Building a Standing Desk

Diy standing deskAs Trey and I were planning how we wanted to makeover our home office we knew we wanted a desk. He planned to play and record music in the room while I wanted space to write and possibly work on some smaller craft projects. Even though we feel we need lots of desktop space we didn’t want a giant desk taking up all the space in the room. Hmm… what to do?

Diy standing desk We decided to build a wrap around standing desk. This allows for a few things: we can work in separate areas, we have plenty of desktop space, the center/majority of the room is free and uncluttered. Hooray! Creating the desk turned out to be quite simple too. Double bonus!

Building a standing deskThe supplies we used will likely be very different from what you’d need if you build a standing desk in your home office. What’s so great about making your own furniture is you can customize it to fit your space exactly! So, the following measurements represent what fit in our space. Measure your walls to see how lumber and how many brackets you may need.

Supplies: (1) 1 in. x 2 ft. x 6 ft. pine board, (1) 1 in. x 2 ft. x 5 ft. pine board, (1) 1in. x 2 ft. x 4 ft. pine board, 7 large shelf brackets, screws to fit in the bracket, power saw, powder drill, level, sand paper, hand sander, polyurethane (we used a semi-gloss) and clean rag or brush.

1.) Cut the boards to fit your space. Probably your local lumber supplier will not have the exact measurements you need. Use your own saw, or have them cut the boards down to size. We cut two of our boards at an angle to fit one corner of our room. You could also avoid cutting angles but still outfit a corner by doing something similar to this.

Tips for building a standing desk2.) Sand the cut edges as well as the entire surface area of the wood. The reason you need to sand the entire surface area is to keep the wood feel smooth even after you seal. Polyurethane can make an un-sanded surface feel a lot more rough than it did before.

3.) Once sanded, wipe down the surface. Seal with a coat or two of polyurethane. If you want to stain the wood, do so before you seal. We left ours the raw color it was because we liked how light it was.

Diy standing desk 4.) You’ll first want to attach your shelf brackets to the wall before attaching the wood. I think we bought the largest we could without exceeding the width of our wood. We wanted these to be very sturdy, so we didn’t have to worry about putting too much weight on them. That said, you’ll definitely want to find studs for at least 2 of the shelf brackets per section of board.

Finding studs is always that frustrating step we never allocate enough time to do. I heard quite a few mumbled curse words from Trey during this process. So I was standing by with the spackle. 😉 Here are some tips for finding studs:

Stud finders. You can find these at any hardware store. You just slide across your wall, until they beep. They always give you a good starting point, but be sure to double-check using the below techniques. Stud finders are often wrong
Look for indicators. There are a few parts of a room that will always have a studs: corners of the room, right next to an outlet, door frames, window frames. This the best method to be sure you’re on a stud.
Standard widths between studs are 16 inches or 24 inches. Depending on the age and size of your house, chances are it’s following building standards that require studs to be consistently spaced at 16 inches (most common) or 24 inches. Ours is 16 inches, and that’s center to center of the studs.
Good ole fashioned knock test. You’ve probably seen your dad do this one or even tried it yourself. As you can guess, drywall + insulation sounds a lot more hollow than drywall + a 2×4 piece of wood (a stud). So look for that less hollow knock. If I’m being honest, it’s the most frustrating technique. I’m just never sure if I heard it quite right. So I mostly use this to verify the previous techniques.

Typically, we look for an indicator and then measure 16 inches (or 24 inches) in either direction. Then, we use the stud finder and the knock test to verify. Of course, you can always use drywall anchors. We would just recommend you’ve got at least 2 of those brackets mounted to studs if you plan on doing a lot of work at these desks.

As you’re finding your studs, mark them, and then use a long level to ensure your brackets are all positioned at the same height. Fasten the brackets to the wall. Then, fasten the wood to the brackets. Bam!

Diy standing desk We absolutely LOVE how our wrap-around desk turned out. Even though the height is perfect for standing and working, we also purchased a couple of simple metal chair (bar stool height) so we can sit sometimes too. Thanks for letting us share our desk with you. We’ll share all the photos of the office with reference links later this week! xo. Emma

P.S. Learn how to make a modern wood stool for your desk here!


Credits // Author: Emma Chapman & Trey George, Photography: Janae Hardy & Emma Chapman.

  • I’m also wondering where you sourced your giant brackets, I can’t find any in the stores near me!

  • Hi! Love this idea, but I have a clarification question: you list three different lengths of pine board in the supplies ((1) 1 in. x 2 ft. x 6 ft. pine board, (1) 1 in. x 2 ft. x 5 ft. pine board, (1) 1in. x 2 ft. x 4 ft. pine board), but I see only two boards used in your pictures. I assume that you just need two pine boards 1 in. thick, 2 ft deep, and however long you need for your space. Before I go making this myself, can you confirm?

  • What a great project! We will be attempting it this weekend.

