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I DIYed a $1,650 Coffee Table for $100!

Hello, again!

Garret and I are coming up on a year and a half of living in this apartment, and besides a periodic pillow refresh, our apartment decor is much the same as when we first moved in! Needless to say, I was itching to change it up, and we had talked about swapping our ottoman for a coffee table. So, I took to Pinterest for inspiration and came across this photo.

I loved this chunky black coffee table, but when I clicked the link, I was astounded at the price.


Yeaaaaaah, I think not.

After picking my jaw up off the floor, I went to my friend to see if he could help me build one just like it. (Spoiler alert - we did!) Unfortunately, I didn't take photos of the process, but I do want to share the steps we took to create it!


First, I measured out how big I wanted the coffee table to be. I simply took some tape to the floor in front of our couch, and as for the height, I went online to see how tall coffee tables typically are. Then, using the inspiration table's dimensions, we tailored ours accordingly. After all, the chunkiness is one of the main reasons I loved it, and I wanted to ensure that our DIY version ticked that box.

We ended up going with a 27" x 46" ratio for the tabletop, a 13" x 24" ratio for the base, and a height of 18."

I will say, however, the inspiration table is much shorter than what we created. We like to put our feet up around here, and it just didn't make sense to have our coffee table that low to the floor! So, our DIY version isn't a carbon copy, but I'm still SO happy with it.


Next, came the planning. How were we going to make this? Well, it turned out to be pretty simple. I knew I wanted to make this for an affordable price, and looking at the photos, it could definitely be done. My friend knew that laminated boards would be perfect for this project. They are affordable and look like one piece of solid wood. We decided to make a hollow box to serve as the base and simply make the tabletop out of a single piece of laminated board. Then, with our measurements and plan in hand, we set off to Home Depot.


After perusing the lumber aisles, we saw that there were a variety of sizes of laminated pine boards, but there wasn't one that could meet the tabletop dimensions I had in mind. The boards were not wide enough (only 24"), and they were longer (48"). However, I did not want to spend the money and time cutting and piecing together multiple boards to create the 27" x 46" tabletop I had in mind. I was okay with it being a little bit longer and thinner!

But then, we ran into another hiccup. The boards lacked the substantial thickness our inspiration had.

At this point, I was feeling like Ross in that one episode of Friends. "PIVOT. PIVOT."

I saw that Lowe's carried thicker boards, but I wasn't about to drive across town for that. Not when we had come this far (15 minutes down the road). Also, the thicker board was expensive... You get it.

So, I asked my friend if we could glue or screw two of the Home Depot boards together to create a thicker tabletop. (And yes, two of the Home Depot boards was still less expensive than one of the thicker Lowe's boards!) He informed me that it was possible, but that I would have to fill in the gap with wood filler to make it look like one thick piece of wood.


In the end, I purchased two 24" x 48" laminated pine boards to make the tabletop and two 18" x 48" laminated pine boards (these are not online!) for the base. It was time to build!

After shopping, our basic plans were as follows:

  1. Make a 13" x 24" hollow box base for the table using two 18" x 48" laminated pine boards. We would cut the boards to make two 18" x 24" pieces and two 18" x 13" pieces.

  2. Glue two 24" x 48" laminated pine boards together to make one thick tabletop.

  3. Fill, sand, paint, and seal.

  4. Screw the base to the top.


As I mentioned earlier, I wanted the coffee table to be 18 inches tall overall. However, the boards we bought for the base were 18 inches wide already, and the tabletop (the two boards glued together) added another 2 inches. So, the table would end up being 20 inches tall instead of 18 inches. Once again, and I cannot stress this enough, I wanted to create this coffee table with the least amount of fuss. The decision to not trim 2 inches off each piece of base board to create the 18" height was easy. Therefore, we just had to cut them to the lengths that we wanted.

I'm not really sure how to phrase this next part to make it make sense, but I'll give it a try. Because we were not using angled cuts to join the boards at the base, we had to factor in the thickness of the boards (0.66 inches) when cutting them to length. This was because we were creating the box by meeting the straight edges of the boards together.

The longer pieces of the box were going to be sandwiched between the two shorter boards, so we had to multiply the thickness by two before subtracting it from the length we wanted the box to be. The longer pieces of the base were cut to 22.69" (0.66 x 2 = 1.31 and 24 - 1.31 = 22.69). We didn't have to subtract the thickness of the board for the shorter pieces of the base, so they were simply cut to 13."

I seriously regret not taking progress photos, but here are some from the finished product! See what I mean by making the box by joining the straight edges of the boards together? And why we had to subtract the shorter boards' thickness when cutting the longer box piece?

After cutting the boards, my friend created the box base by joining them together with pocket holes! Once the base was secured, it was time to create the tabletop.


To do this, we wood glued the surface of one board before placing the other on top. For extra security, we screwed them together from the bottom (to keep the screws hidden) as well. We had to strategically place extra screws in some areas, like the corners, to create a level top because the boards were slightly bowed. Overall, this was the easiest part of the build.


The next day, I used homemade wood filler (wood glue and sawdust) to fill in the cracks on both the base and the tabletop. I then sanded everything using 120 grit sandpaper.


I decided not to prime the table because I wanted to ensure that I could still see the wood grain beneath the black paint. I didn't know (and still don't know) if it would hide it completely but erred on the side of caution! With no priming to do, I got straight to painting it with the Magnolia Home flat chalk paint in Blackboard. I bought mine at Ace and had to have it tinted to the color I wanted, but I think you can get it pre-made from Target. It took two coats to get it as deep as I wanted (in hindsight, I could have done one more coat), but using a foam roller made it quick and easy.

Then, I sealed it with a clear semi-gloss water-based polyurethane and let it sit overnight.


We then carefully secured the top to the base using the pocket holes he drilled into the top of the box at the beginning (shown in earlier photos).


Before I do the reveal, here's a reminder of what our living room looked like a couple of weeks ago!

Aaaaand here is the end result!

What do you think?

I am SO happy with it. I love the contrast it makes with our sofa, the space it opened in our living room, and the opportunity it provides for styling.

The only thing I'll miss about our ottoman is the fact that Garret and I never had to worry about hitting our shins and kneecaps on it! With a coffee table, we definitely have to proceed with caution. If you watched my first vlog on YouTube, you'll see me annihilate my shin on it first thing in the morning! Not fun, but definitely worth it! Haha.


Okay, let's talk $$$.

I made this for $100, but keep in mind, we already had some of the items (sandpaper, paint, roller, etc), so this total is for the items I didn't already have!

Let's break it down!

  • 24" x 48" laminated pine boards x2 = $50.82 ($25.41 each)

  • 18" x 48" laminated pine boards x2 = approx. $35 (product isn't online and don't have the receipt!)

  • 8 oz. Clear Semi-Gloss Water-Based Interior Polyurethane = $10.97

Total: $96.79!

Not only was this a budget project, but I was able to sell our ottoman for $130. DIY for the win!

I learned so much from this project, researching paints and finishes, making homemade wood filler... Even with the hiccups we faced during the process, I feel like I can truly make anything, and I hope you know that you can, too. If you're considering a DIY project, go for it!

It would mean SO much to me if you'd let me know what you think of our coffee table on my latest Instagram and Facebook post!

I hope y'all have a wonderful week!



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