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Home > Projects & DIY Toolkit > How-To Articles > Make a Custom Coffee Table

Make a Custom Coffee Table

A customized coffee table is a beautiful addition to any home's decor. And, since it's customized, you can make the perfect decorative statement to match your style. Building the table is so easy anyone can do it. All you need are a few common tools and a little creativity.

Lowe's is happy to provide this information as a service to you.

Tools & Materials

Pre-glued Top Option

Using a pre-glued panel is the quickest and easiest way to make your tabletop. After you purchase the pre-glued panel all you need is a circular saw to cut the top to length and width. This is the option we chose for our coffee table, the lists above reflect the tools and materials needed to make a top using this option.

Glued Top Option

If you prefer to create the top from scratch, you can make it from 1x material. This is an excellent option if you want a clear-coated solid oak table. You can use anything from 1x4 to 1x12 boards for the top. Cut your boards at least 2" longer than the final length you want for the tabletop and edge-glue them together. The glue-up's width should be at least 1" wider than the intended width of the top.

Plywood or Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) Top Option

You can also use 3/4" plywood or MDF for your top. If you want the look of oak or birch without gluing the top, you can cut a piece of oak or birch faced plywood to the size you need for the top. Cover the raw edges of the plywood with iron-on edge banding and your top is ready. If you choose 3/4" MDF, cut it to the size you need then you can either paint or laminate the top.

Make the Table

Top plates make attaching the legs easy.

  •   1. Make the top from the material of your choice above. Cut the top to size.
  •   2. Mark the underside of the top for the leg top plate locations. As a rule of thumb, the top plates should be located 1" to 2" in from the edges of the top.
  •   3. Screw the leg top plates to the underside of the top as marked.
  •   4. Screw the leg into the top of the bracket.
  •   5. Sand the entire table
  •   6. Paint, clear-coat or stain the entire table.

Construction Notes

  •   • If you're going to laminate the top, finish the legs and laminate the top before connecting the legs to the top.
  •   • If you use a pre-glued panel, a panel you glue yourself or 3/4" MDF that you intend to paint, you can use a router and a bottom piloted bit to add a decorative edge to the top.
  •   • If you want a more modern look, add apron pieces between the legs. Cut pieces of 1x4 to fit between the legs. Cut 3/4"x3/4" strips 1" shorter than each apron piece. Hold the apron piece in place and use 1 1/4" screws to secure the strips to the aprons and the underside of the table.

For our coffee table we used a full-sized 47 1/2" x 24" pre-glued pine board for the top. After sanding the board with 220 grit sandpaper, we routed a decorative edge into the top. We chose 15 1/4" country pine legs for their elegantly simple design. The entire coffee table was stained with white pastel wood stain to simulate milk paint or old-timey whitewash. Finally, we added two coats of clear satin polyurethane to protect our finished piece.

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please visit our terms of use.

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