DIY Walnut Coffee Table Build: Part 1

Before // make-shift coffee table // itsjoulife.comDIY Walnut Coffee Table (almost finished) //

Ever since we moved in to our new condo three years ago, we’ve been using two small wooden shelves as a coffee table. Recently we decided it was time to get a real coffee table and our love of DIY lead to us designing and building our own walnut coffee table. Follow along as we detail the entire process, from initial design to purchasing lumber to building and finally to our finished coffee table.

Design Process

We only had a few requirements when we started the design process.

  1. Not bulky. We have an open floor plan where the kitchen, dining room, and living room are all connected so we didn’t want anything to over-power the openness.
  2. Storage. Who doesn’t need more storage?
  3. Functional from both sides. Since we knew we wanted our coffee table to have storage, we also wanted to be able to access the storage from both sides of the coffee table. It wouldn’t make sense or be convenient if we had to constantly walk around the coffee table in order to get something or put it away.

Once we settled on our list of “must-haves,” we started looking at various different coffee tables designs to get design ideas and inspiration.

Coffee table inspirations Pinterest board.

We made some quick pencil and paper sketches along the way and eventually we transferred our ideas to SketchUp.

Front view of our walnut coffee table design in Sketchup.

Back view of our walnut coffee table design in Sketchup.
Our final design features two drawers facing the TV for storage and a narrow cubby facing the couch to hold remotes, coasters, and cell phones. This allows us to keep the top of the coffee table clear of clutter while also providing an easily accessible area to store our modern technological knick-knacks.


We both like the mid-century modern look so we decided to use walnut for the coffee table top mixed with a brushed stainless steel base. The contrast between the warmth of the natural walnut and the industrial stainless steel has a certain aesthetic appeal that we resonate with.

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