Build a Modern Chunky Coffee Table

DIY Plans for a Chunky Coffee Table with a Modern Twist

These plans to build a modern chunky coffee table use straight off-the-shelf lumber which make for a quick and easy project! This table only looks complicated thanks to a nifty staining technique to give a two-toned look to the top but then again, it can be finished any way you choose! To make things even easier for those just getting started, a pocket hole jig will not be required for assembly – just regular long screws and brad nails!

build modern chunky coffee table_Copy


  • 1-1/2″ screws
  • 2-1/2″ screws
  • 1-1/4″ brad nails(<– affiliate link!)
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper (100. 150. 220 grits)
  • Masking tape, if using two stains
  • Wood filler
  • Finishing supplies (primer & paint, or stain, sealer)


  • 1 – 3/4″ x 3/4″ hardwood dowel at 3′
  • 3 – 1×2 at 8′
  • 1 – 2×6 at 8′
  • 1 half sheet of 3/4″ plywood

Cut List:

  • 4 – 2×6 at 17-1/4″ – Legs
  • 8 – 3/4″ x 3/4″ dowel at 3″ – Shelf Supports
  • 1 – 3/4″ plywood at 17-1/2″ x 41-1/2″ – Shelf
  • 4 – 1×2 at 8″ – Shelf Trim
  • 4 – 1×2 at 20-3/4″ – Shelf Trim
  • 1 – 3/4″ plywood at 22-1/2″ x 46-1/2″ – Top
  • 2 – 1×2 at 22-1/2″ – Top Trim
  • 2 – 1×2 at 48″ – Top Trim

build modern chunky coffee table


Step One

Cut the pieces for the legs and the shelf supports. Secure the shelf supports to the legs using glue and 1-1/2″ screws. Pre-drill the holes in the supports first to prevent splitting!
modern chunky coffee table_Legs

Step Two

Cut the piece for the shelf. Mark the position for the notches and cut them out using a jigsaw. Attach the shelf to the shelf supports using countersunk 1-1/2″ screws, pre-drilling the holes first.

Cut the pieces for the shelf trim. Attach to the ends and sides using glue and 1-1/4″ brad nails. The top of the trim will be flush with the top of the shelf.
modern chunky coffee table_Shelf 1

modern chunky coffee table_Shelf 2

Step Three

Cut the pieces for the top and the top trim. Attach the shorter trim pieces first using glue and 1-1/4″ brad nails, then attach the longer pieces. Fitting the top over the legs will be a tight fit, so the outside edges of the legs may need to be sanded. Secure the top using glue and 2-1/2″ screws through the trim into each leg.
modern chunky coffee table_Top

Fill the holes and finish as desired!

To create the two-toned stain, lightly draw lines on the top to mark the pattern for the stain. Mask off the areas where the first color of stain will NOT be applied. Apply the stain as normal and let it dry. Remove the masking tape. Mask off the area where the first color of stain was applied, then apply the second color and let it dry. Remove the masking tape and seal as normal! This post on creating a striped panel with stain will be helpful.

Fabulous!! Build this modern wood coffee table to fit into any design scheme and create the perfect piece of furniture in front of a fireplace, in a family room, or on an enclosed porch! Have questions about the plans? Leave a comment below!

Originally posted 2013-10-09 08:00:44.