DIY Productivity

9 Practical IKEA Hacks for Your Office & Workstation

Joel Lee 08-04-2016

Is your office setup starting to bore you? Want to clean up the clutter without shelling out a ton of cash? Or are you starting to suffer health problems due to too much computer work 4 Serious Health Issues From Sitting Too Long (And How to Avoid Them) Sitting too long at your desk or on your couch is a modern epidemic. Here are four deadly risks to a sedentary lifestyle. Read More ? All of these can be resolved with a single trip to IKEA and a bit of elbow grease.


The great thing about IKEA is that its catalog is dirt cheap, and that gives you the freedom to experiment and hack pieces together in ways that IKEA never intended, without having to worry about messing up. If something goes awry, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

IKEA hacks are nothing more than DIY modifications to regular IKEA pieces. Here are some of the more practical ideas we’ve found. Give them a try, but most of all, have fun!

1. Standing Desk

If you spend most of your days in front of a computer, whether for work or leisure, then you owe it to yourself to consider switching over from a sitting desk to a standing desk From Sitting To Standing While Typing: Why You Need To Change Your Working Habit Writing full-time keeps me sitting at a desk nearly eight hours a day. My office chair is not one of those Lexus ergonomic models designed to take away the pain of sitting, and though I’ve... Read More . Not only is prolonged sitting a serious health risk, but working while standing can also boost your overall productivity How To Be More Productive When Working From Home Is working from home (or to use the term – telecommuting) more productive than working from an office? The debate was re-ignited after Marissa Mayer's clarion call to all Yahoo employees. Just like all blah-blahs,... Read More .


For $50, you can build your own standing desk using VIKA table top and legs, a LACK side table, and an EKBY shelf for the keyboard. Here’s our guide to how we built this standing desk How To Build A Cheap Standing Desk From Ikea, And What It's Like To Use There's a current craze emerging for standing desks, literally desks that you stand at while working. Having spent the last five years as a self-employed freelance writer who spends most of his days sat at... Read More .


Or you can go all out and build a more advanced version for $150 using our step-by-step guide DIY Sitting / Standing Desk Read More  that’s easy enough for anyone to follow. If you have DIY experience, feel free to alter the design to best suit your needs.

While it’s true that a standing desk can improve your health Sleep Better & Improve Your Health By Changing How You Use Your Computer Computer work must not be hard on your body. Simple changes that only cost you minutes each day can have a great impact. Here are some tools to help you out. Read More , it’s important that you actually use the desk in the right way. Avoid these common standing desk mistakes 5 Things You're Doing Wrong At Your Standing Desk Many people, especially those who work from home, are looking to standing desks as the solution for prevention of several serious health issues caused by sitting all day, but not everyone uses it correctly. Read More  and you should be good to go.

2. Treadmill Desk

If the above-mentioned standing desk is too basic for you, or you want to be even more active in your day-to-day, then consider building a treadmill desk instead. With it, you can stand while you work and run while you watch TV shows and movies. Say hello to good health!



The downside is that treadmills are expensive — even the cheapest models will still cost you a few hundred dollars, and you really don’t want to cheap out on this so expect to spend a bit more. After including the desk itself and other parts, your wallet will NOT thank you.

This treadmill desk on Instructables is pretty simple to build, but if you want something a bit more robust, look into building this one that was featured on Lifehacker.

3. Monitor Stand

If you experience symptoms of eye strain 4 Ways To Prevent Computer-Related Eye Strain Without Losing Productivity Do you spend many hours in front of a computer screen? If you do, you’re probably familiar with the inescapable eye strain that comes with it. Headaches, burning eyes, itchiness and just being tired, are... Read More  and other issues related to computer fatigue Log Into Life: Top 9 Tips To Fight Computer Fatigue & Protect Your Health Did you know that your sedentary lifestyle could be killing you from the inside out? Ryan has already presented a case on potential health risks from sitting too long, and for those of us who... Read More , there’s a good chance that it all comes down to your posture and workstation setup. In fact, one of the more common problems is a monitor that sits at an incorrect height.



