Habitat hack: coffee table

Ages ago, I talked about how I had realized that a round coffee table would work a lot better in our space. I actually really liked this one from Ikea, and we almost bought it, but realized it was too small. So we talked about making one instead but never settled on a design.

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Until a couple of weeks ago, when I was browsing the Habitat website for inspiration (how I love that store, even though it’s very expensive) and I found this:

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I loved it! And it looked like something that we could build! Of course, I was just thinking of the base. For the tabletop, we knew we wanted it round, but that wasn’t a problem. We taped the approximate size we wanted it to have on the floor, and then I asked my uncle for it (he owns a glass shop). But if you’re looking at it thinking hey! I want one and my uncle doesn’t have a glass shop! Don’t despair, they’re actually not that expensive on Amazon. (Note: I saw it for around $60 last week, apparently the price fluctuates a lot so check it a few times before buying). Some of you might have seen on Instagram how we taped it onto the floor… it really helped us figure out the size we wanted, I really recommend it.

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Anyway, onto the base. It was an easy design, no angled cuts were needed and since we decided to use the Kreg Jig for this, we didn’t need to notch out the legs like the ones on the Habitat table. I’m going to speak in cm when talking about the cut list so that I don’t drive myself crazy, but obviously, the ratios apply, and I’ll explain how to change the measurements if you want to make it bigger/smaller. Here’s the list of what we needed to build the base for our 90cm wide tabletop:

Materials and tools

  • 2 posts 6cm x 6cm thick (approx 2.5 inch), ours were 270cm long (9 feet or so). It is not advisable to go thicker than this, since we’re already over the maximum thickness the Kreg Jig officially supports.
  • 24 screws, 7cm long (2 3/4″ long)
  • Kreg Jig
  • Sander, brushes, and stain for the finish
  • Drill

Cut list

  • Legs: 4 cuts at 41cm (this was just the desired height for us).
  • Long diagonals: 2 cut at 62cm. This can be calculated as Total width of the base (74cm) – [the thickness of the wood (6cm) x 2] = 74 – [6×2] = 62cm.
  • Short diagonals: 4 cut at 28cm. This can be calculated as [Long diagonal (62cm) – thickness of the wood (6cm)] / 2 = [62 – 6] / 2 = 28cm.

So, to change the dimensions and make it bigger or smaller, first, you need to figure out the desired total width of the base, in our case 74cm, and keep in mind the thickness of the wood, in our case 6cm.

Assembly and finish

Step 1. Predrill holes with a Kreg Jig set up to the maximum thickness. Yes, we’re over the maximum thickness officially allowed. In this case, it’s still okay, the joints are still strong enough. You’ll need to pre-drill holes in the long diagonals and the short diagonals, on the side that will be facing down, on both edges.

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Step 2. Sand every piece, remove dust with a damp rag, stain/paint as desired. We went with a darkish oak stain, but only one coat; after letting it dry I buffed it a bit.

Habitat inspired diy coffee table 1

Step 3. Start by assembling the long diagonals. Screw one long diagonal into one leg, then the other long diagonal into the same leg, then both diagonals onto another leg. You’ll have used 8 screws. You can use clamps to make it easier. (Note: we started using wood glue beside the screws but quickly decided it wasn’t worth it, since it kept oozing and ruining the finish, and the joints are strong enough as is).

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Habitat inspired diy coffee table 2

Habitat inspired diy coffee table 3

Step 4. Assemble the short diagonals. Mark the middle of the long diagonals and the middle of the short diagonals so you know where to align them. Screw one short diagonal into the long diagonal. Screw another of the short diagonals (the one directly on top or below the one you just did) into the long diagonal. Now screw both of them onto the leg. Finish with the other side in the same way: first attach them into the long diagonal (the center), then into the fourth and last leg.

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The view from below, you can see the Kreg Jig holes:
Habitat inspired diy coffee table 4

From above, they’re invisible! Unless you’re on the floor directly below the table of course, in which case you could see half of the pocket holes. Here it is all finished and topped with the glass:

Habitat inspired DIY coffee table 6

Honestly, we’re thrilled. It was a fun build and I like that since it’s glass and the stain is similar in color to the rug, it almost disappears, so it doesn’t weigh down space. I hope you like the Habitat hack, and that it inspires you to create your own. And of course, let me know if you have any doubts regarding the process!

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