    My question is, where did you get that beautiful sweater vest? Is it store bought or handmade? I’d love to know what pattern it is, if handmade.

    Thanks so much for all the inspiration!!

  • Love this idea so much! Will you pleaseee tell me where you purchased those brackets from?

  • This is great! I can’t wait to adapt it to my workspace.

    What are the measurements of the brackets you used?

  • I like your designs. Because Your all designs are getting look like shine and. You are making simple to best quality designs. I like it…..

  • I was just wondering where you found a board that was 1 in x 2ft bc I’m having a hard time finding that. All anyone seems to have is 1ft wide boards.

      • Emma – this is awesome! Did you join the boards along the diagonal cut at all, or just butt them up against each other? Thank you.

  • Love it. We are in the process of creating a portable standing desk which will allow anyone to turn their everyday desk into a standing desk. Check it out here (

  • I have had a similar idea after my DIY office in my garage went out the window as soon as it became cold. I have a wall that I want removed between my kitchen and living room that is about 12 ft long. Since I cant remove the wall or actually afford remodeling right now I thought I would create a shelf, desk, bar area. And your post has solidified my thoughts. New DIY project coming soon for me! Thanks!

  • I just did this, too! Posted on the same day. Great minds. Mine was an Ikea hack, though. Yours is beautiful!

  • Where are your stools from?! I love this idea for our bedroom office space since we just added another kid to the bunch and lost our office/guest room. I also love how high it is to keep little hands from getting into things. =)

  • Love this idea! Especially the pencil holder:) Is that like the pvc pipe bookends your made?

  • Thank you for this inspiration! I was just thinking about how much more focused I am when I work while standing.

  • This is so cute as a craft area for small spaces! I gotta get a drill so that I can make one of these ASAP!


  • This is a beautiful look and a great idea! I really need to get myself a husband who can build me this!

  • This is exactly what I want! its beautiful and perfect for saving space.

    My boy has a job ahead of him!

  • Where did you get your shelf brackets? I’ve been looking for something similar in black and have been striking out.

  • OMG, I meant: “did you painted it yourself”:)
    Excuse me, please, please, please!

  • What a great idea- I’m filing away all these ideas for when we finally find our dream house to buy.
    Is the abstract art by your mother? If so it is lovely. I am a big admirer of her work. I love to play around with abstract but nothing at all to her level. It suits the space (and your style) perfectly

  • so lovely! we’ve been planning on building one of these in a corner space so this came just in time. where did you find those chairs?


  • what a great idea!! and i can’t wait til the room tour to find out where that AMAZING rug is from 🙂


  • We live in an apartment with not a lot of room, and we bought a wall table from Ikea and bar stools to double as a desk and dining room table. It may have been the best thing we’ve ever done! Its pretty similar to this, but black and I LOVE how you wrapped it around the wall like that! Isn’t it super convenient!

    The one we bought has a drop leaf to get it out of the way and turns into a shelf… its awesome… 🙂

  • I would love to do this soon! I have no space for a big clunky desk and this seems like such a cool, modern idea. Thanks girls!

  • holy cow that rug is stunnnnnning, can’t wait to see the house tour/get the source.

  • This is certainly one of the best looking standing desks I’ve ever seen. My only concern here is that my boyfriend is a foot taller than me, so we’d have to raise his desk, but I love the corner wrap around idea. Thanks for always giving me great ideas!

  • That’s such a cute idea! I’m also in serious, deep love with that rug. It is GORGEOUS.

  • This is lovely! I can see me getting a lot of writing done on a desk like that. Mehn, I can’t wait to own a house so I can build things and decorate the way I want to. Thanks for this!

  • I love this idea!! I sit all day at work so I love the idea of a using a standing desk in my home office. I’m quite short though, so I wonder if my standing desk would work as a tall person’s sitting desk! Ha.

    By the way, you misspelled ‘separate’ in your second paragraph. Don’t mean to nitpick (I’ve pointed out typos to you gals before) but spelling and grammar errors are a huge pet-peeve of mine. And when I make blunders on my blogs, I always appreciate when someone points them out so I can fix them.

  • I think this looks terrific! Plus, a standing desk is a great way to burn a few extra calories, and can be great for people who get fidgety when sitting down. Great job!

  • Really nice idea! I prefer big work area but that’s me! I’ve loved the gallery display!

  • This will save up so much space but still makes the room look chic and keeps everything together. Thank you for the idea!


  • Honestly, my first thought – “a standing desk right in the corner…?”
    But actually, why not!? I mean, it looks great and as you said, doesnt take all of your space. AND you got better sight on the beautiful carpet! (where did you get it!?)

    xo – from Germany

  • This looks gorgeous 🙂 I love it.
    So neat and tidy and doesn’t take up space.
    Jessie @, xx

  • …and I just noticed you already answered my quetion about the painting! Your mother is a very talented lady!

