Make Your Current Desk Sturdier With These Methods

An unsturdy desk can be a nightmare to work on. It can also be pretty dangerous if you have your valuable laptop on your desk along with a cup of coffee. 

The main issue with a lot of desks is “racking” or the swaying of the top of your desk in any direction while the feet stay in place. 

I would have a ton of trouble focusing if my desk was constantly moving around. In this article, we’re going to talk about what your options are if you have an unsturdy desk. 

We’re first going to touch on quick fixes you can try right away to make improvements, and more involved solutions that will require a DIY angle. 

The end goal is to make that desk as rock solid as possible.

Key Takeaways

  • Before making changes to your desk, do some quick checks on all desk connections and ensure they are properly secure. 
  • Ensure your desk is on a level surface with all feet touching the ground.
  • If your desk is still unsturdy, choose one of the methods below that are proven to work with real world examples.

Before Making Changes To An Unsturdy Desk

Before we go crazy adding a bunch of braces to our desk, let’s ensure a few things are in order first. These are some ‘quick wins’ for improving your desk’s stability. 

Tighten All Desk Connections

If it’s been a while since you have actually assembled your desk, those connections could loosen over time. This happens when the desk’s material relaxes over time or when knocks and vibrations over the years result in bolts loosening. 

desk frame connection 2

Look for the connection points around  your desk and ensure all fasteners and screws are still there and secured snugly. 

If you find any loose nuts or bolts, that could be the reason your desk seems unsturdy. 

desk frame connections

Ensure All Legs Touch The Floor

Another common issue with desks is that not all legs reach the floor. This could result in a warped desk when you add items on your desk resulting in a non-ideal stance of your desk. 

When each leg is actually touching the ground, that results in each leg being able to support some load. When one of these is not touching the ground, it results in rocking or not getting the most strength out of your desk. 

If you have a carpeted floor and your desk is unstable, check out our article on how to fix wobbly desks on carpet

Reasons Your Desk Might Be Unsturdy

If you’ve checked and tightened all the desk connections and all your desk legs are touching the floor evenly and you still have an unsturdy and racking desk, let’s move to the next step. 

We need to try and pinpoint the issue with your specific desk. This will help you choose one of the solutions we touch on later .

The way to make a desk more sturdy is to limit how much the legs can actually move. While any desk can hold a load well vertically, it’s a different story if it teeters side to side or front to back. 

If your desk sways back and forth, you need to brace your desk on the sides. The legs on either side of your desk are able to move like a parallelogram without bracing. The sides need to be reinforced to stop this movement. 

Similarly, if your desk wobbles left and right, you need to brace the back side of your desk to restrict that “parallelogram” swaying motion.  

Bracing basically reinforces the desk in directions that the existing connections don’t restrain well enough. 

Square framed desks are easy to force into tilted parallelograms. That’s where most desk unsturdiness comes from. 

Triangles on the other hand are much more difficult to distort. If you see more structural triangles in your desk, the more sturdy it likely is.

Keep these principles in mind when it comes to making your desk more sturdy. 

Ways To Make Your Desk Sturdier

Whatever sturdiness issue you have with your desk, one of these solutions is sure to address the problem. Simply keep in mind that whatever you add needs to restrict movement in the desired direction. 

Diagonal Cross Braces

A diagonal brace to your desk can make a world of difference when it comes to desk stiffness. This will be the solution most people are looking for. 

Here is a great example of a Reddit user who added diagonal bracing on his desk to make it much more stiff in all directions. He started with this unstable desk, and ended up with this much stiffer desk

This is how you can get a lot of stiffness out of less materials. The diagonal is the exact line of material needed to restrain that square desk/leg layout. 

You don’t have to make the huge diagonal that you see in the images above. You can also add a small bracket that restrains the racking too. That’s exactly what this user did in the video below:

If you have cylindrical desk legs, you can use u-bolts

to attach diagonal brace. 

You can also use metal strips positioned as a diagonal brace. That’s what another user did to make their table look like this. If you go this route, just be sure to file down any sharp edges. 

Attach Desk To Wall

If you are determined to make that desk rock solid, you can actually attach your desk to the studs of the wall. 

An easy way to do this is to actually get rid of the lower stands and framing of your current desk. Just use the table top along with some off the shelf brackets to attach your desk to the wall. 

Here’s an example of someone using simple off the shelf brackets to hold up a large table top. You know they are not experiencing any table racking or wobbles. 

Photo of author


I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!