DIY Midcentury Modern Coffee Table

These past few months have definitely been an adjustment. I graduated college, got a job, and moved (again). Then there were holidays and birthdays and SXSW… it’s safe to say I got a bit behind in my posting.

But, I’m back in the saddle again! This time with the biggest (and best) DIY project I’ve tackled to date.

You see, I really wanted a simple, minimalist coffee table for my living room (in my new apartment). Turns out, “simple” and “minimalist” are expensive words in furniture these days. And let’s not get started with “midcentury modern.”

It seems counterintuitive. Shouldn’t simple furniture be less expensive? Most of the furniture in my price range has extra scrolly bits and handles and “shabby chic” paint jobs that just don’t need to be happening. Really, they don’t.

So, I ordered some 18” hairpin legs on eBay for about $40. I really had no concrete idea what I was going to do with them, but getting the legs felt like a much better option than throwing in the (financial) towel for this beauty.

About three weeks later, the legs showed up at my front door, and I started to wonder what I actually planned on doing. The best I could come up with was getting a cheap tabletop from IKEA (MDF… ick). Then I asked my boyfriend if he had any ideas. He hit up Google and came back with this:

Inspiration | DIY Midcentury Modern Coffee Table | lorynwithaY
Gorgeous! How could we not try that? {Source}

We planned and built the table in one day. There were some hiccups, but overall, things turned out beautifully! The table still needs to be finished, but I can’t do that until it stops raining. Like heck I’m leaving raw steel legs out on my damp patio.

DIY Midcentury Modern Coffee Table | lorynwithaY

2 – 24×48 3/4” pine plywood boards
8” 1/4” screws
Washers to fit the screws
2 corner brackets
4 L-brackets
4 hairpin legs (your desired height)
Desired stain/finish
Woodworking clamps

1. Make these cuts in your plywood boards. It’s really important to be extremely precise with these measurements, so even the 1/8” that you’ll lose to the saw will matter. We kept the saw on the inside of our cuts.

Cuts | DIY Midcentury Modern Coffee Table | lorynwithaY

2. It’s helpful at this point to lay it out to see how everything will all come together. First, we’ll use the brackets to put the side boards onto the underside of the tabletop. Because the boards are so thin, you’ll want to use washers in between the screw and the brackets to prevent the screws from poking through to the other side.

Bracket Placement | DIY Midcentury Modern Coffee Table | lorynwithaY

Corner brackets go in the corners, L brackets go on the floating edges. Since everything needs to be really well aligned, you might want a partner to help hold things in place!

3. Align the board that will be the bottom of the table to all the edges, and use your woodworking clamps to hold it in place. Being very careful so as not to split the boards, use screws to fasten the bottom board in place. No need to use the washers this time.

4. Now we attach the legs! We nestled the legs about 1 1/4” from the corners. Be sure to use the washers on the screws again so the screws don’t burst through the bottom of the table.

5. Turn it over and admire! If you have any minor misalignments, an electric saw might help. Alignment aside, be sure to sand the table and finish it with something that can withstand a bit of abuse (water rings — gasp!).

That’s it! It seems so much simpler in retrospect. Hindsight, y’all. If you have any questions, hit me up in the comments!

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