DIY Furniture & Design

16 Designs for a Low-Cost DIY Coffee Table

Despite being a relatively recent entrant onto the furniture scene historically, the coffee table has most definitely become ubiquitous. We not only set our drinks and snacks on it while watching TV or entertaining guests, it’s also home to our books, magazines, remotes, and maybe some special objects we’ve picked up on our travels. A coffee table is the perfect spot to play games with our kids and friends. And it’s the most natural place to kick up our feet at the end of the day. There’s no lack of coffee tables to buy in the modern era. But it’s a simple enough piece of furniture, that you can easily make your own coffee table. While a coffee table is very functional, it can add great style and character to a room. DIY coffee table ideas abound, and if you’re a devotee of the 3Rs in design (reuse, repurpose, recycle), you will have no lack of inspiration. Build a coffee table with pallets or crates. Upcycle a door, a tire, or even tree stumps into the next coffee table trend. When designing your own DIY coffee table, keep a few basic spacing guidelines in mind. Allow 18” between the coffee table and seating. That will give you enough leg room, while still making the table a comfortable distance to reach out to and set drinks. While there’s a range of heights that work for a coffee table, target within 4 inches of your sofa to keep the room looking balanced. Now, check out our favorite DIY, high style-low budget coffee tables, and get to work!

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Inspired by Design

Aside from the couch, the coffee table (or cocktail table) might be the most-used piece of furniture in the house. You place drinks and snacks on it; it’s home to your books, magazines, and remote control; and most important, at the end of a long day, you rest your feet on it. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite DIY coffee tables, like this version made from old apple crates, to help you find—and then create—a table to soothe your tired soles (and soul).

Industrial Evolution

The industrial look—once limited to downtown lofts—has permeated traditional décor of late. If you want to try this trendy aesthetic without investing lots of money, this DIY coffee table template is an easy, no-risk option that can bring a hip city vibe into your home.

Manufactured Beauty

A rustic take on the industrial look, this easy DIY incorporates plumbers’ pipes as the table legs. A reclaimed wood top is ideal, but the worn appearance can be forged with stain, sanding, and forced distressing. As with all the coffee tables on our list, be sure to adjust the leg lengths to coordinate with your couch’s height.

Factory Cart Table

You’d be hard-pressed to find a factory-cart-cum-coffee-table at a flea market or antiques store these days—the coveted items are snatched up quickly. Many furniture stores are producing their own versions, but they come with a hefty price tag. You can, however, build your own; it’s a more complex DIY project than others listed here, but the payoff is worth it.

Herringbone Pallet

This DIY coffee table takes pallet furniture
to the next level. After pallets have been disassembled, the wood is applied in a herringbone design to a plywood backing, which then tops another pallet. It’s all mounted onto wood block legs. The epitome of earthy sophistication.

Cool Recycled Spool


Left raw or painted a dark hue, this recycled cable spool could easily swing industrial, but as shown here, lightened by a coat of white paint, it gives off a country feel. Although the wheels are optional, the convenience of a mobile coffee table outweighs the effort of installing them. 

Magazine Rack Hack

This magazine rack coffee table can be made in less than an hour with wire deck, zip ties, and plexi-glass. It’s high industrial style on a low budget, with no tools required.

Glass Top

This clean and contemporary DIY coffee table is nothing more than a custom cut piece of glass set on top of some hand-built wood blocks. Don’t want to make blocks? Substitute any chunky wood supports you like. It will bring a unique, streamlined look to your living space.

Tree Stumps

An assemblage of tree stumps, sealed and painted white, makes for a cool and sophisticated coffee table in this modern living room. They’re also sturdy, and surely won’t slide when you put your feet up.

Concrete Idea

Our next IKEA hack requires more elbow grease, but you’ll emerge with a table no one would ever guess originated at the big-box retailer. The Klubbo tabletop serves as a built-in mold for a concrete top. The neutral look of the raw material complements any modern home

Modern Steps

The bones of this side table project are simple and straightforward—you may even be able to find enough material in your leftover scraps to assemble it. Take this austere look to the next level by painting the table in a bold or bright hue.

Slick Tire

An ingenious way to make sure tires aren’t relegated to the dump, this DIY coffee table is made of a discarded tire wrapped in rope. Using different colors of rope elevates the design and gives the table a more refined appearance. We suggest leaving the legs off and stacking several of these. If extra guests show up, voilà!—floor cushion seating.

Reflected Glory

Nobody would ever guess this mirrored coffee table was built in your home workshop! A reflective piece of furniture brings instant glam to any room, and with this DIY version, you can achieve that look on a budget. Precise measurements are key to constructing this mirror-covered plywood showpiece.

IKEA Lack Hack

Any DIYer worth his salt relishes a good IKEA hack. The one seen here makes use of the ubiquitous Lack table. It doesn’t get any simpler than this—just add brass corners for an instant upgrade. As a bonus, the enhancement doubles as protection for the table’s easily chipped corners.

Rustic Refinement

We love the “holed up in a log cabin” vibe this table gives off. This is another one of the more complex projects on our list, but you’ll wind up with a unique place to rest your feet. Although it appears that the table is composed entirely of logs, it’s actually a plywood box surrounded by logs and topped by 1-inch-thick log rounds.

Upcycled Door

An old door, cut and mounted onto a castored platform, not only serves as a DIY coffee table, but also creates a storage cubby for your relaxation essentials. It’s practical shabby chic, which is the very best kind.