This DIY lift top coffee table can be customized to the size of your liking and will be the centerpiece for your living room.
So this post is way overdue, but about a year ago, yes a year, a colleague of mine had asked if I could make her a lift top coffee table. She had an old one that she wanted to be replaced. She wondered if I could use the lift top coffee table and then build a modern one that was similar to one she liked at West Elm.
I said yes but I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous. First of all, I had never made anything modern looking. Everything to this point had been farmhouse style. But more importantly, I had to build this coffee table from scratch. I couldn’t use someone else’s directions to make it. I had to design it on my own. Needless to say there was quite a bit of work involved in this but I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
I wanted to use hardwood that I had never used before but could take stain really well, so I settle on ash. Now if you’re inspired to make this yourself, you don’t have to use ash but it’s very important to use hardwood. The other thing is I didn’t have to buy a lift top mechanism. I just used the one from her old coffee table and then build this one around it. But if you’re looking for other DIY projects, check out some of my other posts.
DIY Lift Top Coffee Table Shopping List
- 4 – 1×8″ @ 8 ft ash
- 1 – 3/4″ plywood (4×4 ft)
- Wood glue
- 1 1/4″ pocket-hole screws
- 8″ hairpin legs
- Lift top table mechanism
- Stain or paint
- Table saw
- Miter saw
- Hand sander and sandpaper
- Kreg Jig
- Paint brush
- (6) – 1×8 @ 39″ ash
- (4) – 1×8 @ 24″ ash
- (1) – plywood 39″ x 24″
How to Make a DIY Lift Top Coffee Table
Make all cuts listed above. If you ash isn’t 3/4″ thick, then put through planer to make desired thickness.
Using table saw, cut 4 of the 1×8 pieces of ash to a width of 6 3/8″. If your other 2 pieces of 1×8 ash aren’t at 7 1/4″ wide, then cut those to 7 1/4″ wide.
Drill pocket holes using Kreg Jig on each end of the two pieces of 1×8 @ 24″ ash. Drill pocket holes in bottom of piece of plywood.
Place two 1×8 @ 39″ ash that are 7 1/4″ wide and two 1×8 @ 24″ ash around plywood as plywood is floor. Using glue and pocket holes screws, put it together. Clamp for 30 minutes to make sure glue sets.
Place last four 1×8 @ 39″ ash that are 6 3/8″ wide on top of side panels to make sure top will fit snuggly. You might have to trim a piece of wood with table saw if it doesn’t line up.
Using Kreg Jig, drill pocket holes in bottom of three pieces of 1×8 @ 39″ ash. Glue and drill together and then clamp overnight.
Now time to work on lift top mechanism. Each lift top is different so it depends on you you’re connecting the base to the top. But with mine, I had to add two pieces of wood so it could anchor underneath the top. I used the remaining two pieces of 1×8 @ 24″ ash and lined them up with the lift top mechanism. I then cut 4 pieces of 2×4 to anchor the ash underneath.
With lift top mechanism attached to base, place top piece on it and let it line up with sides. This was the most complicated part of the process. I checked about 10 times and then marked the holes to screw in. I kept lifting it and then placing it back down to make sure it lined up.
With everything attached, stain and polyurethane to your liking.