Work Station

Published on May 26th, 2012 | by Jules Yap


Standing desk with Utby legs

Materials: Vika Amon top, Utby base, Ekby Jarpen shelf, Capita legs

Description: I too have joined the standing desk movement and my back has never felt better.

My first attempt was to construct my own desk, inspired by several I had seen online. I made a frame out of pipe segments. It was thin, but strong, and looked really cool… except for the top.

I failed to realize that all those desks I had seen online were made by people who just happened to have that antique farm door laying around, or the perfectly sized varnished piece of vintage driftwood just sitting in the garage without purpose. I had no such thing, so I just slapped down a sheet of plywood.

I made two miscalculations– one, I decided I need storage so I added some blocks to the top and then a second sheet of plywood to make some cubby hole action. Second, I had to add feet to the whole thing so it wouldn’t gouge up my hardwood floors. The shelf and feet added a good 6 inches to my initial design. Didn’t seem like a lot, but after working at the desk for awhile I started having back and should problems. It was just too high.

I turned to Ikea Hackers for ideas on what to replace my failed construction with. I found most of the desks fell into three common categories:

1. Desks that were a bunch of things stacked on each on other. While functional, I just think it looks a little too clunky junky.

2. Great hacks using Expedit as a platform. While these all seem super functional have nice lines, they are also very HEAVY looking. My personal taste leans toward furniture that is as open as possible. I like rooms to feel spacious, even if they aren’t. Blocky furniture seems to just make a room feel smaller. Having an Expedit at waist level under my workstation didn’t feel right to me.


3. Desks using Vika tabletops. These felt like the best solution for me since the Vika comes in a lot of sizes and finishes. The problem is, the base. Most of the legs intended for these tops don’t extend as high as I would need them. The various solutions to this issue I’ve seen around seemed like they might be a little too unstable or have the same issue as #2 above.

My ultimate solution was not a hack, so much as combining the right pieces together. I discovered that the taller Utby bar table was just right for my arms– but I didn’t like the heavy, darker top design for the base.

I used a birch effect Vika on the Utby base instead. The Utby base is metallic and open, but makes use of a crossbar to actually make it as solid at home as it is on the showroom floor (which NEVER happens).

While perfect for my arms, it was not high enough for my eye to monitor line. I almost got a simple monitor shelf, but realized that there was Ekby Jarpen– same birch effect and same width as the Vika. With a set of capita legs it made for a perfect sized shelf that created storage space below, and a shelf for my monitor and hard drives above.

The end result was exactly what I wanted– simple, the right height, stable and not overly clunky/blocky.

With sales tax, and a simple Franklin stool for the end of the day when I get tired, the whole endeavor was just over $200.

~ Seth, Los Angeles

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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".

27 Responses to Standing desk with Utby legs

  1. Carole says:

    I found the frame and made a wooden top for it and padded it for a permanent ironing board. I am 5’71/2 and it is now 105cm or 41 inches. You should have work benches at the height of your elbow. Still available in Australia. Checked at the Tempe store just now. I also filled in the understorey with futon slats and store sewing machines there. Can I post a photo? How?

  2. Maggie says:

    Can anyone tell me the maximum extension on the legs? I know there is a screw at the bottom of the leg but I don’t know how far it extends. Someone mentioned casters…how did that work out?
    My table has to straddle a small “wall” between my living room and kitchen the cross bar has to be at least 7.5 inches from the floor. I considered the stornas bar table but it is too high for me.

  3. Kae says:

    How tall is the shorter Utby? The Ikea site doesn’t say, but it may be the right height for me, since I’m 5′ 4″. I need to make a table that is around 39 inches high…

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  5. Sarah says:

    Can casters be added to the legs? That would add height. I would also need the taller table, and I like the stainless look.

  6. Derp says:

    The problem with the UTBY bar as a desk is that you have to be around 5’10″ or so to have your arms at parallel to the desk. If you’re taller you can always add leg extensions in some way.

