Here’s how I set up a modular standing desk for Ane in our RV. It also doubles as a laptop stand when sitting (for neck relief), and stows in a small space.

Before this, Ane was working long days seated at our dinette. The dinette has regular chairs (not booth seating), but it's still not very comfortable to sit there for hours, and the table is too high for comfortable typing while at the same time the laptop display is too low to read without straining your neck. Ane ended up suffering from back pain, and wanted a standing desk.

Many standing desk setups are either custom desks, or “mini-desks” on top of an existing desk. We specifically chose to not do that, and to not build anything permanent. We like our layout, preferring our two La-Z-Boy recliners and open space to a conventional desk. The setup described here uses simple collapsible stands on a kitchen counter, no new furniture needed!

Cardboard box standing desk

You can test drive your future standing desk with a collection of cardboard boxes.

Most laptop stands are designed to be used while sitting, to elevate a laptop to just below the height of your eyes. We needed something like that, but for a standing setup: to elevate the keyboard and mouse a little, and the laptop a lot. To make that happen, I bought two laptop stands: one to elevate the keyboard and mouse, and another to elevate the laptop. With some careful planning, the feet of the rear stand fit under the front stand, keeping the depth minimal.

The stands sit really close to each other, minimizing depth

The stands can be used while sitting, to elevate the laptop to a good reading height.

Sitting at the dinette

What your RV needs

  • Kitchen counter with enough room for a laptop and an external keyboard fully in front of the upper cabinets.
  • Room to stand in that area, without blocking others from moving around.

What to buy

Laptop stand for keyboard and mouse

I picked a SUPERJARE laptop stand mostly because the mouse tray detaches without screws, making the stand easier to stow.

Rotate it so the lip is in the back, and adjust the height so your elbows are at a 90 degree angle.

DJ stand for the laptop

The Hercules DG400BB stand is built for DJs to use a laptop while standing, with gear on the table under the laptop. It works great for our purposes, and its feet sit inside the keyboard stand, making the combination fit in front of the upper cabinets.

I wish it would lift the screen 1-2 inches higher, but this model is already one of the tallest stands around. Inclining the laptop helps lift the screen higher.

If your stand seems to wobble, this video shows how to fix it. We didn't notice that enough to bother.

Adjust the top of the screen to be about an inch below your eyes, or as close as you can get.

Ergonomic mat

Humans did not evolve to stand on hard surfaces. A good anti-fatigue mat recreates an outdoorsy soft surface to stand on.

We've had this mat (20x36 inch in black, not in stock at the time of writing) for 7 years now, and apart from one spot where a dog nail punctured it, it's like new.

External keyboard

If you have some external keyboard already, whether it's USB or Bluetooth or otherwise wireless, you can just use that. If not, you will need one.

Ane uses an older model of Apple Magic keyboard that we happened to have already. A lot of people like the Microsoft Sculpt (or with mouse, see review).

Mouse

Ane uses the Logitech M705 mouse. It's cheap but good (see review). You'll need a USB-A port for the receiver, or an adapter.

Or get a trackpad, much like the one on your laptop already: Apple Magic Trackpad 2.

Or get the Microsoft Sculpt keyboard with a mouse.

Happy Ane with a standing desk

Ane has been very happy with her new standing desk setup. She stands for a few hours in the morning and then sits at the dinette — with elevated laptop — in the afternoons. Her back no longer hurts and she loves using the laptop stands while both standing and sitting.

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