That Time I Installed a Standing Desk in My Studio Apartment

How many hours a day do you spend sitting?

I first became interested in standing desks one year ago. It seemed like every other article I saw was about how sitting kills us faster.

At some point, I had a realization: even if we work out at a high intensity for an hour every day, most of us are still sedentary for the other 23 hours. 

Something about that just didn't sit right with me (pun intended). I was behaving like an elite athlete for 5% of my day and a coach potato the other 95%. Not very deliberate.

So I Started Standing...

And after eight months of working at a standing desk, I can confidently say that it lives up to the hype. Here are the three main benefits I've noticed since making the switch:

1. I'm happier

I didn’t expect this one, but being able to walk away from my desk at any time has made it easier to take breaks. I used to feel trapped by the chair. Now I can just walk away . On the flip side, it's also easier to walk up and start working, which can be both a blessing and a curse if you work in your apartment.

2. I'm healthier

This is why I started standing in the first place. I used to get chronic headaches from neck tightness, and I hoped that standing would help me drop my shoulders (it did). I still get occasional headaches, but the frequency has gone way down. It’s much easier for me to maintain good posture while standing, and I know that it's benefiting my overall health.

3. I'm more productive

People often ask if I get tired from standing up all day. On the contrary, standing has actually given me more energy. I sometimes alternate between sitting and standing towards the end of the day to give my feet and legs a break (I did this in the beginning a lot). Honestly, we shouldn’t be working much more than 90 minutes straight anyway. 

What I Was Looking For

  • Something cheap -- I’m lucky enough to have a fancy standing desk setup in my office. I needed something less expensive for my apartment.
  • Something compact -- I live in a studio, so every square foot counts. That meant anything with a table or desk was out.
  •  Something white -- The rest of the apartment is white, and I didn’t want it to clash. You’d be surprised how hard it is to find things in white.
  • Something ergonomic -- Whatever setup you choose, your elbows should be at a right angle and your eyes should be pointed straight ahead. That’s why it is important to separate the keyboard from the screen, like this:
ergonomic standing desk

The Essentials

After weeks of searching, I finally found a DIY option that met the criteria above and was easy to install. Here is the setup at its most basic:

I’m very happy with this table – it even folds down for additional space. You only have one chance to install it at the right level, so be sure to test before you drill.

wall mounted table 1
wall mounted table 3

This mount can move around in case you want to watch something on it from another position. Again, make sure you have it where you want it before you screw it in.

wall mounted table 2

It's tough to find a white monitor. I'm happy with this one.

benq white monitor

You’ll have to find one that works for your laptop. I have a 13" Macbook Pro.

The Extras

Here are some optional components you may want:

I  got this to move the laptop up and out because I installed the shelf a bit low. It also helps lift the screen up.

white laptop stand

This raises your wrist and gives you some padding to prevent fatigue (books not included). 

grifiti slim wrist pad

This is better than using your computer track pad because it allows you to open your chest, and takes up less space than a mouse.

I got this recently to give my feet a rest. You can fold up a yoga mat too if you just need a quick fix.

Now It’s Your Turn

Everyone will need to find a setup that works for him or her. Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas and inspiration. My entire setup costs $429.70, but chances are you have most of what you need already.

At the end of the day, can you really afford not to stand?

If you already have your own setup, I’d love to see it. Tweet me a picture @gregfaxon.