Basement · Uncategorized

DIY Coffee Table


Lesson Learned: Trips to Home Depot= Ari gets her weekly ice cream fix. 

Happy Fall Y’all!! Are you sick of hearing that quote yet?! I think I am.. But anyhow.. I wanted to fill you guys in on our most recent project: our basement coffee table!

Before we get going on the how to, here is the finished product!… I am so proud of myself / us for making this! I feel like I am becoming obsessed with woodworking, and don’t hate it!




After a few weeks of searching thrift stores, Home Goods, Overstock etc. for a coffee table for my newly renovated basement I gave up! I couldn’t find what I wanted within my budget… soo you guessed it… I decided that I (By I, I mean Jason) would build our own! This turned out to be the best option since I could customize the design and spend a lot less than what stores were asking!  

For the table, I wanted a rustic wood look combined with more modern smooth lines. With a brief search online/pinterest I stumbled across Ana White-sorry if I am late to the party obsessing over her blog! This table she made gave me the inspiration for our table, but I wanted a slightly different design. I roughly sketched my idea on paper so Jason could see my vision- please excuse my poor art skills! Not sure how I managed an A in art class!


Table Plans

Now that I had the design sorted, I had to figure out the measurements. I measured the size of the space (height and length of the sitting area on the couch) and wanted the table to be a bit smaller than those measurements. You want to make sure people will be able to walk around the table to sit down! With these dimensions (see the above drawing) Jason quickly worked out all the dimensions and quantity for each wood piece.

Cut List

Here are his workings, which also shows the cut list on the side. Obviously these dimensions can easily be modified to fit the size you require. I decided on a slightly rectangular table, since our chaise sofa was rectangular.


Table Supplies:

Off to Home Depot we went on our weekly Friday night Date night! I have a confession: I love love Friday night date night mostly because we stop for ice cream at the local drive in on the way to Home Depot! I’m starting to feel like a child whose parent gave them an iPad to distract them. Oh well, ice cream does the trick! Also.. I have to admit we have done this date night so often, the drive in’s cashier knows Jason’s ice cream order as soon as he walks in- I think it’s partly from the way Jason says Banana in his English accent (Bah-naw-nah), but nonetheless we’re “regulars”.  


Table Bottom 2 x 2 Pine Board – 5 pieces of 7ft lengths – we would cut to length using our Miter Saw
Table Top 1 x 5 Pine Board – The exact boards I bought aren’t on the website but this is the same just more expensive. I had them cut them to size because a 9 ft length wouldn’t fit in my car.
2″ Wood Screws 
1 1/2″ Finishing Nails
DAP All Purpose Glue
DAP Plastic Wood This is stainable.
Wood Stain
White Paint – I used Marshmallow from Sherwin Williams 

Tools Required

Miter Saw
Speed Square
Tape Measure
Drill & Drill Bits
Sander / Sand Paper
Eye Protection

Step 1 – Cut and make 2 photo frames

We (I will say we but I mean Jason, it makes me feel a part of the build) started by cutting the 4 table legs and the 4 length pieces – this would make up 2 sides of the table. We used our Miter Saw to make sure that we had square cuts – pretty important so you don’t build yourself a wobbly table.

Coffee Table1.jpg

You can see a line drawn on the end of each long piece – this is where the screws will be placed to secure the table legs to it. Drill some small pilot homes to prevent the wood from splitting. Use your Speed Square to make sure the angles are at a right angle. Secure with 2 screws and some glue. Repeat for the other side and the secure on the bottom piece. 

“Dabbing with DAP”

Please excuse me looking like I am dabbing but I am hiding my morning, no make up face whilst showing what one side will look like – like a photo frame I suppose. Once you have created one photo frame repeat the steps for a second.

coffee-table-2You can see that Jason simply screwed through the top and bottoms – there is no need going through the hassle of creating pocket holes because the bottom will be on the floor and the top will be covered up by the table top – Jason doesn’t waste time if it’s not required to -just make sure the screws are counter sunk so they don’t stick out.

Step 2 – Cut top and bottom side pieces

Now you can cut the top and bottom pieces for the other 2 sides to create the cube for the base. 

For these Jason created 2 pocket holes on the inside so the screws would not be seen from the outside. Jason refuses to buy a Kreg Jig so he drills them by hand – use a Kreg Jig if you have one though.You can see here the pilot holes he drilled in. 


Jason then used a larger drill piece to make a pocket on the inside where the screws will sit and be hidden. You can see the pocket holes circled on the picture below – I give him points for his ingenuity. 


