Designing the perfect office space is never easy; finding the optimal work conditions in it is even tougher. Here’s how I made a standing desk solve my need for form and function without compromising on space or style.
When I transitioned from working in an office to working to working from home five years ago, I began the never-ending quest to find the perfect desk and the perfect chair that would allow me to create the perfect workspace. When I look back at all the variations, I realize that this been one of the most costly investments in my home decor I ever made. Trying to find the most optimal working configuration has also been one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever had, as I’ve attempted to maximize work hours while avoiding back, neck, shoulder and quad strain/pain. And as 2017 draws to a close, I think I’ve finally managed to solve it.
Finding The Right Desk
Let’s start with finding the right desk. From Crate & Barrel to Target to restoring 1920s farmhouse tables, I’ve bought and sold numerous work surfaces. Over the years, I’ve never found the perfect setup that for a woman that’s five feet tall, petite and needed something that was JUST RIGHT (length/height/width). Given the amount of time I spend at my desk, I became determined to solve my Goldie Locks style conundrum.
In my latest search, I took everything that I’d come to learn where requirements for me and used the list to find the right – and hopefully final – desk purchase. On that list was:
- The ability to work at 27 3/4″ – so when I sit down my feet could reach the floor.
- The ability to use my Wacom tablet when necessary, so it had to be at least 30″ in depth.
- The ability to streamline cords – I don’t like to see a mess!
- The ability to keep my head back and work with my shoulders in the right position.
- A chair that did not make my tush hurt and/or put pressure on my sciatic nerve.
- It had to last forever.
- It had to LOOK HELLA GOOD amongst my midcentury furniture and antique equestrian decor.
That search led me to UPLIFT, one of many makers of standing desks and optimal working environments based in Austin, Texas. I was immediately drawn into their site because of the videos, product selection, and customization options. I played with different configurations, and options for over an hour before I decided to use their online live chat to make my final decisions. When I connected, a wonderful rep named Rachel How virtually answered my questions and further described the wood tops. When I explained my home decor and quality I was after, Rachel recommended against the wood I was considering. She said I’d love the reclaimed Douglas Fir option best. I’ll admit, I choked a bit, the reclaimed wood upgrade started at $465. But after all the back and forth, she sold me, it would fit my decor, be one-of-a-kind and dog-friendly. I choose the black/black/black/reclaimed wood top (as I cried at the cost but knew that my last two list items had to be met).
Finding The Perfect Chair
After the desk was set, Rachel and I moved onto the chairs. As a design writer, I’ve always been partial to the higher end of office chairs. In fact, I was sitting on Herman Miller Setu Chair (which had replaced a Humanscale Freedom Chair); while gorgeous, it simply could serve my needs. I asked Rachel about the UPLIFT Pursuit Chair and the J3 Ergonomic Chair and how cushy their seats were because my butt hurt in my swanky chair that had style, but lacked comfort. She tested them for “butt cushiness” and said that the Pursuit was cushier than the J3, though the J3’s seat was more dog-friendly. In the end, I took the gamble and added the Pursuit to the purchase at $299.
The Chair Verdict: The UPLIFT Pursuit Chair has kicked my Herman Miller and Humanscale Freedom Chairs’ sweet ‘lil butts at a fraction of the cost. I would recommend adding a butt pad if you need a pelvic tilt as that’s the only feature the chair lacks. The back support, head rest and arm positioning adjustments are second to none!
What Happened When It Arrived
After my order arrived, it took a bit to get everything together. My chair arrived “stuck,” but after a little finesse and email to customer service, I got her to work. After two rounds with a friend to assemble the 100-lb.+ lil monster, I was one my way. The biggest challenges were getting as getting the accessories I’d ordered to work with the wood top, as not all the holes where pre-drilled so we had to put in a bit more elbow grease than I expected into getting everything put together. I was pretty frustrated at one point and was about to send back the keyboard tray and spacer but realized after an hour of proper standing and sitting posture videos on YouTube I needed it.
Overall, a few hours over the course of two days (which included finding the perfect spot in my small Seattle apartment) paid off. The desk looks GORGEOUS, my wrists are thanking me and I’m adjusting to sitting and standing (firmer abs and butt are free additions!). There will be no more “desk conversions” projects in my home, just great use of this beautiful piece that I’m fast coming to adore. If you’re a vertically challenged, workaholic with an eye for design who needs a better way to work, I’d recommend getting the desk and choosing something that you can customize to your needs. They start at $450 with free shipping. My setup costs $1575 (I managed to find $200 in discounts/promotions bringing it down to $1375) and feel it totally worth the investment. No office share or co-working space could compare to my home nook!