In this post, I’m sharing how to build a modern DIY round coffee table–in any size! When I originally ordered the maple, I had intended on building that table differently–in a way that would have required more wood.
So when I changed my mind and built the table the way that I did, I had quite a bit of lumber left over that I had already paid for and I didn’t want it to go to waste.
Actually, TWO–I had just enough wood left to build two of these modern table designs in different sizes to make a “set.” I’ve got step by step tutorial and plans below for this DIY round coffee table project plus a video (including how to make your own circle cutting jig!) For example, you can use half laps OR simply use wood screws to attach the legs together.
I’m sharing both ways in the video above (I used half laps for the larger table and screws for the smaller one), but in this post, I’m keeping it simple and showing the easiest way–using screws. To cut the round table top, you can use a router and a circle jig–which will give you more accurate results. However, if you don’t have a router, you can definitely just use a jig saw or a band saw…or just cut a square or triangle and skip the circle altogether.
I used a ⅜″ forstner bit to drill out and plug my screw holes in this project.
There are LOTS of ways to attach it (simple screws, L brackets, etc), so if you prefer using another method, feel free to get creative. Step 1: Cut Center Coffee Table Braces
I began this project by determining the size table I wanted to make. Based on my 34″ diameter top, I determined that the 2×2 braces that go between the table legs needed to be about 15″ long.
To assemble these pieces together on the larger coffee table, I used half laps.
NOTE: To use half laps, you’d need to make your table legs in step 2 about 1 ½″ longer since it would overlap the brace piece instead of sit underneath it. Half laps are a great method to use for this, but they are a little more involved and time consuming. First, I used a ⅜” forstener bit in the top of the brace piece to drill out a small hole (about ⅜″ deep) to plug later with a dowel to hide the screw.
I used plenty of wood glue, and a 2 ½” long screw through this hole to attach these pieces. Then, I used some wood glue and ⅜” dowels to plug the screw holes and once these were dry, I just trimmed them off with a flush cut blade on an oscillating saw (you can use a hand saw as well). I attached the three leg pieces in the center using wood glue and screws. Once the glue was dry, I flush cut these plugs and sanded smooth. Once the glue was dry, I flipped this over and added a 2 ½″ screw through the bottom for extra security. You could paint, stain, leave natural, whatever, but I wanted some contrast so I went with a black base.
Glue the short piece on the end–the outside of the circle won’t need to be as long. I ran these boards through the table saw to just barely rip a little off the edges to give me a nice, smooth, square surface for gluing.
RELATED: Learn about why it’s important to square off table top edges here. I measured and drilled a small hole half the diameter of the circle I wanted to cut from the router bit.
In this case, the circle was going to be about 34” diameter, so I marked 17” from the bit and drilled my hole. I placed this hole on the center mark of the table top panel and drilled the bit about halfway through the wood.
Don’t drill all the way through…since this is the bottom side of the table, this hole won’t matter. I left the drill bit in place, but removed the plywood to adjust my router cut depth to about ¼”.
If you don’t have a router, you can use a round object to trace a circle the size you want your top onto the panel or use a pencil with a string tied to the drill bit in the center to draw your circle out. Then, use a jig or band saw to follow that line closely, but staying slightly to the outside of it.
Once the edges were finished, I sanded it flat and smooth making sure to remove all the glue residue. RELATED: Check out these tabs used in this table top application for more information.
Because these tabs are supposed to be able to swivel back and forth, I used a chisel to remove the material on the sides of the hole, then screwed the tab in place with ⅝″ screws just tight enough that it can still swivel. If you don’t want to use these fasteners, you could also use L-brackets, screws, or another method you feel comfortable with. I really love this big and small table together…I may add a third one someday haha. These are exactly what I wanted for our new living space—something simple, but modern, and they match the new dining table, and I didn’t was able to put that leftover maple to good use! I really hope you guys enjoyed this DIY round coffee table project! If you can’t wait to see what’s next, I’d love if you’d subscribe so you can stay up to date on all the latest projects and DIY tips!