Building your own kitchen table sounds like a monumental task, but with these free plans we found online, it was surprisingly doable! Read on for how we created our dream table over the course of a few weekends.
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Since we moved from law school to a new state, we didn’t want to take our crappy furniture (read: 90% of what we owned) with us. Lucky for us, my husband’s little brothers set up their first apartment that fall, so we were happy to give a lot of our stuff to them!
That meant, though, that when we moved to Oklahoma, we had almost no furniture. To the degree that we put a twin bed in our living room at first because that was our only thing to sit on. We celebrated our first Thanksgiving on a card table and office chairs.
The fun part about starting fresh is choosing new furniture! We quickly bought couches and a TV stand, but went slower furnishing our dining room.
In case you haven’t noticed this already, I’m not much of an interior decorator. I love beautiful things, but have very little idea of how to make a room cohesive or have any kind of theme. I look at the different categories of decor – contemporary! arts and crafts! modern! mid century! – and think they’re beautiful, but I don’t know “my” particular flavor, or how to identify which style most things fit into. In summary: I’m clueless.
What I do know is that I love hosting. Something comes alive when I can create space for people I care about to gather, eat, and spend time together. I love the joyful raucous energy of bringing people together in my living room. I want my kitchen to be a place where honest conversations happen, where spontaneous dance parties erupt and recipes are shared.
So when my husband brought up building a kitchen table for us, I was hooked. To have a beautiful table, big enough to host dinners and parties and spontaneous drop-ins, built by hand for that purpose? Heck yes!
Together with my brother, Logan built our kitchen table. Over several weekends, we gathered the boards and on a snowy Saturday in January the guys put them together in our garage.
DIY Farmhouse Table
Planning Your Project
We used this plan from Ana White on the recommendation of a friend, and after reading through it a few times it seemed doable. We’re smart people but not carpenters, and I appreciated that it didn’t assume much knowledge.
Reality check: I helped with 0% of the physical building. Logan and Ben did that. I helped buy supplies and did most of the staining, but happily left the guys to handle the building.
Finding lumber may take some time depending on where you live. It turned out to be trickier than you would think in southwest Okalhoma because it’s the Land of No Trees. There aren’t lumber mills, so we explored all the Lowes and Home Depots within a three hour radius. Pro tip: plan ahead for finding the raw wood. This is not a start-to-finish in one weekend project, and buying the different cuts took more time than the construction did!
That being said, they’re not complicated cuts. If you live near a lumber mill or not in a small town, this shouldn’t take more than one trip.
Building the Table
I can’t say enough just how good the plans were. They listed everything you needed (down to pencils and safety equipment!) so when they actually started cutting and building, there were zero runs to the hardware store.
The kreg jig took some getting used to, but the guys loved it. It made hiding nail holes so easy! The tabletop turned out solid and remarkably even/flat. I didn’t know what to expect on that front, but it’s fantastic.
The construction portion of the project can be completed in one weekend. If you’re thinking of building one, make sure you grab a friend: this is not a one-person project. Even with sawhorses, you need another set of hands to stabilize while attaching boards.
After the guys finished it, we all took turns sanding the mess out of it. It then proceeded to languish in our garage for several weeks while I agonized over a stain color.
Stained & Sealed
As I said, I don’t know much about decorating, and I have a pretty generic (read: prefab) kitchen. We live on-base so there’s not variety to speak of; we’re talking white walls with light cabinets and speckled gray counters. After days of googling, Logan pointed out that regardless of our current kitchen, we’re looking at a life of moving every couple of years so just pick a color you like more than what goes best in our house right now. Good advice.
We decided to go classic and darkish, aiming for something close to mahogany but not too reddish. Checking out the local hardware store, we chose Zar Wood Stain in Rosewood. Because it’s our kitchen table and gets a lot of wear and tear, we went with Minwax Satin Ployurethane a super strong sealant to protect the soft wood. It creates a shiny effect, which at first I wasn’t sure about but now I like.
Beware, though: the stain went on purple. I have no idea why. It scared the living daylights out of me, and even after it dried I was nervous. But after two coats of stain and two coats of seal, the color faded to a brown, and matches the chair surprisingly well.
We love our new table! It’s fantastic for hosting. Size-wise, it’s enormous – it easily fits six chars, and we’ve seated eight without feeling crammed.
With the puppy chewing everything in sight, I don’t work in the office much, opting for the kitchen where there’s less he can destroy. I can sit at comfortably at the table for hours. Best of all, I can spread out everything and see all the lists, books and papers I need for any given project. Bonus: its legs are substantial enough that the puppy doesn’t chew them.
I chose these chairs from Target, and they turned out even better than I’d hoped! They’re beautiful and classic, feeling right at home for a dinner party or a bowl of cereal. I think they’re comfortable to sit in for hours of office work. Plus, super affordable. The only thing you should be aware of is that they arrive disassembled, so don’t plan to use them for a party that night or something. 😉
Building our own kitchen table turned out to be more fun and more doable than I’d thought! If you need a kitchen table and are willing to put in the time, do it. The plans I included are free and reliable, so why not? Best of all, Logan really enjoyed it – he’s already dreaming up plans to build us some outdoor patio furniture and now we have the tools he needs to do it!
What’s a DIY you’ve been surprised at how well it turned out? Or one that you’re dreaming of but haven’t had the guts to dive into yet?