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Easy DIY sofa tables

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So after having the same boring beige couch for what felt like forever … (literally since we were 20 and 22 years old!)

… we splurged during a Boxing Day sale and bought the grey sectional I’d wanted for ages.

We’ve spent the last few months without a coffee table, since our old one no longer fit in the space, and it left us . . . well, really lacking a place to put down a drink.

Tutorial for the farmhouse coffee table here

I still haven’t decided what kind of coffee table I’ll make for our living room, but there was no question that we needed some kind of table close to the sectional. Inspired by a modern slide-under-the-couch table I saw on Pinterest, I thought I’d try building my own version.

The materials list for this project is really basic: a couple of 2×2 boards and a small piece of wood to serve as a small tabletop. Since I had some scrap wood on hand, I was able to build two of these tables for about $15.

For tools, I used the RYOBI 7.25-inch miter saw and RYOBI drill-driver I got for my birthday.

My drill/driver!
My saw!

(Nerdy woodworking note: Remember how I once said 1×2 boards were my favourite and I was building everything out of them? Well, now I’m obsessed with 2x2s. They don’t split like 1x2s are prone to do, they’re stronger and they have a nice chunkiness to them.)

I made up the ‘plans’ as I went along, and there is almost no measuring required. I just cut down a 2×2 into eight short lengths (half approximately seven inches and half about nine inches) and screwed two ‘longs’ and two ‘shorts’ together to make two wooden squares.

Well, who knows if they were actually squares, but the edges lined up, so that’s all that matters.

Once I had two squares of wood — a table base and the support for a tabletop — it was time to make the legs of the table.

I was quite scientific about this part. I carried both pieces upstairs, stuck one square under the edge of the sectional, held the other square where I wanted it to be. Then it was just a matter of measuring how long the “joiner pieces” (a.k.a. table legs) needed to be.

(I built one table sofa-arm height, and the other table was designed to fit over the arm of my husband’s gaming chair, so the only difference in their construction is the height of the legs.)

I cut two long lengths of 2×2 to be the two legs, and screwed them into the squares on one side. By adding two legs — instead of four — the table base can slide under a couch or chair, which puts the tabletop snugly over the arm.

The final step was screwing on a square of wood — slightly larger than the original squares, but it doesn’t matter if there’s much overhang — to be the top of the table.

Then I decided to get a little creative and mess around with angled cuts to make some ‘decorations.’ I clicked my mitre saw over to 45 degrees and cut a few scraps to nestle between the legs on an angle, and then screwed them in place.

I painted my first table a pretty blue and then changed my mind once I’d built a second. Now they’re both painted with a soft greige (Fusion Mineral Paint’s Putty) with warm stained tops (Minwax’s Early American). I wanted them to look rustic, so I grabbed the nearest dark paint (Fusion Mineral Paint’s Midnight Blue) and lightly dry-brushed along the edges. I love the effect!

Because these tables will pretty much exclusively be used for cold and hot drinks — hello, ugly condensation rings — I slathered four coats of polyurethane on the tops to protect my staining job.

The new tables are super convenient and I find myself using them multiple times a day for drinks, remotes or the laptop. I love that they’re neutral but still have unique touches — not to mention an indestructible tabletop, no matter how many glasses of ice-cold Diet Coke sit on the surface.


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