$30 DIY Sofa/Console Table Tutorial


I made it home safe from Seattle and it’s right back to work! I mentioned earlier that I was staying with my cousin and helping her update her living room there. It was a pretty hectic week with both of us having to work and make a few last minute shopping trips in Seattle traffic, but we were able to accomplish a good amount and set aside time for some fun outings as well (more photos to come Friday!)

The project I am most proud of (and excited to share with you guys) is this sofa table I built:

How to make your own custom console table for $30!

I say proud because I figured out a way to build it using only a drill & screws (and a basic saw to cut a few small pieces of wood!) That means 95% of you can do this too. By yourself. In one day, for $30 or less.

She had a long sofa (just over 9 feet wide) and was using an end table that was blocking part of the walkway, so I thought the perfect solution would be a long narrow table behind the sofa for more convenient storage.

I was having trouble finding a simple plan I liked online, and knew this table definitely had to be customized so I decided to come up with my own. We were also working with a budget so I wanted to do this as inexpensively as possible.

I drew a quick sketch to illustrate my idea (excuse the roughness of it):

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I was envisioning a very simple, modern style table constructed using 2×2’s and a 2×12″ for the top portion. The drawing isn’t super accurate as there should be 2×2’s horizontally at the top for reinforcement (below the 2×12) but you get the idea. I knew 2x2x8′ furring strips were under $2 each and the 2x12x10′ was only around $12, making this project about as cheap as you can get for such a large table.

This can be done a lot simpler and for even less if you plan on making a shorter table by eliminating the middle piece. I put it in there for stability, but if the table was shorter than ~6 feet or so, I’d leave it out.

Here’s what we brought back from Home Depot—a 2x12x10′ and 8 2x2x8’s. Simple stuff.

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My cousin had very limited, basic tools in her garage which proved to be a challenge but fortunately we were able to borrow a neighbor’s saw to make the smaller cuts, and Home Depot cut the 2×12 to 9′ for us.

You’ll end up with three different sizes—the long horizontal pieces, the vertical legs, and the shorter pieces to connect the legs (these will be different depending on the size of your table).

IMG_6856First it’s time to assemble the rectangles! I grabbed four pieces and arranged them:

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You’ll need to drill pilot holes so the wood doesn’t split—that’s a very important step especially with this type of wood that splinters easily and since the pieces are so narrow. I was able to find 3 drill bits in the garage and luckily one of them ended up working. You want it to be just a bit smaller than the width your screw.

IMG_6864I bought 2.5″ screws for this project which worked fine but 3″ may have been even better. First I aligned my two pieces into place and drilled my pilot hole through both. I made sure to do this towards one end of the board instead of the center, since I would have to insert another screw in the same area for the horizontal pieces and there needed to be enough room for both screws to pass through without hitting each other.

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Then I applied the glue onto the end of a short piece…

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After setting it back into position, the first screw went in:

IMG_6865I did this on each end (3 more times) until my rectangle was built:

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And then built the remaining two pieces. Step 1 complete!

IMG_6868This is where it gets a little trickier when you’re working by yourself. You have to start balancing things and holding them into position while attaching them together with glue and screws. I had no clamps or flat surface to work on, and the drill I was using didn’t have a lot of power, and the drill bits didn’t fit the screw heads perfectly so there was some frustration involved. If I can do it under these conditions, you definitely can too!

The next step is to attach the long horizontal pieces. I propped up my rectangle and got the pieces into place, then repeated the attachment process with my pilot hole, wood glue and screw. It seemed to work fine…

 

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But when I lifted it up to flip it over and add the other two horizontal pieces, I found they were wobbly so I had to reinforce it with a second screw. One screw works fine for the smaller lengths of wood but just doesn’t cut it for the longer pieces. And I made sure to counter sink them so that a) they’d grab a little more of the wood and b) I could fill the holes so there weren’t any visible screws.

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Two screws did the trick, and I then attached the second rectangle to the opposite end.

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I flipped that piece over and attached the last two horizontal pieces the same way. If you were building a smaller table, this would be your last step before adding the top and it would be pretty much the easiest project ever.

IMG_6873But I had the dilemma of attaching a whole other section without a Kreg Jig or anything of the sort, so I ended up buying these brackets:

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This part was definitely the biggest challenge of the entire project. Even with two screws holding the longer pieces together, they’re quite long so they don’t stay perfectly straight and I had to hold everything into place while keeping them elevated and drilling pilot holes, applying glue, lining up the brackets and attaching the screws.

