How Do You Stabilize A Wobbly Desk? What Causes a Wobbly Desk & How To Fix It

By Robert David Orr / Last updated: May 27, 2022

It’s easy to take our everyday items for granted, until something goes wrong and we have to fix it. For example, have you ever had a wobbly computer desk?

It’s like being at a restaurant or bar and you’re seated at a wobbly table – only worse because it’s your desk and you’re going to be at it for a lot longer period of time.

The fastest and simplest way to stabilize a wobbly desk is to use shims to balance out the the length of the legs. Shims are thin pieces of wood or other material that are placed underneath the legs of your desk so they don’t wobble. You can find them at any hardware store.

But what if you’ve already tried that and a shim doesn’t solve your problem?

What causes a desk to become unstable and wobble?

A desk that wobbles up and down or side to side can get really annoying fast.

It can be really frustrating when your desk starts wobbling every time you try to type or use the mouse. In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to fix a wobbly computer desk in just a few simple steps.

Real quick, before we get too far into it here, if you want to get more great ideas for your gaming room or home office and want to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks here.

What causes a desk to wobble?

Has your desk ever felt a little wobbly? If so, you’re not alone – wobbly desks are a common problem.

Just like when you’re at a restaurant or bar and you have a table that just doesn’t sit flat, it can be incredibly annoying.

The table legs aren’t the same length, so if you’re like most people in restaurants you fold up a napkin and shove it under the table leg.

Then there are times where it’s not an up-and-down motion that’s the issue. Your desk sways side to side because of a loose joint or bolts are coming undone.

A wobbly desk is a common problem that can have a variety of causes.

So before you give up and throw out that old desk, let’s talk about what causes a desk to wobble in the first place, then we can talk about how to solve those problems.

Your desk legs are not all the same length

There are several possible causes of a wobbly desk, but the most likely culprit is an uneven surface which means your desk height is uneven or off. Desks are usually made of wood or some type of wood composite like particle board, which can warp or bow over time. This can cause one side of the desk to be higher than the other, resulting the lengths of the legs not being even.

Your floor is not completely flat

Your desk may be unstable and wobbly because your floor is not completely flat.

This can happen when your desk is up against a wall and there is a carpet tacking strip underneath that is causing the legs to sag. It could also be caused by a rug that has been pulled away from the wall.

An uneven floor surface can make a big difference in how wobbly or stable your desk is.

Whether the desk is sitting on a uneven floor or the legs are of different lengths, an uneven surface is the most likely cause of a wobbly desk.

If your home office floor is not completely flat, it can make your desk feel wobbly and unstable.

The leg attachments for your desk are loose

Over time, the bolts that hold the legs in place can become loose, causing the desk to become unstable. The motions from mouse movements, the movements from elevating and lowering a standing desk among other things are all issues that can cause the nuts and bolts that hold your desk together to gradually loosen up.

If you find your desk is wobbly, it’s probably time to tightening the leg attachments.

The joints in your desk have become loose

Sometimes different parts of your desk are joined together boy dowel rods or other fixtures that hold different parts together. Over time, these fixtures can become loose and cause your desk to wobble.

Sometimes the problem is the deterioration of the wood glue used to build your desk.

When your table legs are deteriorating, they can cause your desk to slope or sag and, depending on the material used to build your desk, eventually fall apart.

You might also notice that the screws holding the legs together are starting to come loose.

In other instances the frame of your desk wears down from constant movement causing parts that used to fit together easily to become loose.

The adjustable feet on your desk are not properly adjusted

If your desk is wobbly, it’s probably because the adjustable feet aren’t properly adjusted.

The vast majority of desks come with adjustable feet that allow you to level your desk against your floor, and yet many people ignore this basic feature.

How to Fix A Wobbly Computer Desk

So what do you do to fix a wobbly desk? Here’s a step by step guide to get your unstable desk fixed once and for all.

