How to Fix a Desk that is Too Low?

A short desk feels extremely uncomfortable to work on. You need to band your neck and slouch for hours which causes pain.

If you have used a kid’s desk before, you must be familiar with the pain.

Generally, using a desk that is too low will force you to sit incorrectly, forcing your body parts into uncomfortable twists. To fix a low desk, you can use replaceable legs, bun feet, wooden blocks, desk risers, etc., which may add some inches to the short desk.

Slouching while working on the computer
Incorrect desk height may cause you to slouch.

This article is right for you if you use a short desk and need a quick fix.

In this article, you will find ways to increase the desk height and the problems caused by it.

Is it Bad if my Desk is Too low?

A working desk should be of suitable height for you to work comfortably. Using a desk too high or low is bad for your posture and health.

A desk lower than the standard height can cause postural issues, neck pains, and wrist flexion. Let us go through them in detail;

1. Postural Issues

If you have used a low desk, you must be familiar with the discomfort while typing and reaching your mouse.

You will need to stretch your arms and slouch to reach the desk while using a low desk.

The research also says that the tendency to slouch is more with low desks.

It can increase tension in your back and wrist muscles, which is painful and can lead to long-term postural issues.

You slouch continuously to work on your laptop or computer; this changes the way you sit and your spine arrangement due to excessive slouching.

Slouching habits can weaken your muscles over time which can cause a long-term condition called postural kyphosis.

Postural Kyphosis
Postural Kyphosis usually occurs in teenage due to poor sitting posture.

2. Neck pain

You need to slouch while sitting on a desk that is too low for you. While slouching, your head feels heavier, and your neck feels stiffer. There is a scientific explanation for it.

While your neck perfectly supports the weight of your neck in a normal position, the weight of your head puts pressure against the neck muscles and spine while in a slouched position.

According to studies, your neck is under the force of 12 kg while supporting your head at an angle of 15 degrees.

The force increases as the angle increases, moving up to 18 kg, 22 kg, and 27 kg while slouching at 30, 45, and 60 degrees.

Due to high pressure, you can feel neck pains and back pains while slouching for a long time.

Neck pain due to improper sitting posture
Improper sitting posture can cause neck pain.

You can also strain your eyes by using a low desk. The recommended eye height is to place your screen a few inches below eye level.

However, when the desk is too low, your eyes can be strained looking down all the time.

According to the research, inappropriate desk height can cause eye fatigue.

3. Wrist Flexion

You need to stretch your hands and wrist to reach a low desk; this causes the muscles in your wrist and arms to overstretch, causing wrist flexion.

Your elbows need to rest at 90 degrees on your desk while working.

However, you have to bend your arms higher than 90 degrees while using an inappropriate desk which causes strain on your muscles and tendons.

You should keep the keyboard and mouse near the edge of the desk to avoid stretching your arms.

Research shows that using a keyboard with your arms bent 90 degrees increases your risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders.

Wrist flexion
Wrong hand and body positioning on the desk cause wrist flexion.

Using a desk too low can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome, mainly due to the positioning of hands below the elbow while typing.

So, you must find out if the desk is too low for you and prevent wrist-related issues.

How to Find Out if the Desk is too Low for you?

A standard desk is about 72 to 75 cm or 28 to 30 inches, but the desk can be too low for you if you are a tall person.

Not everyone has the same desk height requirement.

Therefore, calculate your optimal desk height using a desk height calculator to determine which height suits you the best.

It is not a hard sign to notice if your desk is too low for you. You might notice your arms and elbows in an awkward position, uncomfortable leg space, etc.

Let us go into detail.

1. Elbow and Arms Position

The ideal working position is with your elbows at a 90-degree angle, resting on the desk surface.

Your desk is too low if you stretch your arms out to reach the keyboard or mouse. Your elbows will be bent at more than 90 degrees while reaching the desk.

It is not a difficult posture to notice because you will notice your arms growing heavy and painful soon.

Read more: What should be the ideal armrest position?

2. Legs and Back Position

The chair seat should be 16 to 21 inches from the floor while working at a desk. Your feet should be flat on the ground, with your knees slightly lower than your hips while sitting.

You will need to lower your chair by more than 16 inches to match the height of the low desk.

Proper sitting position
Keep your feet flat on the ground, elbows at 90 degrees, and back straight to maintain optimal sitting.

This can bring your knees higher than the hips, which is a very uncomfortable position to work in.

If you are taller than the general population, you will have less desk space under a low desk. You might not even be able to fit your legs in at all.

Moreover, your back should be straight while using the desk.

If you find yourself slouching and bending your back to reach the desk, your desk might be too low for you.

3. Eye height

Your monitor screen should be below your eye level but only a few inches.

According to Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, you should keep the monitor at 15 degrees to almost 30 degrees lower than eye level or 5 to 10 inches below.

If the top of the monitor screen is far below your eye level, you will have to bend your neck, which can cause neck pain.

However, you can solve this problem using monitor risers and monitor arms.

How to Fix a Desk is Too Low?