IMG_6928Somehow I made it all happen. Precise measurements and cutting is a crucial step, otherwise everything may not all fit together!

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Also, these furring strips aren’t perfect, but luckily dark stain goes a looong way to hide imperfections. I didn’t even have wood filler so I used drywall mud + sawdust and you can’t tell at all with the finished product.

IMG_6932After the brackets went on and the base of the table was finished, it was a huge relief!

IMG_6933The next part was easy—add some wood glue to the top:

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Then lift your 2×12″ into place.

IMG_6936And secure it with screws from underneath. I used 8 in total.

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Then it was all about the finishing touches. There was no electric sander available so I picked up some 80 grit and went over each piece by hand. Labor of love, baby.
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After it was all smooth and splinter-free, I applied a dark walnut stain which coordinates nicely with the warm woods in her home.IMG_6945Finally, I brushed a shellac onto the top piece (for extra durability) and used a matte wax on the base since it’s easier/faster and that part doesn’t need the same level of protection as the top.

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We hauled it upstairs to the living room and set it in place. And it’s perfect.

IMG_6993Her home is a split level so it’s one of the first things you see when you walk upstairs into the living room:

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The back wall hides half of it, but it’s such a versatile piece that can be moved anywhere and travel to new homes in the future.IMG_6969

And they get a fun area to display pretty things.

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I’m just a little bit jealous and know exactly what I’ll be making for myself the next time I need a table!

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Now I’m passing on the challenge to you—if you have a way to cut wood and a drill, you can make it too!

This has to be one of my top 3 furniture builds ever and it was so rewarding to see how much my cousin loved it and how happy she is to have it in her home. And I hope this will inspire you to take action as well and try something new!

Hope you’re all enjoying the first official week of summer—make sure to keep up with everything that’s been going on over on instagram and I’ll be back Friday with more photos (keep tagging yours with #jsphotofriday to be featured!)

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51 thoughts on “$30 DIY Sofa/Console Table Tutorial

    1. Made it, came out good but not as nice as yours.. Still wondering which stain you used (brand) got a dark walnut but it’s not the same. Maybe it will pop after the poly coat.

      1. If you need a darker color apply multiple coats of stain let it dry in between coats it will darken up nicely

  1. Wow! This is so cool I’m saving this post in case I ever need a “simple to make” table. I’m a little less intimidated seeing your step by step instructions. The table looks fabulous in your cousin’s home.
    Xo,
    Karen

  2. hmmm…..I am looking all over for your pin button. ??????
    Great project. Perfect for my oddly sized space.

  3. Nevermind. When I reloaded the page, the pin button popped in. It was having trouble loading the first time. Weird.

  4. Built a 7ft one! Ran into a few issues but am now finally ready to sand and paint it. Thank you for the plans

      1. I made a 7′ version and went with the middle piece. I might have been able to get away without it, but I felt more comfortable having it.

  5. Wow, this is incredible – especially for the price! You are a woodworking genius and I’m sure your cousin is very happy!! 🙂

  6. Wow!! So nice! Is there a chance you’ll be doing a guest tour on her house? From what we can see it looks lovely! I have a split level myself and would love some ideas! 🙂

  7. This is so great! Would you mind telling me what your measurements for the horizontal pieces, the vertical legs, and the shorter pieces were? I have the same couch and would love to replicate this table!

    1. Thanks Alexis! There’s a basic drawing at the beginning of the post. The height was 25″ and depth 12″. So taking into account the 1.5″ for each leg, the shorter pieces were 9″ long, and that would make the horizontal pieces 51.75″ (108″ total length minus 4.5″ for the 3 legs, divided in half).

    1. It was the easiest part! I just used a brush and applied it to the bare wood. No wood conditioner or any prep work other than sanding. Then I brushed on the varnished after it dried.

      1. Thanks ? I checked out the materials at Home Depot today will try it on the weekend… the board on top is common board or some wood kind? Also I need it to be 5 feet so I can eliminate the middle panel right??

  8. Hi! This looks amazing. We need a table for our hallway. Do you remember what type of wood you used for the top?

    Kate.
    x

  9. Love your blog!

    I had a friend show me a picture of your finished piece two weeks ago and asked me to make one for her. After many have seen my finished product, I have been getting requests to make more. Although it is built differently, it looks similar. Before I make more and potentially sell them, I wanted to make sure that there were no patents or restrictions on this particular piece.

