Flea markets, antique malls, architectural salvage shops, and junkyards are full of interesting old objects you can turn into tables. When you find something level that's the right height, make an inexpensive DIY table by topping it with granite, marble, glass, or wood. To get you started, here are eight table base ideas:
Large Pots, Vases, and Urns
Check the booths selling garden furniture and decor at flea markets and antique malls for huge terracotta pots or concrete urns intended for outdoor use. For something less neutral, shop the import booths at flea markets (especially those selling Asian imports) for oversized porcelain pots and vases with bright colors and bold patterns.
Whichever you choose, top it with round glass that's sized for an end table or small dining table.
For a rustic table base with a retro feel, hunt for an old whiskey or wine barrel. Top it with a a round piece of wood or glass. Then, pull up some chairs and enjoy a 1970's-style evening of casual dining or card games.
Whether they’re genuine pieces of architectural salvage or new reproductions, architectural columns work quite well as DIY table bases.
Top an extra-thick column with round glass, wood, or stone to make an intimate dining table for two. For a larger dining table, use four sturdy columns as legs and a square or rectangular top. To make a sofa or entry table, opt for a rectangular top with a column at each end.
Ideally, leave vintage columns in their existing finish, even if it's pretty worn. Save the painting and faux finishing for the reproductions.
Garden statuary works well as a base for cocktail and end tables. Choose classical statuary for elegant interiors — or opt for whimsical statues of animals to add charm to cottage or country decor.
Use a trio of outward-facing statues for a table with a round top. You'll need four statues, one for each corner, for rectangular and square tops. It's fine if the statues don't match, but they do need to share the same height.
Tree Stumps and Trunks
Top a tree stump or trunk with round glass, granite, or marble to make an end table, or even one to stand in the center of a large foyer. You can use sawed trunk sections or upend a stump and rest the table top on its roots.
Leave your tree trunk table natural, bark and all, for a rustic look. Or, paint it glossy white or black for a more contemporary look.
Treadle Sewing Machine Bases
Turn an antique treadle-style sewing machine into a table base by adding a rectangular top. You might use it in your foyer as an entry table or as a small server in the dining room. The look works well in industrial, rustic, and vintage-inspired interiors.
Top a pair of sawhorses with rectangular glass or granite to make a desk for your home office — or a small breakfast table for a casual kitchen.
Leave the sawhorses in their unpainted (perhaps even weathered) state for a casual, country look. Or, paint them with glossy paint in a bold color to make the look work in a contemporary or transitional space.
Turn an industrial spool once wound with rope or cable into an end or cocktail or dining table, depending on the diameter and height of the spool. Leave a remnant of cable or rope in place for an industrial touch in a rustic or loft-like space. Stack and screw several cable spools together if you need more height.