Today I have a super simple furniture makeover for you. When we moved, we had all of our boxes unpacked within a week. All of them except this one. This box has been J Chilling in our guest room, serving as a side table, for 9 months.
Side table has been on my thrift store list this whole time but I had a hard time finding one. I wanted one tall enough for this bed (it’s awkwardly tall), with open shelving for books (these are “beach books” we like to have on hand for guests). And I wanted to spend less than $10. Super cheap because, really I don’t know what direction this room is going to go in. I don’t have a design or really purpose goal at the moment but I expect that it will get a makeover in the next 12 months. No need to spend $$ on something that we won’t be keeping for long. Thrifted = cheap and sustainable so it was a win win.
The big downer was that it’s super fake wood and really plastic-y. Like I said, not a long term investment. So, I knew that it would not sand well and that I couldn’t save the wood tone. White it was!
I usually paint furniture with a brush, but decided to do this one with spray paint. The main reason for that was the amount of detail – faux bamboo and woven details – on the front of the table and the fact that it wouldn’t sand well.
To spray paint furniture without sanding, especially particle board furniture, start with a deglosser. Use a rag to apply it all over the piece & it acts to break down anything on the surface and help the paint to adhere better.
I let the whole thing cure for 3 days to really be sure that the finish was dry. Then, we moved it into the guest bedroom. It is perfect for what we need it for. I love the bamboo details, I love that it hold books, it is the perfect height, and I love that it was inexpensive!
You might remember that I picked up this set of table and chairs for FREE on the side of the road. It was in fabulous condition but had no glass tabletop and no cushions. The cushions were easy to replace (Thanks HomeGoods!) but the tabletop was a different story. I looked into getting tempered glass cut but it would have cost over $150. I instead decided to DIY a wooden tabletop as an inexpensive alternative.
I picked up a piece of project wood from Lowes. It was actually exactly 24″x48″ which was the size that I needed but you could cut and sand a piece if you needed to. This was just under $20.
I brought it home and gave it one coat of stain and three coats of sealant. That’s all that it took! I love the look of the wooden table top (it almost looks like butcher block!) and am super pleased with the cost savings of this project.
I’ll admit- I had a lot more problems building these benches than I did with the table, but it shouldn’t have been that way. I just kept running out of wood for some reason. I did the math, but I ended up with issues. I also had to make some design changes halfway through the first bench that required another trip to the store to figure that out. In the end, no real problems.
I built the bench using the same system as the table. I started with the bench top using two 63″ 2x4s and five 7″ 2x4s. Using a Kreg jig, I created the rectangular top with the 7″ pieces in between starting on the edges and putting the three others evenly spaced.
I made the legs in a box frame with 14″ pieces on the top and bottom with 13.75″ pieces going up. I secured them with deck screws and then put them on the ends of the bench top.
The best tip I have for attaching something like this is to angle your screws in opposite directions and drive them in at angles instead of driving them straight down.
With the frame built, it was time to add the 1×4 paneling. The top of the frame was four 1x4s across, all cut at different lengths in order to give it the look of various pieces of wood. Each piece of wood was stained in one of four colors in alternating spots. The pieces on the ends had a 45 degree mitered cut to align with the pieces that would be coming up the side.
After attaching the top, we added the pieces to the outside to create a waterfall look. This was the main difference between the benches and the table. The waterfall look gives the benches a look of a continuous piece of wood going down the side.
After the outside end pieces were on, we added straight cut pieces to the inside of the leg frame to fill it in.
Finally came the outside sides. We cut pieces to the same lengths as the top pieces so that they would look like a 4×4 piece of wood coming down. We gave these a beveled 45 degree cut to angle with the legs coming up the sides.
The final four pieces of wood were 1×2 pieces of pine that covered the last bit of a corner and made seamless boxes for the legs.
In the end, the entire thing looks beautiful. The waterfall sides look so good and refined.
The wood for these benches cost about $200, which is pretty good compared to the fact that each bench from West Elm cost between $500-600 depending on which size you got. So yeah, between the table and benches, we spent around $500. Seems like a lot until you compare the fact that the table and benches we modeled them after would have cost us approximately $2,300.
What happens when you find the perfect piece of furniture, but that piece of furniture costs $1,300? Ummm, you just build a knock off version, duh. Ain’t no way we were paying $1,300 for a table. That’s what happened when Morgan saw the Emmerson Reclaimed Wood dining room table at West Elm. She loved the look of it and the style, but I knew there was no way I could justify that expense. But honestly, it didn’t look that hard. So, I decided to create a DIY knock off version and, turns out, it wasn’t that hard.