    Thanks again!

  10. Do you think it would be stable enough if I were to make this only using one row of the smaller connecting pieces on the bottom? So that I could have seating with it?

  11. Looks great. Can you tell me where the couch is from? It is just what we are looking for, our living room has the same layout. Thanks!

  12. So glad I found this, I want to build two of these to go around my sectional!! I love it and I love that its not perfect, because it looks so rustic. Looks amazing!!

  13. Hi Jenna Sue 🙂
    I found your blog through a google search for “behind sofa console table.” Just wanted to let you know that I’ve never seen your blog before, and I’m loving it!! Instead of purchasing a console table, I am going to build one with my 10 yr old son using my “tech class skills” brought back from my high school years, lol. You have inspired me not only by reminding me that I do have these skills, but the style you used is EXACTLY what I was looking for. Unfortunately, buying one is expensive, especially this time of the year…..and now I can have one that fits just what I need! So, all-in-all, here is my humble “Thank You,” and I hope that this also inspires you to keep on posting. Millions of us search things every day, but it’s rare that we stop to tell that person what they’ve done unknowingly.
    So, off I go to draw up plans for our build…..and I will be resting my java on that table while I read more of your lovely blog later.
    *Hugs*

  14. I am so excited that I stumbled across your blog post! My husband, dad and I made this table this weekend and it is now in our home! We stained it “weathered Grey” .. It is 88″ long and 30″ tall perfect measurements for our sofa. Thank you thank you!!
    Jaimee

  15. This is awesome! I asked for a jig saw for christmas, so I see one of these in my future. My slight modification might be to build two identical tables that could be placed next to one another instead of one long table. Here’s why: Our sectional is also really long and I think if I make it the full length it will be a difficult piece of furniture to move into or out of the room. And, since it will be behind the couch (invisible except for the top) it won’t be noticeable and having two piece means flexibility if I decide to use them elsewhere later. But, for the small cost, not going to worry about that too much. Thanks!

  16. Haha! I love the Sofa table but honestly I came here to see if in the comments you mention where you couch is from cause I love it! 🙂

  17. Great Tutorial, love the way you elaborate everything :), I would like to make table for my living room. I have a question, where did you buy these sort of wood pieces and how much strong and durable these are?

  18. Outstanding! Loved your improvising with dry wall mud and saw dust. Necessity is the mother of invention. Nicely done.

  19. It looks like you used 8 2×2 to assemble the base, cut into 3 different lengths. 6 of the short and medium to make the rectangle and then 8 long to attach to the rectangles. What are the measurements of each of the 3 cuts. I don’t have any to cut it but home depot will measure and make all the cuts for the 2x2s. Just want to make sure of the measurements

  20. Thank you very much for sharing this beautiful piece of furniture with us. We’re making this table for sure!

  21. Love it – good of you to mention your frustrations too – I felt your pain having battled with the wrong equipment many times before – adds to the value of the table. Oh to have a cousin like you!

  22. HI there! Just wanted to say thanks for this awesome tutorial! I made one today and it took about 2 hours. I am a beginner and was able to make it thanks to your detailed tutorial :-)) Oh and when I purchased the wood and a couple other items I needed to make this, my total after tax was exactly $30!!! So funny!

  23. Hi was just wondering if you think there’d be any stability issues if I did this 8″ depth instead of your 12″?

  24. Hi there,
    I am SO excited about trying this out. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for! Mine won’t be going between a wall and the sofa, it’ll just be right behind the sofa to create a foyer space in a room that doesn’t have one. Did you find it to be pretty stable on it’s own (to set drinks or decorations on) if there was nothing behind it? Do you think there’d be any issue with it wobbling when people sit on the sofa? These are complaints that I’ve seen with other “skinny” sofa tables, so I was just checking first 🙂 Thanks! Love it , love it, love it!!

  25. Love the post and that it is so well detailed. My daughter has 9 foot couch and needed a table like yours however she was concerned that her small dog would get behind the couch. We used a 2 x12 top and also used 2 x 12s for the legs. Both were cut for us at home center. Used scrap to make large triangular braces and 1 x3s on sides of top to help keep it from sagging. We glued all joints and countersunk screws and filled them with water putty. Finished table was painted black. Your idea with a twist. Fabulous.

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