DIY Height-Adjustable Desks: Building a Sit-Stand Table

Ready to do your back a favor and bring more movement into your everyday working life? Then you need a height-adjustable desk! If you’re finding it difficult to locate a suitable desk for your needs, or if you just want to let your creativity run free and design a sit-stand table according to your own ideas, then a DIY, electrically height-adjustable table frame could be the perfect choice. Rather than an off-the-shelf model, you can create an individual office table that matches your style to the letter.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the options available and how you can build your own, DIY height-adjustable desk.

What do I need for a self-made, height-adjustable desk?

The structure of a table is simple: a table frame and a tabletop. With a height-adjustable desk, however, the height of the frame can be altered to suit your needs. In turn, this means that a suitable table surface must be found.

The right height-adjustable table frame

Your table frame should be able to adjust to the desired height quickly and easily, which will save you time and effort while changing between positions. There are two main types of height adjustment, and thus two types of substructures for height-adjustable desks. Manual frames can be adjusted and changed by hand, for example with the help of a crank, while electrically height-adjustable frames move the table automatically via electric motors at the push of a button.

black yaasa desk frame height adjustable

Although both types of height-adjustable table frames allow you to switch between sitting and standing positions, there are significant differences in function and use. Manual frames require significant physical effort just to alter the table height; if your desk is loaded with office equipment — books, cups and the like — you may need to shift a great deal of weight.

Adjustment for manual frames requires a lot of strength. It can strain your neck and back, as well as requiring more effort and time. Resultantly, it is extremely likely that a manual table will not be moved up and down as often as an electric one, and that the occupant will stay in a sitting or standing position for longer. Fewer adjustments mean that the benefits of a height-adjustable desk, such as better physical health, increased productivity and greater wellbeing, may not come into play. Although a manually height-adjustable office desk is the cheaper option, it doesn’t pay off in the long run.

We believe that the better alternative is an electrically height-adjustable table frame. Instead of, for example, a crank handle, this type of frame incorporates a control element (or button switch) that is attached to the tabletop and enables you to move to the desired height at the push of a button. The process of height adjustment becomes much easier, and any physical effort is avoided. Within seconds, you can move your desk from a sitting to a standing position or vice versa.

The right tabletop for your DIY height-adjustable desk

After you’ve chosen a height-adjustable table frame, you’ll also need a suitable tabletop for your DIY sit-stand table. DIY height-adjustable desks come with the benefit that you can choose your own tabletop according to your own taste, design requirements and spatial needs. There are different ways to get a suitable tabletop. For example, you could buy a high-quality, real-wood tabletop from a carpenter, or you could choose a tabletop in the material and color of your choice from the hardware store. Both the carpenter and the hardware store will be able to cut the tabletop to the size and shape you need. However, if you are creative and want to lend your tabletop a personal touch, you can even shape the surface yourself.

Step by step to your height-adjustable desk

A DIY height-adjustable desk is a project that requires plenty of preparation. Now we’ve looked at the types of frames and tabletops you can choose between, it’s time to take the next step. In order to complete your DIY project without any problems, you’ll first need a good plan: let’s look at what you should consider.

1. Put your plan on paper

Before you purchase a height-adjustable table frame and/or tabletop, try to jot down any ideas, wishes or desires on paper first. When planning, pay attention to where your sit-stand table will be placed, as this will help you determine the maximum size of your desk.

2. Determine the style

Once you have determined the ideal location and size of your desk, start thinking about the look of your planned sit-stand table. This is your opportunity to choose a furnishing that perfectly matches your taste and rounds off the overall picture of your workplace. Decide which color your height-adjustable office table should be and which material you want to use for the tabletop. Maybe you would prefer an “eco” home office, with elements from nature and a tabletop in a neutral wood color. Alternatively, why not consider a minimalist, white desk surface? If you’re feeling daring and creative, you can even top off your new desk with a colorful table surface. 

modern home office with height adjustable yaasa desk frame

3. Choose the table frame

With so many different height-adjustable desk frames available, the best choice is the one that closest suits your needs. However, you should always ensure that the frame is the right size for your desired tabletop. If it is too small, the desk may be unstable to support the size and weight of the surface. We’d (of course) recommend the Yaasa Desk Frame: because our electrically height-adjustable frame is extendable in width, it is suitable for tabletops between 120 and 200 cm long and 70 to 80 cm wide. Better yet, if you want to change the table size after a certain period of time, simply dismantle the tabletop, readjust the table frame and attach a new surface.

4. Select the tabletop

After you have chosen the right height-adjustable table frame, all you need is a suitable tabletop. Depending on how much time and effort you want to invest in your DIY project, you can decide whether you want to build your tabletop entirely by yourself or get it from a carpenter or hardware store: pre-cut to size and ready for assembly. The good thing about a DIY sit-stand table is that you can determine the material as well as the shape and color of the tabletop yourself. Just make sure that the tabletop is cut to the right size and has the minimum thickness. With the Yaasa Desk Frame, we’d recommend a laminated chipboard or solid wood panel, in a rectangular shape with thickness of no less than 18 mm.

