DIY Dining Table

January 7, 2017 4 Comments

As we have talked about previously, when we moved in to our new townhouse, we had to start shopping for the dining room furniture from scratch – we were browsing our local stores that carry the style of furniture we like. Among our favorites were Arhaus, West Elm, Pottery Barn, and several small furniture salons in Philadelphia. We have always loved rough farmhouse tables, especially those made from reclaimed wood. But when we saw the prices we decided it is better to figure out how to do something similar ourselves. It didn’t seem to be complicated and it really wasn’t! If you have basic skills working with wood and very basic tools, you can easily build a gorgeous, custom farmhouse table.

    Arhaus Rio Parson Dining Table Price: $1,600

Browsing the stores, looking at what we liked and how it was built gave us the inspiration and idea for how we were going to build our own table.

This what we were inspired by:

We built our custom, one of a kind table for little over $100.

Materials we used:

All lumber we purchased in our local Home Depot.

See below figure for our custom lumber lengths.

Tools we used:

We built this rustic dining table using framing lumber and studs we found in our local Home Depot. For the table top we used 2X10s and 2X12s; for all other parts – 2X4s. For the table legs we couldn’t find our desired not pressure treated 3X3s. So, we used two 2X4s to build each table leg. Pressure treated wood is recommended for outdoor use only, because it is treated with chemicals (preservatives) to resist rot, decay, and termites.

We chose the overall dimensions (see below) because a table this size perfectly fits our dining area. You can customize the length and width according to your space. The height is also custom, although there is a recommended table height for an average person to sit comfortably – 30-32.5 inches.

If you need assistance in drawing a plan with your custom dimensions, please contact us. We will be happy to help you with your plan! Absolutely for free, of course.

Overall dining table dimensions

1.  Crafting the Table Top

Let’s start with the table top.

a.  Cut all table top boards (2x10s and 2x12s) to necessary length.

b.  Cut all bottom supports (2x4s) to necessary length.

c.  Pre-drill all pocket holes. We use a K4 Pocket-Hole System tool for all our furniture pocket holes.

d.  Before screwing the boards together, apply glue to all surfaces that will come in contact with each other to make the structure solid.

2.  Install Table Leg

If you were lucky enough and found 3X3 wood for the legs, good. If not, screw two 2x4s together and use a planer or saw to trim the extra wood, so you get 3×3 size. However, you can keep the legs as is if you prefer; they are just going to be a little bit bigger. And due to the actual size of 2×4 boards (1 1/2 x 3 ½), they will end up 3 x 3 ½

a.  Apply glue to all surfaces that come in contact with each other before screwing boards together.

b.  Screw the legs to the table structure using the side pocket holes in the supports.

c.  Install leg supports at a 45-degree angle.

To secure the legs, run 6-inch lag screws through the support into the leg as shown in the picture below. Again, apply enough wood glue before you start.

d.  Repeat steps a. through c. for all 4 legs.

The hardest part is done. Now let the table sit overnight to allow the glue to set.

3.  Creating a Distressed Look

The next step is to make this table look old. Grab any tools (hammer, nails, screws, plyers, etc.) and have a blast making marks, scratches, dents, etc. Be creative and use any type of sharp tool or object to hit your table from all sides.

Check out our video to see how we distressed our table.

4.  Apply Stain

Before applying any stain or paint, you need to sand all the sharp edges of any scratches you made so there are no splinters. Use fine grade sandpaper to make all surfaces smooth. We used Ridgit ¼ sheet sander. This tool will save you time and make the surface smoother than doing it by hand.

Now let’s apply the stain. Any color you like, any shade will work, this is your choice. We picked Jacobean. Watch our video to see how we stained our table. Applying a stain is easy; but use a polyester bristle brush for better results. When the stain is completely dry (check the label for drying time, as it may vary per manufacturer), sand the entire surface until you start seeing spots of unstained wood.

5.  Apply Paint (Optional)

This step is optional. We wanted the wood to look like it was used for other purposes before. So, we daubed some paint here and there to pretend that it was previously painted. If you like that look, get some paint leftovers. You only need a little bit of each color. If you don’t have the shades you want to use, you can go to your local home improvement store and get a few samples. It will only cost you a couple of dollars per jar. We used 3 different colors that we had in leftovers: white, orange, and blue. Apply paint in random areas on the table with a regular brush. This will make it look like this table has been painted several times over its life time. Finally, grab the sander and go over the entire table with fine sandpaper one more time to complete this step.

You can also see our video on distressing the wood for this particular table.

6.  Apply Clear Coat

The last thing is to apply clear coating. We used fast drying polyurethane. Apply several coats, sanding in between coats with a very fine grade sandpaper. We used # 320.

And you are all done. Enjoy your custom built rustic dining table, that will last forever.

The great thing about this table (which we realized just recently after giving birth to our baby) is that it can withstand just about everything kids dish out – and it will only look better! Rustic style furniture definitely has a better chance of surviving kids than pristine new items without compromising décor, or life style. Win-win!


  1. Cindy

    January 22, 2017

    Wow! You did an amazing job and it turned out beautiful! Great tutorial; thanks for sharing the "how to"!
    Thanks also for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

    • Nadia Karpov

      January 26, 2017

      Cindy, thank you! 🙂

  2. Tracy

    January 24, 2017

    Wow!!! It’s gorgeous! Thank you for the detailed instructions and diagrams. I am saving this idea for my husband!

    • Nadia Karpov

      January 26, 2017

      Tracy, thank you for your kind words! we would be happy if our tutorial and a plan will come handy for you and your husband.

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