DIY Basics Living Room Our House

DIY Ottoman Coffee Table Part 3 – Building A Coffee Table Base With Shelf

I’m so close to being finished with my coffee table ottoman!!  I got the base built, and one coat of stain on it.  The only things left to do are polyurethane the base, and attach the ottoman top.

Believe it or not, building the base was so much easier than making the top!  In fact, the base was actually quick and easy.  But just a warning…you need a Kreg Jig in order to build it the way I did it.

Okay, so if you’ll remember, this ottoman coffee table from Layla Grayce is the overall look I’m going for.


tufted ottoman from layla grayce

All I needed to build this was:

  • four furniture legs, each with two stretcher block sections on them;
  • four 8-foot 1″ x 3″ pieces of lumber;
  • one piece of plywood;
  • Kreg Jig with appropriate screws; and
  • wood glue.

I ordered these furniture legs in soft maple. (They come unfinished.)

William and Mary unfinished wood coffee table legs

The legs are made for coffee tables, so they’re 17.5 inches tall.  Since I’m not making a coffee table, and instead I’m using an upholstered top that is 3.5 inches thick, the legs were too tall for my ottoman.

So I used my miter saw to cut the bottom foot off, as well as one inch from the top stretcher block. That actually made it look more like the Layla Grayce ottoman, where the bottom stretcher block sits almost right at the floor.

coffee table base for ottoman - 2

Here’s how my table legs looked after I cut them down. You can see the leg on the bottom is the original size, and the leg on the top is the one I cut down with my miter saw to make room for the ottoman top.

coffee table base for ottoman - 3

I cut enough off to make them 14.5 inches tall, so with my 3.5-inch-high upholstered top, the overall height of the ottoman is 18 inches, which is ideal for a coffee table or ottoman.

I also cut eight pieces of 1″ x 3″ lumber for the stretchers to go between the legs. I needed four for the top, and then four for the bottom to hold the shelf.

I put the whole thing together with my Kreg Jig. I’m frequently asked which Kreg Jig set I have, and this is it — the Kreg Jig Master System. You can find it at Lowe’s for about $149.

Kreg Jig Master System

I also have a Kreg Jig Right Angle Clamp, which is an absolute necessity for projects like this, in my opinion. They run about $30 each, and are not part of the Master System.

Kreg Jig right angle clamp

I’m not going to go into how to use a Kreg Jig, but if you want more info, you can view their YouTube channel here. What I will tell you is that a Kreg Jig is one of the easiest tools ever to use, and it makes it easy for anybody to build professional-quality furniture without lots of complicated tools that create lots of complicated joints. I highly recommend it, and they don’t even pay me to say that. 🙂

I started by attaching all of the top four stretchers (which I guess would officially still be called an apron, even though I’m not building a table).

As you can see on the Layla Grayce ottoman, the top stretchers and the stretcher blocks are flush along the front, which makes sense since the ottoman top goes right to the edge. (Generally on coffee tables, stretchers are set back about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch from the face of the stretcher block on the leg.)

coffee table base for ottoman - 4

So after drilling my pocket holes in the stretchers, I worked on a flat surface and attached the stretchers to the stretcher blocks on the legs using screws and wood glue.

coffee table base for ottoman - 5

(Ignore my ugly pocket holes. I had my jig set incorrectly and drilled the wrong depth of hole, but they still worked just fine.)

With all of the top stretchers in place, the base looked like this. (Awful iPhone pic…sorry.)

coffee table base for ottoman - 5a

Then I went back and added the bottom stretchers attached to the bottom stretcher blocks on the legs.

On the Layla Grayce ottoman, the bottom stretchers were actually inset about 1/2-inch…

coffee table base for ottoman - 6

So after measuring and marking where the top of the stretcher needed to be attached to the leg (you can see the pencil mark), I used spacers, which were just three pieces of a paint stick stacked up.

coffee table base for ottoman - 7

Then I placed the stretcher on top of the spacers before attaching them to the stretcher blocks on the legs using screws.

With all of the stretchers in place, I turned the base up on its end. Working from the bottom, I measured the length and width between the stretchers, and cut a piece of plywood to that size using my circular saw. I had to use my jigsaw to notch out the corners of the plywood for the legs. Then I used my Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes in the bottom of the piece of plywood all around the edges.

