Updating a Coffee Table in Two Days

When Keith and I first moved in together, we needed a coffee table set and tv stand. We agreed on a simple black set from a local furniture store and have been using those for the past five years. Ever since we started building furniture for our first house, I've thought about building a new coffee and side table. I looked into a lot of different designs and styles online and in stores, but couldn't decide which direction to take. Then I saw a few bloggers that simply updated tables with wood planks and decided to try that with our coffee table. Here's a closer shot of what it looked like pre-update from our holiday post.

I had some extra pine planks from another project so first I laid out a design on the table top, trimmed all the pieces to size on our miter saw, and then wood glued and clamped them, in 3 different sections (3 - 4 rows to a section). I didn't take a picture of those steps since there's plenty of instructions on other sites about that process, but here's the table post-gluing and clamping.

Once the new wooden top was fastened together, I laid the top on a piece of plywood to protect the wood and then set the coffee table upside down on top of it.

I pre-drilled holes into each corner of the original coffee table top and into the new wooden top to avoid any wood splitting. Then I drilled screws into each corner and in rows down the sides to adhere the new top to the table.

Once the new wooden top was securely fastened to the table, I turned it back over then moved it out onto our driveway for the staining process. Since our dining table has reddish undertones, I decided to stain the table top with Minwax Red Mahogany. I wanted a slightly worn, rustic look so I beat up the wood a little by hitting it with the side of a hammer and a wrench. I also opted not to pre-condition the wood, to allow for more color variation. I applied one coat of stain, waited 10 minutes then used a clean rag to wipe off the excess stain.

I moved it back into the garage and let it cure a full 24 hours before applying a semi-gloss polyurethane topcoat to seal and protect the new stain. That is the simple and quick process for updating a table in just two days! Once it aired out in our sunroom for another two days, we moved it back into the living room, and I have been gently petting it and smiling at it ever since.

It still works well with the side table and tv stand, but is a little less matchy-match now. And I like how it also ties into our wooden farmhouse table in the adjoining dining room. Long term, I'd still like to eventually build a new coffee table, side table and tv stand, but for at least the next year or so, I'm very happy with this simple, affordable update.