Published on April 28th, 2011 | by Jules Yap


Expedit standing desk

Materials: Expedite shelving units


A large standing desk using Expedite shelving parts. At 48″ high, it’s high enough for a tall person to rest their elbows on. At 73″ width, it’s large enough to hold a bunch of gear AND eat meals on. At ~$250 in parts, it’s a great value for the size.

Ikea items:

2 x 2×2 Expedit shelving unit (801.352.98, $40 each)
2 x 5×1 Expedit shelving unit (201.162.74, $60 each)
1 x 73″x10″ Lack shelf (601.037.50 $30)

Hardware store items:

- 8 x metal braces
- 96″ 4×1.5″ board cut up for shelf supports (can substitute for Capital legs for class).


1) Lay both fully constructed 2×2 units across from each other.

2) Lay fully constructed 1×5 unit across back of top (one step ahead of construction photo 2)

3) Lay partially constructed 1×5 on front of top. This partially constructed shelf should only include three pieces: two short sides and one long side. This leaves enough space underneath to slide a high chair or bar stool underneath.

4) Bolt pieces together using braces and screws.

5) Attach lack shelf, supported by Capita brackets or cut up boards.

See more of the Expedit standing desk.

~ Peter Marks, Portland, OR

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

39 Responses to Expedit standing desk

  1. John says:

    I believe that this hack can also be done with Better Homes and Garden products and that their dimensions are such that they will match properly (no overhangs). The desk will only be 5′ wide but that is a very good size IMHO. Will report back when I get it done.

  2. Chris says:

    Inspired by this for sure. Such a clean design.

  3. mdecapua says:

    I am too short for this one, but it looks great. I built one for shorter people:

    • Jeffythequick says:

      I love it! (I especially like the part about the parts needed… Mrs. thequick uses the husband to put all of her stuff together too!)

      A question I had on the unit: Do you ever have a need to sit at the desk, and if so, how do you do that? I think I may have an overhang on the top surface to take care of that. There was someone on one of these posts that suggested getting a door, where the doorknob hole would be used for the wires.

      Thank you for the inspiration!

  4. Alt says:

    There is a 4×1 shelf for Kallax, but the problem is that the listed depth of the product is 15 and 3/8″. So if you put two of them down in the same configuration as this setup, they would be 3/8″ too long and overhang the 2×2 Kallax shelving units. Without testing I couldn’t say whether it would matter for stability.

    • Alt says:

      Okay, I just tested it this weekend; you can do the same setup using two Kallax 4×1 shelves and two Kallax 2×2 shelves. There is some overhang and you have to decide whether you want it in front or in back, or split the difference- I situated the overhang entirely towards the back, which allows some space at the bottom between the wall and the Kallax shelves forming the base for power cords to run (since I’m putting my computer underneath the desk, that helps). It’s plenty sturdy with some brackets anchoring the top shelves to the base shelves. The other issue though is that the desk is a bit on the high side- about 46″ I think. I can use it as is, but I’m short (5′ 5″) and if it was any higher (or if I was any shorter) it wouldn’t work. On the other hand, I don’t have to do anything to elevate my monitor. I had picked up a Lack shelf while at the store in anticipation of having to do something for the monitor, but instead crossed it through the bottom, back shelf openings in the base Kallax units and put my computer on that- it gets the computer up off the carpet.

      • Ram Shear says:

        Thanks for the info – I was just looking at the Kallax products and wondering if they would work for this still. I’m thinking the same thing about aligning the gap to the rear and using it for cables.

      • Travis says:

        Any chance you could snap a photo and throw up a photo bucket link? Would be super greatful for it as I’m trying to decide if the 4×1 vs 5×1 configuration will be a little too narrow or not.

  5. Balxo says:

    Since the Expedit has been discontinued in favor of the Kallax by Ikea, is this still doable? Is there a 5×1 option for Kallax? Any additional modifications anyone can suggest?

  6. STEMist says:

    Instead of altering the table for height purposes, perhaps you could construct a standing platform that is acceptable for your height. What are we supposed to stand on that is better for us than the floor?

  7. Excellent hack! I’ve made pretty much the same desk based on this one, but with some extra shelves at the side (that were previously on the wall) and with more of the front 5 * 1 unit for extra strength. My pictures and SketchUp models are on my .

  8. Great design, it is inspiring me to find a way to make it so it is 43″ high. Question… I am wondering if I could get away with leaving BOTH 5×1 partially constructed and screwing the long desktop section lower down, the side sections would poke up a few inches but my pencils will never roll off the sides :) Anyone who has build this think this would cause it to be too unstable?

  9. Anonymous says:

    This thing is absurdly large in person. The photo was taken from a really high angle that makes it look normal sized, but it is not!

  10. JLewis says:

    For my version, I made it 2 inches shorter by removing the bottom piece of the 2×2.
    Also, I thought the desk was too big and deep. So I got rid of the second 1×5 and returned it to Ikea.
    It is also just the right height to use the 1×5 as a sitting desk for Macbook.

