Updated: Sep 26, 2019
Skill Level: Beginner
If you’re looking to upgrade your bedroom decor on a budget and abhor particle board furniture, this post is for you! This tutorial demonstrates how to make a rustic end table for $35 that will last forever! It can also be finished any way you like to match your decor. This end table tutorial is based on a great design by the Rogue Engineer, but includes directions for adding an additional shelf for added storage. We made two of these tables for our master bedroom and lengthened the legs to match the height of our bed set. However, you can change the length of the 28.5” legs so that the table height meets your needs. These tables will look great in the kids’ bedroom, living room, or even on the back patio!
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Tools you’ll need:
Miter saw (a hand saw will work for those just starting out or on a tight budget, but will require a little extra time and elbow grease)
150-grit sandpaper and sanding block (Although you can sand by hand, you can speed up the process using an orbital sander. I received the Ryobi orbital sander as a Christmas gift, and I love it! If you go this route, you'll also need orbital sanding discs - I use Diablo sanding discs because they last a long time.
Materials you'll need:
1. Cut the wood according to the cut list below. For each board, cut approximately 1” from the end before cutting the specified lengths in order to ensure the ends are square. Use the tape measure to measure the required length, mark with a pencil, and use the square to draw a straight line across the width of the board. Pro tip: To ensure correct lengths after cutting, account for the width of your saw blade by lining up the edge of the blade with the cut line, rather than cutting directly over the line.
Arrange the pieces to ensure all lengths were cut properly. The top of the table (bottom right; step 2) is assembled using the eight 21" pieces and the two 24" pieces. Each shelf (bottom left and center; step 3) uses seven 17.5" pieces (two 2"x2" and five 2"x4"), and each side (top left and top right; step 4) uses two 28.5" pieces (the legs) and three 17.5" pieces of 2"x2". The two remaining pieces (top center) are 17.5" in length and will be used in step 5.
2. Assemble the top. Drill pocket holes in the boards in the locations outlined in red in the picture below using a drill and the Kreg pocket hole jig (the holes should be drilled in the direction of the pointed end of the red outlines). Connect with the 2½” pocket hole screws. Pro tip: If you plan on staining your wood, drill the pocket holes in the ugly side of each piece, since this is the side that will be hidden from view when the table is completed.
3. Assemble the two shelves. Drill pocket holes in the boards in the locations shown using a drill and the Kreg pocket hole jig. Connect the pieces with the 2½” pocket hole screws. You'll use the holes to the left and right later, so no need to drill screws into those yet.
4. Assemble the two sides. Drill pocket holes and connect with the pocket hole screws. Use your square or a squared piece of wood to ensure the sides are square. The bottom support sits 4 inches from the bottom of the legs. The middle support can go anywhere you prefer, but I placed it 7 inches from the top.
5. Complete the frame. Connect the shelves and top rails to the sides. At this step, it is imperative that your design is square using a carpentry square and some clamps.
6. Attach the top. Turn the table top upside down, center the frame, and attach the frame to the table top using 2½” wood screws (2 screws on each side). When you flip it right-side up, you're almost done!
7. Sand the table with 150-grit sandpaper and finish as desired. We primed and then painted the table cream using BEHR Premium Plus Interior Paint and Primer in One to complement our bedspread. Optional: Add a matching wicker basket drawer. Adding a wicker basket drawer will add to your decor and provide ample storage for smaller items.
8. Repeat as needed until you make your desired number of tables. If you plan to make a second table, you’ll only need an additional three 2” x 4” x 8’ boards, since you can cut two 21” segments from the wood left over from the first table, and then the four remaining segments from a single 2” x 4” x 8’ board.