The Perfect End Table

Hello and happy Friday, everyone! I’m so excited to share my latest project with you! I got to work with the inimitable Ana White on this perfect end table. Ana pinned this simple end table to her “Make Me” Pinterest board and when I saw it, I fell in love. She quickly drew up the plans for it and I built it! I love the roomy top and extra storage underneath. And it fits perfectly at the end of my sectional.

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Ana’s plans are so easy to follow, which makes for a super easy and quick build. I built it in about 45 minutes, though the finishing process took a few days since I chose to go two-toned with stain and paint (sand, prime, paint, stain, poly, dry time… you know the drill). I used Rustoleum’s Ultimate Wood Stain in American Walnut, Olympic’s flat latex paint in Heirloom Lace, and Rustoleum’s Ultimate Semi-gloss Polyurethane.

I opted for a solid top and shelf (instead of planking several boards together) and chose 3/4″ birch hardwood plywood. The birch had a really gorgeous grain pattern on it, so I knew it would look so pretty stained. I used el cheapo furring strips for the supports, but wanted a more finished look for the legs, so I went with some poplar 2x2s for the legs. They’re the same legs I used for Evie’s play table. I would’ve liked to have been more cost-effective by using furring strips all around, but it’s next to impossible to find straight furring strips at my Lowe’s. Although the poplar 2x2s cost a bit more, I’d rather have a sturdier piece that won’t take a lot of sanding to look smooth and pretty.

Here are my cut pieces:

I used Gorilla Wood Glue on all my joints and built the 2 end frames with Kreg Jig pocket holes and screws:

Then I attached the 2×2 supports, joining the two end frames together:

I pre-drilled and countersunk pilot holes then screwed in the bottom shelf from underneath. Then I sanded, primed, and painted the base frame before attaching the top. I figured it would be easier than having to tape everything off, once it was built completely:

I brushed the stain on the tabletop with a foam brush and let it sit for about 3-5 minutes:

Then wiped off the excess stain with a clean rag, let it dry for a couple hours, sanded it very lightly with a 220 grit sanding block, then followed up with 3 coats of semi-gloss polyurethane:

Then, after allowing everything to dry overnight, I zipped in some screws to attach the top to the base frame:

And just for kicks, I brushed on a final coat of polyurethane over the whole thing:

And just like that, she’s done! Ta-da!

And with the help of the wood glue and strong pocket hole joints, this thing is sturdy! As you can see, it’s been toddler-tested. Evie loves to climb all over it and camp out on the bottom shelf. What a cutie, she’s my favorite tiny person ever.

I love that this end table has more than enough space for my drink, laptop, and other miscellaneous stuff I want to have nearby me while I’m watching Breaking Bad.

If you’re timid about building furniture from scratch, this is the perfect starter project for you! Hop on over to Ana’s site for the complete step-by-step plan! Thank you so much, Ana! I LOVE my new perfect end table!

So, are you guys taking on any DIY projects this weekend? It would be the perfect weekend to take on this perfect end table project! Happy Labor Day, everyone!


  1. Ana says

    Beautiful table and room! I love those curtains too. Could you please provide some info on them? The pattern is lovely. Thanks

    • says

      Of course! I got them from West Elm, but when I went to their website to look for a link, it appears they don’t sell them anymore (or at least for the moment). They’re a charcoal grey color, with a white trellis pattern.

    • says

      Hi Aisha,
      Thanks for stopping by! I mentioned the stain in my post… I used Rustoleum’s Ultimate Wood Stain in American Walnut, followed up with Rustoleum’s Ultimate Semi-gloss Polyurethane.
      Hope that helps!

  2. Lynnette says

    Love this! Love your site!

    I am starting this table tonight, but it took me 3 trips to Lowe’s to get everything. First to buy the Kreg jig and scrap wood to practice, then back for more screws and paint, etc, and third trip to buy the wood on your cut list. (btw, my 11 year old stepson said “this is the first time I’ve been to the same place 3 days in a row that wasn’t school!)

    For anyone on the fence about the Kreg jig, buy the Master system. I practiced with scrap wood and couldn’t believe how professional it looks. Even my husband was impressed. The kit contains everything you need, except you will need to buy more screws. Ok…..enough of my Kreg commercial….

    My question is…..”How do I route the edges of the tabletop?” I bought the birch plywood just like you at 3/4″ thickness. I have the dremel trio, but it doesn’t seem strong enough or heavy duty enough to use as a router on such a thick piece of wood.

