DIY Outdoor Coffee Table

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A coffee table is a central piece of outdoor furniture. A coffee table not only keeps drinks and snacks close at hand and acts as a surface for decorative items, but it can also act as a footrest or additional seating in a pinch.

A DIY outdoor coffee table is a simple project, friendly for beginners, and is a great use for reclaimed wood or wood pallets.

If you are new to making your own outdoor furniture, a DIY outdoor coffee table is a great place to begin. Let’s look at some simple ways to make and upgrade a DIY coffee table.

DIY Outdoor Coffee Table: Before You Begin

The first thing you should do before making your own coffee table is to measure. A standard coffee table is approximately 18 inches high, but you should plan for a coffee table that fits comfortably in your space and is the right height for your outdoor furniture.

Since you will be making your own coffee table, you can make it the perfect size for your needs.

Simple DIY Outdoor Coffee Table

The simplest way to make your own DIY coffee table is to use a farmhouse design. This DIY coffee table is simple and easy to make, and you can even get pre-cut boards so all you need to do is drill and screw.

It’s also a durable, stable, rugged design that reflects classic farmhouse décor. In this style of coffee table, you use 2×4 boards to build squares that will support both ends and act as the legs of your coffee table.

Reinforce your squares with X braces inside, to preserve the shape and add strength. Then attach 2x4s the length of your coffee table on all four corners, so you have an empty rectangular framework that is the right size and shape for your table, and has the strength and stability you need.

Add boards to create the top of the table, and, if you like, add boards to the bottom pair of rails, to create a lower shelf for additional storage.

Paint the coffee table, and consider using a waterproof stain or varnish for long-term use outdoors.

You may also want to add a set of furniture feet or rolling casters, which will make your coffee table easier to move, and keep the wood from resting on outdoor surfaces, where it may be exposed to dirt or moisture.

DIY Outdoor Coffee Table with Covered Ice Bin

An ice bin is a fantastic upgrade to an outdoor coffee table, because it keeps all your favorite drinks cold and easily accessible.

If you add a solid cover for the bin, you can use the entire table surface for activities like eating or board games, then remove the cover to expose the ice bin. The ice bin cover can also double as a convenient serving tray, making this kind of outdoor coffee table incredibly versatile.

This is an easy DIY that you can do when building your own outdoor coffee table, or modifying your existing outdoor coffee table.

It’s best to start with your ice bin, so you know how large an opening you want to create in the table. An ice bin like this one is a convenient size for most coffee tables.

Once you have measured the bin and your table, and decided where to place the bin, cut a hole in the top of the table the size of your ice bin. Preserve the cut boards, if you want to use them to make a cover.

For large ice bins, remember that they will get heavy if they are full of ice, drinks, and melted water. Poke some holes in the bottom of the ice bin, and allow for water to drain beneath the table.

Depending on the size and weight of your bin, you may want to add a shelf beneath the table to support the bin. Smaller, lighter bins can simply be held in place with corner brackets.

To make the cover, use the wood you removed from the top of the table, and, if necessary, join it into a solid piece.

Rather than adding a handle or knob to lift it, it’s better to remove a small half-circle of the top on both sides to create an opening that allows you to reach inside and lift off the cover. That way you don’t have a handle sticking up out of your coffee table.

DIY Outdoor Coffee Table with Storage

Instead of making a conventional coffee table, consider making a storage coffee table. These kinds of tables are more like large trunks or boxes, with hinged lids, but the size and shape of a coffee table. This allows you to store large items like cushions, pillows, blankets, or even outdoor décor and lighting, inside the coffee table.

It’s a great way to save space and keep your outdoor items protected from wind and bad weather.

With this design, you measure for a coffee table, but then, instead of building a table, build a large box. For extra protection from the ground, add furniture feet or casters to the bottom.

Then add a lid instead of a conventional tabletop. Beginning DIYers may want to simply make a lift-off lid, but it isn’t that much more difficult to create a hinged lid for easier access to your storage.

A piano hinge is easy for beginners to use and install, and stainless steel can stand up to rougher outdoor conditions.

DIY Outdoor Coffee Table

DIY Outdoor Coffee Table from Upcycled Materials

A DIY outdoor coffee table is also a great way to reuse or upcycle old materials you may have around the house, or be able to get for free. Here are just a few ideas:

Upcycled Outdoor Coffee Table From Wood Pallet

Make or buy furniture legs and add them to a sanded, stained wood pallet for a fast and easy DIY outdoor coffee table.

Upcycled Outdoor Coffee Table From Rubber Tires

Use sisal rope and hot glue to wrap one or more old rubber tires. Add a circular tabletop, and you have a fun and easy coffee table (and your cats will love it!).

Upcycled Outdoor Coffee Table From a Planter

If you have a large garden planter like this one, you can build a coffee table around it, to have beautiful healthy plants at the center of your outdoor seating area.

Upcycled Outdoor Coffee Table From a Barrel

A barrel is a great way to make an outdoor coffee table. You can slice it in half and make two tables from a single barrel by turning them upside down.

Or add a sheet of plexiglass to make a clear top for your coffee table, allowing you to use the inside as a storage or display area, or even light your coffee table from within.

Upcycled Outdoor Coffee Table From Apple Crates

If you have 2-4 apple crates, they can quickly be assembled into a flexible grouping to serve as an outdoor coffee table. Adding casters to the crates also allows you to re-configure them quickly and easily for different purposes and conversational groupings.

Upcycled Outdoor Coffee Table From a Log

Of course you can simply add a top to a log and use it as a coffee table, or use smaller logs as the legs to hold up a coffee tabletop. You may also slice a log into discs, and use them as a table tops on a wide range of legs and bases.

Upcycled Outdoor Coffee Table From Concrete

Concrete is an incredibly durable, affordable material, and it’s easier to work with than you might think. You can use almost any disposable container to make a mold (like these aluminum cookie sheets) and make your own concrete slabs to use as tabletops or tiles.

Upcycled Milk Crates, Mesh Bins, and Containers of all Sizes

Many people make their own coffee tables and end tables by stacking or overturning milk crates, wastepaper bins, other containers. When these materials are stacked, painted, and have feet and/or attractive tops added, you would never know they were upcycled at all.

You can find useful upcycled materials at thrift stores, recycling centers, or many online websites for forums, so keep your eyes open and let your creativity run wild!


Whether you want to make the perfect outdoor coffee table to match your décor, create a functional table that keeps drinks cold or gives you extra storage, or show off your creative side by upcycling ordinary materials into attractive outdoor furniture, there is a DIY outdoor coffee table project for every style, every interest, and every ability level.

These are great projects for beginners, and even fun projects to work on with the whole family, because there is so much room for creativity and self-expression, and the materials are so affordable. Have fun making your own DIY outdoor coffee table!

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