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work table help…


For those artists and designers who work from home or have your own studio…do you have any recommendations for where to buy a not-too-expensive standing work table? I’m looking for a nice, flat surface table around waist height that also has some storage underneath for my studio. I’m not sure if I want something more unique {like a flea market find} or something plain & simple. This would be the table {away from my computer & desk} where all the messier design stuff happens…so it can’t be too precious. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated!


{photo from Flea Market Style by Emily Chalmers}


  1. i just found a random piece of metal that i set up on some wood working horses [mine are the cheapy wood kind but i know i’ve seem some great “designer” ones… can’t think of where, but]
    i also LOVE old office furniture…. metal w/ the formica tops…. all stripped and lovely….
    good luck!

  2. stapler fabric store on walnut street is going out of business and selling some old tables, perfect for crafting. just a big sturdy old wood table for about 60 dollars. can’t beat it with a stick.

  3. I have an IKEA desk/table in my studio. I love it and I feel like it is not the end of world if I accidently get some paint on it because it wasn’t too pricey.

  4. i’ve actually been having the same dilemma. i want something high enough that i can work standing up but also cheap enough that i won’t mind getting paint on it or scratching it. my first thought was ikea as well but they don’t seem to have anything high enough. on target’s website they have a “pub and high dining” option in their furniture section where i found this:” which i think might work. my other idea is to use some of the pieces from their “california closet” collection because it would allow me extra storage space. but as i have yet to even paint my studio, i still have some time to make a decision on these options. i hope this helped.

  5. There is a gorgeous table on posted 12/16/2006 – Simple lines with Bold color. I think it would be pretty simple, and fairly cheap to make something like it if you don’t mind investing a little time. While I wouldn’t use the oringinal for messy work, I think a homemade one could look great as it is worn with creative mess. Maybe even layer paint colors, so as you wear down an area, or it bcomes scratched there will be color showing through.

  6. My partner and I have four workbenches, three of them are from, who doesn’t seem to have seperate product URLs, but you can search using product number: 1W890. They’re $153.25 and I don’t mind getting paint all over it or cutting directly on its surface. It’s waist high so I often stand but I also have a high stool I use to sit at it.

  7. i just got an amazing, 70″ long brazilwood dining table off of craigslist which i am now using for sewing, cutting and drawing. its great because there is room for my sewing machine, serger, 3’x2′ cutting mat, and my light box. I highly suggest craigs list, or a kitchen supply – you might get a used restaraunt table there for pretty cheap that would be super sturdy.

  8. Our favorite standby in design school for quick, cheap desks: MDF, hollow-core, paint-grade doors from a lumber yard. The fiber-y brown color is nice, you can paint it if you want (we never did as we liked the industrial look), they come in good long lengths (usual door lenghts of 6′-8″, 7′-0″, or 8′-0″ – a nice LONG worksurface!) and multiple widths (24″ to 48″+).
    For the base, you might be able to salvage some old sawhorses, use old metal filing cabinets from a used office furniture store (this gives you storage!), small metal lockers, or Ikea legs as others have mentioned. If you want cooler, metal, or fun legs, there are hardware stores online that sell table legs (Google away).

  9. I don’t have anything terribly innovative to report, but I bought one of these frosted glass tabletops from Ikea along with the wooden saw horses for legs.
    I like the glass tabletop because I can put a lamp underneath it and have an instant tracing table, plus the height of the saw horse legs is adjustable so I can leave it at waist-height for working, but then drop the height down if I ever need it for extra seating at a dinner party.

  10. I bought a laundry folding table (waist height, perfect for designers) from Restoration Hardware last year. It’s white, powder-coated metal and is very sturdy.

  11. I had home depot cut a 4′ x 8′ piece of particle board (or MDF) in half for me. Then I attached decking posts with decking hardware. Very sturdy. I forget if the posts had to be cut, or if they were already the height I desired.
    Good luck!

  12. I needed two work tables for my studio, and they had to have a wood top – I just kept checking out-of-the-way flea markets & antique stores in PA for inexpensive tables. I ended up with an antique general store counter section (with tons of tiny spaces & cabinets for storage underneath) and an antique library table…both were inexpensive because they weren’t in pristine condition but I cleaned them up a little bit and they work perfectly for me.

  13. My husband is an artist and made his own desk out of a hollow core door and legs he bought separately. It’s cheap, big, flat and totally not precious.

  14. i recently bought a stainless steel work table off craigslist pretty cheaply. it’s a standard issue kitchen supply table, with a shelf underneath where I keep materials and rest my feet, and it’s on wheels so I can move it if I want. I just suggest making sure that if you have casters that they are really sturdy so the table doesn’t move at all when you’re working.

  15. Hi Joy, i got 2 cheap “saw horse” legs from ikea (i think they were $9 each) and a hollow door from home depot. it’s a great BIG surface to work on, and not too precious incase some spilled ink gets on the table!

  16. i’m not sure how the prices would be, but i would think you could find a really good standing-height working surface at a restaurant supply store. something designed for chopping things on would certainly be sturdy….

  17. IKEA has a great galvanized metal table that is tall – it’s for kitchen use. It doesn’t have storage underneath, but….
    Target sells the “store – n- style” modular white drawer system and 2 of those fit perfectly under the table. The table is tall enough to stand at – and put a bar stool with it for those longer tasks.

  18. We got a restaurant prep table with a hardwood chopping-block top and a galvanized shelf below. Restaurant tables aren’t as cheap as the IKEA option but they’re unmatched for sturdiness. There are kitchen-supply stores on eBay that regularly have the stainless or galvanized top tables for sale for under $200. (For a worktable the galvanized top would actually be cooler than stainless, imo–lots of shabby-chic surface interest there!)

  19. Hi there,
    I bought a great workbench at Sears (it even has drawers!) for less than $200.00. I’ve had it for about 4 years and it’s been great.
    Good luck!


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