DIY Rustic Farmhouse Tables

10 Materials
$75
3 Days
Medium

I am getting thoroughly frustrated with the furniture you can buy in stores. I will pay $200-300 for desks and side tables made of pressed particleboard. Within a year or two, they are already crumbling. On another frustrated note, the designs I like typically end up costing me a lot more than I want to pay, or are missing something! So, I started to learn how to build my own furniture. I typically use less expensive pine you can find in a hardware store to keep the cost down. Any nicks in my kitchen table are considered "memories" - haha! My guests had started asking me where I was buying my furniture - when I told them I actually built it, they were interested in the prospect of me building their own furniture. One of these builds included a coffee table and a pair of side tables for my brother in law's living room. His girlfriend and I did some searching to find exactly what she was looking for and then I came up with a plan and went to Lowe's.
Cut List (for one side table):
  • Legs - (8) 2x4 @ 22"
  • Connections - (4) - 2x2 @ 16"
  • X Design - (2) 2x2 @ 26" long to short, you will want to trace the cut once your legs and connections are assembled. Also, (4) 2x2 @ 13" - again trace this once your longer piece is in place.
  • Table Top - (5) 2x6 @ 27"
  • Bottom Shelf - (2) 1x12 @ 16"
Tools You Will Need:
  • Tape measure
  • Speed square
  • Pencil
  • Kreg Jig Pocket Hole System
  • Drill and bit set
  • Miter Saw
  • Sander
  • Paintbrush
As you can tell, I have a very stressed out helper who is always checking on me during my projects.
Step 1: Build the two ends.
You will drill pocket holes into the top and bottom 2x4s. Use plenty of wood glue and attach with 2 1/2" pocket screws. Remember to double check your Kreg Jig settings based on the thickness of the material In this case, you are using 1 1/2" thick material (2 x 4).
Note: Now, while I did do the project's next steps in the order I am about to tell you, I would actually recommend switching steps 2 and 3 up, because it was a super tight fit. I really had a hard time! My thoughts after I squeezed it in the space between the sides and the connections were this:
I think it would be easier to build the bottom shelf first, with all pocket holes already drilled in the shelf section. Attach the shelf to the two sides you have already built and then add your 2 x 2 connection pieces.

Step 2: Connect the sides with the 2x2 connections.
Also using the pocket hole system and 2 1/2" screws, drill the hole into the 2x2 carefully.

As you assemble the main frame, ensure everything is squaring up nicely.
Step 3: Build your bottom shelf.
Using the pocket hole system, adjust your settings for 3/4" material and connect the two pieces of the bottom shelf together with 1 1/4" pocket hole screws and wood glue. Prior to fitting the shelf into place, drill pocket holes around the edge to connect the shelf to the sides of the table. Then, fit into place and attach with 1 1/4" pocket hole screws and wood glue, flush to the top of the 2x4s so it is a smooth transition.
Step 4: Attaching the X
I found it really helpful to clamp my 2x2 into place and then trace the cuts with a pencil. That way, it fit perfectly! Attach with wood glue and normal wood screws. These are mostly decorative.
Step 6: Build your table top.
Using 1 1/2" pocket holes and 2 1/2" pocket hole screws, build your table top. I clamped as I went until my clamps ran out of space!
Fill in all holes with wood filler and sand smooth!
Step 7: Paint or Stain
I painted the base and stained the top, so I didn't actually attach the top to the base until after the base was fully painted and the table top was fully stained. I'm a fairly messy project person, so I wasn't confident I could keep the two pieces cleanly apart!
For the look I was going for (distressed), I painted a base coat of dark gray.
Then, my other helper assisted with painting the top coat of white.
I stained the table top with Minwax Dark Walnut, wiping it off within the first minute of it going off. When both the base and table top were finished, I attached the table top to the base using normal wood screws. I filled in the holes with wood filler and did a quick touch up with the stain.
Step 8: Distress and Seal
They wanted a really distressed look, so I distressed the white paint off using a combination of hand and mouse sanding with 120-220 grit sandpaper.
For the base, I wanted it to look fairly rustic, so I chose a matte, water based polyurethane to seal. For the table top, I used the shinier oil based poly to seal. Apply your first coat and let it dry. Then, sand it and apply a second coat once the sanding dust has been cleaned off.
Step 9: Attach leveling feet.
Despite seeking out the straightest boards, my pine furniture involving table tops usually comes out just slightly off - everything is level until I attach the table top. So, to combat that issue, I have attached leveling feet to the legs!
Shown here is the matching coffee table's leg, but I used the same style of feet on each table. You can adjust them so that the table does not wobble and it has been a life saver for me!
What you end up with is a beautiful, super sturdy and level side table! You can add decorative hardware to spice it up even more, or just leave it rustic looking. They are in LOVE with their set! I loved it so much I wanted to keep it myself -  .
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 9 questions
  • Heje
    on Jan 22, 2020

    The directions are all well laid out except as to where the screws are for the cross braces. Are the from the top and from the bottom? It will be easy to make another set for yourself as you are now a pro. Thanks for the help in constructing these.

    • Thanks for the question - I believe I pre-drilled for normal wood screws and approached from the top and the bottom. Where they meet at the center, I pre-drilled and used normal wood screws as well, but only on one of the two - the other I used a copious amount of wood glue at the center joint! They are mainly decorative, so I was ok with that and felt that the screw holding it at the top would keep it from getting loose.

  • Sue
    on Jan 23, 2020

    Beautiful.I especially liked your helpers,are they paid hourly rate?

    Tables look professionally made.

  • Beverly
    on Jan 26, 2020

    Awesome job and great helpers.

    Definitely going to do this

Join the conversation

2 of 203 comments
  • Marlene
    on Jan 28, 2020

    They look as good as anything you could buy in a store and will be a lot longer lasting. Well done!


  • Tawana
    on Jan 31, 2020

    Beautiful, great helpers too!

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