I’m pretty tall — 6 ft 4 inches (193cm) when I’m not stooping. I’d been wanting to try a switch to a standing desk for a while, and a recent move to New York meant I needed a new desk anyway, so it was the perfect opportunity. I had a few requirements for my new office-space:
- Must be able to support an Apple Thunderbolt Display (23.5 lbs or 10.8 kg)
- Need some space (didn’t have a specific lower bound, but saw a bunch that were too small)
- Adjustable workspace height, of primary concern being that I could put the main one at (my personally determined height of) 47 inches (119 cm)
- Storage space for random “desk stuff” that I’d prefer wasn’t on my actual desk, but would like nearby.
- Not crazy expensive.
I looked around for quite a while and saw all kinds of ridiculous solutions. Some were designed more for drafting or reading. Some were tiny/flimsy looking. Lots of them couldn’t get up to 47 inches. Good ones were just plain expensive.
Not being happy with anything that I’d found, and not wanting to get a “normal” desk, I’d temporarily given up. Meanwhile, we were filling our new apartment with furniture, including a PAX double-closet arrangement from IKEA. As a bit of a joke, I put one of the shelves in half of the unit and tried it out with just my laptop.
It actually worked quite well, although I knew the shelf wouldn’t hold a Thunderbolt display. I was also a bit concerned about feeling claustrophobic (not that I normally do) in the small space, and about not having enough desktop room. After trying it out for about a week, I was getting used to the standing (this is my first standing desk) and also the smaller space. The only real issues were:
- It was pretty dark in here
- Strength of the shelf
- Screen needed to be higher than the keyboard
- The space heats up
- No view
I’ve already addressed the first three issues, the first by attached a set of LED strip-lights to the back of the display, the second by adding a support brace across the entire width of the shelf, right under where the display sits. To raise up the screen I found this little unit at OfficeDepot. I’ve got a tiny USB fan on the way from Amazon to provide a bit of circulation (can plug it into the back of the Thunderbolt.
To address the final point (kind of), I’m planning to find a large-format print of a forest scene of some sort and cut it to exactly fit the back panel of the closet. That way I’ll feel like I’m working right in front of a window… hopefully 🙂 I’ve also mounted a whiteboard to the left side of the space (which is perfect for writing on with your right hand), and a small letter-holder/magnetic key holder on the right, which is where I keep tickets/receipts/random things until I deal with them properly.
The first shelf underneath my workspace is a drawer which has heaps of space (the same amount as the workspace itself) to store random desk things. I filled it already. On the bottom shelf (which you can see in the second picture), I have my printer and space to dump my bag. I also have a bit of a ledge to stand on when one leg is getting tired.
As weird as it may be, I’m liking it. One of my favorite things is being able to slide the door closed and “call it a day”. I’m really bad at being able to walk away from my computer when I’m done working for the day, so having a physical barrier in the way helps. It’s probably not something I’ll stick with “forever”, and sure, I’d prefer to have an open view out a window or something, but you work with what you’ve got 🙂