How to keep your existing office furniture and make it a sit/stand desk

If you have furniture in your home office that you want to keep, but you’re yearning for the option to stand, you might be considering some portable products. Desk top models that sit on top of an existing desk typically make the typing surface too high for sitting, because most existing desks are already too high. And they usually won’t adjust high enough for taller folks to stand comfortably.

Another option for converting your existing furniture into a sit-stand desk is to replace the legs on your desk with a sit-stand adjustable frame. If you’ve invested in a matching set of cabinets, shelves, etc., this option allows you to keep the existing “look” while adding a sit/stand option. It’s also a great option for larger offices where the Facilities Department doesn’t want to mess with the vibe they so intentionally created.

There are many of sit/stand desk frames available, probably even from your existing office supplier. The most challenging part of this purchase (aside from the assembly, of course), is finding a frame that allows the full range of adjustability that you need.

The new CSA guideline specifies that an adjustable surface for a keyboard/mouse should adjust from 57.5-74.7 cm for sitting, and 97.3-123.7 cm for standing. Therefore, a fully adjustable sit-stand desk needs to raise and lower the desk top between 57.5 and 123.7 cm (22.6″-48.7″). Assuming that your desktop is about 1” (2.5 cm) thick, you’d need the FRAME to adjust from 55 to 121 cm (21½ – 47¾”).

This range is meant to accommodate everyone, from a small female to a large male. You might not need your personal desk to go this low, or this high. On the other hand, if you’re super tall or super small, you may need it to go even higher, or lower than the guideline. Ask an ergonomist for help to measure your required height range. Hint: AVERAGE adult (males and females combined) seated elbow height is 63.2 cm (about 25”), so if the surface you’re installing on top of the frame won’t go this low, there’s a 50% chance you’re going to need a high chair and a footrest.

I went cyber-digging for the best option at each of the common suppliers that our clients use. (If another vendor is reading this, please send me your product info and I’ll add it.) I avoided crank-adjustable versions because it’s impractical to crank up and down multiple times during the day. I searched for the best height range, at the lowest price.

These are all basic, rectangular bases, but many suppliers offer corner units as well.

If there were reviews, I tried to pick the best one. I have only seen a couple of these products, so I can’t vouch for how well they hold up over time, or how much assembly is required. Note also that some vendors provide a height range for the frame (assuming you can figure out the table top height). Others specify the table top height, assuming that you will install a 0.87-1” surface to their frame.

Here’s what I found, in no particular order:

Amazon Canada’s ActiveDesk Standing Desk Frame with electric adjustable height from 23.5″ to 49″ (FRAME height) (Dual Motors) $395

(Buyer beware: offers many lower cost products, but they don’t adjust low enough for even an average worker to sit comfortably. Unless you are a very, very tall person, we think you’ll regret the purchase of these “low cost” products.)

Ikea Canada’s Bekant Sit/stand underframe for table top with electric adjustable range from 22-48” (TABLE TOP height), $430 (Hint: the sit/stand with the table top included is $499) The product goes low enough, and almost high enough.

ErgoCentric’s upCentric 2-Leg Table, with electric adjustable range from 21.6-47.9” (FRAME height), $845. This is the only product I was able to find that met the full range – it goes low enough for a small employee. (Here is a similar ErgoCentric model also available at, with height adjustment rage of 23.5-50” listed for $972.39)

Ergotron WorkFit-B, Sit-Stand Base, HD, with instantaneous, tool-free, non-motorized re-positioning from 29.5-49.5” (TABLE TOP height), price $994 at Staples (other vendors available). Note that the “low” height of this product will be too high for virtually all people to type while seated, unless the chair is raised and a footrest is provided.

Staples Canada’s Mount-It! Sit-Stand Desk (MI-7930), electric height adjustment from 24-47” (online catalogue does not specify whether heights are frame or table top), $768.24



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