How I built a dining room table – and you can too!

In our old house, the dining space went through several transformations, none of which were too inspiring. When we became first-time home owners, I invested in the biggest table the room could support.  And it extended! It was clunky, dark, oppressive and just a lot.

After a while we realized we did not need this T-Rex-sized monstrosity and decided to downsize.  It should also be noted, both my husband and I come from very small families, and a huge dining room table was just not a necessity.  

The space we had was best suited for a round table. So out went the T-Rex and in came a cottage style, distressed top pedestal-type round table.  It was very Chip-And-Joanna circa 2014!  We loved it though! It left a lot of room for the kids to run around, it allowed me to eventually add my up-cycled hutch. It worked. 

Cut to last summer, when we bought our new home and knew it was time for a change since this house did not have the space to accommodate a round table. 

I shopped around, and found many wonderful options, none of which were in my budget. Then, last minute and completely on a whim, I thought to look into building a table.  The idea always intrigued me, but I didn’t consider it a realistic option, thinking I didn’t have the skill set or even the tools necessary to see this project through. 

Enter this table from Shanty to Chic

via Shanty to Chic

As soon as it popped into my feed I knew this was going to be the one! It combined the sturdy timeless look and seemingly non-fussy construction.  I looked through the plans and the cut list and figured I could give it a try.  

So, armed with a brand new table saw  I have never used in my life, and oblivious to any basic knowledge of furniture building, I decided to go for it! 

The tutorial was a dream: they make it so easy to follow the step-by step process, the cut list and the assembly.  The instructions are color coded for novices like me, and make it impossible to mess up. Even the tricky cuts somehow worked out!

First step of squaring off the rounded sides of 2×4’s. Please note the pile of saw dust on the garage floor!
Then I put together the I-shaped top and bottom supports.

I was building this table while we were in the process of moving. So the bottom part (the legs) and all the boards that were going to make the table top got loaded in the truck and moved to our new home to be assembled and finished here.

The bottom part ready to go…
Here it is, completely assembled in the new much cleaner garage!

When it was time for the stain, I knew I wanted a cooler and darker shade.  

I sampled several stain colors I had on hand, and landed on Briarsmoke by Varathane (top right). It had just the right combination of gray and brown tones I was looking for.  

This is the line up of first, second and third coats of stain.

After multiple layers of this topcoat, I was ready to bring in my new table into the house and style it! 

The rest of the decorating pieces  of this room came together quickly! The rug was a Homegoods lucky find, and I love how it pulls together all the colors in this space.  I chose the velvet drapes, a brass curtain rod and a new light fixture to add a little more substance and drama to the space.  The chairs are old, but the pouf was a new addition.  I love how it adds flexible seating for the kids and opens the space up! 

In the end, I couldn’t be happier with the way this room turned out! It is the perfect hub for family meals and homework, board games and holiday dinners, coloring books and long late-night talks. It has an easy, non-fussy, approachable vibe, while still feeling pulled together and formal. 

A few thoughts on executing this project on your own: 

  1. The skills that are needed to tackle this truly are minimal! This is definitely a beginner level build and the plans make it virtually impossible to mess this up!
  2. Be picky with your boards! This table is built primarily out of 2×4, which are not at all fancy or nice, so take your time and pick the boards that are straight and have as few imperfections as possible.  This may be a no-brainer for most people, but I had to remind myself to slow down and pay attention to this part.  
  3. The most intimidating step for me was running the wood through the table saw to make the rounded corners straight.  This was my very first time using a table saw, which probably explains my hesitation.  Once I was done with the first board, it got easier, but you may want to grab a helping set of hands for this step. 
  4. Don’t be afraid to try! It is a relatively inexpensive project, so even is something isn’t perfect, it can be easily corrected.  But guys, the satisfaction of seeing your family use something YOU built every day… that to me is worth the discomfort of trying something completely new for the first time! 

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