Introduction: DIY Coffee Table With Storage
We needed a new coffee table and we had a few requirements. We wanted something with drawers so we could have storage, but without everything being exposed and out in the open. We wanted something with a different design than something you'd normally see, but it had to be easy for the average person to build. It had to be solid wood, not particle board like something you'd see in stores. I think the design hits all those boxes and we love it. It has a unique colour and design that everyone talks about when they see it and it's practical too! I hope you like it too and build it for yourself.
Some of these are affiliate links to products I use and if you purchase them I make a small commission, and that helps support me and my channel to make future content, so thanks!
- Pocket Hole Jig
- Saws (jigsaw, miter saw, tablesaw and circular saw)
- 18 guage brad nailer
- Router and round over bit
- 2 Drawer Slide
- Wood Glue
- Wood Filler
- 2 Drawer Pulls
- 4x4 sheet of 3/4" sanded plywood
- 2x4 sheet of 1/2" sanded plywood
- 2x4 sheet of 1/4" sanded plywood
- 1 - 1x6x8 (something like knotty or craftsman pine is best as it's dried and has less chance to twist)
- 1 - 1x8x6 (you could also use hardwood if you have the coins laying around)
- 2 - 12x48 pine project panels (top)
- 1 - 1x6x5 fence picket (drawer fronts)
- Plywood edge banding
- Cove and tapered molding
Step 1: Rip Boards for Frame and Legs
The first thing we are going to do is rip the 1x6 and 1x8 to make out frame stretchers and legs. I started with the 1x6. The first thing it did was run it through the table saw just taking the width of the saw blade off each side, that will remove the rounded edge off the board. From there, reset the fence and rip the whole board at 2.5" wide, and then reset and run the rest through at 1.75". Take the 1x8 and rips the rounded corners off it too. Once squared up, reset and rip that board into a whole bunch of 1.5" wide strips.
Step 2: Assemble Legs
With everything ripped we can assemble the legs. Using the 1.75" and 2.5" strips we cut, lay them on each other and flush up the ends, then cut them square table saw. Slide them over, making sure the end is still flush and cut 4 legs to 17.5" long. The reason for cutting them together it to keep them the same length as eachother. Over on the table take 1 of each 1.75" and 2.5" and glue and brad nail them together using 1.5" brads. With them glued and nailed together it will give you a leg that is 2.5"x2.5" both directions. Then fill in the nail holes with filler.
Step 3: Make the Top
Using the 2 project panels, apply a bead of glue in the middle and clamp them together making one large panel. You can use dowels, biscuits, or pocket holes to join and align them together if you want or don't have clamps. Once the glue is dry trim about 1" off the ends so they are square and flush, and it has a final dimension of 23.75" x 46". Then with a router and a 3/8" round over bit, round the entire top side of the panel for a decorative touch.
Step 4: Build the Frame
An easy way to determine the lengths of your long and short stretchers is to take the legs and sit them side by side on the top, flushing them up to one side, then just measure from the legs over to the other edge of the top and subtract the amount you want your top to overhang on each side. My short stretchers I cut to 17 5/8" and my long ones to 39 7/8", and that gave me the 1/2" overhang I wanted on each side for my top. With that figured out, take all 4 of the 1.5" boards we ripped, and just like the legs flush them up with each other and square them up, then cut them to their final lengths all together (this will make sure they are all the same length). Now we can adjust our pocket hole jig for 3/4" stock and drill 2 holes in each end of all 8 of our frame pieces.
Moving back to the legs, take all 4 of them and hold them together flush on the bottoms and gang cut them all to 17 1/4" (make sure the blade stops moving before you raise it back up or move anything). If you have a stop block you can set it and cut them one by one. Then measure back 1" from the outside of the leg to the center, and using a square make a mark at 45 degrees and then cut that off both sides of the bottoms of the legs, just so it doesn't look so boring. I made sure to lay out my legs as they would be installed before marking because I wanted the seam side of the legs, where they were glue together, facing the sides and not the front and back. They are the same dimensions either way so if you don't do it, it really doesn't matter, but esthetically I like it when all the seams were facing out on the same sides. After that I measured up 3" from the bottom of each leg and made a mark, this will be the top of the bottom stretchers.
With that we can assemble. Gluing the ends of the stretchers, clamp it down flat with the leg flush on top and screw it together with pocket holes. Then on the same leg add the lower stretcher to the 3" mark the same way. From there add the other leg. With one side panel done, repeat the process making the other side. Then add the long stretchers to one side, then add the other side, then flip and add the last 2 long stretchers. Now you should have a general shape of the frame, if it seems flimsy just wait, it will get much stronger as we go.
Step 5: Adding Lower Shelf Trim and Shelf
If you don't want to or don't feel comfortable adding trim for the panel, or you just want a easier way you can measure and cut your lower shelf to size right now, drill pocket holes all around the bottom of the and screw it into place. For a much cleaner look however I prefer the trim method as it is much nicer looking underneath with trim acting as a cleat, it's more finished. We aren't adding more pocket holes to it, and the shelf and trim actually hide and cover the ones for the lower stretchers
Using a scrap piece of the same 3/4" plywood for the shelf, flush it up to the top side of the stretcher and mark a line in a couple places around the table on the bottom side. Then take some cove molding (you can buy this at most box stores or even make it yourself if you have the tools), and holding it just how it will be installed make a mark for the length you need. I also like to mark the direction I need the blade to cut it so I don't get mixed up. Then hold it in place again and miter cut the other side. Sneak up on these cuts to get a great fit, you can take off too much very quickly. Once you have it cut, add glue below the line you marked, add the trim and nail it in place with 1" brad nails. I like to still use the scrap piece to make sure the plywood will be flush when the trim is installed. Then keep on moving around the table until the last piece is installed. Also, make sure to add wood glue to all of the miter joints as you go to help strengthen them and keep the joints closed.
