Wednesday, May 12

Let's Build a Coffee Table

UPDATE: Because these plans are so popular, I rewrote the tutorial and redrew the plans (now that I have more experience with Sketchup). Check out the updated post: Rhyan Coffee Table.

We’ve been needing a new coffee table for a while. And I knew exactly what I wanted. This:

There is one problem though. It costs $700. Yikes. I had accepted the fact that that just wasn’t a possibility for us. I was coming to terms with the flimsy IKEA coffee table that had fit our budget. I thought this was the best I could do for our home.
Until the day I stumbled across Knock-Off Wood. That was the day that I knew I could do better, and I have been budgeting and planning and saving and building ever since! I have used Ana’s plans to build some other pieces, but she didn’t have this particular table. While I do NOT have the experience Ana does when it comes to furniture building, I studied her plans until I came up with a design of my own, and I knocked-off this coffee table:

We could not be happier! My husband and I built this table out of pine for about $60, not including hardware. That would be a $640 savings. Want to save that money yourself? In true Knock-Off Wood style, I drew up the plans you need to make this table for your own living room. If you need more inspiration or plans, be sure to check out Ana’s website Knock-Off Wood. She also has great tips on wood types, finishing, and building in general. (Check out her plan catalog to browse all the plans available)

Now, down to business! These plans are actually slightly different from the dimensions of the inspiration table & the table I built, but they use standard lumber sizes. I could have saved myself a lot of headaches if I’d thought all that through before I started. Oops. :) But don’t worry, I’ve corrected the plans to make it easier for you!

Please read all the directions before beginning, and cut your pieces as you go, measuring before each cut. Use 2” screws unless otherwise indicated. Always use glue. Pre-drill and countersink your screws. Home Improvement stores will generally cut your plywood for you. Ask them to cut your shelves to size to save you some trouble. And don’t forget to check out Knock-Off Wood for more tips!

Shopping List:
4 2x2 @ 8’
1 2x2 @ 10’
1 1x2 @ 10’
1 1x10 @ 10’
3 1x8 @ 8’
1 sheet plywood (I used ½” thick)
Several small L-Brackets OR Scrap wood

2” screws
1 ¼” screws
Wood glue
Wood filler

Cut List:
A) 4 2x2 @ 18” (legs)
B) 6 2x2 @ 20” (side rails)
C) 2 1x10 cut to 7 ½” tall @ 20” (side panels)
D) 6 2x2 @ 45” (front & back rails)
E) 4 1x2 @ 7 ½” (stiles)
F) ½” strips of scrap wood OR several small metal L-Brackets (shelf supports)
G) 3 45x20” ½” plywood (shelves)
H) 2 1x2 @ 20” (drawer dividers)
I) 3 1x2 @ 14 ½” (center divider)
J) 6 1x10 @ 12 ¾” (drawer bottoms)
K) 6 1x8 @ 14 ¼” (drawer fronts)
L) 6 1x8 @ 14 ¼” (drawer backs)
M) 12 1x8 @ 9 ¼” (drawer sides)

1. Start by assembling the short ends of the table. Cut the legs (A) and side rails (B). Attach the bottom rail between the legs leaving a 1” gap at the bottom of the leg. Then attach the center rail leaving 7 ¼” in between. Cut the side panels (C) and insert one in the gap between the bottom and center rails and attach through the rails, keeping panel flush with the outside front of the legs. Finally, attach the top rail keeping it flush with the top of the legs. If you have a Kreg Jig, you will be in good shape! I did this without, just screwed through the legs and into the rails but it was harder and we probably risked splitting the wood more. But it can be done.

2. Once the sides are complete, attach the back bottom & center rails (D) in between the sides. Leave a 1” gap below the bottom rail, and a 7 ¼” gap between the bottom and center rails as shown above. Repeat for the front rails.

3. Attach the stiles (E) between the bottom and center rails as shown above. There will be 2 stiles on each side, with 14 ½” between the stiles and the legs. Repeat for the front stiles.

