Health & Wellness Travel Technology

How to Build Your Own Standing Desk

Working from your bed or dining room table isn’t a sustainable setup. Make yourself a standing desk and you’ll be more comfortable—and probably more productive. Here’s how to build your own standing desk.


Your standing desk should be positioned at a height where your elbows can rest comfortably at a 90-degree angle while you type. Your monitor should be at eye level, without forcing you to tilt your head up or down. Find a height that allows you to maintain a neutral posture, with your shoulders relaxed, and position your keyboard there.

How to Build Your Own Standing Desk

The easiest and cheapest way to build your own standing desk is to place a box or pile of books underneath your laptop, raising it to eye level. However, this can cause strain on your arms (if you don’t have anything to rest them on as you type) and is an unstable setup.

If you’re handy, you can use cheap materials from the hardware store (or Ikea) to build your own standing desk—click here for instructions from Bob Vila’s website. 

Don’t forget to add an anti-fatigue mat to your standing desk setup, especially if you’re standing on a hard floor, as it will help prevent leg, foot, and lower back pain.

Portable Standing Desk

Don’t have room for a dedicated standing desk? Try one of these small gadgets that will easily and safely raise up your work station and can turn your regular desk or table into a standing desk.

  • Levit8 Flat Folding Standing Desk: Based on an origami-style design, the Levit8 Flat Folding Standing Desk folds down flat and then quickly pops up to support up to 20 times its weight. It’s slim and lightweight, so you can use this if you want a standing desk while you travel as well.
  •  Allstand by Ready Desk: This simply designed stand allows you to elevate your laptop to the perfect height. It has three modes—laptop, tablet, and drafting—so you can use it for a variety of devices.
  • Executive Office Solutions Portable Adjustable Aluminum Laptop Desk: If your laptop tends to overheat, give this adjustable laptop desk a try. It has vents to let hot air escape, plus USB-powered fans to help keep your electronics cool. You can use it as a standing desk, dinner tray, or bookstand in bed.
  • Rocelco 19” Portable Desk Riser: When this desk riser isn’t in use, you can easily tuck it away under a bed or in a closet—it’s only an inch thick when folded. The surface is big enough to hold a laptop and a mouse.

Adjustable Height Standing Desks

If you have the space, adjustable height standing desks are surprisingly affordable—plus they allow you to switch between sitting and standing quickly.

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Caroline Morse Teel is a Principal Editor for SmarterTravel. Follow her on Instagram @travelwithcaroline for travel photos and advice.

By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

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