DIY Modern Coffee Table

Modern Coffee Table

Everyone needs a coffee table. Whether it’s indoor or outdoor, you need a coffee table to place your beverage and relax. Even though I love DIY, building furniture intimidates me! I needed an outdoor coffee table and wanted to design one simple enough for a beginner! I created this DIY modern outdoor coffee table, but the same design can be used for an indoor coffee table as well. For this space, I was looking for a more modern piece, in wood.

In fact, the inspiration for this project came from Aminah’s amazing modern geometric bench design. I loved it so much and had been wanting to recreate it ever since I saw it, but I just couldn’t find any uses for a bench in my home. So, I altered the design of her bench into this little coffee table instead.


What you’ll need for your DIY coffee table


  • Mitre saw
  • Drill
  • Impact Driver
  • Brad nailer
  • 1.5″ outdoor deck screws (for an indoor table, you can use wood screws)
  • p220 grit sandpaper


  • Wood
  • DIY modern coffee table plans
  • Waterproof sealant and stain
  • Black spray paint
Completed modern DIY coffee table

Let’s build this modern coffee table!

Step 1. Select the appropriate lumber

While the plans for this project can be used to create either an indoor or outdoor coffee table, the building materials will differ depending on where you want to keep it. Since I wanted something for our outdoor deck, I had to use a material that could withstand the harsher weather conditions. In this case, I bought outdoor pressure treated lumber, which is made for this very purpose. However, if you would like to make a coffee table like this for an indoor living room, you can choose any regular wood, like pine for example.

If you’re still unsure about the kind of wood you will need for your project, you can take a look at this helpful lumber buying guide from Lowe’s.

Using the appropriate wood.

Refer to the DIY modern coffee table plans to know how much wood and what size planks are required for this project.

Step 2. Cut your wood to size

My table measures 48″ wide, but you can adjust it to any height and size to fit your space.

Tabletop pieces.

At the place where the tabletop boards will join the leg boards, you can bevel the edges to create a more professional finish, too.

The angled pieces come together nicely.

Step 3. Assemble the tabletop pieces

Next, gather your tabletop pieces and a wooden brace. Line up the tabletop boards so they’re flush and place the brace at the inside edge of the angle. You need to attach the brace close enough to where you’ll be putting the leg boards so you can use that same brace to screw them into place, too. Use deck screws to attach the tabletop boards to the wooden brace.

See how I’m using the 2×2 brace here?
Screw all the boards into the brace.

Step 4. Attach the legs boards to the tabletop

Flipping your tabletop over so the brace is facing up, line up the bevelled pieces of the legs to those of the tabletop. If you’re comfortable with a clamp, you can use one to hold the legs in place. Screw the boards for the coffee table legs into the side of the wooden brace.

I struggled a bit using my new clamp, but we got there in the end.

I ended up adding another brace at the bottom of the leg planks so they would be flush and stable. Without this brace, the boards were very wonky. It didn’t really align with the “modern coffee table” look we were going for.

It’s a table!

Step 5. Prepare the geometric legs for the modern coffee table

Next is the geometric detailing, which are also the legs on the other end of the table. As with most lumber, the pieces I was using had lovely smooth sides and one or two sides that were rougher. This is very common. To create a smooth finish, especially if you’re going to paint these (which I was), you’ll want to sand down these sides, using p220 grit.

Step 6. Paint the geometric legs

Once those are nice and smooth, they are ready to be painted. You can, of course, lean into your creative side here and choose any colour you want for the geometric detail pieces. To absolutely no one’s surprise, I wanted them in black. Using spray paint allowed the wood grain to show through. The result looked really good.

Tips for spray painting

Cover the wood pieces with spray paint using long, even strokes.

Rather than doing a thick coat of spray paint, apply a few thin coats. This will help you avoid any dripping in the paint.

Step 7. Apply weatherproof sealant and stain to the coffee table.

While the geometric pieces are drying, you can take the opportunity to apply a weatherproof sealant and stain to the section of the coffee table that you’ve already completed.

Start by sanding everything down with a p220 grit, then apply a light coat of the sealant and stain.

If you intend for this DIY modern coffee table to live indoors, then you can just apply a regular stain as you see fit. However, as I’ve said, if you’d like to keep your coffee table outdoors, it’s important to coat it with a weatherproof sealant to protect it against harsh weather, like rain or winter conditions.  

Step 8. Assemble the DIY modern coffee table.

Using another piece of wood as a spacer to ensure even spacing, attach the dark painted pieces to the tabletop. You can start with the thinner pieces for the top so you can see how the spacing looks.

Once that’s done, align the leg pieces and screw those into the sides of the table. Be careful not to over-tighten your screws, and always use pilot holes, otherwise your wood will split, like mine did below. I had to cut a new piece as this was unusable! I was SO mad at myself!

DIY Modern coffee table legs broke
Using a piece as a spacer to create even spacing between the legs.

At this stage, the coffee table looked a little unfinished to me, so I ended up adding bracing pieces to the bottom of my geometric legs. I think this was a good choice because it really brought the look together.

Finishing the DIY modern coffee table.
Here we are, trying to find any level flooring to help us assemble the last few pieces.

When attaching these last pieces, we definitely wanted to make sure everything was level and even spaced. Can you believe the most level workspace I had available outside was the sidewalk in front of our driveway? Yes, we did get some weird looks, but you gotta do what you gotta do!

Our completed modern DIY coffee table

Oh my gosh, look at this fabulous coffee table! Isn’t it so cute? On hot days, it’s so nice to sit outside and bask in the sun with a cool drink, or have a BBQ dinner on the back porch in the evening with friends. One thing that can take away from these blissful scenes, though, is not having anywhere to put that drink down, or having to sit with your dinner plate on your knees. Unfortunately, this was our reality for a long time; we really needed a table.

Completed modern DIY coffee table
It’s finished, it’s gorgeous, it’s DIY!
Completed outdoor modern DIY coffee table

I love how the coffee table looks on our deck with the rest of our furniture and we finally have somewhere to put down our drink and our dinner plates!

Outdoor modern oasis

I can’t believe I made a table – my very first one! And it looks incredible. I’m very much looking forward to the summer months when we’ll be able to sit outside and make use of this table. My family and I are definitely going to enjoy this beautiful, modern DIY coffee table for years to come.

Pressure treated modern DIY coffee table

I would love to see you build something like this. If you do, please be sure to share it with me. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more budget projects!

Pint his for later!

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