When designing our outdoor sectional, we knew it wouldn’t be complete without a coffee table. We also know that you can never have enough storage. Enter: the DIY outdoor coffee table with storage!
These build plans will show you how to make a functional and stylish outdoor coffee table. Funny enough though, we aren’t actually using ours as a coffee table.
Instead, it’s being used as a piece of the sectional–currently a corner piece, but I’m sure we’ll swap out its location at some point. That’s the benefit of a modular design–you can have tons of possibilities and designs and configurations without needing new furniture!
Alright, let’s DIY and start building this DIY outdoor storage table!
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- Miter Saw (we use this blade with ours)
- Brad Nailer
- Measuring Tape (new to DIY? Be sure to check out this post with measuring tips)
- Safety Equipment
- (9) 1x4x8s (we used common board)
- (2) 2x2x8s (we used furring strips)
- Wood glue (this is our favorite type)
- Wood filler (we use this one, but be sure to check out our wood filler experiment to decide which might be best for your project)
- 80 and 120 grit sandpaper
- 2” nails
- (4) 3” outdoor wood screws
This DIY outdoor coffee table with storage is approximately a 30” square that is 15.5” tall.
Prefer printable plans? Grab them below:
How to Build a DIY Outdoor Coffee Table with Storage
If you were looking for water-tight outdoor storage, this plan isn’t for you. Instead it’s designed with a lot of slats to allow water to drip out of the storage area as needed.
Before we begin the build, I want to make sure that we’re all on the same page here. Glue is stronger than both nails and even the wood itself. It’s imperative for this build that you apply ample wood glue, otherwise your storage coffee table might not last very long!
Though I wouldn’t recommend storing a lot of heavy things into the storage table, I did decide to put the strength of it to the test by standing in it and doing a few little jumps. I’m happy to say that this simple design did hold my weight and none of the slats broke off…all thanks to the glue!
STEP 1: CUT YOUR WOOD
Before cutting anything down, we recommend knocking out the majority of your sanding. For the furring strips, we sanded with 80 and 120 grit sandpaper. Since the 1x4s were already pretty smooth, we just sanded with 120 grit.
After sanding, make your cuts according to the cut list in the printable plans.
STEP 2: ASSEMBLE THE BOTTOM
First place your 7 bottom slats on top of the 2×2 bottom support boards. The 2x2s should be flush with the ends of the slats. We used a scrap piece of wood as a guide to keep things in line. Instead of trying to line up everything ourselves, we pressed the slats up against the scrap piece of wood.
Evenly space the slats. No need to precisely measure here–just eyeball it. These slats will only be seen when the top is removed.
Remove one slat at a time and put a generous amount of glue on the area that will be on the 2×2. Install with (2) 2” nails on each end. Repeat until all of the slats are installed.
STEP 3: ATTACH BOTTOM SIDE SLATS
Flip your table bottom over so that the slats are on the ground and the 2×2 sits on top.
Starting with the shorter sides (aka the sides with the 2x2s), add glue along the edge of the 2×2 and across the ends of each of the slats. Line up a short side slat up with the ends of the 2×2. Secure it to the table bottom using 2″ nails. Repeat with the second short side.
Now add glue to the ends of the 2x2s and along the edge of the slat that’s on the side. Line a long side slat up so that it’s flush with the bottom of the slats and flush on the sides. Nail it in place with 2″ nails. Add a couple nails into the end grain of the short side slats as well.
STEP 4: INSTALL THE FEET
Though it’s a matter of glue and a simple screw to install the feet, this step can be a little challenging because you don’t want the feet to spin around as you add the screw.
To position the feet, we placed them on a slat to raise them up ¾”. The goal is to position them right on the corner of the bottom slat–not the side slat that we just installed.
Then we clamped the feet to the table to help prevent them from spinning around. Screw through the 2×2 support and the bottom slat and into the foot. Repeat with the other 3 feet, making sure to add a generous amount of glue to the top of the feet.
STEP 5: ADD THE SIDE SLATS
Before installing the side slats, we need to install something to attach the slats to. For this we’ll secure a 2×2 to each corner of the table.
Starting in one corner, add a generous amount of glue to the corner of the bottom slats and on top of the 2×2 that’s holding the bottom. Set your slat support board on top of the 2×2 and nail it into the bottom slat a few times. Repeat with the other 3 corners.
To get consistent spacing when installing the side slats, we used a ¼” dowel as a spacer.
We started with the shorter sides first. Place the ¼” dowel on top of the bottom slat and then add glue to the ends of the slat. Line it up with the sides of the 2×2 support and nail it into place. We added 2 nails on each end of the slat.
Place the ¼” dowel on top of the slat you just installed and then add glue to the remainder of the visible 2x2s and nail the slat to the 2x2s.
Repeat with the other short side and then move onto the longer sides. For these sides, you can add an additional nail or two into the previously installed short slat to keep the long slats lined up with the shorter slats.
STEP 6: ASSEMBLE THE TOP
The top will actually be two separate pieces. One top piece will be made up of 3 slats and the other will be made with 5 slats.
We’ll start with the larger piece. Grab 5 slats and the 2 long top supports. Position the long support so that it’s between ¾” – 1″ from the side of the first slat. This will allow you to push the top towards the side and “lock” it in place so that it’s flush with the front of the table.
As for how far from the end of each slat it should go, it’s up to you. You need it to be at least ¾” in to be able to slide into the table base. I would recommend placing it 1” from the end to make it easier to place the top in and out of the base. If you would like the top slats to not be able to slide from side to side much, you can place it closer to ¾” from the end.
We used a ¼” dowel as a spacer between the slats and secured the 2×2 to the slats with glue and 2” nails. We added (2) 2” nails on each end of every slat.
We recommend using a scrap piece of wood as a guide that you can press your slats against to ensure they stay lined up.
Place the piece you just assembled on the table base. Slide it so that it’s lined up with the front of the table as well as on the sides.
Place the remaining slats on the open part of the table, lining the furthest slat up with the back of the table base. Evenly distribute the spacing between the remaining slats.
Position the short top supports on the slats and secure them to the slats using glue and 2” nails. As you’re positioning the supports, make sure that they are indented at least ¾” from all sides.
STEP 7: PROTECT FOR OUTDOOR USE
Whenever you build furniture for outdoor use, it’s imperative to properly protect the wood before putting it outside. Check out this post for 6 ways to treat your wood for outdoor use.
For this project, we chose Cabot Semi-Solid stain in Taupe.
There you have it! Now you know how to build your own outdoor coffee table with storage! To access your storage, you simply remove one (or both) of the top pieces, access your items, and then put the top pieces back in place.