How To Choose And Build A Simple Coffee Table

Coffee tables – would our living rooms be the same without them? The humble coffee table has been around for centuries, with a furniture expert featured in a 2018 Architectural Digest article describing its history stretching back to the 1720s, when they were known as tea tables. 

Today, while tea is certainly still popular, Statista figures show that in 2020, people in the UK drank around two cups of coffee a day, spending £3.9 billion on beans! If you’re a coffee-lover, it’s only fitting you pay homage to the hot brown stuff with a fine coffee table – and if you’re into DIY, it’s not too difficult to make one yourself. Here’s how! 

Build A Simple Coffee Table

Choose a simple style

Before you begin building your coffee table, it’s important to choose a design that you’re confident in creating, and that goes with the décor of whichever room you’ll be putting it in.

The simplest designs of the coffee tables feature four legs and a flat, rectangular surface, all made from wood. You may wish to go for a more rustic look by using reclaimed wood, or an industrial design that uses metal, stone, or repurposed manufacturing equipment. 

Don’t forget to consider the finish you’ll give the table either. Shabby chic designs, for example, can be gained just by applying a light coat of paint and distressing the surface once it dries.

Whatever you want to produce, the next step is to write down your design. Note down the dimensions of each part of the table – the top, legs, and fastenings at the very least – so you have some plans to work to

Gather the essential tools

Whatever basic coffee table you choose, there are some tools you’re almost certain to need if you want to give it a nice finish. 

You’ll need either a manual or electric saw to shape and split your wood. A power drill or driver is also a must-have, as this will enable you to join together pieces of wood effectively with screws and nails. 

If you want to bond together materials without screws or nails, glue guns can be smart investment. And to ensure a fine finish, an orbital sander makes the punishing job of sanding wood by hand so much easier. Lastly, it’s a great idea to invest in a good workbench, preferably with an integrated vice that keeps your materials safe and still while you work on them.

4 Steps to Building a Basic Coffee Table

By now, you should be ready to get started:

  • Step one – Prepare the constituent parts of your table. Cut each piece to the dimensions set out in your design and pull together the screws, glue, and other consumables you’ll need.
  • Step two – Create the base of the table, gluing or screwing together the legs and crosspieces. Paint, stain, or varnish as required.
  • Step three – Arrange the top, cut the piece to size, attach any fasteners required, then coat with paint or varnish.
  • Step four – Assemble the legs and tabletop, securing them together.

What’s your ideal coffee table design? Let us know your favorites in the comments section.