Get your room makeover started with this DIY farmhouse furniture project. We'll show you the steps, and you decide what photos, books, and trinkets you want to display on your new custom side table.

DIY side table with chair and artwork

Even if you're not ready to take on shiplap walls, you can easily incorporate farmhouse style into your home. This DIY end table is a great alternative to expensive store-bought options and works in almost any setting, whether next to a sofa, bed, or in an entryway. Angled wood boards make up the top and bottom shelf, providing a simple detail with farmhouse flair. Check out our easy-to-follow steps below to see how to make a DIY farmhouse side table.

  • Working time 3 hrs
  • Start to finish 12 hrs
  • Difficulty Kind of Hard
  • Involves Sawing, Painting, Nailing

What you need


How to do it

Part 1

Step 1

Make Cuts

Make all cuts according to the cut list above using a chop saw. The 1-1/2-inch square dowels will be used to build the table's main frame. The 1/2-inch square dowels will be used to support the table and shelf top. 

farmhouse side table initial gluing
completing side of farmhouse side table
Step 2

Build Side Panel Legs

Working with the 1-1/2-inch square dowels, glue and clamp the ends of a medium dowel and a long dowel together. Predrill and secure with 2-inch screws. Attach a second long dowel on the other end of the same medium dowel. You should now have a U shape.

Measure up 3 inches from the bottom of each long dowel and connect another medium dowel in the same fashion. Repeat this process with the other two long and medium dowels. These builds will stand upright to form the sides of your table.

attaching side piece to frame of farmhouse table
Step 3

Create Table Frame

To finish the table frame, align and attach a small 1-1/2-inch square dowel to the base of one of the side panels. Repeat, connecting the remaining three 1-1/2-inch square dowels at the top corners and remaining bottom corner. You should now have four dowels attached perpendicular to a side panel. Attach the second side panel to all four 1-1/2-inch square dowels to finish the frame.

Editor's Tip
Editor's Tip

To prevent screws from running into one other, drill in each screw slightly off-center.

adding inset board to table
Step 4

Attach the Ledge

Turn the table upside down and set a 1x4-inch scrap board inside the table frame, lined up with one of the long 1-1/2-inch square dowels. Run a bead of glue along the side of a medium 1/2-inch square dowel. Place the dowel on top of the 1x4-inch scrap board, with the glue side to the table frame. Secure in place with a nail gun.

Repeat on the second long side in the same manner. Continue with the shorter 13-inch sides using the small 1/2-inch square dowels. Repeat this process on the bottom tier of the table, clamping a longer board in place to set the 1x4-inch as a guide.

How to Use a Nail Gun
Play Video
How to Use a Nail Gun

This tool is easier to use than it looks. 

marking inset board for cut
adding inset board to bottom of farmhouse side table
using nail gun to attach inset boards
Step 5

Cutting the Inlays

Using the chop saw set at a 45-degree angle, cut the end of one of the 1x4-inch boards. Once your 45-degree angle is cut, align it with one inner edge of the table in the corner. Using a pencil, make a mark where the uncut end of the board meets the adjacent side. This will be your cut mark for the other 45-degree angle. Make the cut and flip the board over to repeat the process and fit all of your inset pieces.

Once they are cut and placed to fit, remove them and place a bead of glue on the ledge piece and replace the inlay pieces. Secure in place with a nail gun.

using putty to smooth out nail holes
top of farmhouse-style side table
Step 6

Finish and Paint

Fill screw holes with putty. Once the glue and putty have dried, lightly sand the table and wipe down.

To get a white-washed look, we choose to do a pickling treatment involving watered-down white primer. This almost-translucent coating helps age the look of your wood giving it farmhouse style. To do the pickling treatment, mix a white primer with water in a 1:3 ratio and brush on thinly, wiping off excess paint as needed. After the paint has dried, sand rough areas smooth and coat with a clear polyurethane.


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