After installing a projector in my basement we had a lot of fun having friends and family over. Problem was the couch only held four people so it got very crowded. We had a lot of wasted space behind the couch that I wanted to utilize but didn't want to spend to much and it needed to be strong. Also if it was to "Man Cave" like my better half would not have allowed it.
So here are my plans for a cheap, simple, and strong behind the couch bar/counter top.
Step 1: The Wasted Space
As you can see there is a lot of space behind the couch perfect for a bar top. I also noticed the opening under the couch was roughly the thickness of two stacked 2x4's this gave me the idea that I could use the couches weight to add strength and stability to our bar.
I used a few stools we already had and some scrap wood to plan out the dimensions and give a real idea how much space we will need.
Step 2: Leg Design and Testing
I found a way to make a solid cheap leg design that would slide under the rear of the couch. I tested these two different designs with scrap wood. The strongest one was the one with two built in supports. That short 9 inch 45 degree brace adds a great amount of strength and stability.
Now its time to shop and build!
Step 3: Materials and Tools
So what will it take to build this project? Most of these items you will already have in your shop or garage. Below is the list of materials and prices but this is just a starting point get as wild and crazy as you would like!
Wood Glue - $3 (Every home should have a good bottle of wood glue)
Wood Screws (1-2 inches) - $5 (This will get you plenty of the screws you need for this and other projects)
8 Cedar 2x4's - $45 (You could use much cheaper 2x4's if you would like I just dig cedar)
2x8 ft 3/4 inch oak play wood - $8 (You can usually get this as a scrap but I bought a new slim sheet for cheap)
Wood Stain $6 (any color stain you would like or make your own)
Compound Miter Saw (Length and angle cuts)
Long wood clamps (These are a luxury)
Step 4: Leg Assembly
After taking measurements for you own specific set up. Drill glue, screw, and clamp the lengths of the legs for extra stability. After the lengths are together take your angels for your interior braces. Again these sizes will differ greatly but one suggestion is to use your interior 2x4's in the "Beam" orientation for increased strength.
"Beam" orientation means turning your 2x4 to be vertical so the longer measurements is going up and down. As seen in picture two. The leg lengths are in "Plank" orientation and the supports are in "Beam"
Step 5: Top Assembly
Top assembly is very simple. Cut your 2x4's to the desired lengths with the desired angles. I added a 45 degree on the end for looks but this is a choice.
Once you have the lengths cuts pre-drill all the 2x4s where you would like them to line up with your ply wood. I have my ply wood slightly inset lower then the top of the 2x4's to create a lip. Again this is a choice. I also raised the back 2x4 higher than the other so things can not slide off onto the people in front on the couch.
Once everything is drilled, line up one of the 2x4's and the ply wood side up and glue, clamp, and screw it together. Repeat this process on all four sides and the top is done.
Note: the top is only 5 pieces there are no under supports or bracing. The top is extremely strong and stable in this design no need for extra material and work.
Step 6: Finishing
Now finish the design how ever you would like. I choose a walnut stain to match existing stools I had.
Note: I am awful at staining!
Step 7: Basement Aassembly
Because of my stair case I had to move the top and legs into the basement separately and assemble down below.
The top of the legs are the same size as underneath the bar top so they fit snugly between the 2x4 frame. I also choose not to glue the legs in and simply screw them in from underneath so I can take them off if needed later to move.
Note: Make sure screws are shorter than the thickness of the 2x4 and ply wood combined so they don't pop out the bar top when you are putting it together.
Step 8: You Are Done!
After you legs are attached have someone help you flip it over slide the back part of the legs under the rear of the couch and you have a strong, solid, and stable bar top for you and your friends to enjoy.
Please let me know if you have any questions.