For just under $50, you can build your very own EKBY JARPEN monitor stand using a stripped wall shelf and attaching half a dozen six-inch legs to it. You might also want to look into these other cheap ergonomic enhancements 3 Easy & Inexpensive Ergonomic Enhancements For Your Home Or Office Most geeks are addicted to their desk. It’s particularly bad for those of us who both work with a computer and play on a computer. Humans weren’t made to sit in chairs for hours at... Read More  that you can make to your office.

4. Cable Clutter Management

The potential for cable clutter is a huge mark in favor of choosing wireless over wired devices Wired vs. Wireless Peripherals: What You Really Need to Know Not all devices are equal. There are some things you need to know before deciding between wired or wireless. Sometimes wireless is a no-brainer -- or it could be the worst move you make. Read More , but sometimes you have no choice. In those cases, your only hope is to practice good organizational habits and make sure your cables are kept as tidy as possible.


A lot of cable management IKEA hacks have been proposed over the years — so many that IKEA decided to release a handful of products specifically for cable management. Of particular note are the SIGNUM cable gutterSIGNUM power strip holder, and MONTERA cable covers.


Want solutions that involve a tiny bit more DIY to them? Here are some cheap tips for cleaning up cable clutter 5 Ways to Clean Up Computer Cable Clutter Under Your Desk Cable clutter is one of technology's biggest annoyances. Here's how to organize and arrange the cables under your desk. Read More .

5. Charging Station

I don’t know about you but a lot of the clutter on my desk is due to devices that need to be charged but have nowhere to sit while being charged. As such, they end up scattered across the desk — a problem that could be easily solved with a simple charging station.


This LAMPLIG charging cabinet is wonderful if your office has a lot of smartphones that need charging day-to-day. For a private office room, you might fare better with this VETTRE charging station, or if you’re on a budget and don’t really care about looks, then this cheap charging station can be adapted from all kinds of simple materials.

6. Easy Mail Rack

Another big source of clutter is when papers and envelopes pile up on your desk over time. Before you know it, half of your workspace is stolen away and the idea of cleaning up and organizing everything is just too overwhelming to consider. Not to mention the fact that cluttered space actually kills productivity Clearing Out Clutter Is Good For You — But Why? Decluttering is a great way to start the year feeling fresh, and it gives you a big sense of accomplishment — but there's more to it than that. This simple habit can improve your life. Read More .


The key is to nip the bud before it gets that far, which is obviously easier said than done — unless you hack together a cheap but practical solution like this KNUFF mail rack made from magazine files. With a bit of stain and know-how, you can make it match pretty much anything in your office.

7. Sorted File Rack

If the mail rack solution wasn’t enough, you could also add this KVISSLE wall-mounted magazine rack. The mail rack is great for papers that are quick-in and quick-out, whereas this rack is better for items of longer-term importance, like forms, contracts, reports, etc.


The key here is to give each slot a particular purpose and label them as shown in this post by The Decor Fix. You’ll be surprised by how much desk space gets cleared up once you start using one of these properly.

8. Letter Tray Drawer

IKEA produces a nifty little product called the DOKUMENT letter tray, which you can place on top your desk and use to organize forms and papers. But what if you don’t want your papers sitting out in the open? Or what if you don’t have desktop space for it?


The solution is to hack it into a DOKUMENT letter tray drawer that’s mounted to the underside of your desk, allowing you to hold papers out of sight without unnecessarily taking up valuable workspace area.

Best of all, the instructions are quite simple. All you need is a pipe cutter or hacksaw to tear out the important bits, then a few wood screws for mounting. If you ask me, this is the epitome of IKEA hacking: simple but effective.

9. Pull-Out Printer Drawer

If you have a home office with an all-in-one printer, then you know how bulky they can be. They usually require a dedicated standing area that can make your office feel cramped, but even when you settle for a smaller budget-friendly printer How To Pick The Best Printer For Your Budget & Workload So much for the paperless office! The integration of information technology has seemingly increased the amount of paper printing we have to do. So pretty much everyone with a computer needs a printer at some... Read More , it ends up cluttering your desktop.


