There has already been some excellent discussion here and elsewhere about adjustable height desks, but I think I'll bring a bit of a new twist to the question.

I want to rebuild a bedroom into an office. I intend on placing in-wall bookshelves around the entire room, excluding where the windows are. Here I'd like to use the window frame as "runners" of a sort for an adjustable height desk. I'm thinking of using a pulley system to make all of this happen.

I've included a graphic with front and side views of how I imagine this might look, but it isn't entirely clear that the pulley system I'm envisioning would be triangular...but in any case, I'm open to other suggestions as well.

My main concern is the ability to adjust the height significantly (e.g. a few feet) and for the underside to be sufficiently clear to use my folding recumbent bike should I so desire...or perhaps even a treadmill.

Theoretical Sketch of Height Adjustable Using Pulley System

  • 1
    Any limitations? Can the desk be adjusted electrically/hydraulically, or does it have to be manual? How easy does it need to be to adjust? Does it need to stay flat and/or have stuff on it while being adjusted? How much weight does it need to hold? What are the dimensions? Does it need to be made of some particular material? Can you give more clarity on the height adjustment needed? Are you saying you want to be able to use a treadmill underneath the desk, so the desk needs to raise up so the bottom is 7' from the ground??
    – gregmac
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 20:53
  • note that standing in front of bright windows isn't the best task lighting, and if you ever plan on opening the windows, dust and breezes aren't the best for most desktop devices (papers, computers, screens, etc.)
    – DA01
    Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 18:29

2 Answers 2


one simple answer and one complex answer...

first: is to use twin slot shelving to create a large, adjustable shelf/desk.. where you could quite easily create a light duty desk. I have an image, however the shelf in the picture is too small to be a desk, i have personally used a heavy duty version as my desk (safely holding one desktop pc, CRT screen and printer)

Second, is to use some sort of linear drive where you have the shelf run up and down some form of runner (or drawer slide).. this would be something close to the screw jacks that are used to jack up your car at the service station. - probably a little too complicated for use as a desk.

enter image description here

  • Would the lift mechanism for power sliding door curtain do the trick?
    – mikes
    Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 23:51
  • @mikes - a curtain lift mechanism is almost certainly too weak to lift a desk. Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 19:24

You could purchase or copy the design of the 2-height desk at 1:12 in this video:


It is made by ResourceFurniture.com

This page has a short video demonstrating it's operation:


Here it is shown integrated with a wall-bed:

enter image description here

enter image description here

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