12 Fabulous Types of DIY Coffee Tables (Different Styles)

Very cool modern DIY coffee table.

Coffee tables in general are a modern concept. They are, like Starbucks, a creation of our dependency of Java.

Were there coffee tables in the days of yore? Well, I have no doubt that there were.

Were they called coffee tables?  Maybe.

Were they, in essence, preconfigured for the purpose of being knee high so you could place your napalm adrenaline juice? Ehh, who knows… For the sake of this article, we will render that awe-inspiring mute; not even give it a second glance. With that tidbit in place, let’s worm ourselves around some murky gray areas, and place our derrières on that fantastic area that is MODERN TIMES.

Characteristics of a Modern Coffee table

  • Minimalistic design.
  • Straight curves.
  • At the most two different construction materials (aside from screws, paste and whatnots).

12 Different DIY Coffee Tables – 12 Different Styles

1. The Low Profile Coffee Table

The Low Profile Coffee Table

Coffee tables, to some, are vanity pieces. They are at their core, by their own definition, a placeholder for your coffee. A way of telling everybody: “hey, look, I’m such a big-shot that my Cup O’ Joe deserve its own throne!”

Well, some of us, at least some, believe that such extravagances should not be highlighted; why go all Liberace when a simple piece will do?

Materials

  • 3/4” Pine Plywood
  • wood filler
  • Wood Glue container
  • Table saw Rigid R1512
  • Circular Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Pocket hole jig
  • Clamps
  • Nail Gun
  • Heavy duty Staple gun
  • Orbital sander
  • Drill

Tips/Instructions

  • Measurements is key in this DIY. If it’s not your strong suit, then add a cm’ or two for wiggle room; shave those extra suckers during final cut.
  • Fabric for the underside gives this piece an expensive look; it adds a bit of sparkle. As such don’t skimp out on it, even if you think it’s overkill.
  • You might consider placing a piece of tempered glass on top.

2. Modern Maple and Steel Coffee Table

Modern Maple and Steel Coffee Table

A doozy of project. A two video tutorial that will have you at home, scratching your head and thinking: “why the hell did I get myself into this mess?” Is it worth the endless nights? Is it worth the nightmares? The stress? The worry? You betcha’! Just look at the finished product, your friends will want to be you, and there wives will want to be with you; wink, wink, wink.

Materials

  • 65 board feet of Hard Maple, or 6 2x10x8′ boards
  • Biscuits
  • Wood Glue
  • General Finishes High Performance Water Based Polyurethane
  • ¾” Threaded Rod, 4 x 29″ lengths
  • ¾” Hex Nut x 8
  • ¾” Flat Washer x 8
  • Dewalt 20V Max Impact Driver
  • SawStop PCS 1.75-HP Professional Cabinet Saw
  • DEWALT FLEXVOLT 12″ Compound Sliding Miter Saw
  • Supermax 19-38 Drum Sander
  • DEWALT DW621 2-Horsepower Plunge Router
  • DEWALT DW682K 6.5 Amp Plate Joiner
  • 8 Inch Jointer
  • MIRKA DEROS Sander
  • DEWALT TrackSaw
  • Veritas Low Angle Jack Plane

Tips/Instructions

  • If your are not a welder, then by all means either by the bases or supplant with some legs.
  • Precut everything.
  • Burnish the bolts for that extra sparkle.

3. The Mid-Century Modern Coffee Table

The Mid-Century Modern Coffee Table

Build from scraps and a single sheet of plywood, the BIG selling point of this build is the fact that you can recycle all those leftovers from other DIY projects. It’s a beautiful piece that’s relatively easy to build. Plus, IT HAS DRAWERS!!!!

Materials

  • 3/4″ Sheet of Maple Plywood
  • Dark Walnut Stain
  • Semi Gloss Polyurethane
  • Legs
  • Tools: saw, drill, and sander.