Using a desk that is too low for your height can be very uncomfortable.

Moreover, if you use a fixed desk, you will have to replace the desk itself, which can be costly.

Therefore, you can use methods like adding wooden blocks, desk risers, desk converters, etc., to increase the desk’s height instead.

1. Use desk Risers or Wooden Blocks

You can increase the height of your desk by nailing wooden blocks under your desk legs.

You can also use desk risers made of wood or plastic to lift your desk a few inches. You can screw the desk riser to the desk legs.

These risers are strong enough to support even heavy desks.

Moreover, use a desk riser that matches the color of your desk to make the legs look even. Else, you can paint them the same color.

Additionally, you can also use wooden blocks to raise the height of your desk.

Here are some easy steps to adding wooden blocks to your desk leg.

  • Find wooden blocks of equal height and size. You can cut them yourselves or buy them from the hardware store.
  • Turn the desk upside-down and mark the center of the legs.
  • Drill some holes ( at least 0.25 inches deep) at the bottom of the leg.
  • Place the tee nut inside the hole and pound with the hammer.
  • Use hanger bolts to fit the wooden pieces and a screwdriver to make them tight.

If you use a fixed desk that is too low for you, you can also raise your desk using temporary fixtures like books, wooden blocks, or boards.

These won’t permanently increase your desk height, but they will work well temporarily until you find a permanent solution.

Here are some more accessories to help you increase the desk height.

Desk height raisersFeatures
Lift Your Table Leg ExtensionsRaises height from 28” to approximately 36".
repositionable foot.
Thread Adjustable Furniture LevelersAdds one inch to the desk legs
Home-it Adjustable Bed Risers or Furniture RiserExtra 8" High Extra 5" High or Extra 3" High
Adjustable Bed Risers / Furniture Risersadd 1”, 2” or 3” height to furniture.
has a removable rubber gripper on bottom.

Read about; What is the Ideal Desk Size for Three Monitors Setup?

Watch the video below to learn how to extend your desk height.

2. Add a Layer to the Desk Top

You can also place wooden boards on the top of the desk to raise a few inches of the desk height. Stack them together to get the desired height you need.

While choosing the slab, choose the same material and color as your desk’s surface. You can also choose marble or glass slab.

3. Replace the Desk Legs

If you want a more permanent solution to your short desk, replace the desk legs with adjustable legs.

Saw or remove the desk off the top and attach adjustable legs to your desk. This way, you can change the height any way you want and make it a standing desk.

You can use a screwdriver to unscrew the legs. But, you might need to cut the legs off if you use the traditional desk.

Here is how to replace adjustable desk legs.

  • Most adjustable desks come with a mounting plate. The mounting plate can be attached to the desk top with screws.
  • Attach the desk leg to the plate by screwing it in.
  • You can then adjust the desk height to match your height.

4. Install a Bun Feet

Bun feet can also add  3 to 4 inches to your desk. Since they are wooden, they will look nice on your wooden desk legs.

Here are some simple steps to attach bun feet to the desk legs.

  • Drill holes into the desk legs.
  • Make sure the holes are about 0.25 inches.
  • Attach the bun foot into the hole by screwing it in.
Bun feet
Bun feet add 3 to 4 inches to the desk. (Source: Amazon)

5. Use a Desk Converter

You can also use a desk converter on the top of your desk. They can add up to 31 inches to your desk height.

Since most desk converters are height adjustable, you can set the height suitable for you and use the desk as either a sitting or standing desk.

Desk converters come with keyboard trays, so you will have no issues while working, even standing up.

Desk converter
You can use the desk converter to raise the height of your desk (Source: Amazon)

6. Use a Monitor or Laptop Stand

While working, your screen should be a few inches below eye level; however, if your desk is too low, your screen may be much lower, which causes you to slouch.

As a result, if your desk is too low, you must raise your workspace, i.e., your screen.

A laptop stand or monitor stands are great for adjusting the monitor height for optimal viewing angles. They can raise about 3 to 6″ in the height of your desk surface.

Read about; How to Use a Laptop Stand Ergonomically?

7. Use a Monitor Arm

You can clasp monitor arms or fit them on any desk surface to raise the monitor to your eye level, even if you use a short desk. 

Monitor arms can fit dual or triple computers. You can pair monitor arms with monitor raisers to elevate your screen and keyboards.

8. Get an Adjustable Chair

If you cannot modify the desk, you can use a height-adjustable chair to match the desk height.

Height-adjustable chairs come with easily adjustable features which allow you to increase or decrease your chair height according to the desk height.

Ergonomic workspace
The ergonomic workspace must include an ergonomic office desk and a chair.

Read more: What should be the ideal height of an office chair?

The Bottom Line

You should find out the perfect desk height before purchasing a desk. However, if you buy or use a short desk, you should never use it as it is.

Using a desk that is too low can be very uncomfortable for long hours. So, try to increase its height permanently or temporarily.

Choosing a height-adjustable desk is always a good idea if you are taller than the general population.

Related article: What happens if the desk is too high?

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