Then with the shelf cut to size (I grabbed a measurement and cut to size with a straight edge and circular saw) add a big fat bead of glue into the edge of the trim and stretcher. This way when the shelf is layed in the glue will squeeze up the side of the plywood to the stretcher, and also down to the trim bonding it all together making it very strong. Add the shelf, I made sure mine was a tight fit so there would be no gaps. Then using clamps pull the center stretchers in to meet the shelf, making sure it's all square and flush. I also added a couple 1.5" brad nails at a angle in each corner down into the trim and leg. These are mostly hidden from view when finished behind the legs.
Step 6: Adding Center Drawer Cubby
Now we can build our drawer box cubby. Measure and double check your table first but you should be able to cut a couple side panels from 3/4" plywood to 22 5/8" x 14 1/4". Then we can notch for the top stretchers. Using a scrap piece of the stretchers we cut off earlier, hold it into the top corners as it will be oriented in the table and mark it, then cut it out with a jig saw, hand saw or band saw. To attach it to the table, I added 1 pocket hole per notch, and 4 along the bottom on the inside of the panel. Then before installing I used edge banding to seal up the front and back sides of the plywood that will be visible (I have a edge banding video on my YouTube channel if you've never used it before).
To install them I measured back from each side, in towards the middle at 14.5" (mine actually ended up installed at 14 7/16) and made a mark, then used a square to mark a line, make sure to make the same mark on the top stretchers. That line is the outside of where my panel will sit. Then adding glue for it to sit on, slide it in place and using a square to make sure it is straight up and down I screwed them down with pocket holes and screwed the the top to the stretchers. For the back panel I grabbed my measurement and cut it to size from the same plywood, added a few pocket holes to hold it to the sides and one to the bottom. Glue it in, add the screws and to hold the top to the stretcher I added a couple 1" brads till the glue dried.
Using more scrap, cut a 1x2 board and add it to the center for a divider on the front with pocket holes on the back side (mine ended up about 6 3/8" to the center, measuring up from the bottom). On the back side to dress it up a bit I used some tapered molding. Just like before with the cove molding, hold it into place, mark for length and blade direction and cut. Then add glue to the back and side and nail in place with 5/8" brad nails or pin nails if you have one. Repeat for all of them till it's trimmed out like a picture frame.
Step 7: Build the Drawers
This is something that could honestly be covered in a whole topic by itself so I'll be brief (I do have a in depth video on my YouTube channel on measuring and building simple drawers).
Because I didn't want to lose too much room on the inside, and they will be small, I used 1/2" and 1/4" sanded plywood for them. Rip the 1/2" plywood to 4" wide strips, that is the height of the drawers. Cut 4 pieces for the sides to 19" long for the sides, and 4 at 12 5/8" long for the front and back (again, double check your measurements on your hardware). An easy way to determine the front and back sizes is to cut and take the 2 sides of the drawers and slide them to one side, measure the remaining distance of the hole, subtract 1" for the drawer slides and that gives you your front and back sizes. It's hard to explain it in text. Once everything is cut, you can finish the tops out with more edge banding and sanding smooth to clean them up or leave the plywood edge, your choice. Take and glue them together with the front and back sitting inside of the sides and you can brad nail them together with 1.5" nails. Then measure the box and cut 1/4" plywood for the bottom of the drawer. Then run a thin bead of glue around the bottom side of the box and using 5/8" brads or pin nails, pin one corner. Then square the box up with the bottom panel and pin the other corner. The nail all corners down, then the rest of the box bottom every 4" or so. To finish cut the 2 false drawer fronts from the 1x6x5 fence picket and fit them to the drawer opening leaving about a 1/8" all the way around. (again, watching the video is much easier to explain) If you want to add a decorative touch to the drawer fronts you can run around them with a router bit of your choice.
Step 8: Finishing
From there, give everything a good sanding up to 120 grit, you can go 220 if you want. Wipe it all down with a rag dampened with water to remove sanding dust and apply your finish of choice. I stained it and applied a water based clear coat. You could apply a oil based finish like danish oil, or even paint it. You could even do a painted frame with clear coated drawers, and a stained top.
Add the drawer slides shimming the bottom one up 1/4", and back the width of the drawer front. Then using a scrap shim cut to 6 1/4", set it on top of the lower slide to mount the upper slide. Add the drawer slides to the drawers as per their instructions, screwing them on from the bottom. Then take some furniture angle brackets and add 3 along the front and back inside of the frame using 1/2" screws. I added 1 to each corner and 1 to the center. Then add the top and square up making sure you have 1/2" overhang all the way around and using the angle brackets, screw into the top from below. Slide in the drawers and done!
Step 9: Done!
I hope your project turned out awesome! Let me know what you think, or if you have any questions and I'll get back to ya! You can tag me or email me directly!
Thanks for stopping by and have fun!