Tips/instructions

  • Play with the height of the legs. The tutorial makes a case for 16” legs, but that only works for couches or sofas that sit bit higher than the norm. Measure your futon, or your sitting contraption and work from there. Too tall and your whole set will be out of wack, too small and you’re in the same boat. Measure twice, and then just for kicks, measure a third time.
  • Use a simple interior latex paint. You pick the color.

4. The Two Tool Wonder

The Two Tool Wonder

This modern design only needs two tools in order to be brought into life. Just two… sounds simple, right? WRONG! This is a challenging piece that will test your woodworking skills. Watch, rewatch and then memorize video; it’s chockfull of tips for the would be carpenter.

Materials

  • Incra T-Rule (the marking square thing)
  • Arm R Seal Urethane Top Coat
  • Gorilla Gripper (for carrying plywood)
  • Plywood sheets
  • Woodfiller
  • Legs
  • Drill
  • Saw

 Tips/instructions

  • Be creative with the legs. The video used hairpin legs, that doesn’t mean you have to.
  • If you’re not a fan of raw dowels and plywood edges, then a simple edge cutter or iron will give the whole pice a more “finished” less rustic look.

5. Rustic Coffee Table

Rustic Coffe Table

Two things will make this video stand up above the rest. One: you see the presenter? I’ve decided that she’ll be the future mother of my children. Two: this rustic beast is transportable; nifty little wheels underneath. Oh, and for those with a bit of belly flap peaking over your belt, get ready to blast those abs!

Materials

  • Caster Wheels
  • Trim Head Screws
  • Wood Filler
  • Stain
  • Poly
  • Sanding Blocks
  • Miter Saw
  • Lumber
  • 4×4
  • Drill and Impact Driver

Tips/instructions

  • Precut everything.
  • If you’re only going to dabble in DIY once, and this is your piece, then don’t buy jigs and clamps. Go an ask a neighbor or a friends.
  • If you want it to look vintage, distressed and like it’s been in a war zone then beat up the wood and 4x4s.
  • Wait for everything to dry.
  • Propose marriage to presenter.

6. Easy Recycled Timber Coffee Table

Easy Recycled Timber Coffee Table

For a couple of bucks and some basic DIY skills you can now own a simple, firm and nice-looking coffee table. The trick to this piece is to haggle; to name prices, auction off and come to an understanding with your local lumberyard employee.

Materials

  • Finished using Danish Oil
  • Glued together with TitebondII
  • Table Saw
  • Random Orbital
  • Sander
  • Battery Drill
  • Circular Saw

Tips/instructions

  • Read the finished article with excellent words of profound wisdom: ThirstyCraftsman.com
  • Try supplanting table tools for handheld tools.

7. Just a “Slice of Tree-Trunk” Coffee Table

Just a Slab Of Wood Coffee Table


“Holy Moley,” you go. “Last night’s storm was a rough one.” Out your window you stare, glaring back, a scene plugged straight out of the Apocalypse. All around across your neighborhood crews – your tax dollars at work – are cleaning up “El Niños” hissy fit. All manner of woodworking tools making a symphony… This, my friend, is the perfect DIY storm; wood, of all manner and shape, sitting on the sidewalk ready for your greedy little hands. Grab the car, fast, and start scouring your neighborhood for gold.

Materials

  • 16″ Hairpin Legs by industrial By Design
  • Watco Natural Danish Oil
  • A slab of wood

Tips/instructions

8. Glass, Wood and Metal

Glass, Wood and Metal

Glass, wood, metal, oh my… Toss a bit of ceramics into the mix and you have Yahtzee! This build is perfect for those houses than simply can’t get a bit. Those ecliptic rooms where everything seems to mesh together into a hodgepodge mess that somehow clicks into place.

