(Warning: this post has little to do with sight reading!)

John from Tone Deaf Comics mentioned recently that he was considering getting a standing desk. I’ve been using standing desks for a couple years now and wanted to share a bit about my experience.


A lot of people are turning to standing desks lately because of the purported benefits of not spending your entire day sitting.

But going from sitting all day to standing all day is a big lifestyle change. And if you have to get a new desk for it, it’s a big commitment too. What if you end up not liking it, or just want to sit occasionally?

Stand or Sit: Why Choose?

Really, it need not be either/or!

A lot of people  try to get both by looking for an adjustable height standing desk. Personally, I was not impressed with the adjustable height standing desks I saw on the market that I could possibly afford. They tend to be not very big in terms of desk top surface area, and the moving parts necessitate that it look chintzier (to me, anyway) than a fixed-height desk of comparable value.

But there is another way…

Fixed-height Standing Desk with a Bar Stool

This solution makes the most sense to me: rather than greatly complicate the desk design with moving parts so that you can raise it up and down, why not just get a chair high enough so that you can sit at your standing desk when you want? Then you can have a nice sturdy desk as well as the options to both stand and sit.

Without further ado, here’s the desk I built from various IKEA parts!

Photo of my standing desk in the day time.

Looks kinda cool at night, too…

Photo of my standing desk in the nighttime.

I drew much inspiration for this desk from the Expedit standing desk on IKEA Hackers:

Photo of Expedit standing desk featured on IKEA Hackers

I’d definitely recommend checking out that post if you’re interested in building a desk, because it’s much more instructional than this one. He provides a lot of details on the parts he used and the construction, whereas I only have pictures of the finished product.

Honestly, I probably would have copied his exact design for my standing desk if it worked for my height. But the guy who built that must be really tall, because this would have been way to high for me!

You don’t need anything fancy to start

You really don’t! Wanna see what my first standing desk looked like? (Kind of embarrassing to put this online…)

"Standing Desk 1.0", my old old old standing desk ;)

Yep, just a big pile of books.

I’d recommend starting with a low-tech option like this. Just pile up some books or boxes on the desk you use now and see how you like standing. Then, once you’re sure you want it, start thinking about buying or building a more permanent standing desk for yourself.

That’s all for now, bye!

Evan R. Murphy

Evan is a musician, music teacher, software engineer and the founder of SightReadingMastery. Realizing how important sight reading is to unlocking opportunities in music, he started SightReadingMastery in 2011 to help musicians develop this valuable skill. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife Rebecca.

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