DIY Coffee Table

As promised last week when I showed some inspiring DIY tables, I’m back to walk through how I built my own DIY coffee table.

After finishing decorating our master bedroom, we treated ourself to a new vintage-styled metal framed bed. This meant that we had to get rid of our old second-hand Ikea Malm bed.

Whilst taking it down, I started to get some ideas for how the wood could be reused for a rustic look coffee table. If I messed up, I hadn’t wasted any money so there was nothing to lose!

Due to the dull winter days, it’s been a struggle getting enough light into the house to take some photos. We had a break in the clouds this weekend and whilst the sun was shining I took advantage. I’m so excited to finally share my first DIY project with you.

diy wooden chest DIY Coffee Table

The first step was to detach the bed slats and remove all of the heavy duty staples. Ten finger-busting minutes later I had a stack of wood that needed sanding and cutting to size.

wooden bed slats DIY Coffee Table

I measured out the floorspace I wanted my coffee table to take up and began cutting the bed slats to make up the shorter and longer sides. To add strength and stability, I also cut some thinner pieces which were used as vertical uprights.

Starting at one corner, I nailed the two pieces together and then used wood glue to secure the vertical joint.

diy wooden chest progress DIY Coffee Table

Working my way round, the other three corners were nailed in place and I had completed the first layer of the table.

DIY wooden chest progress 1 DIY Coffee Table

The three remaining upright posts were then glued in place. At this point, I could begin to see the height and floorspace the coffee table was going to consume. In hindsight, I should’ve measured this up front so I knew before I started building but luckily I was happy with it anyway!

Unfortunately, in my excitement of seeing my creation take shape, I forgot to take any more ‘in progress’ photos. However, the process was pretty simple and basically meant just nailing in the other cuts into the uprights until it was built up to the top.

The lid was built with the remaining bed slats and it rests on top of the four verticals in the corners.

DIY wooden chest progress 2 DIY Coffee Table

In my head, I had envisioned the rustic / reclaimed look so I stained it with walnut wood stain and added black metal ring handles which I bought from eBay.

diy wooden chest 1 DIY Coffee Table

I love how the edges don’t match up perfectly. It looks rustic and you can tell that it’s handmade, I like that.

diy wooden chest 2 DIY Coffee Table

There’s some colour peeking over the top…

diy wooden chest 3 DIY Coffee Table

I painted the inside of the coffee table (chest?) a bright yellow to add a pop of colour every time you open it. It reminds me of the warm glow from a cartoon treasure chest!

diy wooden chest colour1 DIY Coffee Table

Here’s a close up shot of the detail. You can see the hammer dents and nails I added to create imperfections in the wood. I love how deep and rich the colour goes on the knots in the wood.

diy wooden chest detail DIY Coffee Table

I certainly know that next time I build something, I’ll be taking photos all the way through!

What do you think of my DIY coffee table? Does this inspire you to work on your own DIY project?

 DIY Coffee Tablepinit fg en rect gray 20 DIY Coffee Table


  1. Meg M. says

    Wow! That is wonderful! Great job! Also good to know the wood IKEA uses for their slatted bed base is viable for projects!

  2. says

    This is fabulous!!! I love the idea of making something from scratch, but hardware stores are intimidating and it often ends up being as expensive as buying something new, so this is a fabulous way to get consistent-looking lumber, and just the right amount! Totally inspired!

    • says

      Thank you!
      This was my first pretty big project, so I was wary myself. Being able to try something with free materials eliminates all the risk. I’d definitely recommend it!

  3. Ellie says

    This is perfect!! Did you have an electric saw for this project? I would be making it in my Brooklyn apartment so I do not have much for space I can get messy and/or big tools. Could I easily saw the wood with a handsaw? Did you buy the interior frame lumber at a Home Depot? Did you stain the wood before or after putting it together?

    • says

      Hi Ellie!
      Firstly, thank you so much!

      I used a hand saw for everything, so this would be perfect for your apartment.
      I’m from the UK so I bought the frame wood from Homebase, although Home Depot should stock similar sort of wood judging from their website!
      Everything was stained/painted after it was put together. The wood is thick enough that you won’t spill stain through onto the other side.

      Jacob x

  4. says

    Jacob – this looks amazing and the perfect stain colour. I’ve saved the picture of the wood finished as inspiration for wood flooring I have in my house so thank you! It’s also nice to see a UK blog look really stylish too :o)

    • says

      The stain has come out really well, I’ve even already used it to stain some shelves in the same room! The tin goes a long way!
      Thanks for the lovely comment

  5. Felicia says

    This looks amazing! I’ve had a set of slats sitting in my garage for the past year (we picked the wrong size and didn’t notice until we were at home 2 hours away from IKEA), so this is what I’m going to do with them. Thanks for sharing!

  6. says

    What a great idea! Seems to be the right size for a coffee table as well. The yellow inside mus be lovely on a grey British winter night.
    Where did you get that picture above the sofa from if you don’t mind me asking? Love the colours.

  7. says

    I LOVE the project! A new fan visiting from IkeaHackers. I’m likely the only person here who can’t find what you used for the base of the table. Is it MDF? Plywood?

    I did a frame with a reclaimed mirror and slats, but your project turned out so much better! Thank you for sharing this idea. And yes, I immediately thought of the treasure chests from movies and cartoons when I saw the yellow.


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