Step aside, cookie-cutter home decor. Make a vintage side table with pretty character from a secondhand wood box and a few coats of paint.

The first step is to roll up your sleeves and look through consignment shops or flea markets. Once you settle on the perfect crate or box, it's time to take it home and make it your own. 

We transformed an ordinary wood box into a stunning midcentury-inspired side table. Made with an open shelf for storing living room necessities, this furniture piece is both stylish and functional. Check out our steps below to see how you sand, paint, and build this one-of-a-kind table. 

Midcentury Modern Side Table

What You Need

  • Vintage crate or box with at least 1/2-inch-thick wood (for wood screws to sink into) 
  • Paint 
  • Brush 
  • Painters tape
  • Legs with threaded screw 
  • Tape measure and marker 
  • Drill with drill bit
  • Metal plates (4) with mounting screws

Step 1: Prep Box

Sand the wood box. Be sure to move with the grain as you sand all sides, edges, and interior. Wipe off dust with a clean cloth or slightly damp sponge. If your box has a lid attached to it, carefully remove it and its hinges before sanding.

Step 2: Paint Box

Paint the outside of the box white and the inside a lighter color pink, or any color of your choice. It's easiest to paint the inside of the box first, so you don't scratch or ding the paint on the outside while reaching in to paint the far interior corners. Let inside dry while you paint the outside.

Tip: Use as many coats as needed to reach desired look. The fewer coats you use, the more rustic and worn it will be. If desired, lightly sand edges and surface after paint has dried to create a worn look with patina.

Step 3: Paint Legs

To make two-toned legs for your table, first tape off the bottom of the legs with painters tape. One strip of tape per leg should do just fine. Dip your brush in paint and begin painting the top portion of the legs.

When you get close to the tape's edge, always place your brush on the tape and paint up; do not push the paint down from the leg onto the tape because this could cause the tape to move slightly and ruin your sharp lines. Let dry and remove tape. 

Step 4: Drill Holes for Legs

Mark where the holes should be for the legs. Hold up the leg to the bottom of box to make sure spacing is right. You don't want the leg sticking out further than the side of the table. 

Find the right-sized drill bit for making the holes and drill four holes into the underside of the box. For added security, install metal straight top plates to each corner with mounting screws.

Tip: Make sure the drill bit is a bit smaller than the screw so that the screw will catch the wood tightly. Practice in a scrap piece of wood.

Step 5: Attach Legs

Line up the legs with the holes and carefully screw them into the bottom of the table. Check to make sure they're sturdy. Then fill your table with pretty flowers, a lamp, and more side table essentials. This project looks great next to a cozy armchair.


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