Before this, the most extensive wood project I had undertaken was our sliding barn door, but this was basically a door with two legs. The hardest part was the design. We designed it to be three different frames (one for the top and two for the legs) that would be made out of 2x4s and then overlaying 1x4s to serve as the top and sides. Other than that, all we had to decide as the size we wanted. We measured out the space in our dining room and opted for 36″ wide, 83″ long and 30″ tall. Our dining room is basically a walkway from our front room to our sun room, so we wanted to make sure it wasn’t too big that it would be in the way, but would also fit up to eight people.
I started out by constructing the frame for the table top. I used 2x4s to build the frame to the specifications of length and width we wanted. Then, I used support beams across the middle as well to make it solid. The main thing here was that I laid the two support beams on the sides flat, so that I could later attach the legs directly to those support beams. That means we had to do a double layer of those support beams. Aka, this table top is solid AF.
Next, I made the legs out of 2x4s as well and just built them as a square box frame. For all of these, I used 2 1/2 inch deck screws to secure the wood in place.
We tested it out by setting the table top on the legs and it was the perfect height and looked good. So, next was the painful process of making a butt ton of cuts on the 1x4s for the table top. We wanted to match the reclaimed wood look, meaning the pieces needed to be cut to different lengths and grains and (eventually) stained different colors. So, we laid out our wood on the table top frame and then marked where we wanted the cuts to be. Then, I had to pick up each piece of board and make the cut where we wanted it and then set it back exactly in the same spot. Each cut of wood needed to rest on at least two studs of the frame so it wouldn’t flop around, so that was the only limiting factor.
Each line of wood got a mitered 45 degree cut on each end of the table and then whatever cuts in the middle were straight. It took a while, but they all got done. Then, we had to cut short pieces of wood for the sides that were all the exact same length (3.5 inches) from the end of the mitered cut to the flat cut on the bottom.
Once every cut was made, every piece of wood had to be stained. Morgan got four different colors of stain and we laid each board out in the order it was supposed to be in for the table. She went around and stained each board a different color. It’s pretty difficult to make something intentionally look random but she did a great job. Between the cuts and the stain colors, each board looks different.
We also had to do the same thing for the boards for the legs as well. We used 1x3s for this instead of 1x4s, simply because to of the width of the legs and the calculations we had to make to make sure there were no gaps.
Next step: construction. We actually decided to bring the table inside to build it. First thing was to attach all the boards to the legs to make our legs finished.
Then, we brought them in and set the table top on top of the legs and screwed the table top frame to the frame of the legs.
After that is when we added the second layer of stud supports on two pieces, making the legs stuck in place.
Finally came the the pieces for the table. We brought all the pieces in and laid them out on top of the table where they were supposed to go. We had to make sure they were in the same place as before in order to make sure the colors lined up as well. From here, I drilled pilot holes for each spot I was going to drill a screw. This keeps the wood from splitting when you drill a screw straight in.
I used black cabinetry screws (the same ones I used for the barn door) to give it that rustic look like some old farmer dude had just thrown this together in his spare time. The top pieces were first, followed by the sides and the tiny end cap pieces.
After everything was screwed in, we did six coats of matte polyurethane to make sure the surface was protected. I think it turned out pretty nice in the end.
In the end, the wood for this project cost around $250. Compared to $1,300 for the West Elm one, I can easily justify the time it took to construct it. Plus, we can now say that we built our own table and it turned out great.
Y’all! I interrupt your regularly scheduled blog content with some breaking news. Last night we were at our neighborhood holiday gathering at a neighbor stopped by and said that someone had just put a set of gorgeous bamboo chairs on the side of the road. If you know me, you know I had one foot in the truck before she was even finished with her sentence. We drove around the block (bless Sean’s heart) and there it was. 6 chairs and a table. No cushions or glass but my gosh y’all its in fantastic shape.
The only problem is that we really didn’t have a plan of where to put it. Our long term plan is to build a large deck and move our current screened porch (wrought iron) table there. So, I dragged the metal table onto the current patio situation and tried the bamboo set on for size. It’s too big with the chairs on either end, so I set up 2 of them as more of a “lounge” area – imagine a side table in between them.
I really like it, but Sean’s not so sure. Then again, I’m more spontaneous, and he prefers a well thought out plan. And this was not a part of the plan.
What do you think we should do? Keep it? Have an idea for what we could do with it? Pass on the good find karma?