I recently purchased some pine stair treads that I thought I would use for my staircase makeover project. They ended up having a different wood pattern and absorbed stain very differently than my existing steps, so I decided not to use them. I don’t know about you, but I tell myself I will find time to return things and then it just never happens. I’m thankful I failed myself because now we have a beautiful industrial coffee table in the playroom.
The existing playroom table had seen better days. The kids were outgrowing it in size and they really needed something bigger. While I try not to get overly fancy with their playroom, I wanted something that was functional, affordable, and nice looking. I searched Ikea for a new table, but they were completely wiped out after all the kids had to start the year with virtual learning. At the time, Our Faux Farmhouse was also building desks for their kids and I decided to give table making a try.
I decided to make one and that is when inspiration and my frugalness hit. I would use the unused stair treads to build the top and the 2 x 4 stash to build the legs. It was a very simple build and cost under $75 in materials. I really liked the way 2 x 2s looked in other designs I saw, but I wasn’t sure how they would hold up in the playroom with frequent table dancing and other shenanigans it would inevitably endure. I also already had a stash of 2 x 4s and really enjoyed the idea of making this table with materials I already had on hand.
- 3- unfinished pine stair treads
- 6- 2x4x8s
- 2 ½ inch screws
- Stain/Paint of choice
- Matte polyurethane
- Sand paper
- Miter saw
- Table saw
- Pocket jig
- Orbital Sander
Step 1: Cut off the rounded edge
The first step is to rip off the rounded edge of the stair tread with your table saw (along the red line below). Try to get as straight as cut as possible.
Step 2: Build the leg frame
Once the stair treads are cut, lay them on the ground and eyeball where you want your legs to land. I recommend you inset them about 2-3 inches from the edges of the treads on all sides. Build the rectangles that serve as the legs by measuring and cutting 2 of every size board. Once done, create the pocket holes and connect using the screws. in my pictures you’ll see that I accidently positioned my pocket holes facing up on the legs that sit on the floor. If that will bother you, make sure that you face the pocket holes done.
Set the newly built rectangles (aka legs) back down on the treads and again eyeball them for spacing. Move them around until you find a distance apart that meets the look you are going for. Once done, measure the distance from rectangle to rectangle and cut two identical boards/cross bars. Create the pocket holes and join the cross bar and legs together and finish off the frame.
My cuts for the base frame:
- Cross Bar (2): 38″
- Sides (4): 18″
- Bottom/tops (4): 28″
- Middle Brace (1, pictured below): 24″
- Total Size of Top: 32.5″ by 48″
Step 4: Attach the top to the base frame
Find a flat place to lay out the stair treads. Tighten and straighten them up to the best of your ability. I recommend using a clamp if you have one to avoid tiny gaps between the boards (I had no clamps for my top and it turned out fine). Add your leg frame on top, being sure to center on all sides. I ended up adding a support in the center to have additional places to secure the top to the frame base. Using the screws, connect the base frame to the top boards (just follow along the whole frame). Make sure that your screws are just long enough to go through the 2×4 and into the top but be careful not to sink it all the way through. Depending on your screws, you may want to pre drill holes to avoid wood splitting.
Step 5: Sand
Using your orbital sander (or any sander you have), sand the top and legs down. I focused mostly on the top because I wanted it to be very smooth. Start with 150 and move yourself up to 220. If you have it, you can do a final sand with 320 grit.
Step 6: Stain and Paint
If you want the industrial look, paint the base frame black. This will provide a nice “faux metal” look. Stain the top (I only used one coat).
Step 7: Apply Polyurethane
Once the stain has enough time to dry, it’s time to add the poly! I used a matte poly and it was the perfect combo of smooth yet not too shiny. The trick to getting a professional finish is to sand it with 240 + grit in between coats and after the final.
I built this table about 3 months ago and so far it’s holding up very well! The stair treads worked so well as a tabletop because they were exceptionally smooth and very straight off the shelf. I would’ve never thought to use them if I didn’t have them laying around in my garage, but I’d totally use them again for a coffee tabletop.
If I was doing this project for my living room and was ok with spending money, I would use 2x2s for the legs to get a more sleek look. I would also connect the bottom legs making a rectangle for added stability. Which I hope to built soon for my husband’s man cave.