Are you stuck deciding between whether a coffee table or ottoman better fits your space or which one is more useful? I’ve got the solution for you and the only decision you have to make is what color you want your ottoman coffee table to be.

Why Build a DIY Coffee Table / Ottoman?

I previously put a coffee table in our living room and after about a year, I decided that I would like to have ottomans instead so we can pull them up to the couch and have footrests. After about a year of just the ottomans and trying to use them as a table, which wasn’t very stable, especially with kids and dogs running around, I decided I wanted the coffee table back.

Then it hit me, why do I have to pick between the two? Why can’t I just put a tabletop over the ottomans? Turns out I can, so I decided to build a coffee table to go over our ottomans.

If you are brand new to DIY or a master DIYer, this is something that you can pull off! It requires 1 piece of plywood and very few tools.

When I showed in my Instagram stories that I was going to be building a coffee table over our ottomans people were a little confused and asked so many questions about why I would do that. Why not? I get a coffee table, still have my ottomans as footrests and storage, and it adds a little more detail and character to the space. So, if you’re interested in either building an ottoman coffee table or would just like to see how this crazy idea came to life, let’s jump into it!

DIY Coffee Table

DIY Coffee Table Supplies:

  • 4×8 piece of sanded plywood, for easy transportation have Lowes or Home Depot cut down and rip your plywood to your dimensions.
  • Wood Glue
  • 2 inch corner brace, I used 6 for the entire table.
  • Wood edging
  • Iron
  • Stain color of your choice
  • Drill, drill bit set.
  • Screws
  • Stain Rag or Stain Brush

How To Create A DIY Coffee Table Ottoman

  • Either cut or have Lowes or Home Depot cut your plywood to your dimensions
  • Lay the top piece down on the side that you want to be the top, so the top is laying on your flat working surface
  • Grab one of the smaller pieces that will be used as the sides/legs to mark for the corner braces
  • Add wood glue
  • Attach corner braces
  • Apply wood edging
  • Stain.
  • Add poly.

Here is our before photo of the ottomans that I tried using as a coffee table. As you can see there’s a crease right down the middle where I butted the two ottomans together.

DIY Coffee Table

STEP 1: Cut your plywood.

The first thing you need to do is have your plywood cut down to the dimensions for your ottomans or the size that you want your table to be over your ottoman. Make sure the side pieces are cut to the height that you need. You’ll need to measure to right underneath the tabletop so the legs fit under the tabletop.

We have the Ikea ottomans that go with the Ektorp couch, so our dimensions are 26″ from front to back, 49.25″ from side to side. Our legs are 17.5″ tall, then with the tabletop attached it makes the entire table 18.25″ tall. If you use these dimensions for the Ikea ottomans, it is going to give you a snug fit.

STEP 2: Attaching the Legs and Corner Braces.

Once you have all of your wood pieces cut to your desired dimensions, you will need to attach them. Lay the tabletop down on the side that you want to be the top. Once you do that, grab one of the legs, determine which side you want to be the outside, and place it on the edge of the inside of the tabletop, making sure that the edges are flush. Now, this is when we’re going to attach the corner braces. You can do this two ways, either have a pencil handy or your drill and drill bit to make pilot holes. It’s easier to use the pencil method, but if you have an extra set of hands or clamps, you can do either way.

Make sure your edges are still flush, then space out your corner braces. Once you have those where you want them, I did one closer to each end and one in the middle, take your pencil and mark the center of the hole so you know where to make your pilot hole. If you are going to just make the pilot hole instead of using the pencil method, now is the time to find the center of the hole and make the pilot hole.

Building A DIY Coffee Table

I used the pencil method even though I had help, then I drilled the pilot holes and attached the corner braces using screws that we already had.

Now, this is something that we didn’t do, but I would highly suggest doing it to give your table a little more strength, before attaching the corner braces, add wood glue to your leg piece where it will meet the tabletop. This will help secure the legs. You will not need a lot of wood glue and if any seeps out the sides after you secure the corner braces make sure to clean it up.

Building A DIY Coffee Table

STEP 3: Moment of Truth, does it fit?

It’s now time to see if the table fits over your ottomans. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but Shiloh, the table isn’t finished. You haven’t stained it yet or added the wood edging you listed. You’re right, I haven’t, but I wanted to make sure that this table fits over my ottomans before going any further into the project.

STEP 4: Do A Little Happy Dance!

Thankfully our table fit! I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous that it wasn’t going to fit, because it was my first time actually building a piece of furniture and I’m newer to DIY, but it fits and I celebrated with a little dance before moving on to the edging.

STEP 5: Wood Edging

Now, this is where the table goes from looking like a DIY project to a professional piece. This is probably the easiest step in the entire process. You’re going to take that wood edging and iron to the edges of the tabletop and legs, so in all, you will apply this to 8 edges. Now, take your time on this step to ensure that the edging is in the correct spot, doesn’t move, and the adhesive has had time to warm up from the iron and stick to the wood.

Here is an example of one side with edging and one side without. The leg has the edging already applied with the tabletop edge does not. This edging is going to give the table a finished look.

Building A DIY Coffee Table

Once you have applied the edging, you’ll want to remove the extra edging from the sides. Lowes or Home Depot sells a tool that you can buy that will remove the excess and make it flush against your table.

STEP 6: Stain!

Finally, we are going to stain this piece! I love the look of a light, natural-colored wood so we use the color Puritan Pine by Minwax. There are two ways you can apply the stain, you can use a stain rag, you can find these at home improvement stores, or you can use a stain brush, which I highly recommend. If you use a stain rag, make sure that you don’t leave any fuzz behind. Stain brushes do not leave anything behind and they are easier on your hands.

Once the stain dried, I applied a water-based polyurethane in matte. This is scratch resistant, has fast dry time, and ultimate durability. I put two coats of this on our table.

STEP 7: Decorate Your New Coffee Table That You Built!

It’s time to bring your new table to its home and decorate it!

DIY Coffee Table
Stained DIY Coffee Table

Thank you for reading my tutorial and I hope this has made your decision between ottomans or coffee tables easier as you don’t have to have one or the other. If you decide to make your own ottoman coffee table, tag me!

If you’re interested in more beginner-friendly DIY projects, follow me on Instagram or TikTok!

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1 comment

    • Susan

    Wow Shiloh, I love it.