diy metal base coffee table

so here she is. our new coffee table. with my days and days of internet research, i found this raw steel metal base for $58 with local pickup. (they now cost $60, probably because of me not bringing exact change)

the base was raw steel, so we chose to spray paint it matte black.

after spending a good amount of money on the wood for the fauxdenza, we wanted to do this wood for cheap, thinking we can replace it whenever. it’s really hard to find wood that’s an inch thick. we settled on crappy plywood, which they told us would be $60 for the whole piece that we only needed 1/6 of. but they were able to find some scrap of it and we got it for $13. you can tell it’s cheap because it turned orange after we stained it. don’t know what that’s about, but i’m learning to live with it.


metal base – $58
plywood 41″ x 21″ – $13
spray paint – $6
3/4″ long screws – $1
wood stain – about $6
feed n wax – already had

we spray painted the base and heavily sanded the piece of wood, really smoothing out the corners and edges.

i added a light coat of what i thought was a very natural wood stain. i think this wood has a very orange undertone, which the stain totally brought out over night. i had wanted to have a more sand colored wood compared to the rest of the room. unfortunately, before noticing how saturated the wood was getting, i used feed n wax to finish the wood. so now we’re kind of stuck with it until we feel like sanding it off and re-staining.

once everything was dry, we measured out where the center was and carefully drilled in six screws.

and we finally have a coffee table again – that cost us $84!

but is it too orange?

i’m kinda feeling that weird marbled stripe on top, makes it feel like his and hers. except that would make my side the smaller one.

the rug is from rugsusa / white lacquer tray from west elm / gold wishbone from jayson home and garden / ezc playing cardsbert stern adventures book was $1 from a yard sale /
agate coasters were super cheap at the nyc natural history museum

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  1. Love the table! Definitely not too orange.

  2. I actually really like the stripes on the side of the plywood! Looks great.

  3. you did a great job! way to persevere thru your awful coffee table debacle. and it looks so great with the rug! AND i did get the butterscotch pot de creme from GJ. thanks for the tip!

  4. what a beautiful table. not too orange at all!! thank you for sharing. may i ask where you purchased your wood?

    1. thanks jack! i bought it at stock building supply (in glassel park) – they have such an absurd amount of wood that it was easy to find scraps in the right size.

      1. Did you stack several pieces of plywood together?

  5. I love this so much! Thank you for the idea! You’ve got a new reader. Glad I was able to stumble upon your blog.

    1. + awww thank you laurice!

  6. I love the orange, actually. My partner and I are looking into trying our hand at something similar, but want more leg options. Where did you find that cool base?

    Well done, and thanks!

  7. Where is the base from?

  8. Yes, where is the base from please?

  9. Would also really like to know where the base is from. Looks amazing!!

  10. Checked out the base — it’s $85, which leaves me pondering if you’re a tad dyslexic, LOL, or actually got it or $58. Either way, it’s fabulous! Well done!

    1. haha nope. not dyslexic. they went from $60 – $85. $60 seemed too cheap to begin with so they probably just increased their prices when they started selling more bases 🙂

  11. Hi, I just stumbled on your blog and love this table! I’ve wanted to use plywood before for surfaces but wasn’t sure about finishing them. Is feed n wax the only thing you need to give it a smooth finish? I’ve never used feed n wax before either..

    1. + hi john, thanks! yeah i just sanded the hell out of it and feed n’ waxed. its pretty smooth and has held up pretty well.

  12. Oops, forgot to say. Love the blog and thanks!

  13. I don’t think its too orange. What I like about plywood is the striping detail on the sides. If you get tired of the wood colour, you could paint the table top surface a glossy white? (But I’d still the sides unpainted b/c I think the plywood stripes are neat.)

