A-legs
  • 1 GALANT base frame
  • 2 packs of 6″ Capita Leg
  • 2 VIKA AMON desktops, white, 120 cm x 6 cm

STEP FOUR: Build the Standing Desk

I thought of using bolts to put the tabletop and the GALANT base frame together as Jessica did, but I decided to use the screws that came with the frame instead. As she pointed out, unless you purchase real wood products, the inside of many Ikea products is not really wood, so tightening up pieces with screws might not result in a really sturdy desk. I figured that I would replace screws with bolts once the standing desk become unsteady. The process of building the desk was not complicated, but it took me a while to finish it since I am not used to DIY projects. Here were my basic steps to build my desk:

  1. Mark the spots for screw holes
  2. Drill holes
  3. Fasten all the pieces together with screws
  4. Put the top part onto the base part

To finish off the construction of the desk, I put the white EKBY ÖSTEN/ EKBY TÖRE desktop shelf that I have been using for a while so that I could raise the height of a computer monitor to my eye level.

—EKBY ÖSTEN/ EKBY TÖRE desk top shelf, white

ekby-osten-ekby-tore-desk-top-shelf__0107400_PE257067_S4

And here is the final product!!!

Masaki's Ikea Hack Standing Desk

As I used to do this with my old regular VIKA AMON desk, I also screwed two power bars at the back of the base desk so that I can easily connect all of my gadgets to power.

I am pretty happy with this standing desk so far: my posture seems to be better and I have less neck and back pains. I also seem to feel more energy throughout the day.

Have you tried (and made) a standing desk yet? If so, how has it changed your work style?

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6 thoughts on “Four Steps to Make My Ikea Hack Standing Desk

  1. Hi Masaki! I enjoyed reading your post on an Ikea hacked standing desk. I’m thinking about putting something similar together – perhaps with a wider Linnmon/Vika Amon table top – and was wondering if you could comment on the stability of the desk using the Galant A legs? You mentioned that you would consider using bolts rather than screws if it didn’t feel sturdy enough. Have you had to do this?

    Thanks for the inspiration,

    Kim

    • Hi Kim! Thanks for the comment and my apologies for taking so much time to get back to you.

      The Galant A legs are pretty sturdy, and I’m happy for them. I’ve found it tricky to adjust the leg length a little bit since you need to rotate to loose the inner part, pull or push it, and then rotate it backward. Since my floor isn’t flat at all, it all worked out, but Galant T-legs may be a better option if you want to make the height of your desk a little easier.

      My initial concern for the stability was rather between the table top and the Galant table frame. Since the inside of the Vika Amon table top isn’t so dense, screws do not stay tightly. As far as you’re not going to move your desk around, your desk will remain in one piece. Otherwise, I would recommend you to put the Galant table frame and a table top with bolts or get one Galant table top for the lower part (and a Linnmon/Vika Amon table top for the upper part) since the Galant table has secure screw holes. Putting some kinds of screw anchors like the ones you use for dry wall may work as well.

      Hope this help 🙂

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