Stand Up Desks: The Fat Joe DIY Solution & How it Can Change Your Life

Blog Home News & Fun

Although the concept of stand up desks has been around for a while, the experience of using one is pretty new to us, which is why we thought we’d share our DIY stand up desk design and our experience of using it.

Firstly, this all came about after a recent visit we made to our friends over at the Conversion Rate Experts castle. Their offices are amazing, acoustic set rooms, swanky furniture, carpet you can literally bounce on, all set in a superb location in a Castle in the heart of Staffordshire. The staircase up to their main office alone is fantastic.


Anyway back to the point of this post. Conversion Rate Experts had these really cool stand up mounts which we were intrigued by. They literally bolted to your current desk converting it from sit down to stand up.

We did some research and found all sorts of surprising facts about the health and productivity benefits of standing up more whilst at work. There are also some concerning risks we’ve found with sitting down.

Some Shocking Facts Reported About Sitting All Day

  • Increases your chances of developing diabetes, blood clots and thrombosis
  • Studies have shown that those who sit all day are 54% more likely to have a heart attack
  • Sit more than 23 hours per week and your 64% more likely to die from heart disease

It must be pointed out that whilst some studies show these results other occupational health experts say standing up all day could be bad for you to0. The thing we’ve found is that it’s just not possible to stand all day anyway. After around 3 or 4 hours you need a good 20 minute sit down and then your back ready for another standing session.

The Benefits of Stand Up Desks

Having a Stand Up Desk means you avoid all the above negatives of sitting down but additionally you get these benefits:

  • Standing up more often helps with blood circulation
  • Blood sugar better regulated and keeps your blood pressure lower
  • You burn more calories throughout the day
  • Standing more often can help with back pain (vouched by us)
  • Promotes healthier joints
  • Increased focus and alertness (vouched by us)
  • Helps creative juices flow 🙂 (vouched by us)
  • Improves your mood (vouched by us)
  • Improves tiredness (vouched by us)
  • Improves your posture

On a Mission to Find Stand Up Desks

The first thing we did after returning to our rather dull and boring office (in comparison) was to get straight on Google and start searching for these wonderful stand up desk solutions. The problem we had was we just couldn’t find many options or solutions available in the UK. We realised this was because stand up desks weren’t a standard solution and many people would probably consider it as a hugely costly and unnecessary option.

The only ones we could find in the UK were these rather expensive height adjustable desks similar to the one Greg Boser tweeted (Check out Greg’s rather awesome collection of Apples stuff), alternatively these mounts which the Conversion Rate Experts used.

Our Journey to a DIY Solution

Being the typical tight but inventive Startup we are, we decided to try and find cheaper alternative DIY solution. We read a few more posts about the correct postures and heights of stand up desks and armed with the IKEA catalogue and measurements we set out to build our own DIY solution.

Here’s a picture of our rather silly and lazy first attempt.

a photo of our stand up desks at FATJOE

Right after reading this post we purchased some rather cheap, self assembly lack coffee tables and stuck them on our current desks. Total cost was about £24 and 10 minutes time screwing the legs on. Whilst the theory worked it just wasn’t practical when you needed to sit down and have a break. Not to mention the weird looks we got from passers by in the window.

So, after a few weeks of using this setup and deciding we loved the concept and reality of stand up desks, we got the IKEA catalogue out once more and looked at a more permanent DIY solution which could cope with standing up and sitting down with the help of bar stools.

And here is our more sensible and final attempt at Stand Up Desks.



We’ve now simply had enough of flat pack furniture 🙂

A photo of our diy stand up desk       
This solution is a little more costly compared to those coffee tables but looks much better and is far more practical. Well worth the time and money and still cheaper than the purpose built stand up desk equipment out there.

Whilst this DIY stand up desk option may not be a feasible solution to offices up and down the UK it might just be useful to some smaller start ups like ourselves who want to be a little different.

Here’s a break down of what you need to create this DIY stand up desk:

  • UTBY Bar Table Black Top or Stainless Steel available (£95)
  • EKBY JARPEN Shelf Multiple Colours Available “For the Monitors” (£10)
  • CAPITA Legs “For the Monitor Shelf” (£11) Other size heights available
  • About 40 Minutes of your time to put it all together
  • Oh and don’t forget the drill to speed up the process

Total Cost £126.oo

We wanted a complete white set up so we purchased this gloss white Table Top for £25 instead of using the black one the UTBY Bar Table comes with.

A small problem we came across and the solution

This DIY desk has been great apart from one modification we made. Both of us are, I would say slightly taller than average (around 6 foot in height). This meant the height of the bar table was a little too low for the keyboard and mouse. Our solution was to purchase another set of CAPITA Legs but in the smaller height of 11cm costing £6 and purchased the smaller version of the EKBY JARPEN Shelf for £8 which was smaller than the one for the monitors but perfect for a keyboard and mouse.

Oh, we also purchase a couple of bar stools as it just wasn’t possible to stand for 8 hours solid everyday however some other blogs have mentioned it is possible if you get an Anti-Fatigue Mat like these ones.

If your now on a mission to build your stand up solution I recommend you take a look at a few of these great posts:

Some Stand Up DIY Desk Pictures Tweeted to Us

Tweet us yours @FatJoeWho

Matt Minton's cardboard stand up desk

Matt Mintons from – Rather Funny (and Cheap) Cardboard Stand Up Desk