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I love building coffee tables. They’re a much more manageable size than a dining table and are generally pretty simple to make. In fact, this one only requires a couple of power tools!
Once we finished our own DIY coffee table with hidden storage, my mom asked if we could build a coffee table for her too.
Instead of hidden storage, she wanted an upholstered top that was comfy for your feet. So, this DIY ottoman coffee table was born!
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
P.S. If you want even more DIY coffee table ideas, check out our list of the 21 best DIY coffee table plans.
- Miter Saw
- Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
- Staple Gun
New to DIY? Check out our post on beginner woodworking tools to determine which tools to get!
What You’ll Need:
- (1) ½” 2×4 plywood project panel (we used birch, but it doesn’t really matter which type you grab)
- (5) 2x2x8s (we used select pine)
- (3) 1x4x8s (we used select pine)
- 1.25” Kreg screws
- 2.5” Kreg screws
- 2” wood screws
- Wood glue
- 2” upholstery foam (needs to be at least 24×48”)
- 30×60” of fabric (we got this one in Ocala-Spruce)
- Spray adhesive
The following cut list serves as a guide. Your actual dimensions may differ from what we have listed. Measuring and cutting throughout a project is often more accurate than making all the cuts upfront.
The final dimensions of this DIY coffee table ottoman are approximately 48”W x 24”D x 19.5”H.
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If you prefer printable plans complete with a visual cut list and 3D rendering, you can grab your printable coffee table plans here!
How to Make an Ottoman Coffee Table
STEP 1: DRILL POCKET HOLES
Using the ¾” settings, drill (2) pocket holes on both ends of each of your 1×4 slats.
Using the 1.5” settings, drill (2) pocket holes on both ends of all of your 2x2s, except for the legs.
Pocket holes are the foundation of most DIY furniture. Become a pocket hole pro in less than an hour in Pocket Holes: Explained.
STEP 2: MAKE THE SLATTED BOTTOM
We used a ½” dowel as a spacer between the slats.
Before installing, be sure to mock up your spacing to determine if you need to add a little extra space to either end. Not every 1×4 is exactly 3.5” and not every ½” dowel is exactly ½” wide.
We’ll use glue and 1.25” Kreg screws to install the slats. The top of the slats should be flush with the top of the 2×2 long side that you’ll secure it into.
Note: when installing this way, the pocket holes tend to want to push the slat past the top of the long side and can cause the long side piece to crack if the screw gets too close to the surface of the wood. As you’re installing, apply a lot of downward pressure on the long side to prevent the slats from slipping above the long side.
To install, start by installing the first piece ½” from the edge of one of your long sides (or whatever measurement you calculated that you needed after mocking up the spacing).
Place your spacer next to the piece you just installed and then install the next piece. Continue this process until you have just a few more slats left.
When you’re cutting close to the end, mock up the spacing of the remaining pieces to make sure it’s still what you were expecting. If your gap needs to be larger or smaller than you were expecting, make slight adjustments with these last few boards so that no single gap is way bigger or smaller than the rest.
Once one side is installed, apply wood glue to the ends of all of the slats and then secure to the second 2×2 using 1.25” screws. Continue using your spacer to keep the slats straight.
Make sure to wipe up any glue that squeezed out on the sides or top. To get into corners, a screw covered by a damp paper towel works like a charm.
STEP 3: ASSEMBLE THE SHORT SIDES
Grab 2 legs and 2 short side pieces. Measure 3” from the bottom of the legs. This is where you’ll line the bottom of the short side piece up with.
Using glue and 2.5” Kreg screws, install one short piece 3” from the bottom of the legs and one flush with the top.
Repeat with the other set of legs and short side pieces.
STEP 4: ADD THE LONG SIDES
Next, we’ll add the long side pieces that are not attached to the slats. Install them flush with the top of the legs using glue and 2.5” Kreg screws.
Next, grab the middle supports and install them to the long sides using glue and 2.5” Kreg screws. You don’t need to measure these perfectly, but they should be placed approximately 13.75” from the inside of the legs.
STEP 5: INSTALL THE BOTTOM
To install the bottom, flip your structure so that the long sides you just installed are facing down toward the ground.
Then add clamps so that they are in line with the short sides that are near the bottom. Place your bottom piece on the clamps.
Using 2.5” Kreg screws, secure your bottom piece to the legs so that the bottom of the bottom is 3” from the bottom of the leg. You might need to adjust your clamps to get it positioned just right before screwing it in.
STEP 6: UPHOLSTER THE TOP
I’m definitely not an upholstery pro, so I don’t have a lot of tips or experience here. I’ll just share what worked for us.
First, we placed the project panel on top of the 2” foam and outlined the project panel. We cut the foam using a handsaw. I hear an electric knife works great for this, but we don’t have one.
Secure the foam to the project panel using spray adhesive.
Wrap the foam in batting, stapling the batting to the bottom of the project panel. We also added a little bit of extra batting to each corner to prevent the base of the coffee table from peeking through once the top was wrapped and the corners were tightly upholstered.
Next, wrap your top with fabric. Use a lot of staples and pull it tight as you’re stapling it in. How tightly you pull determines how rounded your edges look, so adjust according to your preference.
For the corners, I decided to round them rather than creating a seam. I cut the excess fabric around the corners, including cutting out a triangle of fabric in the middle. It’s important to cut off as much fabric as possible in the corners so that the corners don’t lift off the table base too much once installed.
I worked my way around the corner, making small pleats as I went to round the fabric. The pleats were only visible on the bottom. You can’t see the pleats on the top or side of the bench.
Once I was happy with the upholstery, I cut off any excess fabric.
STEP 7: STAIN
Before staining, add wood filler to any gaps and sand with 120, 180, and 220-grit sandpaper.
Apply a pre-stain wood conditioner (yes, it really does make a difference on pine), and then apply your stain. Check out this post on best practices for applying stain.
After staining, I applied a coat of Soft Touch Finishing Wax to protect the finish and the wood.
STEP 8: INSTALL THE TOP
The last step of this project is to secure the upholstered top to the coffee table base. Flip the top onto the ground and then center up the base. There should be a slight overhang on each side. It gets tricky to perfectly measure with the fabric, so just eyeball it.
Once you’re happy with the placement, pre-drill 5 holes in each of the long sides and 3 holes in each of the short sides. Then secure using 2” screws.
These screws are pretty much the exact size of the 2x2s + the plywood, so be sure to stop screwing as soon as the screw is flush with the end of the 2×2. As you’re screwing, apply a lot of downward pressure to keep the screw from separating the 2×2 and the plywood.
There you have it! Now you know how to make your very own upholstered coffee table ottoman! As soon as I saw it finished, I thought it would also make a wonderful bench at the end of the bed if you just made it a little narrower.
Wishing for printable plans? We’ve got you! Grab your printable coffee table plans here.