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We built this easy outdoor side table as part of a quick back patio refresh we did at my mom’s house. Her patio was dark and uninviting, so we took it upon ourselves to give her a colorful transformation.
In just one day, we turned her blah backyard space into a mini-tropical oasis. And every tropical oasis needs a place to hold your drinks!
See the full back patio update here. It’s hard to believe that it’s the same space and that it took less than a day to complete.
What type of wood should you use on outdoor furniture?
Before we dive into the DIY outdoor side table plans, I want to take a quick second to talk about what type of wood is best for exterior furniture.
Cedar, teak, and white oak are all great wood choices for outdoor furniture.
Treated pine is technically another option, but we don’t recommend using it because it’s often not in great condition and you need to take extra precautions due to all of the chemicals it’s treated with.
We ended up using select pine, which is not a recommended wood type for outdoors. We chose it because it’s pretty inexpensive and readily available.
It should last a few years since we’re using an exterior finish, but the chances of it lasting 15 years or a lifetime are slim-to-none.
That’s okay though. This is a quick and cheap table (it only costs around $30 to make), so it doesn’t need to last forever.
In a few years, we’ll probably want to replace it anyway with the latest and greatest design anyway.
If you’re worried about durability, follow these plans with one of the recommended wood types.
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
What You’ll Need
How to Make an Outdoor Side Table
Step 1: Cut your 2x2s
Cut 12 – 9.5″ and 4 – 14″ pieces. The 14″ pieces will be your legs.
Since you need so many pieces of the same size, I’d recommend setting up a jig to quickly and accurately cut your wood.
Step 2: Drill pocket holes
Pocket holes are the foundation of most DIY furniture. Become a pocket hole pro in less than an hour in Pocket Holes: Explained.
Drill pocket holes on your boards as shown below.
Note: when assembling, the top board will be rotated so that the pocket holes are on the outside side, like the top board in the bottom square. I had it facing the wrong direction in the photo.
To prevent the screws from hitting each other in the legs, you’ll want to position the pocket holes on 2 of the sides to be closer to the edge of the board, as pictured.
Step 3: Assemble the bottom
You’ll want to position your first slat approximately 5/8″ from the edge of the board.
Use glue and 2.5″ outdoor Kreg screws to attach the slats to the sides.
Continue attaching your slats, leaving .75″ between each one. We used a 1×2 on its side to get consistent spacing between the slats.
Step 4: Connect the legs around the top
Use glue and pocket holes to secure a 9.5″ 2×2 between each of the legs. Face the pocket holes up so that they will be covered by the concrete paver.
Make sure that the boards you’re adding sit flush with the top of the legs. We’ll want an even surface to attach the concrete paver to at the end.
Step 5: Secure the bottom to the legs
Mark your legs at 3.5″ from the bottom. You’ll place the bottom of the bottom you made in step 3 at this mark.
This step is the trickiest part is you don’t have a small drill. I found it really difficult to get my drill at the right angle because the back of it kept hitting the legs.
You’ll want your pocket holes facing down so that you won’t see them when the table is standing upright.
Use glue and pocket holes to attach the bottom to the legs.
Then use glue and pocket holes to attach the remaining two sides to the legs.
Step 6: Add wood filler
To create a seamless look, I like to add wood filler between all of the seams of my boards, even if they look perfectly flush.
Once it dries, I quickly sand it off using 120 or 150 grit sandpaper.
Step 7: Sand + Paint
For details on exactly how we finished our table with a super smooth finish, check out this post.
Step 8: Attach the concrete paver to the wood
Add a bead of construction adhesive around the top of the base.
Position the concrete paver on top of the wood base so that there is 1.75″ overhang on every side. Let dry.
There you have it! Now you know how to build a simple, outdoor side table in no time.
If you want to give your outdoor furniture a budget-friendly update, check out this post to learn a quick way to make your furniture feel brand new.