Turning An Old Desk into a Coffee Table

Article Posted By: Caroline Inge

of The Home Depot

How to Cut Legs Off a piece of Furniture

After moving into my new apartment, I knew I needed a coffee table to go in front of the TV. In my teeny tiny living rooms of the past, I had just enough room for an upholstered ottoman which served as a place to prop up feet, a drink holder when necessary, and an extra seat when guests came over. But when the time came that I could accomodate something a bit larger, I began the hunt for the perfect coffee table.

I shopped online, I hit the thrift stores, and I began looking at photos of living rooms to really nail down exactly what I was looking for. I knew I wanted a wooden piece– something with charm, a little patina, but still simple. And when I dreamed up that perfect coffee table, you know what? It looked an awful lot like the spare desk I had in the next room. The more I shopped, the more I kept thinking about that desk– how it was the perfect finish (painted in a flat black and waxed to perfection), the perfect size (about 4 x 2), and certainly the right price!

It was time for a DIY décor project– turning the old desk into a coffee table. And here’s how I did it.

You can see in the photo below the desk before its transition into a unique coffee table. This DIY project was really just a matter of shortening the legs of the desk. How hard is it to chop the legs off a desk? Turns out, not all that hard!

Desk before

Supplies needed for this project:

-an old desk
a miter saw
a tape measure
a carpenter’s square
self-adhesive felt pads

Step 1

With the help of some friends, we measured the table. I decided that 18 inches was the perfect height for the coffee table because it would sit right at the same height as the ottoman, and be just about an inch or two below the seat height of the sofa. Also, know that 18 inches is a pretty standard seat height. Because the tabletop on this particular desk was uneven, we decided to measure from the frame. Also, because the legs are tapered, we only measured from the inside face of the leg, rather than the outside, which was on a slant. Based on the type of table you have, measure from the straightest angles.

Measure | How to Turn a desk into a coffee table

Step 2

Using a carpenter’s square, we marked a solid line to finalize where the cuts with the saw would go. A carpenter’s square will ensure that your cuts are at right angles, an important detail if you want your table to be level.

NOTE: You’ll want to make a full line to make using the saw easier.

Measure with a carpenter's square | How to chop the legs off of a table

Mark with carpenter's square | How to chop the legs off of a table

Step 3

Using a miter saw, we sliced right along the marked line. Be sure your table legs are lying flat on the saw base, otherwise your cut could be on an angle.

Follow steps 1-3 for each table leg.

Cut with circular saw | How to chop the legs off of a table

Keep measuring | How to chop the legs off of a table

Cut with circular saw | How to chop the legs off of a table

Step 4

Once you’ve cut all four legs, place the table on a level surface to be sure your table doesn’t wobble. If it does, you can either measure your legs again and make appropriate cuts, or you can use a sand paper block to even everything out.

Add a few self-adhesive felt pads to the feet of your table, and you’re done! Below, you can see my latest DIY decorating project in place.

NOTE: This process can be used for just about any table or chair– just be sure to measure twice and cut once!

How to chop the legs off of a table

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