“Coffee tables can serve multiple purposes. They can anchor a room by providing a central point. They can provide surfaces for displaying special items. Why not make them a conversation piece as well.”
Denise Buck & Ed Johnson – DC Metro Realty Team
Tall or short, strong and bold, or with something special on top, your coffee table is something you should be proud to call your own. If you’re in the market for a new one, take a look at these surprising alternatives. Some offer versatility, others boast clever storage, and some even repurpose your old wares. If there’s one thing they all have in common, however, it’s their ability to draw attention and become the focal point of a room. Need a talking point? Start here.
Building blocks. Old pallets or crates are a fine alternative to the traditional coffee table and are incredibly versatile too. The ones here have simply been turned upside down — but you could screw yours together if you tend to move your furniture around a lot. You could also stack them or cut them down to size, or use one pallet and elevate it with small apple crates, for example. A coat of paint will transform the trusty courier once again.Tip: Consider where the pallet or crate came from and how it was used. You wouldn’t want to bring something into your home that has been contaminated with toxic chemicals or other icky stuff.
See how you can create a variety of possibilities? This design provides storage space for your magazines, books and TV remotes, so you have no excuse to leave the top full of clutter.
Off the beaten track. Not only does this steamer-inspired traveling trunk add a spot of vintage charm to this masculine room; it also doubles as hideaway storage — ideal when you’re short on space. While you can buy these new, you’re sure to find something even more fill of character at a garage sale or thrift shop for a fraction of the price.Tip: When shopping, keep in mind the size of the trunk. It’s crucial that it sits at a comfortable height, similar to that of a typical coffee table, so you’re not forced to stretch to get to the chips (though that’s not necessarily bad for your waistline).
Should you find yourself with a great find, but one that’s too short by coffee table standards, just add some legs. The owner of this vintage suitcase went the extra mile by covering the top with fabric from Ikea, which also protects the original surface from coffee and water marks.
Work your magic. This is not actually a floating Persian rug, but you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking so. This “flying carpet” coffee table rests on a plywood surface that can also be easily removed (should the owner rather lie on the rug).See the rest of the house (and the real magic behind the rug) here.
Set in motion. A piece of glass can be transformed into a simple coffee table — just add some wheels as a base for nifty mobility.
Find an opening. Almost any flat surface can work as a coffee table top. Doors are particularly useful and can be painted and cut to size as well. This one has been kept in its original state — not even the handle has been removed — and has steel pipe legs attached.With so many doors available, deciding on the right one for your room will probably be the toughest part. If you find one painted in a lovely color, just apply a polyurethane for a durable, long-lasting, professional finish that’s in keeping with the original form.
If you have an old door and windows, this creation shows what you can do.Tip: Make sure to stabilize the table by reinforcing the joints on the underside.
Root and branch. For a really organic look that brings the outdoors in, consider cured and treated wood stumps. You might even get the wood for free.
Turn it up. If, like me, you played the drums for a year or so and then gave them up, repurpose them into a collection of fun coffee tables. All it took here was a couple of glass tops for a great conversation piece. I’m already regretting selling my drum set.
Revive. Upcycling is a common theme among Houzzers. An old gear factory came up with the goods for this find, for which a piece of equipment is used as the base.
Cart off. You might have noticed rustic or industrial factory carts popping up all over as coffee tables. People are flocking to these antique items and imitations. I was even able to find a business that specializes solely in refinishing factory carts, so the demand is clearly there.If you want to make an original one your own DIY project, besides sanding, staining and sealing it, you could also try customizing it — by replacing the nails and nuts, for instance, or adding a glass top.
Here an old metal French cart got a new lease on life with the addition of a simple glass top.
Old school. How adorable is this coffee table setup? The antique kids’ chairs and table were bought separately, but combined they work twice as hard as an activity area for the little ones. A way to repurpose your kids’ tables and chairs (the ones sans cartoon characters — unless you’re into that sort of thing) when they grow out of them, perhaps? Having said that, even a household without kids could do with their charm and touch of whimsy.
Take a seat. If you want a cheaper alternative to a coffee table, consider using a cluster of stools. Not only do they look perfectly at home as a makeshift coffee table, but they also provide extra seating when guests are over. Try mixing and matching a variety of stools (of the same height) for a more eclectic effect.Tip: In this case, heavier options will keep wobbling at bay.
If you need a flat surface that doesn’t obscure the look of the stools, simply layer them with a glass top.
Pack it up. Storage boxes are an especially budget-friendly alternative to traditional coffee tables and are a great addition to small spaces. Fill them with essentials, top with a decorative vase and voilà, a nifty little coffee table. The bonus here is that you can easily move them around and update them without feeling guilty (because you certainly didn’t spend a fortune on them!).
Originally Published on Houzz, by Grace Chamia