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Sunday, December 2, 2012

DIY Kitchen Table (Part 1)

Problem Statement

We started looking for a kitchen table ever since we signed the lease on our new apartment. I really wanted a multi-purpose space for us. Our last apartment was very small, so I had originally looked at those small, two person, pub/cafe tables. I just never got around to purchasing one and I am kind of glad I didn't.

Our new apartment has much more room for a table. However, we quickly filled up the living/dining area with living room and office furniture. I thought about moving my desk and office stuff to the guest room. The guest room is a no go now, since we ended up with a full-sized bed (in case our guests are a couple) and the fiancé and step-son protested when I suggested getting rid of the couch in the guest room.

My apartment kitchen has this strange awkward space. It is too small for a kitchen table width wise, but is extremely long (96"). I have this kitchen cart that I picked up one day for $20 from a friend who I'm sure either picked it up from Craig's List or Ikea. It fit my space in the old apartment, which had a tiny kitchen and desperately needed more counter top. It is now swimming in my current kitchen!

DiY Kitchen Table by ngnrdgrl
I have this awkward space in my kitchen. My old kitchen cart, which was perfect for my old, smaller apartment, is now swimming in this space! It is also the perfect space to accumulate garbage, groceries, etc, because you can maneuver around anything that accumulates here.

Brainstorming Possible Solutions

I have really wanted to buy or build something for this space. I have looked at picking up a new piece from Ikea, like this:

GROLAND kitchen island from Ikea
GROLAND - Kitchen island in birch from Ikea for $199 Width: 47 1/4", Depth: 20 7/8", Height: 35 3/8".

However, the dimensions aren't quite right. My wall is 96" wide, so I would have over two feet on either side with it centered on the wall. I  am also not willing to drop $200 on a piece that wasn't just right.

I have also thought it would be nice to get an old buffet from Goodwill and fix it up.

Re-finish a goodwill find! I LOVE this shade of green.
(image courtesy of I Create with Love)

I really wanted something that could serve double duty as additional counter space for a microwave and toaster oven, but also give some table space for eating, doing homework (the fiancé is currently in school) or space for me to make jewelry. I also envision my step-son eating his cereal, drawing or hanging out in the kitchen while I'm cooking.

I started thinking about building a bar with a two foot wide shelf similar to the ones below with maybe a one foot shelf above for extra kitchen storage (most likely ornamental in nature).

Kid's Shelf Table
(image courtesy of Style with Cents)

Office Shelf Table
(image courtesy of Real Simple)
The jewelry working would need a sturdy surface for hammering and I would want it wide enough to be comfortable for an adult. I started thinking of adding legs to a shelf, but this quickly morphed into just building a full table.

I have loved Ana White's blog from the first moment I stumbled upon it in a comment on someones Facebook. Ever since then, I have wanted to make my own furniture. I thought it would have to wait until I have a house instead of living in an apartment, but I found that it wasn't so bad working in my parking space in the apartment garage when I hacked my Ikea Rykene bed.

My Inspirations

Once I started thinking this way, I started coming up with some ideas. I knew I wanted a counter height table so that it could multi-function as more counter space in the kitchen. I started by looking at the Ana White blog and her counter height pub table:

Ana White's counter height pub table.
Ana White's counter height pub table.

I saw this farmhouse table from Our Vintage Home Love:

Farm House Table
Farm House Table from Our Vintage Home Love

I love the planked top with the white legs. She also has a good tutorial on how she made it. It looks really simple.

I then found this pinterest pin of butcher block counters from Ikea:

Butcher Block Counters from Ikea
(image courtesy of This and That)

Once I set my sights on building a butcher block, counter height table, I found this pin on Pinterest:

Upcycled dining table turned butcher block counter height table.
(image courtesy of Easier than I thought)

This is pretty much what I was envisioning! Love having my ideas confirmed as a viable option. I'm really keen on the butcher block top as it eliminates the cracks between the planks. I can just see those cracks gunked up with food and being a bumpy working surface. I want this surface to be multi-purpose: food prep/serving, homework for the fiancé, drawing for the kiddo and jewelry making for me.

My Vision

The dimensions of the NUMERÄR Counter from Ikea seems like the ideal fit. It is 73 1/4" by 25 5/8", which leaves a foot on either end of my wall for maneuverability and seems like the perfect width as well. We moved the kitchen cart away from the wall to mimic the width of what the table might be, just to be sure its the right width and wouldn't make the kitchen too small. This counter is $129 new from Ikea. I have been keeping my eye on Craig's List and have found several butcher block counters being sold there for much less.

Here are a couple of sketches I did in Google SketchUp8:

Kitchen Table SketchUp
Kitchen Table SketchUp with black legs and apron

Kitchen Table SketchUp 2
Kitchen Table SketchUp with white legs and apron.
I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to paint the legs and apron black or white. I really like how clean the white legs look with the wood top. However, the wall the table will be pushed up next to is also white, so I'm afraid the white will just get lost.

What do you think of my kitchen table idea? Black or white legs? Or a dark brown? Or should I do a pop of color (like that green)? Do you like the planked top or the butcher block better?

Have you ever dreamed of making something from Ana White or mimicking a furniture piece by another blogger you admire? What about designing something from scratch? Did you give it a try? How did it turn out? Share with us in the comments below!

Up Next

Next up, I'll show you how I make my own kitchen table! Don't forget to follow me so you will be notified when I get this posted.

Featured on: Pin Me


  1. I'm a fan of color.. liven up the living area.. I say green or even red..I have a farm style table that i painted red and everyone always wants to steal it when they come visit:-)

  2. I am really starting to dig the color idea. Red would be an excellent choice. I'm sure I would want to steal your farm table too. ;)

  3. Haha I have that same 'dinning room table turned island' pinned myself! I love it! If you have it up against a white wall I think a darker wood stain might be pretty? Or maybe a coordinating paint color if that fits in with pieces around it. Good luck with the project and thanks for your sweet comments on my Christmas Card Photo post ;-)

  4. Thanks for stopping by! Haha! I'm a total pinterest addict (aren't we all?), so I figure its time to make some of my pins. I actually came up with this idea before I saw that pin, but it was almost exactly what I was envisioning. I'm thinking darker versus lighter too. OR a pop of color. :)

  5. This is so awesome! This is my first feature ever! Thank you!!!!!

  6. I love that you share your thought process with us - - it's neat to see where it all started! As for your questions, I think you're right about a planked top being awkward to clean-up. The butcher top would be nice and smooth and simple. And after reading the comments above, I'm totally digging the red legs idea. That would be oh so purdy.

  7. Thank you! Can't wait to get this going. Not only so I can share the results, but I'm in desperate need of some space to work. The red would be super purdy fa sho! :)

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