    Thanks for your posting. I’m making mine exactly like yours…same paint finish and dimensions. Love it!

    • says

      Hi Lynnette,
      Thanks for dropping by and for the kind words! I’m excited to see your end table once it’s finished! I used my palm sander with 60 grit sandpaper to sand down the edges, then worked my way up to the finer 220 grit to make everything smooth. I may decide to add on some veneer banding for the edges, because I don’t think I like how the plywood shows its layers there. I’m not sure yet… keep you posted!

      • Lynnette says

        I built this! I used the same off white paint, and used Kona colored stain. I think it looks awesome. It took me a couple of days, but I spent a ton of time at Lowe’s “just looking”.

        My lessons learned: 1) buy the small sizes of paint, glue, stain if you can….not the gallon sized jug of wood glue like my husband said was “a better value” 2) print the plans…..I didn’t and kept skipping steps….so my table doesn’t have wood filler and I didn’t prime before painting….I was too excited to bother with directions, I guess…oh well…. 3) it took 2 trips to get the wood cut correctly…it was very crooked the first time….and have since been told that they can’t guarantee perfect cuts….good justification for me to buy a miter saw. 4) use clamps for an extra pair of hands… 5) Love that Kreg jig and also bought the palm sander….my other new favorite tool AND 6) if the bottom shelf is too big, don’t “force it” into place by STEPPING on it…thank you DH….no wonder this took me 2 days :)

        I did use my neighbor’s router for the table top, but it’s really not that noticeable once I stained it.

        Thanks again Jen….wonderful idea!

        • says

          It can be so frustrating when the lumber guys don’t make accurate cuts – but they’re really just there to cut down your wood so it’ll fit into your vehicle. I actually ended up buying a table saw yesterday because they ripped my plywood incorrectly. Which is just as well, I’ve been needing one, and I’d rather do it myself anyway.

          Yay! I’m excited about your table! I’d love to see pictures!

    • says

      Thanks! I bought the sectional from Crate & Barrel (it’s the Axis sectional, fyi) about 6-7 years ago and it’s held up beautifully to the wear and tear of a toddler and 100-pound puppy. It still looks and feels like new! Definitely recommend!

  3. Tricia Hicks says

    Hi Jen,
    I’m Nashville born & bred! I love your table, did you get cuts at the store? I’m glad to see the kreg recommendation. I want one so badly!! Best of luck with your music & I’m definitely going to follow you on fb.

    Tricia Hicks

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by, Tricia! You’re a rarity – I don’t find many Nashvillians who are actually born & bred in Nashville! Thanks for the kind words. No, I did all my cuts myself, though Lowe’s and Home Depot are able to cut your lumber for you, if you need. Definitely get the Kreg – all the hype is true!

  4. says

    Sharing a link back in tomorrow’s highlights, Jen. This is just so clever – the perfect shape. Love the rich stained top with the white too. Great job (as usual!)!

  5. Ayisha says

    Jen, I’m in the middle of building two of these tables. Its so awesome to have something that fits my really deep sofa. I found some Cedar square balusters at my Lowes that was 2×2 and only cost $2.25 each as opposed to the poplar or oak 2×2 that were more than double. I also am going to try and make with some Birch Iron On Veneer that I had lying around and hope that makes the edges look more finished. I am staining with the Rustomeum Ultimate in Kona Brown as I want it to look as close to black as possible. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks to you and Ana for inspiring me.

    • says

      That’s awesome, Ayisha! My Lowe’s didn’t carry the Cedar… bummer! Let me know how the iron-on veneer turns out… I was thinking of doing the same thing with mine! Send pics! Good luck!

  6. Kristine says

    Okay, so the end table is fabulous, as is your gorgeous styling, though as a font nerd I also have to ask…what is the font used in the watermark on the photos? Love it.


  1. […] Jen from The House of Wood is at it again with another fabulous furniture build. Equipped with Ana White’s step-by-step, easy-to-read plans, Jen built her “perfect end table” in 45 minutes. No joke! Jen says, “If you’re timid about building furniture from scratch, this is the perfect starter project for you!” […]

  2. […] And no this is not some feministic remake of an old Drew Barrymore movie. This is about my brand new end tables that I built over the course of the last week. I used the plans a la Ana White’s awesome blog and additional tips from Jen Woodhouse. […]

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