Identify the source of the wobble

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as a wobbly desk. You’re trying to focus on your work, but every time you move, the desk starts to shake. It’s enough to drive you crazy! But before you start throwing things, it’s important to figure out the source of the wobble. Is it the desk itself, or is something else causing the problem?

Start by tightening the screws or bolts on your desk’s legs

If the problem is with the nuts and bolts, the solution is simple: grab a wrench and tighten them up.

Loose screws are often the culprit when it comes to wobbly furniture. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you may need to add some additional support to the desk.

This could mean placing a board under one side of the desk, or adding more screws to secure the legs.

Add lateral bracing to stop it from swaying

Adding lateral bracing to your desk is a great way to stop it from swaying. Cross support will help to keep the desk steady and prevent it from wobbling. You can stabilize this lateral movement by adding a cross beam to the legs of your desk.

Sometimes desks can use turnbuckles that will tighten two sections of a span on your desk.

Other times you can get a steel clamp-on stabilizer bar to add even more support.

https://amzn.to/3lMnIQK

Add a shim to lengthen a short leg

As mentioned previously, many desks come adjustable feet so you can your desk level and stable.

But sometimes they don’t.

And sometimes, as we talked about, your floor isn’t as flat as you thought it was.

When you don’t have adjustable feet for your desk you can use a shim to equalize the height and stop the wobbling.

What’s a shim? It’s a thin piece of wood, cardboard or even a folded up piece of paper that can be used to level out furniture.

You can find them at most hardware stores, and they’re easy to install. Simply place the shim under the short leg of your desk until the wobbling stops.

Adjust the feet of your desk to make it all level

Now it’s time to adjust the feet. First, find a level surface on which to place your desk.

Then, take a look at the feet of your desk and identify which one is higher than the others.

Virtually all adjustable feet utilize a screw mechanism to raise or lower your desk.

To make sure they’re all extended to the same length, first, flip your desk over with the feet facing up and tighten them all the way down, then count how many times you turn each one.

Then place your desk back on a flat surface, feet down and look for the one that’s shorter than the others.

Once you’ve found the culprit, simply turn the foot until it is level with the others. If your desk is still wobbly, repeat the process until it is nice and level. With a little bit of effort, you can have a desk that is both level and sturdy.

Replace worn out parts

If you’ve got bolts, nuts or other hardware that’s just been worn down over time, it may be time for a replacement.

You can find new parts at your local hardware store, or even online. Just make sure you get the right size and threading to match your existing hardware.

If all else fails replace the desk

If you’re finding that your desk is still wobbly and unstable and is becoming a bigger distraction than a help, it might be time to replace it. After all, there’s only so much you can do to fix a wobbly desk.

You can try tightening the screws, using shims to level it out, or even placing a heavy object on one of the legs to weigh it down.

But at a certain point, you have to accept that some desks are just beyond repair.

So if your desk is constantly creaking and wobbling, it might be time to give up and get a new one. We’ve made recommendations on several types of desks to help you out if you find yourself in the market for a new desk. And luckily for you, there are plenty of affordable options out there. So don’t despair – a wobbly desk doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

Final Thoughts

Having a shaky desk as the primary place where you do your work is frustrating. You want to get your desk stable so you can focus on the things you need to focus on instead of being annoyed by the constant movement. If you have a wobbly desk, try a few of these solutions we’ve discussed to keep it steady.

Next Steps

Want to connect with other remote workers, contractors, freelancers, gamers and people who work from home who are creating the most amazing home offices and get more tips, tricks and hacks on how to make your home office or gaming room setup the best it can be?

Join my brand new free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best!

Robert David Orr

I'm an award-winning web designer & developer, creator, an all-around digital marketing guy and, most importantly when it comes to this site, a long-time veteran of the working from home life. My work from home life spans more than 10 years, and I've experimented with just about everything you can think of when it comes to getting the most out of my home office, how to work from home without going crazy, and found solutions to the numerous challenges that those of us who work from home run into in this life.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.