  • This is so perfect, we’ve recently purchased our first home and been trying to think of ways to organise our office space (it’s only teeny tiny) but this would solve a lot of our issues. Thanks so much for the share! xx

  • Love this idea!
    Also makes a great place for Friday night drinks!
    And that rug is so cool!

    The Macadame. xx

  • I love how tall it is! I definitely need a place where I can easily stand and work sometimes.

  • I love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing. I love putting these projects away for the future.

  • I love this space. I love the collection of art on the walls and, of course, the rug is amazing. Thanks for inspiring me!

  • What a brilliant idea! I’ll definitely need to keep this one in mind. I love the ‘his and hers’ sort of areas next to each other. Perfect!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    – Taryn Elise

  • I love how open, airy AND useful this is. Great idea for your space!


  • This is so great! Especially after reading so many articles about how sitting is bad for your health. Great idea!

  • This is a beautiful little corner! I built a wall-mounted desk as well and found it handy to leave a gap between the desk and wall for plugs/cords. Just measure you largest likely-to-be-used plug and move the desk surface away from the wall accordingly before securing. Also LOVE that rug. 🙂

  • What a great idea! This is exactly what I was trying to describe to my husband to build for our patio. Thanks!

  • I love this! Mostly because I hate sitting for soooo long while doing work and I think a standing desk is great to be able to stretch your legs and still work. Plus, it gives a lot of space for so many activities! haha.


  • My only comment, and it’s totally meant to be constructive because I love your industrious space 😉 … is that maybe some overhead cool track lighting would be useful? That way you could get rid of the lamp’s cord (or keep it there ’cause it’s a cool lamp and just put a cord organizer up) and add some neat-o lighting to complement your other pretty hanging lamp. Plus I know how tantalizing an amazingly crazy cool light bulb can be to you two, like fireflies to lanterns, just like me! Just a thought i’d pass along, I love you ladies!

  • Love this! Such a great design and project! Perfect for movers and shakers! 😉

  • I love this desk idea….but please tell me you got that adorable sweater you are wearing Emma??? I just love it more!!!

    Kim Bolyard

  • That looks really really cool!
    I like the wall, especially.

  • i’m desperate to create a high desk somewhere in my flat. love the idea of building it straight in

    Mel x

  • I was taught this foolproof trick for finding studs: look at the baseboard to find the divets where it’s nailed to the studs. It’s simple, but has worked every time for me!

  • I love this! We are hosting a giveaway with prints that would be perfect for above the desk! Check it out:
    XO Holly

  • It looks amazing and like a perfect solution for an open, spacious workplace. However, I wonder whether the hight of the desk is comfortable for writing a couple of hours each day. What is your experience?

  • That is such a wonderful idea! This entire room is divine x

  • The big abstract canvas is from my mother. She’s a painter and SO talented. I begged her for a new piece for this room.


  • It was a thrift find. It’s rather small, but I loved the pattern so I got it anyway. It works well on small chairs, I’ve found.


  • It’s vintage from Etsy. I’ll be sharing a room tour of this space in the next few days so I’ll be sure to link where I bought it from. 🙂


  • Whoa, that magnet trick just blew my mind a little. Awesome idea.


  • Great! I love the rug too! Where is it from? I also love the big black and white abstract canvas. Is that DIY or something you bought?

    • Can you share what the depth of the desk ended up being? You mentioned 2 foot boards in your supplies list but that looks way less than 2 feet deep to me…just curious!

  • The knock trick never really works for me either – my brain starts playing tricks on me. Here’s a stud-finder tip that might rock your world (it did mine). Put a super strong magnet (like one of the little rare earth ones) in a sandwich size plastic bag. Hold onto the top of the bag and run it over the wall. The magnet will find the screws used to attach the drywall to a stud. When I find a spot, I add a piece of painter’s tape, then check above/below that spot for another screw, just to make sure I didn’t stumble on an errant piece of metal. Then, like you, I also check 16/24 inches in either direction, to really make sure.

  • Do you have a source for the orange blanket in the first photo? I’ve been looking for something with a fun pattern like that!

  • This post could not have come at a better time! I planned on making something like the framing wood corner desk you guys made over a year ago but was still debating on what kind of legs to do (hairpen or pipe). This is a way better solution.

    Love it! 🙂

  • I LOVE this. (and the rug!) “Sit less” is one of my goals for the year … so this might be the solution!

  • Oh, my husband was just talking about building a standing desk to promote more exercise. This one is a great idea. Good job ladies.


  • so cool! what a great idea and creative way to work with your space 🙂
    xo, cheyenne

  • I absolutely love this idea and it looks so easy to make too! Also, do you want to come and decorate my house for me please haha?! And I’m in love with that rug!
    Have a lovely week!

    • I’d love to know about the rug too! Love the desk and chairs as well 🙂

    • Hi! Im about to make my own standing desk, and i need some advice to choose the correct chair. Do you hve any tip to tell me? Thanks!!!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.