If you work from home or spend a lot of time on your computer, your desk is arguably your most important piece of furniture.
There various options when it comes to a workspace. Do you go for a sitting desk? A standing desk? Sitting and standing with an adjustable desk? What kind of workstation you chose is up to you, but instead of buying one, have you thought of making your own?
Building a DIY desk is simpler than you think, and could save you money. These computer desk ideas will inspire you to get creative with your workspace.
1. The Trestle Desk
The trestle desk, sometimes known as the A-frame or sawhorse desk, is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to set up a desk. All it requires is two freestanding trestles at the edges, with a desktop laid on top. That’s it! Whether you buy pre-built trestles or build homemade sawhorses, all that is left is to choose the size and material for your work surface.
Pictured above are the well known IKEA FINNVARD trestles, which have the added advantage of storage, and being height adjustable. At around $50 each, they are a little more expensive than a basic sawhorse, but you’ll still be pushed to find an adjustable height desk at a similar price.
A more budget-friendly option would be cheap workshop sawhorses from a local hardware store, coming in at around $25 for a pair.
Cost: $70 to $200 depending on scale.
2. The Cheap Shelf Computer Desk
Is it possible to go even simpler than a trestle desk? Yes! Two sturdy shelf brackets and a work surface of your choice can create a simple desk which should stand up to most daily uses.
Brandon Keepers, GitHub’s Open Source Advocate, was looking for an affordable stand-up desk for his home and instead came up with the $40 stand up shelf. This is a cheap and simple computer desk that anyone could build.
If you go this route, make sure you heed these tips for using a standing desk correctly!
3. Amazon-Inspired Door Desk
The door desk comes from Amazon’s early days. The story goes that Jeff Bezos, along with other Amazon founders, used doors as desks as an apparent cost-saving measure. Back then Amazon was far from one of the biggest online places to shop, and the thrifty desk idea is now a startup legend.
Amazon now has a guide to make a door desk. If you have access to an old solid core door, it could save you some cash.
Given that full-size solid core doors start at around $90, it’s hard to see how it could be cheaper than just buying a cheap piece of wood cut to size. Either early Amazon employees knew a good second-hand door salesman, or the door desk was just a clever marketing stunt from the start.
Cost: $120 with a cheap door.
4. Iron Pipes Computer Desk
Desks using iron piping had a surge in popularity in recent years, with countless Pinterest boards highlighting cool designs. It’s easy to see why. They look fantastic and are modular and straightforward making them perfect for any space.
Rather than buying a pre-made desk, Instructables user caspertek designed and made an iron pipe standing computer desk.
The build cost around $180, but according to the guide, this can be cut down by around $100 with access to the right tools. This design was initially not meant to be a standing desk, and it could be easily scaled down to make a regular sitting desk.
Cost: $80 to $180 depending on available tools.
5. Fixed Hybrid Computer Desk
Standing desks are growing in popularity, and there are good reasons to consider an adjustable standing desk. However, desks which allow both standing and sitting do not come cheap.
An excellent solution to cutting down the cost of a standing desk is to convert an area of a traditional sitting desk into a standing space. Following our tutorial to design and build a custom desk with a standing desk corner costs a lot less than you would think.
The resulting desk here cost $150, which is less than the price of any other custom desk designed to fit in your home. You can buy all the required parts at any local hardware store, and build it with simple hand tools.
Cost: $150 depending on size.
6. Counterweight Adjustable Desk
Adjustable standing desks are great for saving space. Rather than having a large work surface with a standing area, the whole desk raises and lowers according to need.
They are, unfortunately, still expensive to buy prebuilt. Cost, along with the desire to design is what prompted Instructables user jjdebenedictis to create a counterweight adjustable desk from scratch.
The entire project cost around $200. All the materials for the build were bought and cut at Home Depot. The build requires only hand tools to put together and is easily customizable for users of different heights.
7. Electronic Adjustable Desk
Electronically adjusted standing/sitting desks are the holy grail of the modern standing desk movement. Too much sitting down? Bad for your health. Too much standing up? Painful on the knees. The ability to switch between sitting and standing on the fly gives the best of both worlds.
DIY setups like the one above by YouTuber EXOcontralto can save an astonishing amount of money. The cost of actuators—the motors which drive the desk’s movement—have dropped in recent years. The simple but smart design culminates in a large and sturdy desk that can change heights at the flick of a switch.
This design could easily incorporate an Arduino too or for that extra level of DIY, a NodeMCU board. Wirelessly controlled adjustable standing desk, anyone?
A Great Computer Desk Makes for Happier Work
Whichever kind of desk you prefer, making your own gives you complete control over how it feels, and gives you the maximum opportunity to get the most out of it.
While these designs may help you get inspiration for a DIY desk, you still need to take steps to maintain good health while working. And if you have a pet, you should consider our tips for how to pet-proof your computer desk area!