Hairpin leg tables are on-trend and are actually pretty straightforward and simple to build.
Today, we guide you through how to build a DIY hairpin leg coffee table in an easy, step-by-step manner.
Easy DIY Side Table for Beginners
Materials Needed for Your Hairpin Leg Coffee Table:
- Four (4) 1×8 white / common boards, 20” long each
- Two (20 1×6 white / common boards, 14.5” long each
- Four (4) hairpin legs in the finish of your choice (example uses 16” solid steel in 3/8”)
- 16x 1-1/2” #8 wood screws (example uses brass)
- 12 3/4″ #8 wood screws
- Wood stain
- Polyurethane or polycrylic
- Drill, paintbrush, rag
Step 1: Find the right drill bit
With your white boards cut to size, you’re ready to begin. Find the drill bit that is slightly smaller than your screw. For my #8 screws, I used a 9/64” drill bit.
Step 2: Layout and pair your boards.
Line up two of your 1×8 boards. Make sure their lengths match.
Note: Pre-cut boards might still have slightly different lengths. And even though the discrepancy in length might be minimal, it is still important to pair boards of similar lengths- the two longest and two shortest boards paired together, accordingly.
Step 3. Pre-drill your screw holes
Lay the 1×6 board on each end of your two 1×8 boards. This will give you an idea on where to exactly drill a hole when you pre-drill your screw holes.
Don’t skip this step! Driving screws into the boards without pre-drilling holes will leave you with cracked and ruined wood.
Step 4. Drill your holes
Drill two holes at the end of each board, being careful to keep it in the center of the space provided by the 1×6 board’s end.
You’ll have a total of four holes drilled for one side of one level (top or bottom) of your table.
Rotate your boards and do the same on the other ends, so you have eight total holes pre-drilled.
You may notice tear outs or ragged exit holes after drilling. To hide these imperfections, the sides of the board with tear outs are what will become the underside of your DIY side table (either the underside of the top or bottom of the table).
Step 5. Screw the pieces together
Partially screw your 1-1/2” screws into your boards from the top.
Screw them in until the screw’s point is flush with the underside of your board but not any further.
Support one end of your workpiece (1×8 board) with the quart-sized jar of wood stain or anything that is sturdy and of the same height as the width of the 1×6 board.
Position the 1×6 board under the other end. Hold the two boards tightly together with all ends flush, then finish off your screws into the side of the 1×6.
So far, so good.
Follow the same steps and attach the second 1×8 board, being careful to keep the best side up and the 1×6 board flush on all counts.
Partially screw in four more 1-1/2” screws to the other pre-drilled holes on the other ends of your 1×8 boards.
Move the wood stain jar and place the second 1×6 board under the other end, then attach.
One tip as you’re attaching your pieces: If your boards end up not at all even (my 1×6 boards were apparently cut about 1/16” too long), you can kind of “hide” this flaw by putting the sticking-out end at the back of your side table.
Make sure that one side is perfectly flush as this will be your table’s front. Any imperfections or whatever can stick out the back end.
But be sure both 1×6 boards are attached in the same way, with regard to which end is “front end” and which is “back end.” (Photo shows what became the back end of my hairpin leg coffee table.)
Attach the second 1×6 board.
If there is slight torquing of your board(s), you can remedy this by holding it tightly in place, then screwing it into place as though it were a straight board. Hopefully your boards are straight as an arrow, so this advice won’t apply to you.
Repeat steps for attaching the bottom level of your hairpin leg side table.
Remember to keep the tear outs out of sight, if applicable.
Step 6. Smooth out tall sides of your DIY side table
Using a fine-grit sandpaper (220, for example), smooth out any rough spots on all sides and edges of the table.
Step 7. Staining your wood
Grab your wood stain and follow the instructions on the label for application.
The ends and edges of the wood board tend to absorb stain faster and deeper, making them appear much darker than the surfaces.