Once you have these 4 pieces cut and pocket holes created you can begin to attach and secure them using 2″ screws and some more of that DAP glue.  I actually think the glue is stronger than the screws but we used both to be safe. This DAP stuff is fantastic – it begins to stick in 30 seconds and it has cured dry in 30 minutes. Again use your speed square to make sure the pieces are at right angles.

Step 3 – The Hardest Part

Now that you have the basic cube you can begin the hardest part of this build. I say the hardest purely because you will need to cut at an angle. Because our table base is not a square shape, the angle is not 45 degrees. Sticking to Jason’s theory of don’t waste time, we didn’t do the math to work out the angle. Instead he simply held the piece up whilst I drew a line on the wood piece for the angle – Easy! It gave us the angle and the length in one go!! 


Jason simply adjusted the Miter Saw so it matched the marked angle and cut away. We worked on one side at a time – cut and secure, cut and secure etc…


These are diagonals are mainly for decoration so they do not need to be super secure – we used a single screw and some DAP glue – ours do not move one bit!! Again you will need to create a pocket hole on each end where the screw will go through to attach to the sides. You can see this below.

Coffee Table 9.jpg

Complete the same for all 4 sides and then congratulate yourself because you have just created the base to your brand new coffee table! All that is left now is to build the top and the fun part of finishing it to your liking, which is simple!


Step 4 – Fill any holes and sand

I (I actually mean I now) filled any pocket holes or small join gaps with some wood filler I had left over from our paneled wall project. 

Once it had dried I used my orbital sander with 240 grit sand paper all over to get a nice smooth finish. I did not have any joins that needed heavy sanding but if you do you could use a wood plane or some harsh sand paper. 


Step 5 – Stain and Paint Bottom

Bear with me here because I can already hear you asking “Why would you stain and THEN paint the bottom?” I wanted to slightly distress the bottom so I had to apply a stain first so the darker color would show through.

Using a rag, I roughly applied my favorite stain, Minwax Kona, which I have used on previous projects and let it soak in and dry over night. Please excuse the lack of a tarp – I did not have any on hand so a trash bag it was! 


The following evening I applied 2 coats of the white Marshmallow paint I used on my kitchen table and bedroom dresser, I like to keep things matching throughout my house. As usual, I used a paint brush to get those hard to reach corners and then a foam roller for the rest. The foam roller avoids leaving those annoying brush marks!! 

Yes I found a tarp to use this time!

Step 6 – The Top

Between the drying of the first coat and applying the second coat of paint, I began working on the top. The kind man in Home Depot cut the top pieces to the 30″ long that I required. Normally I would ask Jason to cut them at home but my car wouldn’t fit the 9′ long boards. Tip: Home Depot doesn’t usually charge for cuts, so ask away! Well, I say they don’t usually, but I was left on my own to ask for the cuts, while Jason scurried away to look at ride-on lawnmowers and snow blowers. I don’t think the man had the heart to charge me! 

I sanded the top pieces with my sander until they were nice and smooth. I then applied some pre stain wood conditioner and then stained the top using the Kona stain. You can find more details on how to stain in this blog post.


Step 7 – Attach the top

This part is very simple. Line up each length of wood and secure to the frame with a couple of 1 1/2″ nails in each end that go into the base. Measure to make sure you have the same over hang on all sides – mine was 1 1/2″ all around. I then finished the top with a light coat of polyurethane to protect it. 

Living Room Table.jpg

Yes Jason treats his golf clubs like people – they have to stay warm in the house, do not ask me why! And the dog is a golf club cover – not a teddy bear.

It would not be right for me to write a blog without telling all my secrets: I originally planned to counter sink the nails, fill and stain over them but I surprisingly like the look of the nail heads showing. I guess it makes the table look more rustic? I just made sure they were all in a straight line and flush! 


Step 8 – Distress

Once I had assembled the whole table I got out my 240 sand paper and began to distress the bottom by hand. There is no rule of thumb to follow for this, just sand as you feel would look authentic. I love how that dark stain I applied earlier is showing through. I finished the bottom off with a coat of polycrylic to protect the legs. 


Note: If you modify the table to be longer, I would recommend adding a support “beam” across the middle of the frame for the top to sit on. 

Coffee Table.jpg


I love the simplicity of this table’s design, yet I feel it adds a lot of character to the space. If you have been inspired to take on this DIY table, please share your results with me. I would love to see them!! 

Thank you for joining me on another one of my DIY projects. I hope you enjoyed and found it useful. I would love it if you joined me on Instagram to see what I’m working on or Pinterest to see where I get my inspiration!!

Until next time, Much love. xx

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