5. Put it together

Once you’ve planned your workspace and selected your frame and tabletop, it’s time to get to work. If you’re preparing your own surface, you’ll first need to cut the wood to the desired size, then treat it to suit your design ideas. As soon as your tabletop is ready (pre-made or self-finished), all you have to do is attach it to your desk’s substructure. You can find out how to do this in the blog post below.

Choose your favorite tabletop.

Ideas for your DIY height-adjustable desk

Designing your own height-adjustable desk is all about letting your creativity run free and creating a furnishing that’s ideal for your needs. Let’s look at how you can build and design your unique tabletop from scratch.

Tough choices

Regardless of whether you’re buying a custom-made tabletop from a carpenter or picking up a standard model from the hardware store, you’ll have a choice to make when it comes to materials and colors. Oak, beech, spruce, pine or acacia? The choice is up to you: select a type of wood that meets your needs and also looks great at your workplace. For your office, try to select a more robust material that will last longer, and consider a smoother surface for added comfort. You don’t need to be bound by tradition either. As well as size, your tabletop can be cut with rounded corners or even a complete oval shape.

create an own tabletop for your height adjustable desk

Recycling and upcycling

Conserving resources and recycling are important topics when it comes to choosing furniture. An eco-friendly tabletop is a great choice for your height-adjustable desk: it saves time, money and the planet. Why not try a tabletop made from recycled pallets? Just take the pallets apart, cut the boards to the correct length, sand them down, paint them, and glue them together. Any wooden boards can be coated with the color of your choice, helping you individualize your workspace and create harmony without the expense. Another simple option would be to repurpose an old door and use it as a tabletop.

Absolutely unique: epoxy-resin tabletops

Looking for more than a simple wooden tabletop on your DIY height-adjustable desk? Something a little more daring and unusual? An epoxy resin tabletop could be just right for you! Epoxy resin is perfect for transforming your table’s surface into a real eye-catcher. Most importantly: you can build an Epoxy River tabletop yourself at home.

This type of tabletop is a blend of wood and epoxy resin, which can be colored for the ultimate “wow” effect. Combined, the effect is a modern, elegant and high-quality furnishing. Your only limit is your own creativity: your design can be as extravagant or as classic as you like.

You’ll need either two or three separate wooden boards, or a single board that can be cut lengthwise in half. After the wooden panels have been cut to the same length and planed, place an MDF panel beneath the pieces to create a frame with an underside and four edges. Then, pour the epoxy resin into the gaps to create the “river” and also onto uneven areas in the wood. It is important to ensure that the edges of the frame are slightly higher than the level of the tabletop itself and also that the frame lies flat. This will stop the resin from leaking. Similarly, you should apply a release agent to the frame to make sure it doesn’t stick to the resin when you try to remove it. Covering the frame with adhesive tape or liquid release wax will work perfectly. 

Epoxy resin is available from most hardware stores: follow the manufacturer instructions and add a color pigment of your choice. After the resin has hardened, the last step is polishing and oiling for the perfect finish. The following video provides step-by-step instructions for designing a tabletop with epoxy resin:


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Mounting the tabletop onto an electrically height-adjustable table frame

You’ll need to assemble your height-adjustable frame yourself. We make this easy: the Yaasa Desk Frame is delivered partially pre-assembled, and the rest of the process can be completed by following a few simple steps in the attached instructions. After assembling the frame, place the tabletop, with its top down, on the floor. Then, simply align the table frame with the tabletop and fasten it with the screws supplied. Attach the handset and power hub wherever fits best for you, then connect the cables, plug the system in, and away you go!

What are the advantages of an electrically height-adjustable desk?

Spending eight hours a day, five days a week in a sitting position can be harmful to your body and general well-being. The consequences of excessive sitting range from back, neck and leg pain to a lack of concentration, productivity and motivation. With a height-adjustable desk, you bring movement into your workday, which can significantly increase your quality of life.

Even occasional switches between sitting and standing are reported to reduce back and neck problems by up to 54%. In addition, 65% of the participants in one study* reported increased well-being after switching to a sit-stand table.

Height-adjustable desks are not just the perfect companion for professionals, but for children too. Confined to the school desk, young people can be exposed to an unhealthy posture and lack of exercise from an early age. An electric sit-stand table grows with your child, adaptable at any time to new sitting and standing positions. Height-adjustable desks for children are suitable for homework as well as leisure activities such as handicrafts or painting.

Completing your office setup

A cable duct is a worthwhile addition to your DIY height-adjustable desk: you don’t want your attractive new design hidden under a jungle of cables. The Yaasa Cable Management is perfect for the job, mounted either “over-edge” onto the tabletop or hidden completely underneath. You can also adjust the volume of the cable channel at any time, depending on how many cables, chargers and extensions you want to store. The Yaasa File Cabinet provides enough storage space for documents, office supplies and personal things and helps to keep your workplace neat and tidy.

While your height-adjustable desk is the basis for your ergonomic home office, a good office chair is equally important. The Yaasa Chair compliments the electrically height-adjustable Yaasa Desk Frame perfectly. With six adjustment options, the chair can be optimally adapted to your body’s needs. You can adjust the seat height and depth, the alignment of the armrests, the resistance of the backrest and the position of the lumbar support. The result: perfect comfort and ultimate ergonomic benefits with the Yaasa Chair.

An office furnished with products by Yaasa is ergonomical and provides adjustability and movement while working.