To achieve a more uniform color when staining your boards, I recommend the use of wipe-off rag when staining the ends and edges. Wipe-off rag is the ideal material for the job as it slows down stain absorption on those tricky areas.
Paint on, wipe off.
Use the tip of your paintbrush to stain the crack between the 1×8 white boards.
Wipe away any excess immediately. After the stain has dried thoroughly (as per the stain’s instructions), apply a coat of polycrylic or polyurethane with your paint brush, and let that dry thoroughly as well.
Step 8. Attach the hairpin table legs.
When your table is completely dry, it’s time to install the hairpin table legs.
Decide where you want to place them (shown are about 3/8” from both edges of the side table), and screw them in place with your 3/4″ screws.
DO NOT PRE-DRILL as this will likely result in visible holes in your table’s lower shelf.
Install all four hairpin table legs, making sure they are evenly aligned.
Flip it over and you’re done.
You’ve just built yourself a gorgeous piece of furniture.
It’s a great piece to add to your home. It can be a sofa side table or a sofa console table as shown in the picture above.
You will love the modern-yet-retro feel of this clean-lined table, complete with hairpin table legs.
The lower shelf is a functional space that doubles as an aesthetic component of this simple side table with storage.
What do you think of your DIY hairpin leg coffee table? We hope you had fun building it from scratch.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
How to decorate a side table?
There are endless ways to decorate a side table. If you have a sofa side table, some of the decorations you can put on top of it is a small lamp for a much-needed accent lighting and something to read like books and magazines.
A side table with storage is a great place to hide your remotes and reading glasses. You can also spruce it up with a framed photo of your family on top of it paired with a scented candle for that cozy ambiance.
How tall should a side table be?
As a rule of thumb, the height of your side table, especially the sofa end table, should be equal to or just below the arm of the sofa or any seat it is next to.
For a much specific measurement, your sofa side table should be within 2 inches of your seat’s arm height. For example, if your sofa’s arm stands at 20 inches, then the height of your sofa end table should be between 18-22 inches.
How to build a side table?
There are plenty of ways to build a side table but if you’re looking for a relatively easy guide in building a DIY side table, then our tutorial above on how to build your own hairpin leg coffee table is all you’ll need.
How to put hairpin legs on a table?
Mount hairpin legs on a table with the tabletop upside down. Determine where you want to position the legs, but as a standard, hairpin table legs must be attached in the corners of your tabletop, about 2 and a half inches in from the edges of the table.
And remember not to pre-drill when mounting hairpin table legs as doing so will likely result in visible holes in your table’s lower shelf.
Are hairpin leg tables sturdy?
Although hairpin legs look thin and frail, they are actually quite sturdy. In fact, they don’t wobble at all, but only if properly installed.
Are hairpin legs out of style?
Hairpin legs are a popular and classic design element in furniture and home decor. They are so popular that they’ve become a bit of a trend: we see them in everything from lamp shades to kitchen tables and chairs.
The versatility of hairpin legs makes them perfect for classic and contemporary interior decorations alike, making it a timeless design element. Just take for example the unique design and modern flair that it adds on our DIY hairpin leg coffee table.
How much weight can hairpin legs hold?
The weight that hairpin legs can hold depends on the following: (1) number or rods, (2) leg length, (3) and if it’s a classic or heavy duty type. For the DIY side table we built on this tutorial, the average weight it can hold is about 60 kgs.
How tall should coffee table legs be?
The standard height of coffee table legs is typically around 16 to 18 inches tall. If you’re making your own sofa side table like the hairpin leg coffee table we made, the appropriate length of the table legs can be determined by considering the within 2 inches of your seat’s arm height rule of thumb.
Meaning, you have to subtract the height of your tabletop from the appropriate total height of a coffee table, with the difference as the length of the table legs you should consider.
As you can see, creating your very own hairpin leg side table isn’t that hard and is quite cost-efficient! All you need to do is set aside time, gather your materials, and plan your interior accordingly. We hope this guide serves you in creating a great table that lasts for years to come.