DIY outdoor coffee table with storage

An outdoor coffee table is essential for an entertaining zone in your landscape. And today’s case in point doubles as a centerpiece and a storage piece, bringing function and style to a patio.

Standing 16” tall, built out of redwood, and with hardware from National Hardware, this outdoor coffee table with storage was made to last. You see, the top opens like a set of butterfly doors to unveil a storage area to keep your entertaining supplies handy.

Here’s how to erect your own outdoor coffee table with storage. Cocktails not included!

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-1 4”x4”x8’ (cut to 4 14.5″ legs)
-2 2”x 6”x10’ rough (cut to 2 4’ sides and 2 25.5” sides)
-1”x2”x10’ rough (cut to 10 1’ panel supports, 2 42” long panel supports, 2 41” bottom ledges, and 2 18.5” bottom ledges)
-2 1”x7”x8’ smooth (cut to 4 4’ pieces for the panel top)
-3 1”x4”x 8’ rough (cut to 9 25.5” bottom shelves and 2 18.5” bottom shelves)
-1 quart of stain/sealer
-2 2 packs ¾” National Hardware decorative knobs with antique finish (4 total)
-3 4 packs 1”x½” National Hardware corner braces (12 total)
-3 18 packs #12×1¼ ” National Hardware wood screws (44 total)
-16 4.5”x 3/8” structural wood screws
-3 2 packs 1½” National Hardware back flap hinges (6 total)
-1 pack 1.25” (32 mm) 18 gauge brad nails (optional)

-miter saw, chop saw, or circular saw
-drill and driver
-drill bit kit
-speed square
-tape measure
-finish nail gun and brad nails (or use screws as alternative)
-paint brush/paint pad
-¼” spacers (or make your own)

*material sizes and quantities and tools may differ per project

Step 1: Choose the wood for your outdoor coffee table

I favor redwood, cedar, and painted Douglas fir for outdoor furniture. For this project, I used a beautiful grained smooth redwood 1”x7” (5/8”x 7 3/16 ”) for the top and a rough redwood for all the other pieces to give it more of a rugged feel that’s perfect for the outdoors. If you choose to use all smooth lumber for your outdoor coffee table, you will have to make some adjustments as you go because the rough cut is generally thicker. Optional: You can stain all your lumber now or at the end.

Step 2: Build your panels

Lay out your four top panels and select the sides you would like to face up, then flip those over so that the bottom side is facing up now. Pair up two of the boards and use three ¼” spacers between the two pieces. To attach the two boards together, I used four 1×2’s and placed them 1¾” in from the long edge and 3″ from the short edge. Each 1″x2″ is about 1′ apart from each other. Next attach a 1″x2″x42″ to the side of the panel that will be hinged to the frame. Pre-drill four holes in each piece and attach to the panel with #12 National Hardware wood screws. Don’t forget to check that the panels are square while building 🙂 Next, repeat the steps and build the other panel.

Step 3: Attach panel to side frame with hinges

Cut your 2″x6″ frame pieces. Take one 4’ side piece and line it up with one panel so that they are flush. Find the center of each segment, mark with a pencil, and transfer the mark to the top of the 2″x6″. Take your back hinge and place the bottom (flattest side) on top of the 2″x6″ lined up with one of the centerlines and attach with the provided screws. Repeat this step so that there are three hinges per panel. Then find the centerline on the panel and line up the other side of the hinge and attach.

Step 4: Attach legs and build frame

Take the 2″x6″x25.5” side frame piece and line up one 14.5’ 4″x4″ leg flush with the side and top. Use two timber ties to attach one leg to each side. Then attach this unit to one of the 4’ 2″x6″ sides in the same manner. It might be helpful to have an extra pair of hands to help hold it together. Repeat until you’ve created a rectangle frame.

Step 5: Attach bottom shelf frame

Instead of toe-nailing in a catch brace for the bottom shelf, I used mini L-brackets. Decide how deep you’d like yours to be and makes sure the shelf frame is attached at the same level. I pre drilled my L-bracket to the 1″x2″ on both sides and then attached to the 4″x4″. Repeat this step on all sides of the frame.

Step 6: Add the bottom shelf boards

Drop in the 25.5” long boards and space them approximately every ¼”. There will be a little extra space; just visually divide it up among the boards. Then, drop the two 18.5” boards on each side as the 4″x4″ forces the smaller dimension. You should have a total of 11 boards with all of them. Use a brad nail gun and attach the board to each 1″x2″ support frame on each side. You can use screws and a drill, if you don’t have a finish nail gun and compressor. You’ll want to have some gaps between the boards, so if it rains it doesn’t collect in the shelf area.

Step 7: Add 1×2 to top frame

Since the panels sit on 1″x2″s on top of the frame, it’s important to add a 1″x2″ to the short side of the rectangular frame so that the center of the panels is supported and does not sag. This is your last step. Now, kick back and enjoy your outdoor coffee table with storage!

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