Materials

  • Large slab of pine
  • Thick Glass
  • 2x4s
  • Bosch 10″ 15 Amp Portable Tablesaw Model # GTS1031
  • Black & Decker Miter Saw
  • DeWalt 20v Max Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill
  • WEN 12-Amp 12.5 in. Thickness Planer Model # 6550
  • Ryobi Circular Saw
  • DeWalt Sander
  • 300 Grit Sandpaper
  • Wood Glue – Titebond II
  • Various Chisels
  • Strap Clamp
  • Hot Glue (for the temp. table saw rails)
  • Red Magogany Stain
  • 5 Coats of Polyurethane with sanding (300) in between
  • Legs: Black Hammered Metallic Spray Paint

Tips/instructions

  • If you know your way around a welder, then have fun with the legs. Think blackened steel and not metallic black paint.
  • Look for a nice glass cutter at your local hardware store.
  • Buy glass that’s rated for heavy use. Something that can actually withstand weight.

9. Wooden Crates Coffee Table

Here’s why these types of constructions are such a fad.

  1. They are extremely cheap. Wooden crates are free if you’re savvy enough and on good terms with your grocer.
  2. Any fool can make a wooden crate design; in essence it’s just building blocks on a larger scale.
  3. They are great to place stuff in.

Materials

  • Wooden crates.
  • 2×4
  • paint and primer

Tips/instructions

  • Try to get the crates for free. If that’s not possible or you’re in a hurry then buy them; they cost about 11 bucks each.
  • Paint and primer is essential, to give it that nice finished look. Still, don’t settle for the color on the video. Personalize your design.

10. Pallet Coffee Table

Pallet Coffee Table

 

There are a hundred models on YouTube. The second you put pallet, plus another search field on the query bar, YouTube goes into overdrive. As such, I’m only taking one example. Having fun with pallets is not only easy, put extremely cheap; those babies are everywhere.

Materials

  • Pallet Wood
  • Strips of weathered pine (trim)
  • OSB Project/Hobby Board
  • Hairpin Legs
  • Bosch 10″ 15 Amp Portable Tablesaw Model # GTS1031
  • Black & Decker Miter Saw
  • Ryobi Circular Saw
  • WEN 12-Amp 12.5 in. Thickness Planer Model # 6550
  • Wood Glue – Titebond II
  • 18 Gauge Brad Nailer – Porter Cable
  • 250 Grit Sandpaper
  • 5 Coats of Polycrylic with sanding (250) in between

Tips/instructions

  • Don’t buy a pallet; go to your local supermarket or homedepot and ask for one.
  • Why hairpin legs? You don’t like hairpin legs, then don’t get them. Be your own thing!
  • Sand between coats of poly, otherwise the end result will be uneven and wonky.

11. I-Bean Miracle (Steel)

I-Bean Miracle

There is going way above the call of duty, then there’s the I-Beam coffee table. Just one item, one core material, yet a piece that might, if done-up in hurry end up killing you. This is a DIY for those with nerves of steel and a heart of pure bravery; for the lions, the alphas, or those with a death wish.

Materials

  • An I-Beam: 12×13 in width; 5-6 feet long.
  • Sander
  • Chalks
  • Pizza (for the obligatory pizza break. It’s in the tutorial).
  • Protective gear.
  • Saw

Tips/instructions

  • When buying the pizza, always go for meat-lovers; no veggie nonsense. Pack on those calories.
  • Wear every sort of protective gear you can think of. If you look like Darth Vader, then you are on the right track.
  • Sand everything off; otherwise your piece will be more guillotine and less coffee table.

12. Concrete Top Coffee Table

Concrete Top Coffee Table

You really want to stand out, don’t you? Why go with wood, when there are so many strange and wonderful materials waiting to catch your friends’ attention out-there. Be creative, be bold, be insane.

Materials

  • jigsaw
  • Orbital sander
  • Drill
  • Plywood
  • Concrete
  • Weights
  • 4×4

Tips/instructions

  • Don’t bother with buying great wood. Most is just for the housing and the inner body. It’s a nice way for the whole built to look indestructible but not weight a ton.
  • Sand the outer housing to a smooth finish otherwise, those rough bits from the wood will tattoo heavily on your concrete top.
  • The inner framework is just that: inner. Don’t muck about with being to careful, no one will see it.
  • When applying concrete, be careful and weigh it down. If you don’t, if you go all willy-nilly, you’ll get pockets of air.