And finally, I slid the plywood inside the stretchers with the pocket holes towards the bottom of the base, made sure the top of the plywood was flush with the top of the stretchers, and screwed the plywood to the stretchers using Kreg Jig screws through the pocket holes.

coffee table base for ottoman - 8

And with that done, the construction of the base was finished.

coffee table base for ottoman - 9

I then took it outside and did lots of wood filling and sanding, and then I gave it one coat of Rust-Oleum wood stain in Dark Walnut.

coffee table base for ottoman - 10

And that’s where I left it last night.

I’m so excited to get this finished today!! It might need one more coat of stain on it, and then I’ll polyurethane the base and attach the top.

This very well may be my favorite thing I’ve ever made. I’ll show y’all the finished ottoman tomorrow!!

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sheila F.
    December 26, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Beautiful! Thank you again for showing us how you do these projects. I got an electric staple gun for Christmas! Hubby knows I love power tools. (How I never got this one before now is a mystery, LOL) I have ordered my fabric and I am anxious to recover a $25.00 thrift chair for my bedroom. I always say ” I can build you a house, BUT DON’T ASK ME TO DECORATE IT!” I am beginning to think that may change thanks to your inspiration! Can’t wait to see the finished product!
    PS. Definitely one more coat of stain.
    Sheila F.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      December 26, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      I agree…it definitely needed more stain. I just got through with one more coat of stain and three coats of poly. It’s so pretty! Can’t wait to show y’all!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mrs Mike
    December 26, 2013 at 10:41 am

    This is going to look AMAZING!! I can’t wait to see it all put together. I’m not sure if I love the mirror you made for this room or this ottoman better. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carol @arewethereyet
    December 26, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Looks FABULOUS! Looking forward to seeing it all put together!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kim in Houston
    December 26, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Looks awesome…what are you going to put under the ottoman, baskets, books, remote controls? 😉 Already thinking about how you’re going to style it.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      December 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      Well, the one thing I know for sure will go under there is our wedding album. The thing is HUGE and weighs 28 pounds. (My mom is a retired wedding photographer and she did our pictures, so I have quite an album.) I have never had a bookshelf or cabinet that the thing would fit on/in. So it’ll be nice to finally have somewhere to put it!

      No need for remote controls since we don’t have a t.v. But perhaps some baskets with blankets, a basket for my magazines…

      I haven’t really given it much thought.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        December 26, 2013 at 7:01 pm

        Please tell my you meant, “we don’t have a tv in that room” 🙂 I can not imagine not being able to see all my decorating shows… Property Brothers, Sell this House, House Crashers, Love it or List It, House Hunters, Rehab Addict!! I could go on!! 🙂

        • Reply To This Comment ↓
          Kristi Linauer
          December 26, 2013 at 7:49 pm

          We actually do have one t.v. in the house, but it’s in Matt’s game room, and he uses it strictly for video games. 🙂 About three-and-a-half years ago, I decided that I was spending way too much time watching t.v., so I turned it off, and haven’t turned it on since then. About six months after I did that, we decided to cut off our cable completely since we weren’t using it.

          We do still watch shows, but we have Netflix and Amazon Prime. Not having a cable, or even a t.v., has freed up so much of my time. It’s really amazing. People ask me all the time how I get so much done, and I really attribute that in large part to not having a t.v. to distract me.

          • Reply To This Comment ↓
            December 26, 2013 at 10:15 pm

            Well that explains a lot then! Yes, I can see now how you get soo much done! Do you listen to the radio or music? I could not have all the quiet! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jackie of all Trades SpoolTeacher
    December 26, 2013 at 11:30 am

    It’s just amazing what you accomplish in a day. Great inspiration.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 26, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I really think I like yours better. The blue with the darker stain is very sophisticated looking. Your room should be in a magazine when you finish! !

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Wow! I cannot wait to see the final product. Looks great!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    You rock. This is going to look great in your home.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Wow, it looks great! I can’t wait to see it in the room finished. Great job as always Kristi.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 26, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Coming together quite nicely! And I too, love the details of your DIY’s — the more details the better! Speaking of details, would you give more specific info as to the miter saw you have? It is *the* one to get or would you have something different if you could change it? Thank you.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      December 26, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      I have a Ryobi compound miter saw with a 10-inch blade and a laser guide. It cost about $120 from Home Depot.