4. Attach the top rails on the front & back.

5. Next you need to cut some ½” strips of wood (F) to use as shelf supports. Leave a gap above the supports equal to the thickness of the plywood you will use for the shelves. I used ½” plywood, so I left a ½” gap above the supports for the shelf to sit in. Attach the supports for the bottom shelf as shown above using 1 ¼” screws. I had a left over 1x12 laying around, so I cut ½” strips off the side of it, parallel to the grain. You could also use small L brackets like these:

Placed around the edges instead of wood strips. You’ll want to do the supports as you go. For now just do the bottom supports, then place the bottom shelf, then move on to the middle supports and shelf.

6. Next put the bottom shelf (G) into place and attach it to the supports using 1 ¼” screws & glue. Then attach the drawer dividers (H) to the shelf, placing one at each end and one running between each set of stiles, as shown above. Attach by screwing down through the dividers into the shelf.

7. Then attach the center dividers (I) to the bottom shelf as shown above. The dividers should be centered between the front & back of the shelf.

8. Repeat step 4 to attach supports to the center rails as shown above. (The top rails aren't shown in this picture so you can see better)

9. Put the shelf in place and secure to the supports using glue & 1 ¼” screws as shown above.

10. Repeat step 4 to attach the supports for the top shelf.

11. Place the top shelf and secure in place. The basic table is complete! Now you just need some drawers. (or you could use baskets, which would be sweet!)

12. Now assemble the drawers. You will have 6 drawers total. Start by attaching the sides (M) to the short ends of the bottom (J).

13. Then attach the front & back (K&L).

14. Fill holes, sand and finish as desired.

15. Attach hardware to the drawers and you are done! To get the same look as the inspiration table we ordered hardware like this but a little bigger (I can’t find it anymore!) and used some matching label holders. We got both in brass and antiqued them ourselves. The beauty part of home-built furniture is that you have no limitations! Make it your way and make it beautiful!


Pin It   


  1. Wow! You did a great job! Beautiful table!

  2. Wow! It's gorgeous! Great work!

  3. Hi there, great work! I was wondering, how did you get that finish and also how did you antique the handles? It looks fantastic, thanks for sharing! Jimmy

  4. Thanks! The finish actually wasn't anything special. We used pine, an espresso stain, and a couple coats of polyurethane. I think the pine is what gave it that look. Also, we rubbed the stain on with a cloth (instead of brushing it on and letting it set for a while) so it couldn't soak in as much.
    I've heard you can antique things by using nail polish remover to remove the sealant on them, then brushing vinegar on them several times a day & letting them sit in the sun. This kind of worked on the label holders, but not at all on the handles! For those used the ammonia method, explained on this site they also list some other processes that I haven't tried. The ammonia worked in about an hour.
    I hope this helps!

  5. absolutely gorgeous! you did a wonderful job

  6. This is amazing! I just stumbled across Knock Off Wood last week and I found your blog through that one. You did a great job! How long have you been furniture building? I am wondering how long it will take me to get to this level, I'm starting from scratch, he he. :)

  7. Thanks! I've actually only been building since February. (built this table in my basement because it was winter!) It was the first project my husband and I worked on, and we were starting from scratch too. We made some mistakes and learned from them, but really I think anyone could do it! If I had to go it alone I might start out with something easier just to learn to use the tools. Hope this helps. You'll be a pro in no time!

  8. hello! i followed your plans over here from knock off wood. I'm so excited about this table, i love it! I noticed that you've got plans for other items in this series, and i'm excited about the prospects of moving on to those as well. I also can't help but notice the plans for those are a little better. I was wondering if there's any plan to upgrade these?

    thank you for posting!!

  9. Thanks! This was my first time using sketch-up and I've been figuring it out as I go along. That's why this one isn't as good. :) I would like to upgrade it at some point, but it probably won't be soon. Just because I tend to use my time on new projects instead. :) Sorry!

  10. I was so confused with the directions saying to attach the drawer dividers and then the center dividers! haha. NOW I GET IT! The Pottery Barn ones only have 3 drawers, going the full depth of the table (that you can open from either side)... I think I like SIX DRAWERS better!

  11. Gina, I somehow missed your comment! Sorry! And sorry it was confusing, I probably should have explained the drawer changes. :) Glad you figured it out! I saw one in the store and did NOT like the drawers going all the way through. I'm glad you agree! :)