    I’m 6’1″ and the UTBY doesn’t work as is if the keyboard and mouse are on the desk.

  7. Jacek Zagorski says:

    I’ve made these legs that will fit an IKEA TORNLIDEN table top. Check these out:

  8. Cody Butler says:

    That actually looks like a pretty helpful desk hack right there. If I had one, it’s gonna help keep me from slumping. Too bad the base parts are already out of the market.

  9. I just constructed something similar using individual Utby legs ( These seem readily available in Australia, although I had to specifically ask staff about them.

    Not sure if they’re still making them, or if Ikea just has more residual stock lying around over here than other places.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The taller Utby has been discontinued. I also got the shorter one. But don’t freak! I am working on an modification to this utby standing desk which takes the shorty utby into account….something with a second Vika Amon top and Capita legs which creates a double tiered standing desk where the space between desk tops is used for storage. Will post pictures soon…..

  11. Anonymous says:

    I also cannot find the “taller” Utby base anymore. I accidentally got the shorter one.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Can’t find the taller Utby on the IKEA website – has article no. 498.434.62 been discontinued?

  13. Nice desk, I made something very similar several years ago and its still holding strong.

    • Anonymous says:

      Love the bottom shelf for the printer and other things. Is that an Ekby Jarpen shelf used again? Or something different? And did you have to secure it, or does it just lie on top nicely?


  14. Edge says:

    Hi there:

    I spoke with an IKEA rep this morning who informed me that UTBY bar table is discontinued. This was IKEA Canada, so YMMV… seems that Craigslist is our best bet.

    I’m kind of disappointed! This would fit my needs pretty much exactly.

  15. Edge says:

    Hi there: the UTBY underframe (item #901.175.62) is a discontinued product, according to the IKEA store I just spoke to. It seems that this hacker lucked out in his purchase! Caveat: I spoke to a rep from IKEA Canada… YMMV.

    Happy hacking.

  16. RaGe says:

    I’ve been looking for an UTBY for a while now, having trouble locating an UTBY underframe in NE US. They still have the table top, but underframes are nowhere to be seen. Need to keep scouring Craigslist I guess.

  17. ohdotoh says:

    Why not just get a FREDRIK? (I have one and it is great. Has two shelves too. And the desk height is adjustable if you don’t add the drawers.
    Two widths too, wide: ($149)
    and not as wide: ($119)

    • Seth says:

      I actually had a Frederick previously… But I really hated the way it looked. functional, but ugly. For my taste anyway… :)

  18. NA says:

    hey Seth thank u very much..this is my desk too now…:)..bought and built one this memorial day weekend…I did one couple of changes…1) I bought a bigger table top (59×29 1/2”) instead of the prescribed (47 1/4×23 5/8”) table top…so I had to make the holes on the table top and that was not as hard as I thought. 2) I did not mount the ekby jarpen, instead I used couple monitor risers…thanks a lot for sharing this…

  19. Seth says:

    Hey all– this is my desk.:). This is the taller Utby, which is around 41 inches. With the feet full extended and the table top, it comes out around 42.25″

    I’m 6 feet tall, but my height is more in my torso than my legs. It works well for me, but might be a tad low for others my height.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Utby tables are not in stock (online & B&M near me).. oh well.

  21. Evren K. says:

    The structure without the table top is 41.3385827 inches high, adding the tabletop’s thickness, it might work for Uneasy Rhetoric but might be too low for me.

    My elbow is at 44.8818898 inches, this makes most hacks unsuitable for me :(

  22. Anonymous says:

    There are two utby tables at ikea. The taller one is model 498.434.62.

  23. How tall is it/can it be? Ergonomically, anything under 42″ is too low for me.

  24. wieser_d says:

    Guys, once I googled IKEA, I saw your website on the front page.
    However, I didn’t visit it, because I was too busy finding an IKA shop nearby.

    I found this post via lifehackers and I’m totally impressed by this table.

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