      It’s a great saw for a new DIYer, or for someone who just wants to mostly cut trim for baseboards, doors, crown moulding, etc. But for someone who’s really wanting to jump into DIY with both feet, no turning back, I’d recommend something a little nicer. I’m saving up for a new one to go into my workshop (a.k.a., the garage) that I’ll hopefully be setting up in the spring.

      My ideal miter saw would be a compound sliding miter saw, preferably with a 12-inch blade, a laser guide, and some sort of extensions that will hold longer pieces of wood in place while cutting. They generally run between $300 and $600. (Leave the more expensive ones for the professional contractors who will be using them every day.)

      I would certainly never suggest anything smaller than a 10-inch blade. They have some with 7-inch blades that are much lower in price, but you’ll limit the width of wood you can cut with a 7-inch blade.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Ron Harris
        December 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm

        I have a Ridgid 12″ compound miter saw and use it all the time. The best part about it is that you can cut crown molding while it’s laying perfectly flat! The funny thing is that I’d love to have one of the smaller miter saws when I’m workng on smaller projects. That 12″er is quite a bear to lug around for a small project, even though it’s on a portable stand.

        • Reply To This Comment ↓
          Kristi Linauer
          December 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm

          Very good point. I do love that my smaller miter saw is very portable. I drag that thing all over the place. When I do save up for my big one, I’ll definitely be hanging on to the small one.

          • Reply To This Comment ↓
            December 27, 2013 at 12:42 am

            Thank you both for your valuable input! I’m just at the beginning of buying my power tools and I really don’t want to waste money on inferior products. I prefer to wait even and save for *the* one that will do the best work for the most jobs. ~:)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gilmer Gal
    December 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    You make it look so easy. That really helps build confidence that maybe us wannabes could even do it. Now to kick my husband out of the workshop (he doesn’t use it as much as I do, anyway!)

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      December 26, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      You certainly can do it! 🙂 Get a Kreg Jig, and I’ll guarantee you that you can build professional-looking furniture pieces. And it’s so easy to use. Seriously.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 26, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    This is an awesome project. I love the diamond tufting on the ottoman. It looks so professional. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sally B
    December 26, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Looks wonderful:) I can’t wait to see the finished product…I love the look of your inspiration piece, you really do select wonderful inspirations and make fantastic versions of your own:) Sally

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 27, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Is there anything you can’t do? Or won’t tackle?
    You continue to be my favorite blogger…..a true DIY’er. I can’t wait to see the final reveal and see it sitting completed in your LR. Next up the sofa?
    Thanks Kristi for inspiring us all to get off the couch and try something new…..I have a round tufted ottoman begging for a new dress :0). I need to stop talking about it and do it!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    DIY Ottoman Coffee Table – FINISHED!!
    December 27, 2013 at 10:26 am

    […] Part 3 – How to build a coffee table base with a shelf […]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Leena Lanteigne
    December 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    This is looking really nice! What a great job you’re doing! Love it! Hugs, Leena

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Oo-la-la! I love it so far and the stain color is great!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kathy Tobacco
    January 13, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    LOVE it! That is the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen. I love how it looks light because of the legs but looks sturdy because of the bottom piece. On a larger scale it would make a beautiful platform bed too especially for a tight space. I like yours more than the inspiration, although it would be gorgeous too in the right space. Still yours is stunning!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 20, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    What are demensions for the base. What size did you purchase for the plywood?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 8, 2014 at 9:58 am

    How did you end up only using one piece of ply wood for the top and the bottom ?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 6, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Just wanted to say how AWESOME your tutorial is… I am inspired! Gathering supplies to make my own tufted ottoman (except I’ll be upcycling a vintage coffee table with a damaged top to use as the base). Again- AWESOME. And thank you : )

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 10, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    WOW!!! I love your ottoman and tutorial. I came across your site last week and am addicted.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 28, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    On your ottoman table how did you attach your top to your table base?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 8:10 am

    This piece looks awesome! What are the finished dimensions?