How To Turn A Kitchen Table Into A Coffee Table

A table needs to be aesthetically pleasing and functional. But, what do you do if you found a fantastic kitchen table at a thrift store or yard sale or have a table you cannot bear to throw out? Change your kitchen table into a custom coffee table you'll be proud to show off and use for generations. We checked out different ways people converted a kitchen table into a coffee table worthy of a beautifully curated living room with admirable results. 

Reinvent a kitchen table by changing it into a coffee table worthy of displaying books, art, and plants. Check out the following steps to upgrade a kitchen table into a drool-worthy coffee table.

  1. Look over the original kitchen table and determine how high you want it to sit off the ground.
  2. Clean off the table. Remove the legs or cut the legs down to the desired height of the coffee table.
  3. Strip the table and legs as needed, and coat them with a new layer of paint and stain.
  4. If you cannot use the old legs, add new legs or a new base underneath the tabletop.
  5. Make sure your table is fully dry and the legs or new base is even, so the table doesn't wobble and is not top-heavy. Ensure that everything is tight, level, and looks good.
  6. Enjoy your new coffee table and place it in the living room, so it is a central focal point. Make sure to add finishing touches with thoughtful home decor accessories to match the room's aesthetics and theme.

Keep reading to discover how to transform a kitchen table and give it a new life as a stylish, functional coffee table.

A cappuccino in a cup on a coffee table, How To Turn A Kitchen Table Into A Coffee Table

From Kitchen Table To Coffee Table

There's nothing like diving into a DIY project where you can create a coffee table that has a style all its own. Upgrade your kitchen table by converting it into an artsy, kitschy coffee table. Keep as many original details of the kitchen table as you like, or switch things up for visual interest or practicality. Attach different legs or a specific table base style to create a coffee table with a modern look, farmhouse appeal, or is eclectic and bohemian.

Scandinavian style coffee table

1. Decide On The Height

Focus on building visual drama with a coffee table's details or the width of the top rather than creating a towering piece of furniture. Typically, a coffee table is no more than 1 to 2 inches lower than the seat of your couch. So, mark your kitchen table so it will stand at a height between 16 to 21 inches, depending on your sofa. 

Check out this level on Amazon.

2. Remove The Legs Or Base

Flip your table upside down and unscrew the legs or base from the kitchen table. If needed, cut down the legs with a miter saw and make sure each piece is level and uniform. Take your time and double-check your measurements. If you do not want to use the kitchen table's original legs or base, find or purchase new ones to support your new coffee table.

Check out this miter saw on Amazon.

3. Clean And Strip Sections

Clean off the table and legs, especially if you salvaged this table from the side of the road, a yard sale, or it was lingering in a basement or attic for ages. Upgrade the look of your new table and strip away the old paint and stain to make room for an on-trend color treatment. If needed, sand down the table to remove any dings, dents and provide a smoother work surface for a new coat of paint or staining.

Check out this sander on Amazon.

4. Paint And Stain

Make sure to keep your workspace well ventilated. Choose a desirable paint color for your tabletop and legs. Take your time and choose an interior paint that is non-toxic, high-quality, and lasts without easily chipping or fading. Use enough layers of paint or stain before adding a sealant. In the event of a glass tabletop, focus on decorating the legs or table base before the coffee table is assembled.

Read more: How To Remove Paint And Stain From Wood

5. Tighten Up Everything

Before you rush to display your new converted coffee table, ensure that everything is tight and level. Wobbly and poorly placed table legs or a table base will lead to a coffee table that is frustrating to use. Use the right size fasteners for the project and test how much weight your coffee table can comfortably bear. Look over your coffee table and see if there is anywhere that needs to be touched up, adjusted, and you are satisfied with the finished project.

6. Add To Living Room

Once your coffee table is clean, dry and you are happy with the results, it is time to put it in its new home. Take the time to decorate your coffee table, so it matches your personal tastes and intended use. Have fun using a large round dining table top, a traditional rectangular kitchen table, and other styles mixed with legs that are sturdy and visually appealing.

Check out this helpful video to see one person's approach to converting a kitchen dining table into a coffee table:

What Is A Normal Coffee Table Height?

Most sofas or couches don't sit too high off of the ground, so an average coffee table stands between 16 to 18 inches in height. However, if you have a couch or sofa that sits up higher than average, you may need to enlist a taller coffee table and sits at the height of 20 to 21 inches. Keep in mind; a coffee table shouldn't be more than 1 to 2 inches lower than the top of a sofa seat.

What Makes A Table A Coffee Table?

A royal blue suede mid century modern 4 seater sofa and teak coffee table

A coffee table should sit low to the ground, placed in front of a sofa, and within arm's reach. Usually, coffee tables have a rectangular shape, but they can be round or square. A functional coffee table should have enough space for placing a drink between sips while lounging on a couch.

Also, a coffee table is an excellent place to display art, plants, oversize photo books, the TV remote, and beverages. Be mindful as some people use the coffee table, cocktail table, and tea table interchangeably. However, each of these tables has a unique history and expected use and style.

What Is The Difference Between A Tea Table And A Coffee Table?

You will always find a coffee table positioned in front of a sofa or couch. However, a tea table will be placed somewhere near a sofa or couch for service. Expect a tea table to be within arm's reach and have an assortment of small pastries, a tablecloth covering it, teapot, sugar, cream, napkins, and other relevant items. Tea tables are usually round in shape, sit higher than a coffee table, and are practical for guests engaged in tea service.

A coffee table is usually low to the ground and has a wide, rectangular shape. The coffee table was most likely an invention of the late Victorian era, as there are little to no examples of this table in existence before the 19th century. Notice that a coffee table is almost always placed in front of a sofa or couch, but a tea table is nearby seating for convenience.

How Do You Layout A Coffee Table?

There are so many exciting ways to style a coffee table, so it fits the space and maintains visual interest as a main focal point. Consider adding a serving tray to the center of a coffee table for presenting a vase of flowers, an art object, or a collection of attractive stacking cups or soup mugs for entertaining guests.

Think about how you want to compose objects on a table, focusing on the sides of the table, or creating a circular movement with the eye. Mix and match items of varying height so your coffee table never looks dull. Say more with less, and stick to a minimum of three items, or develop a menagerie of color, proportion, and texture with various objects. Go with your heart, honor your sensibilities with home decor, and dress up or dress down your coffee table.

Read more: What To Put On A Coffee Table [6 GREAT Suggestions]

In Closing

We hope you feel confident about converting a kitchen table into a coffee table you'll be proud to keep for years. Before you start, consider how high or low you want your coffee table to sit. Think about how your new coffee table will function in its new space and work visually with the sofa, accent chairs, area rugs, and other accents. Embrace your inner designer and enjoy the process of upgrading and transforming your furniture into something extraordinary.

Before you go, don't skip out on the following helpful articles.

11 Great Coffee Table Ideas For Small Spaces

How To Style A Round Coffee Table

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