    Here are pics:


    • Blake says:

      I wonder if you could remove the middle support from the back bookshelf to have a wider area for when you are sitting…I think I like this idea better. My mind is going crazy seeing all these cool options…

  11. vflytrap says:

    I made this! I love it! I’m 6″ tall and it’s PERFECT for a standing sewing/project space. Thanks so much – this is exactly what I needed :)

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have compressed spinal disks and needed a standing desk solution. I made this desk this weekend and absolutely love it! I’m 6-1 and the working surface is a bit tall, but it makes me stand up straight and I haven’t had any back pain at all so mission accomplished.

    I made a few modifications to the design for my build.

    1. I didn’t do the top-most lack shelf and instead prefer a solid flat surface on top. My computer monitor stand extends upwards anyhow.

    2. I added an additional Expedit 2×2 bookshelf on the right side and then attached an Expedit Desk perpendicular to the standing desk.

    This allows me to work standing up or simply turn to the right and sit down with a colleague across from each other.


    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds good. But you picture link isn’t working.
      I’d love to see what you’re talking about for the perpendicular sitting desk.

  13. I am wondering if this could be used as a treadmill desk?

  14. Anonymous says:

    its a bit high for a desk you almost need a bar stool to reach the computer

  15. Anonymous says:

    Regarding the too-tall aspect, what if instead of the front 5×1 expedit, you put a lack shelf on top of some capita legs? or a lack shelf across the whole thing, then 4 6″ capita legs, topped off with a second shelf? This would make a height of 39″ or 41″.

    I’m thinking of something like this myself, and but trying to figure out how to access/rethink the back 5×1 expedit.

  16. Anonymous says:

    nice post

  17. My husband did a take on this! We even made it so you can use an exercise bike underneath it! I LOVE it! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Check it out here at my blog:

  18. Forrest says:

    If I did my math correctly, this desk is 48.5 inches high and 72.875 inches wide. I love that it is so wide but it is too tall for me at 5’9. My optimal height (at my elbow) is around 43-45 inches. Anyone building this otherwise awesome desk should keep that in mind. In the meantime, this is my temporary setup. http://flic.kr/p/adDCVX As you can see, I need a permanent solution badly!

  19. Matte says:

    I took a cue from this idea and attempted to make it. Downside at 5’10…this was a tad bit tall for my taste. Instead I kept one side of the second 5×1 and taylored the back shelf to work as a nice turntable/utility shelf. This allowed me to turn this into both table tall enough to stand up and “play” music and sit down and “make” music. Here are some pics :)


  20. Anonymous says:

    Great desk. I made a few modifications on your original design.

    1. I bolted the desk together rather than using screws and a brace. Since the parts in this set are hollow it made more sense to me to bolt it together rather than use screws that may come out later.

    2. I took your suggestion and used the Capita legs which definitely classed up the look.

    3. I did use a brace, but I used it to bolt the two pieces that form the top of the desk together. That way the entire desk moves (or ideally, doesn’t move) as one piece. Plus by using bolts and a bolt/post system I can easily break the desk down when it’s time to move.

    4. I put to grommets in the desk to feed the wires through to the plugs. I used a 2 3/8 inch bore and then used some grommets I got from the hardware store.

    5. I think I’ll add some type of support structure under the front piece (the bookcase that’s only composed of three sides (described in the original post point #3). The reason being that when I lean on it I can see it sag in the middle and I’m not sure how stable it will remain. Of course I have the other long side that I didn’t use, so if I need to replace it at some point I can do so without spending more money.

    All in all it came out great. Thanks for the idea. I’d been looking for a standing desk, but couldn’t find anything nice under $600. I pulled this entire project together for around $300.

    • TylerS says:

      Did you ever figure out a way to stabilize the front piece? I love this desk in theory, but I’m afraid the particleboard unsupported for 73 inches wouldn’t stand up to my abuse. Anyone have any thoughts on how to strengthen it?

  21. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad that the poster above and I are both thinking about how great this layout will be for MIDI keyboards!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Ordering parts this week!! Do you all see the space where my 88 key Korg keyboard is going to go….. Oh, and talk about the perfect height. I set up a test desk surface today and have been working from it. I’m pumped.

  23. Anonymous says:

    the front part doesn’t seem very solid, I am talking about the part you describe at point 3.
    Sure not solid enough to risk 2000$ Dj/music gear on it!!!
    maybe ok for a laptop ;)

  24. Harry.E says:

    WEll done, a perfect stand and workplace

  25. Anonymous says:

    MAGNIFIQUE !!!!!

  26. Ulrike says:

    I like that a great deal.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Very nice job and brilliant idea, I think I am definitely going to steal/build this myself.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thats beautiful. That lack shelf, is that the hallowed/cardboarded out shelf, or is it solid. If it’s not solid, you can pickup a solid smooth flat door from Home depot for $52, and where the door nob would go, you could run the wires through.

  29. Sing says:

    Wow, great construction here.

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