How to Make a Basic DIY Sofa Table
Sofa tables are the oft-forgotten cherry on top of a beautiful living room. If you're unfamiliar with the term, picture a console table, but a tad skinnier and traditionally placed behind a sofa or couch or between the sofa or couch and a wall. Sofa tables come in a variety of styles and lengths as well as many materials like glass, metal, and wood and can be dressed up with books, knick knacks, flowers, and other decor, so it's both decorative and functional.
We've come up with a DIY wooden sofa table that is easy to make and, best of all, easy on the wallet. Whether the back of your sofa is exposed or facing a wall, a sofa table can offer any living room a healthy dose of function and beauty.
Before You Begin
This sofa table has been designed to be easily customizable. The dimensions of the final product are 30 inches tall by 72 inches long with a depth of 9 1/4 inches. However, every cut can be adjusted to add or subtract height or length. The top of the table can be widened by buying a wider board or doubling up on narrower boards. If you're after a more streamlined look, the 2 x 10 top could be even swapped for a 1 x 10.
If you increase the length of the table, a middle support should always be added for strength and safety. When adjusting width, going narrower than 9 inches will result in a tipping risk and is not advised.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Miter saw or miter box
- Drill plus bits
- Countersink bit
- Screwdriver bit
- Tape measure
- Orbital sander
- Wood clamps
- Putty knife
- 3-inch wood screws
- 2 1/2-inch wood screws
- 4 6-foot 2 x 2 pine boards
- 1 8-foot 2 x 4 pine board
- 1 8-foot 2 x 10 pine board
- Wood glue
- 100-grit sandpaper
- 220-grit sandpaper
- Wood filler
- Rubber furniture feet
- Sealing primer
- Interior paint or spray paint
- Wood sealer
Assemble the Table
When choosing your wood, look for pieces with fewer knots if you desire a more modern look and more knots if you want a more rustic look. If you need it, most hardware stores will precut the wood for you, which is especially helpful if you have a smaller vehicle.
Cut Top Piece
Use a miter saw to cut a 2 x 10 board to 72 inches in length. This is the total length of the sofa table. If a longer table is desired, adjust the length of the top as well as the long braces and bottom brace.
Cut Legs and Braces
Next, cut two 2 x 2 boards into four leg pieces at 28 1/2 inches each. Using the excess, cut four short braces at 6 1/4 inches. Lastly, use the two remaining 2 x 2 boards to cut two long braces at 69 inches and cut one 2 x 4 into a 69-inch piece for the bottom brace.
Mockup End Pieces
The easiest way to build the sofa table is in sections, starting with the two ends. To do this, form a rectangle with two short brace pieces and two legs. The dimensions should be 9 1/4 inches by 28 1/2 inches.
Assemble and Fasten End Pieces
To assemble the rectangle, use a countersink bit to pre-drill a hole through the legs and into the short braces. Repeat on all four corners. To fasten, apply a thin layer of wood glue on both sides of each joint then secure with 3-inch wood screws. Repeat the process for the second end piece. For best results, allow the wood glue to dry for at least 30 minutes before continuing.
Complete Top of Frame
Complete the top of the frame by attaching the rectangles to the ends of the long braces. To do this, you will pre-drill and screw through the legs and into the braces, similar to the process of assembling the rectangles. The key to doing this correctly is to use a pencil to mark a solid drilling spot that will avoid the existing screws. Once marked, pre-drill using a countersink bit and join using wood glue and 3-inch screws. Repeat with the second long brace, then attach the second rectangle on the other end of the braces.
Complete Bottom of Frame
To complete the bottom of the frame, you'll use the 69-inch 2 x 4. For positioning, use a tape measure and pencil to mark the middle of the lower short braces. This mark should fall exactly at 4 5/8 inches. Next, use a tape measure to mark the middle of each end of the 2 x 4. This mark will fall exactly at 1 3/4 inches. Align the marks and use a countersink bit to pre-drill two holes through the sides of the braces into the end of the 2 x 4. Next, apply wood glue to each side of the joint and secure with 3-inch wood screws. Repeat on the other end.
Align Top and Drill Pilot Holes
To attach the top, simply place the top on the ground with the prettiest side facing down. Place the frame upside down on top of the top piece. After checking the alignment, use a drill bit no longer than 2 inches to drill pilot holes along the length of the braces and into the top piece. At least 4 holes per side and one on each end should be plenty.
Attach Top Piece
Temporarily remove the frame and apply a thin layer of wood glue to the entire joint, both on the frame and the top piece. Replace the frame and secure with 2 1/2-inch wood screws. Once finished, flip the piece right-side up.
Sand the Table
Fill Screw Holes
Before sanding, use a putty knife to fill all countersunk screw heads with wood filler and let dry according to the provided instructions. If there are any imperfections or undesired knots, you can fill these with wood filler as well.
Sand Entire Table
Sand the entirety of the table using an orbital sander with 100-grit sandpaper until smooth. Focus on the edges to minimize splintering as well as the end grain. Once smooth, repeat with a higher grit paper. Continue this process, working your way up to at least 220-grit sandpaper.
If you plan to paint the sofa table, follow these steps for the best results.
If painting, you should first apply a high-quality primer with knot-sealing qualities. This will allow the paint to better adhere to the raw wood as well as prevent future leakage from the knots. Apply one to two coats and let dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. Some primers require sanding between coats for best results.
Whenever applying paint or stains, especially oil-based varieties, work in a well-ventilated area and wear masks rated for fumes.
Paint the table using either a paintbrush or spray paint in your desired color. Depending on the quality of the paint, more than one coat may be necessary for ample coverage and a durable finish.
Stain and Seal Table
If you plan to stain the sofa table or leave a natural finish, follow these steps.
Apply Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
Softwoods are notoriously poor for accepting stains. To achieve a higher-quality finish on softwoods, it's recommended that you first apply a pre-stain, following the instructions on the label. If you desire to leave the wood natural, skip ahead to step 3.
Directly after pre-stain, follow up by applying your chosen stain according to the manufacturer's provided instructions.
Seal the wood using a clear wood sealing product such as polyurethane. Most products require light sanding between coats, but you should follow your sealer's specific label for proper application.
Install Rubber Feet
To finish up your new sofa table, all you have to do is install rubber feet on each leg.
"Healthy Indoor Painting Practices." United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, 2000.