It almost seems like there’s no good place for a printer, which is why you may want to look into this BESTA extending printer drawer setup that keeps your device tucked away until you need to use it. And not only is it practical, but it looks pretty nice too.

If you can’t find the exact BESTA unit in the guide, I’m sure you can adapt the instructions to work with any kind of drawer unit that’s large enough to house your printer.

Hack Your Office Setup Now

Does the idea of hacking IKEA furniture sound like a hobby you’d be interested in? Then hop over to the IKEA Hackers community where you’ll find hundreds of creative ideas for modifying and manipulating IKEA pieces in ways you’ve never thought of before.

In addition, you may want to learn the basics of DIY Learn Basic DIY Skills Online With YouTube While DIY falls in and out of fashion depending on the state of the economy, individual styles, and the availability of professionals and materials, there will always be someone, somewhere keen to learn basic DIY... Read More , such as beginner woodworking skills Beginner's Woodworking: 5 Skills You Need to Know Many people shy away from woodworking projects simply because they haven't done it before. Here's a rundown of the 5 most important woodworking skills to help you get started. Read More  and beginner electronics skills Beginner's Electronics: 10 Skills You Need to Know Many of us have never even touched a soldering iron - but making things can incredibly rewarding. Here's ten of the most basic DIY electronics skills to help you get started. Read More . If all you care about is DIY related to home renovations, then check out these websites for learning home maintenance Remodel Your Home: 6 Websites for Learning the Basics Would you rather put up with an unsatisfying home? Or spend a bit time and energy making it into a place that makes you smile when you walk through the entrance? Read More  instead.

Did any of these IKEA hacks catch your eye? Know of any other office-related IKEA hacks that might come in handy? Share with us in the comments!

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  1. Susan
    April 24, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I have 2 Ikea desks pushed together with legs on the outside ends and open storage units on the inside ends. They are black and red, very sturdy and give me loads of room. I have magazine file boxes, my sub woofer and a lockable tool box with all my goodies in the storage units.

    • Joel Lee
      April 29, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Cool, Susan! Sounds like a nice and organized setup. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Anonymous
    April 23, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Treadmill desk - big savings can be found if you buy a used treadmill. Paid thirty dollars for ours at a garage sale.
    IKEA furniture is not my first choice, but has worked well in spare bedrooms, home office and the basement, three places we needed functional furniture cheap. IKEA, in our experience, has the best quality, and best designed, products at their price point.

    • Joel Lee
      April 29, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      Yeah, good point on the used treadmill, Lou. But thirty dollars??? That's incredible lol. And I agree, IKEA is good for short-term residences and for filling out non-essential rooms. The value is great for the price.

  3. Anonymous
    April 13, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    "Most people I know tend to think it’s all a bunch of garbage"
    IKEA furniture is functional and serviceable but it is one step up from Wally World furniture in quality.

    • Joel Lee
      April 18, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      Yeah, IKEA is no long-term solution. But like you said, it's functional! Based on what a lot of people say, one would think it wasn't even that... :P

  4. ben
    April 11, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    My desk is an older model Galant corner desk which is already super modular. I added a rounded end on the right side, and a short extension on the left. Then a home made sliding keyboard shelf wide enough for both KB & mouse. My computer is built inside a well ventilated wooden drawer on one side that keeps it off the floor. I used hardware hooks and nylon ties under the top for cable management. Then 2 Billy wall shelf units that matched the desk with cork under them. And a Billy bookshelf that doubles as a secret door for a closet.

    I have found the Ikea furniture to be sturdy, a fantastic bargain for what you get and very user modifiable. If you do screw it up, you haven't lost that much money, and you can often get replacement parts for what you damaged at a reasonable price. I have several other Ikea pieces, but none with the extensive modifications I have on my desk.

    • Joel Lee
      April 12, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      That's awesome! I'm especially happy to hear that you have positive things to say about IKEA. Most people I know tend to think it's all a bunch of garbage, but like you said, it's very easy to get replacement parts and you don't lose much money if you mess up. Thanks for sharing your setup, ben!