I’m very serious about my DIY goals. I started planning the summer setup for our terrace way back in March. I even created a 3D model on Sketchup! It felt like a remote dream to us to plan where each plant would go and how we would lounge on floor pillows while it was still cold and rainy. But time flies! We’re about to get our first heatwave and I have finished my main DIY pieces right on time: a DIY Outdoor Coffee Table and a free-standing privacy curtain.
The idea was pretty simple: do away with the bulky outdoor table and chairs to leave place for a floor lounging area. We set up an outdoor rug on which we placed the coffee table surrounded by floor pillows. We eat at this table, and at other times of the day, we push the table to the side to hold our fresh drinks while we lounge on the pillows. You can bet that when the heat gets unbearable inside at night, we’ll be sleeping out there too!
This is an amazing setup for us. With the privacy curtain running along most of the length of the terrace, we get some peace of mind to go about our lives. And since we both work from home, we also use the DIY Outdoor Coffee Table as a workstation to benefit from the breeze.
If you have a small outdoor space, I’d highly recommend not bothering with furniture and setting up a multifunctional eating and lounging area like this to maximize your space!
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Click on the categories below to find more DIY projects
- Wood tablet (16 by 31″ / 40 x 80cm)
- Wood board (6″ wide, 6 1/2 feet long / 15cm x 200cm)
- 1″ Square dowel (6 1/2 feet long / 200cm)
- Jigsaw with a thin blade for curved cuts
- Sanding blocks
- Wood glue for outdoor use
- Wood stain
- Protective topcoat for outdoor furniture
- Wood screws
Find more materials here 👇
Step 1: Prepare the wood
To start off, cut your wood into the following pieces:
- 6 by 10″ / 15 x 25cm: 8 pieces
- 10″ / 25cm long: 4 pieces
- 2 1/2″ / 6cm long: 4 pieces
- 3 1/4″ / 8cm long: 4 pieces
I used a 16 by 31″ (40 by 80cm) tablet. If you have some scrap wood you’d like to use up, you could definitely join some boards with wood glue and clamp them to create a wider tablet!
Step 2: Cut the carved outline of the table legs
When I was planning this, I had it in mind that the 2 boards making up the feet would be joined with a miter angle. Then, somehow, as I was playing with the pieces of wood I had just cut, I realized that miter cutting was not at all necessary. Pressing the boards together at a square angle meant that one side of the table legs was longer, which seems more aesthetic on a narrow table like this one.
(Also I hate cutting miter angles! 😬)
To create the Middle-East/India-inspired carved look on the legs, you need to create some stencils. Use plastic sheets or strong cardboard and place the 6 by 10″ (15x25cm) pieces of wood on top. Draw around the wood and cut away the excess.
You now have a piece of plastic/cardboard on which you can draw the curved outline of the legs. When you’re done drawing, cut along the line to create the stencil. I tried to make the carved legs drawing as intricate as possible while keeping in mind that I’d have to carve this drawing out with my jigsaw afterward…
If you want to create miter angles, you can use the same stencil on all pieces of wood. However, if you’re joining the board at a square angle, create one stencil then for the second stencil, measure the thickness of the wood and remove this from the stencil to create a thinner leg. See the picture below, you should get 4 “normal” pieces and 4 pieces with a narrow leg.
Note: I created slightly different designs for each stencil. It’s not necessary, but it does help distinguish the 2 types of legs!
To carve out the legs, equip your jigsaw with a blade for curved cuts or the thinnest wood blade you own. This will help a lot because a narrow blade will follow a curve much more easily than a bulky one.
Once you’re finished cutting the coffee table legs, use a sanding block to smooth the cuts.
Step 3: Assemble the DIY outdoor coffee table legs
To assemble the legs, start by screwing the 10″ (25cm) square dowel piece into a “narrow leg”. Then, screw an 3 1/4″ (8cm) dowel at a square angle, like in the picture above. Press a “normal” leg at a square angle against the “narrow” leg to shape the full furniture leg and screw a 2 1/2″ (6cm) dowel at the top of the normal leg, at a square angle to the 10″ (25cm) dowel.
You should have separate 2 half legs that fit into each other perfectly.
Now, to finish this furniture leg, press the 2 half legs pressed together and add 2 screws into the 10″ (25cm) square dowel – screwing on the other side so as to secure the 2 pieces together.
Repeat this step to create another full leg. For the remaining 2 legs, make sure you create a mirror image of the previous legs.
Step 4: Attach the legs to the tabletop
If your wood tablet has a nice side, now is the time to turn it over! Now, add some wood glue and place your assembled leg in the corner of your tabletop. Screw the leg into the tablet by adding 2 screws into the 2 1/2″ (6cm) and 3 1/4″ (8cm) dowels.
Note: make sure your wood glue is suitable for outdoor use!
Step 5: Stain & protect the DIY outdoor coffee table
Finally, give the whole table a good sanding to remove imperfection, especially at the joint between the tabletop and legs. Wipe the table clean to remove any dust. Next, brush some wood stain and sand to equalize the stain if needed. I used a dark oak stain which I’ve been terrified to use for ages. I thought it was way too dark, almost black! As it turns out, it probably is too dark for use on indoor furniture but it looked great on this outdoor piece!!
Once the stain has dried fully, brush on a topcoat to protect it from the elements. Remember to coat the whole piece, even the bottom of the legs. The idea is to completely “wrap” the table in a protective layer.
There’s plenty of options to choose from when it comes to protecting wooden outdoor furniture. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions in terms of application method and number of coats needed. I used a clear outdoor varnish with the slightest sheen. Let’s see how it holds after summer!
And voila! I placed the table outdoor as soon as it dried, I couldn’t wait to enjoy the floor setup! There are few better feelings than finishing up on a long-standing goal 😄!!