Read on if you’re ready to make DIY coffee table of your own!
It’s no secret: West Elm is my home decor brand of choice. I love their midcentury modern style, reclaimed wood, and greenery accents. I’m a sucker for their buffet tables and statement pieces. I also love that they bring in local brands to promote in the store. I really love Pottery Barn for their textiles, decorations, etc., but if we could afford it, I would cover my house wall-to-wall in West Elm furniture. Ugh. I love it. It gives me heart palpitations.
But alas, we are not made of money. So making a DIY coffee table instead of buying one it is.
That all being said, when I came across Jen at The House of Wood’s West Elm Alexa inspired bed, I immediately sent my husband a screenshot of every inch of that post (a lot of screenshots) and begged him to let us bring it into our house in some form. I would love a bed that looks like this, but we recently made a West Elm Boerum inspired king slat bed, and there was nowhere else in our house that needed a headboard. And that’s where the dream of a West Elm-inspired DIY coffee table was born.
We’d had the same coffee table for years, an antique metal steamer trunk that my mom bought me for my first apartment. It was a whopping $20, had train station stickers from years and years ago slapped on the side (I love this), and the inside was lined in cedar and smelled like old books. It’s one of my favorite things in our home, both for the memory of buying it with my mom and for all its character. It’s currently upstairs in our guest bedroom and can be seen in the photo above (excuse the mess—this was taken right after having our son and before getting new accent pillows).
That all being said, I’ve wanted a new coffee table for some time. I had my eye on West Elm’s industrial storage coffee table for years, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend $600 + shipping and surcharge. So I came up with the idea of using Jen’s headboard to inspire an industrial-style DIY coffee table of my own design (sort of). And I’m so glad I did. I found the project below (though they use wood instead of metal) and used it as inspiration for the base, knowing I would make a chevron/reclaimed wood-looking top.
My husband is building a truck and has some welding experience, but nothing like this, so we opted to have a base made at a local welding shop. We explained to them what we wanted—a cube with an extra support beam going across the middle of the top—and had them make it to our measurements—32″ x 32″ x 17″ tall. (Keep in mind the wood will add more inches, so you’ll want this a little shorter than the actual table–ours is 18.5″ total.) We picked it up mostly sanded and ready to paint, though my husband did have to touch up the corners. We spray painted it all over with Rustoleum matte black for metal spray paint and let it dry overnight, then beginning the wood top.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR YOUR DIY COFFEE TABLE:
*I’ll go ahead and throw out here that I unfortunately didn’t get a lot of photos because I wasn’t planning on blogging this DIY—because I’ve never blogged a DIY before. That being said, some ladies in a military spouse home decor group I’m a part of wanted to see it, so here it is. 🙂
- Metal table base (or you could use hairpin legs, etc.) We had this made by a local welder.
- Rustoleum matte black spray paint for metal
- Plywood cut to 32″ x 32″
- 1 x 2″ pine plank, four pieces, cut to 32″ length with 45 degree angles at each end
- Pine planks for chevron look inside border (roughly five 8-ft sections, 1″ x 3″)
- Stain (I used Minwax Early American, Classic Gray, Dark Walnut, Special Walnut, Provincial, and Ebony)
- Cloth to apply stain (we used pieces of my husband’s old t-shirt, lol)
- #14 x 2″ wood screws
- Finishing nails (1″)
- Miter saw
- Minwax satin polyurethane in spray can
- Gorilla wood glue
Let’s get started.
The first step was to cut our plywood. It rests directly on top of the metal base, so we cut it to the same measurements—32″ x 32″. Once it was cut and our base’s paint was dry, we set it directly on top of the metal and began cutting the frame to the chevron-style wood.
The border needed to match up with the plywood, so we cut four pieces, each having ends cut to a 45 degree angle to form a square when put together. They were the same length—32″.
Once finished, we put glue on the underside of the border and attached it to the plywood. When all sides were attached, they were secured from the bottom with finishing nails, roughly four per side.
Next, it was time to get started on the chevron wood cuts, or the inner part of the table top.
To begin, we took a pencil and drew four quadrants on the plywood within the border of the table top. Make sure they are equal. When you’ve done that, you’ll want to draw out where your chevron planks will be. Every one of our planks met in the middle. Be sure to take into account how wide your planks are (2.5″ for us). To figure out how many planks we needed to use and what size they needed to be, we cut a sample plank with a 45 degree angle at the end. We then placed it, beginning in the center of the border (corner of each quadrant, not the corner of the table) and began to trace the sample piece, moving it down where each plank would go.
After all quadrants had traced lines for each plank, we started cutting. Each plank, with the exception of corners, was cut at a 45 degree angle. The corner planks were put in last to cut the proper shape. *Please note: Cut each quadrant individually, as they are all unique.
After our planks were cut, we took a pencil and wrote directions on the plywood within the border. We noted the top and bottom so when we took the planks out, they would remain in the same place as they would be within the tabletop.
When this was done we arranged them within their designated quadrant. We put in all but one small piece because we didn’t want them to be jammed in quite yet, as they needed stained individually away from the table. When doing this, you may find you didn’t cut each plank perfectly—and that’s okay! You don’t need to recut them. Because it’s a semi-mismatched table, we were able to cut small slivers and stain them the same color as the plank they were attached to. The table isn’t perfect, but you really can’t tell unless you’re looking extremely close and studying it. We also took this time to take the entire tabletop inside to see how it looked. We set it directly on top of the old table just to get an idea of the size, which you can see above.
We moved them out of the tabletop/border and onto the tarp in the same pattern as they were placed on the tabletop after we made sure they fit. You can see this above. (Also, ignore all the cans and jugs—we needed to keep the tarp from blowing around.) I then took different stain colors and randomly stained each plank, sometimes layering more than one stain color. There was no rhyme or reason.
I love the way they turned out. They definitely have the look of reclaimed wood…without the price.
Once the stain had dried (ideally overnight), we moved them back, in their same positions, to the table top. You can add wood glue to the plywood before laying the planks down, but we found we didn’t need to because the pressure of the planks within the border kept them all together. For longevity, I would recommend adding wood glue. We added in our slivers of wood (I think there was just one) where the planks weren’t perfect! You can also use finishing nails from the bottom for added security. We then stained the border and sides in Minxwax Early American. The last step was to coat it in polyurethane and let it dry overnight.
Then it was time for the very last step: attaching the tabletop to our base. We clamped the top to the base, flipped the entire table over, and drilled holes where our screws would need to go. We then screwed from the underside of the metal through the wood where the drill holes were made. Make sure to screw from the bottom and not the top, as you don’t want to see the screw heads. For added security we put four screws in each beam of the metal base—one at each corner (or end for the middle beam) and two towards the middle with roughly 6-8″ between them.
Boom. We completed our DIY coffee table! We carried it inside and immediately ate what was probably a wildly unhealthy, carb-heavy dinner on it over Dexter reruns.
All in all, this DIY coffee table cost us around $200. We had some of the stain on hand and bought very small cans of the other colors we wanted. It was definitely better than West Elm’s price of $600+, and we absolutely LOVE how our it turned out. For the moms and dads out there, it’s easily held up against a wild two-year-old and all her friends.
If you have any questions please comment them below or shoot me a message! And obviously send me all photos of your tables or tag them on Instagram using #comfortandchaos.
Our other projects (in case you’ve already nailed a DIY coffee table…pun intended):
You can also check out and follow my blog’s Pinterest account for posts and inspiration.
We’ve also made a DIY coffee table for two of our best friends to take with them to their new home in Ohio.