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. I just wanted to let you know – I ordered that table from rugs USA and it took almost 3 months to get to me! They were terrible. I called at least 6 times. It was backordered, it was wait listed, they couldn’t reach the person at the loading dock, they’d call me back…I thought my $200 was gone for sure. Then it showed up on my doorstep. TOTAL PIECE OF CRAP. The wood was this awful faux rustic finish, the base was rusted in spots, the table was way to high to be a coffee table and felt really awkward in the center of the room. So now, we have decided to paint the base and put a new top on it and use it for a patio table. For our coffee table, I am totally copying what you’ve done here! Nice work! 🙂

    1. oh man. this is amazing news. so sorry for you – but so happy to hear that!!! haha. i can’t believe they pull that crap with all their customers and still run a business. and the weird thing is, i ordered our rug from there and it was here in 3 days no sweat. good luck with your table — i’d love to see how it turns out!

      1. Are you not happy with your rug? I saw you posted the word ‘ugh’ next to the link??

  15. Love this table…cute and cheap! Would love to see underneath it and how the screws are in.

  16. Love it… where did you get the metal base?

  17. FYI. If you start with raw wood as it seems you did you could use a wood sealer before you stain. It helps even out the color and will help with the orange hue. I love the table and wish I could run across the great legs that you used.

  18. I realize this is an old post but when using birch ply, I’ve had good luck with forgoing stain altogether. I just use wood conditioner to bring out the depth of the grain and then follow up with a clear coat (or a couple, depending on the use). It keeps the beautiful blonde tone of the wood without looking too ashy. I also give the edges a light sanding first, which helps the wood conditioner seep in and makes those beautiful stripes stand out. Hope this helps for future projects!

  19. This table looks great! What type of stain did you use? It makes the wood look like teak which is the finish I’m looking for. Please let me know. Thanks!

  20. Know I’m a bit late, but the orange really makes it pop and matches the surrounding decor perfectly! I assume the decor in the picture is what it was really set up with?

  21. Hi! Great project! I love this idea, and am thinking of ordering some hairpin legs online to make my own version. Just wondering about the raw steel – is it enough to spray paint them to protect the steel? What kind of paint did you use and how many coats? Thanks!

  22. Hhhmmm…if the base you used is from Etsy, they are now charging $90! Is there someplace else to find this base at your $60 price?

  23. Fuzen Design says:

    Great job. Would love to find bases like this made for large tables/desks.

  24. I think the table is Fab……only thing I could think of tweaking would be to soften the corners a bit; not an improvement necessarily, but slightly safer perhaps. The color works well. Nice Job!

  25. What an awesome coffee table! What size stand did you end up going with? Also how big did you make the table top? I ask this because I like your stand to top “ratio” and am trying to duplicate it for my home. Thanks!

    1. thanks brandon! the size of the wood is listed above. but i really don’t remember which size base we went with — and now i’ve sold the table to a friend! sorry!

  26. I Would love Answers to questions people have asked!
    What paint used, how many coats, table top is plywood / just one layer?
    Any extra details can offer would be appreciated.

    The base now is 90$ small and 105$ Large
    For canada like me it’s 115!! 🙁

    1. hey mel — the stain i used was a natural light stain (not sure exactly which now) but i only did one coat before seeing the orange undertones of the wood come right out — it’s only one piece of wood that we used!

      i know — ever since this post the prices of the bases seem to go up and up 🙁

  27. love the table the way it is, even the off center flaming, and the orange tone works because it makes the whole thing look like a mid-century modern antique. i wouldn’t change anything on that table, and definitely do not stripe it!

  28. How thick was the plywood? I’ve found it very hard to find 1″ plywood.

  29. Mela Taylor says:

    Did you have any problems with ordering the table base?

    Ive never used Etsy before, but loved the look of this table base and wanted one.

    .I’ve been writing them through Etsy and trying to place an order, but they respond very very slowly and don’t seem ready to take my order and my money. I’m puzzled.
    Is there anything I’m missing?

  30. Orange is not my favorite color but, in my opinion, the tone of this table is just perfect!

  31. That table looked awesome and what a fantastic idea for strengthening the table with wood dowelsm I bet thicker wood would make it more study. Can’t wait to see!