DIY reclaimed wood coffee and side tables


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reclaimed wood tablesI have to tell you- there is an ongoing battle in my life between the neatfreak voice in my head and the clutter that is constantly threatening to take over my house. However, in my living room (which is currently getting a bit of a makeover), I am determined to fight the clutter. And so far, I’m winning.

Want to know what I’m trying? Streamlined, nearly empty coffee table and side table space. Yep. You heard right – nearly empty (by nearly empty I mean a pile of books for the coffee table – sometimes- and a lamp and a globe on the side table and that’s it). Even though I love pictures of perfectly styled coffee tables brimming with vases of fresh flowers and trays of candles the truth is that the only way to keep our coffee table and side table functional (read, not loaded up with tons of miscellaneous clutter) is to leave them nearly empty! That way, they can serve the purpose of holding mugs of cocoa or snacks when needed. They even sometimes serve as a flat surface to color on. And we don’t have to move a whole pile of stuff for those things to happen.

Even better, this winter we made ourselves a matching set of reclaimed wood coffee and side tables. With a pile of wood from a fence we tore down just sitting in our backyard waiting to be put to good use, and gorgeous examples of Reclaimed Wood coffee tables floating around Pinterest (and Restoration Hardware catalogs) we didn’t really have much of a choice, now did we? Of course not.

Want to join us in the living room clutter fight (and coffee/side table making)?

You’ll need…

– A coffee table or side table to revamp.  Metal framed preferably – though, you could probably use any coffee table that’d look good with a reclaimed wood top.

– A pile of reclaimed lumber.  The width of the boards doesn’t matter – though thinner boards will give a more planked look.

– A piece of ¼”plywood the size of the top of your table.

– Nails

Measure the top of your table inside the metal frame. Trace a square/rectangle onto the quarter inch plywood matching those measurements.

Cut the plywood to fit inside the metal frame. The reason to add the plywood is to give yourself something to nail into (turns out the metal frame isn’t ideal for that).

Cut the reclaimed wood (ours came from a fence we tore down, but I’ve seen it on Craigslist… or you could even distress your own) to fit over the table frame across the plywood top as well as the metal rimmed exterior.

Match up the edges of the reclaimed wood with the edges of the top of the table.

Nail each plank in place on the tabletop. Continue until the whole tabletop is covered in reclaimed wood.

Add a stack of books or (or NOTHING AT ALL!) and your coffee table or side table (or both) is ready to use in your living room!

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    1. Hey Carrie, we gave the planks a light sanding, but didn’t treat them at all! Actually, some kids colored all over the table a couple weeks ago (at the Vintage Book Sip ‘n See, actually), so it just got another sanding. 🙂

  1. I aboslutely love these! I have been dying to replace our coffee table. It is so ordinary, and scratched. I was wondering where you found metal tables with such a simple frame. Did you hunt garge sales and flea markets? And what were the metal tables originally topped with?

    1. Hey Alice! These are perfect for families that are rough on coffee tables- virtually indestructable!
      The coffee tables are from Pier 1… we bought them on clearance when we were first married. They were covered in glass (we sometimes put the glass back on top of the wood to make a smooth surface actually). Good luck as you search!

  2. Pingback: Reclaimed Blog

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