Build a Pretty DIY Side Table for less than $20, Win!

Build a Pretty DIY Side Table for less than $20, Win!

Looking for a super affordable and pretty side table for your living room or bedroom?? I’ve got the DIY Side Table for you!

The idea for this pretty little DIY Side Table came from a woodworking challenge on Instagram. The IG Builders Challenge account on Instagram hosts 2 or 3 woodworking challenges a year and I love it! The first day of the challenge always starts with the release of building plans for a random piece of furniture. You never know what you’ll be building until that day. Then each participant modifies the plans to show off their skills and creativity. Fun, right.

Last Spring, I was awarded 1st Runner Up for my L-Shaped Backyard Bench entry. Whether you’re a woodworker or just a fan of DIY, you should follow that IG Account. And, while you’re there, I’d love for you to follow me on Instagram too. You’ll see all the behind the scene’s details and sneak peeks on my builds, remodeling, and DIY’s.

The original challenge plan for this side table was released as a single table built from 1 – 8′ long 2×4. You can see the original design below. The original challenge plans came from Jedidiah Shultz (IrishCraftsemen7 on IG) and drawn by Mark Chapnell (Chapnell on IG).

Simple and Pretty Side Table Plans. Get these easy to follow build plans for this side table for bedside or living room.

For my version of this DIY side table, I decided I could use some new bed side tables for my guest room. So, I built two.  I modified the taper in the legs, added a lower shelf, and switched the top to 3/4″ plywood. I love how simple and elegant my changes turned out. How about you?

Woodworking Note: I’m providing instructions for doing this the easiest way, with the best materials. BUT, for the challenge I actually built this by resawing a 2×4 into 2×2’s with standard 2×2 squared edges. I’m going to skip explaining that for today. It will just confuse the build. A store bought Select Pine Board, or similar, 2×2 will provide a much smoother, cleaner, straighter piece of wood for this build.


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Disclaimer: Make sure to always read the directions for any products or tools you use while building. Always check for square and double-check those measurements too. Read the full disclaimer.


Simple and Pretty Side Table Plans. Get these easy to follow build plans for this side table for bedroom or living room. #SideTable #Plans #DIY
Legs and apron pieces cut. Don’t get confused by the count. I built 2 of these tables.

Materials for 1 DIY Side Table

Simple and Pretty Side Table Plans. Get these easy to follow build plans for this side table for bedroom or living room. #SideTable #Plans #DIY
The paint I picked for this table.

Tools to Make 1 DIY Side Table

  • Kreg Jig & Kreg 1 1/4″ Coarse Thread Screws
  • Drill
  • Various clamps
  • Miter Saw or Circular Saw
  • Optional: Table Saw for tapering the legs and this awesome Taper Leg Jig
  • Jig Saw (to notch out the lower plywood shelf)
Simple and Pretty Side Table Plans. Get these easy to follow build plans for this side table for bedroom or living room. #SideTable #Plans #DIY
Using clamps to hold the pieces together. You can see the 1/8″ board beneath the apron.

Directions to Build 1 DIY Side Table

  1. Make your cuts using the measurements above. Remember, don’t cut the plywood for the lower shelf until the table frame is fully assembled so that you can double-check measurements before cutting.
  2. Optional: I’ve tapered the bottom 10 1/2″ of my legs. Using this Taper Leg Jig with your table saw makes tapering easy for experienced table saw users!
  3. Use your Kreg Jig, set to 3/4″ thick wood, to put 1 pocket hole on each end of the 1×2″ boards (8 boards, 16 pocket holes total)
  4. Sand all of the wood with 120-grit sandpaper. Sand all 4 sides of apron and legs and smooth down, or knock down, the hard corners to give the piece a softer, more finished look. But keep the short edges on the rails that connect to the 2×2″ legs square.
  5. Use the Kreg Drill Bit, Screws, and glue to assemble the table. The top apron should be level with the top of the legs. The top of the lower apron should be 11 1/2″ from the top. I used a scrap piece of 1/8″ thick paneling to get the 1/8″ set back on the apron. Make sure to always wipe away glue with a damp cloth as you go.

    Simple and Pretty Side Table Plans. Get these easy to follow build plans for this side table for bedroom or living room. #SideTable #Plans #DIY
    Frame assembled. Ready to fill the screw holes and any cracks with wood filler.

  6. Measure the inside of the lower apron to get the exact measurements for that shelf. Remember to notch out the corners, for the legs, with your jigsaw.
  7. Use your Kreg Jig to add 6 pocket holes to the bottom of your plywood shelf. 2 holes on each long side, 1 on each short.
  8. Sand the shelf, then clamp in place. I set this 1/8″ lower than the apron. Screw the shelf in place.
  9. I attached the top shelf with 2 – 1″ Corner Braces.
  10. Now you should have a completed frame. Wipe away any excess glue again. Then let everything set and dry.
Simple and Pretty Side Table Plans. Get these easy to follow build plans for this side table for bedroom or living room. #SideTable #Plans #DIY
Painting the top next to my DIY Succulent Garden Tray.

Finishing this DIY Side Table

  1. Use wood filler, as needed and sand smooth with 120-grit sandpaper.
  2. Prime with Zinsser 123 or similar primer.
  3. Apply 2 – 3 coats of the paint. I used this pretty shade of yellow from DecoArt.
  4. Once you have achieved a solid, finished look with the paint, apply 1 to 2 layers of the Polycrylic.

Build done. Step back and admire your amazing talent and beautiful table! 😉

Simple and Pretty Side Table Plans. Get these easy to follow build plans for this side table for bedroom or living room. #SideTable #Plans #DIY
Loving this pop of color for the bedroom.
Simple and Pretty Side Table Plans. Get these easy to follow build plans for this side table for bedroom or living room. #SideTable #Plans #DIY
Don’t forget to Pin Me!

How about another DIY Furniture Build? Check out my beautiful Upholstered Bench Plans.

Farmhouse Style DIY Upholstered Bench Plan with Tongue & Groove shelf. Makes a great end of bed bench, dining table bench, living room coffee table or entry bench.


Feeling inspired? Now that you know how to build this sweet Side Table, get out there and build your own. Follow the links above to get the things you’ll need. Have fun and let me know if you have questions. Or post pictures of your work and tag Abbotts At Home on FB, I’d love to see it!

19 thoughts on “Build a Pretty DIY Side Table for less than $20, Win!

  1. This is so pretty! I love the fun yellow color and great instructions!!

  2. I love this little side table, as well as the beautiful yellow paint color

  3. Your side table turned out amazing! I’m with the others, the yellow is a great color 🙂 Pinned!

  4. Stephanie, it’s amazing that you can build a table like that for only $20! Love those tapered legs too…it really makes this so much more interesting as a side table. And that upholstered bench isn’t bad either. Caught a glimpse of that. Pinned.

  5. Very pretty! Love the color. Very welcoming.

  6. This is such a cute table and I love the color you painted it! I can’t believe how easy it is to make. Thanks for sharing your tutorial with us at Merry Monday this week!

  7. makesbakesanddecor

    I upcycle a lot of furniture but I’ve never built anything from scratch, it would be great to give this a try!
    Lianne | Makes, Bakes and Decor

  8. Beautiful. Love the color you used.

  9. vanessa @ {nifty thrifty things}

    Oh, wow! You are SO talented, Stephanie!
    This table looks better than store bought!
    XO, Vanessa

  10. Such a cute table!! I love the soft lemon colour that you chose too!

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