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Each year we make our parent’s some new furniture for Christmas. Last year was the 100” media console and this year is a set of DIY end tables to complete the living room!
In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to build your very own square side table with a drawer. Be sure to check out the narrow side table plans that complete this set as well!
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
- Circular Saw or Table Saw
- Miter Saw
- Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
- Nail Gun
New to DIY? Check out our post on beginner woodworking tools to determine which tools to get!
What You’ll Need:
- ¾” plywood (we used oak – you can also get the matching narrow end table from this sheet)
- (4) – 2x2x3
- (3) – 9/16 x 3/4 x 8 oak edge (you’ll find this next to the other oak boards)
- 1.25” nails
- 1.25” Kreg screws (if using oak, you’ll want both the hardwood and softwood ones)
- Wood glue
- 16” drawer slides
- Edge banding for the bottom shelf
- Drawer pull (we used these which were leftover from our giant media console build)
Do you prefer printable plans complete with visual cut lists and 3D renderings? Grab your printable side table plans HERE.
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 for this DIY side table are approximately 23”W x 23”D x 24”H. If you are looking for something smaller, be sure to check out our matching DIY narrow end table!
|For What?||Board Type||Quantity||Size (inches)|
|Top||¾” plywood||1||22 x 22|
|Bottom Shelf||¾” plywood||1||19 x 22|
|Sides||¾” plywood||4||22 x 6.75|
|Back||¾” plywood||1||22 x 6|
|Bottom||¾” plywood||1||22 x 19|
|Drawer Front||¾” plywood||1||18 13/16 x 5 13/16|
|Drawer Box Sides||¾” plywood||2||16.5 x 5.25|
|Drawer Box Front/Back||¾” plywood||2||16.5 x 5.25|
|Drawer Box Bottom||¾” plywood||1||16.5 x 15|
Note: for the drawer box we used ¾” plywood in the cut list so that you could avoid having to buy another sheet of plywood. You could also use ½” plywood to give yourself a little more space in the drawer itself.
Trim is not included in the cut list.
How to Make a Square Side Table with a Drawer
STEP 1: TAPER THE LEGS
After cutting the legs to size, we used our DIY taper leg jig to taper the legs approximately 5” up. We set our saw to a 5-degree angle for the cuts.
STEP 2: DRILL POCKET HOLES
Using the ¾” settings, drill pocket holes into the following boards:
- (5) pocket holes on each of the long sides of the bottom, making sure that there is one pocket hole .75” from the front to screw into the front legs
- (4) pocket holes on each 22” side of the bottom shelf. These pocket holes will only be going into the legs, so there should be two within 1.5” of each corner.
- (2) on each short end of 2 of the side pieces, 2 pieces will not have pocket holes
- (2) on each short end of the back and (3) along one long side of the back
Pocket holes are the foundation of most DIY furniture. Become a pocket hole pro in less than an hour in Pocket Holes: Explained.
STEP 3: ATTACH THE SIDES TO THE LEGS
Glue two side pieces together, making sure the piece with the pocket holes is facing outward. Clamp and let dry for at least an hour, but even better if you can let it sit overnight. We used this bottle to help spread the glue quickly.
Once dry, use glue and 1.25” Kreg screws to secure the side between two legs. The side should be flush at the top of the legs and on the outside. Because plywood isn’t exactly ¾” thick, the inside will be slightly set back from the inside of the legs.
Repeat with the other set of legs.
When installing the corner that does not have any taper cut should be facing outward.
STEP 4: ATTACH THE BACK
Attach the back with glue and 1.25” Kreg screws, making sure it’s flush with the outside of the back leg and the top. The pocket holes on the long side should be facing down towards the bottom of the table.
STEP 5: INSTALL THE BOTTOM
Using glue and 1.25” Kreg screws, secure the bottom. If you’re using oak, you’ll use the hardwood Kreg screws for any pocket holes that screw into the legs and you’ll use the softwood Kreg screws for any pocket holes that screw into plywood.
The hardwood Kreg screws have a finer thread which helps prevent the hardwood from splitting when drilled into.
The bottom should be flush with the bottom of the sides and the front and back of the legs. It will slide under the back and then be further secured by the pocket holes in the back piece.
STEP 6: SECURE THE SECOND SIDE
Use glue and 1.25” Kreg screws to secure the second side to the rest of the structure you’ve assembled so far.
STEP 7: ATTACH THE TOP
Add a layer of wood glue to the top of each leg and then position the top so that it’s flush with the outsides of each leg. Secure with (2) 1.25” nails in each leg.
STEP 8: INSTALL THE BOTTOM SHELF
Before we can install the shelf, we need to apply edge banding around each side so that the plywood looks more complete.
Because of the leg taper, it can be difficult to mark from the bottom of the legs, so instead, we’ll measure from the bottom of the bottom.
We set our multi-mark tool to 4.5” which made it a total of 10.5” tall. This allowed us to get consistent spacing for the shelf without needing to measure each leg.
Secure the shelf with 1.25” Kreg screws.
STEP 9: ADD THE TRIM
We’ll add trim around the top and around the bottom/sides. The trim will actually wrap around the legs as well for a timeless look.
The trim will be cut at a 45-degree bevel on both ends. Cut your first piece and then see how it works around all the sides of the table.
Though your side table should be perfectly square, it’s likely that not every side is exactly the same.
TIP: Locate the largest side and set up a stop to cut the remaining pieces of trim to the size required by the largest side. Yes, you’ll have to trim each piece down as you go, but you’ll be able to make the bulk of the cuts more quickly.
As you cut each piece down to size, install it using glue and 1.25” nails. The top trim should be flush with the top of the table. It’s okay if it hangs down slightly below the bottom of the plywood.
We find it easiest to install the front pieces, then the sides, then the back. By installing one piece at a time, you’ll be able to get an idea of how much you need to trim the remaining pieces to get them to fit just right.
STEP 10: MAKE AND INSTALL THE DRAWER
Now that your main structure is assembled, you can measure and make the drawer box. Check out this guide on drawer boxes for details on how to measure, assemble, and install the drawer.
When cutting the drawer front out, you’ll want to cut it to be slightly smaller than your desired final measurements to account for edge banding. If your measurements have been spot on, we accounted for needing to apply edge banding in the dimensions provided.
Once cut, apply edge banding to the sides of the drawer front and then install. Yes, we like to install everything to ensure it works before staining our project.
Once you’ve confirmed that everything works, you can remove the handle from the drawer front and then remove the drawer box to stain.
STEP 11: STAIN OR PAINT
Check out this post on how to get a professional stain finish. It starts with prepping your wood well! We finished our side table with Minwax Dark Walnut stain and 2 coats of polyurethane in satin.
For the inside of the drawer box, we applied 4 coats of spray polycrylic. We opted for the spray polycrylic because we already had it on hand and it’s so easy to apply. You could just use the same polyurethane that was used on the rest of the structure though.
There you have it! Now you know how to build your very own square end table, complete with a drawer for added storage. Be sure to check out the plans for the matching narrow side table as well.
Looking for more end table inspiration? We’ve rounded up the best DIY end table plans on the internet! From farmhouse to modern, there’s a plan for everyone!