DIY Dining Table for Under $50

DIY Dining TableI built a basement apartment in the house I own.  I live in the apartment while renting out the upstairs unit.  The basement apartment is on the small side but is enough space and a lot bigger than these tiny houses you see popping up.  Since I like to build things, I can be creative in how I arrange my furniture as well as even building some of my own furniture when the need arises.  The dining table is a great feature that can take up a lot of space, especially in a space challenged apartment.  Instead of buying a smaller dining table, I decided to build one.  I have a nice little spot near the kitchen and next to a wall that I could attach the table to.

My DIY Dining Table for Under $50

Plywood is probably my favorite material for building stuff.  It’s great because it’s cool looking, inexpensive, and you can find  a bunch of different types.  For example, you can find really rough plywood for the underlayment for floors.  You can also find nice finished hardwood plywood for tables.  I used this type of plywood for my table.  Here’s the complete list of materials I used for my DIY dining table project:

  • One full sheet of Hardwood Plywood – one full sheet is 4′ by 8′.  If you purchase it from Home Depot or Lowes, they will cut your pieces for you.  I like to have them do it because it makes it easier for me to carry in my wagon.  I didn’t use the whole sheet but I did buy it because it’s cheaper and I’m sure I’ll use the excess in the future.  Have them cut out two pieces of your desired dimension.  My table is about 30″ Deep by 40″ Wide.  I had them cut two pieces this size because I want to double up the 3/4″ thick plywood, effectively creating a one and a half inch thick countertop.  Cost – $40 for the whole sheet, $25 for the wood you’ll be using for this project.
  • One 8′ 2×3 – you can also use a 2×4.  My table was so small that I figured 2×3 were fine.  Cost – $3
  • One bottle of Howard Butcher Block conditioner – I like this stuff compared to a finish that you paint on.  It’s a blend of mineral oil and different waxes.  It’s great and safe for food areas like wood butcher blocks, hence the name.  I have wood countertops and now, a wood dining table that I can use the conditioner on.  I like this stuff because you get to feel the grain of the wood more.  It’s non-toxic and works to condition the wood, keeping the wood moisturized.  Cost – $8

Also, here are the tools you’ll need:

  • Drill – to drill pilot holes and to screw in the screws.
  • (10) 2.5″ wood screws, (5)1″ wood screws, and a 3/32 drill bit to drill pilot holes
  • Level – 24 inch level at least.
  • Saw – if you don’t have a miter saw, I’ll show you how to make quick, easy angles for cutting with a hand saw.

 Directions for DIY Dining Table

Basically, you should have your two pieces of plywood for your table, 8′ piece of 2×3 to make the brackets, conditioner to finish.  You’ll also need your tools to get the job done.  Here’s what you do:

  1. Mount your wall bracket – measure your 2×3 and cut this bracket to be at least 75% the length of the side of the table that’s going against the wall.  For example, the length of your table on the side against the wall is 4 feet, cut your bracket to be at least 3 feet, 75% of the length of the table.  Find the studs in your walls and screw the bracket into the studs using the 2.5″ screws.  Drill pilot holes in your bracket so the screws go in a little easier and tighter.  Make sure you get at least three screws into studs just to be sure this thing is solid.  Even if two of the three screws are in the same wall stud, get them in there.
  2. Mount your 45 degree angle brackets (2) – Basically you have to cut two 45 degree angled brackets to also mount against the wall.  These brackets will acts as legs but will also save you space by not having to actually touch the floor.  These brackets are also really strong.  If you don’t have a miter saw, here’s how to quickly and easily create 45 degree lines on your brackets to cut:

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  3. You also want mount your brackets to wall studs using two 2.5″ screws each, so find the appropriate location for this.  For a nicer visual, you’d want these brackets to line up evenly under the table top.  But if they don’t, that’s ok too.  It’s much more important to have a securely mounted table than a pretty, but flimsy table.  Use your level to line up the top of the wall bracket and your 45 degree bracket.  When you find the level, pre-drill your holes in the bracket, and mount to the wall.
  4. So with all of your brackets securely in place, mount the first layer of your table top.  I used two layers for a couple reasons.  One, I think it looks nicer to have a thicker table top.  Two, I can mount the first layer to my brackets with screws from the top, then use the second layer to cover these screws up.
  5. With your first layer secure, drill four pilot holes all the way through in well spaced out spots.  Take the second layer and center it on the first layer. Drill 1″ screws in your pilot holes from underneath the first layer.  By doing this, you won’t see any screws from the top of your table.
  6. Follow directions from the Howard Butcher Block Conditioner to rub in your table top.

And that’s it, you now have a great, secure, space-saving dining room table for less than $50!

8 Responses

  1. Small spaces definitely need some creativity. The only thing I hate about bars like this is that then you’re facing the wall, instead of something or something. But definitely a great use of the space.

    Also, when you show the folded paper for the 45 degree angle – it made me think of those “cooty-catchers” I used to make when I was younger… oh the days :)

    • SBB says:

      I agree Alicia, it’s not too nice facing a wall. We had to get creative to fit the table in and what we sacrifice in some areas we gain in others so overall a positive!

      Yeah, I was reminded of that as I was making them too!

  2. Nice work! That looks pretty professional and good use of a tight space :-)

    • SBB says:

      Thanks Derek, so far so good. It’s a way more efficient use of space than the dining table we had in here. It was just too big.

  3. Cool idea! It would pair nicely with one of those tiny houses.

    • SBB says:

      That’s kind of like what I’m living in Shawna. I have about 600 square feet. Not real tiny but it’s tight for sure.

  4. Very cool. I always like a DIY project. I recently made a harvest table out of some old barn boards. It wasn’t too much work and it looks fantastic. Best of all, I was able to size it to fit my space perfectly.

    • SBB says:

      Yeah, when I have the time, I prefer making stuff over buying stuff. It’s more fun, cheaper, and overall you get something you can be proud of…even if it doesn’t come out perfect.

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