sidetableAs with all of our more technical how to’s: (i.e. anything with a measurement involved), I (Lee) will be tackling this one. I hope you don’t mind (he said in his most charming tone).
Really, the transformation of the side tables was just my stubborn determination not to return to Ikea for the 2nd time that week, and during rush hour.


The tables we bought from Ikea were originally purchased to go behind the couch, as a type of console, but they pushed the couch out too far so they wouldn’t work. Ashli started crying . . . okay I started crying . . . ok nobody cried but we both really didn’t want to make the 45 minute trek back to Ikea. So we tried something very risky, because if it didn’t work out we wouldn’t be able to return them, at least with out some serious explaining :).  Here’s how they looked when we brought them home:


Soooo, with my mind made up that I wasn’t leaving the house again I set out to measuring how much of the bottom to lop off. We put the tables together and set them beside the couch to measure how much lower they should be. Ashli decided that the top of the table should be about 1.25 inches below the arm of the couch (she decided this by glancing up from her laptop and with an oh so accurate measurement between her fingers . . . “ah, about this much”).


That made a total of 6 inches to remove.


I put the tables in the garage, top down on a towel as not to scratch the top (again, doing everything not to head out to Ikea again) and measured 6 inches from the bottom and marked off all 4 legs. I used my grinder with a cut off disk, but with a little more time and patience a hack saw would do fine as well, I’m just not very patient and I like power tools . . . A LOT!


One thing to note is that there are plastic inserts in the bottom of the table legs that should be removed prior to measuring and should be re-inserted after the correct length is cut off. Here’s how the tables looked post amputation:


Once all the legs have been cut, and the plastic feet have been put back in the only thing left to do was put them beside the couch… and hope I measured right.

sidetable diy living room

After living with our new side tables for over 6 month now, we are still in LOVE. They’re not really statement makers, they just nicely play with the rest of the furniture, blending in like a good team player. But the best part about them in my opinion is that their HUGE, as far as side tables go. I can fit a drink, a magazine, a plate of dinner and still have room for one of Ashli’s soy candles!

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22 Responses

  1. Janell

    It’s great how the table is as deep as the sofa, looks just right and like you said, lots of space to put things! Getting a kick out of the steps…in our house we don’t need steps, the dog just knows how to get up on the sofa, though he knows clearly he is not supposed to be on them! Janell

  2. Kj

    I would have never guessed! I love it!! I had wondered where you two found such long side tables. Perfect fit for your your room and sofa. Great job!!

  3. r8chel

    I would have never guessed! I love it!! I had wondered where you two found such long side tables. Perfect fit for your your room and sofa. Great job!!

  4. tina

    They look great.I like them becasue there’s a lot of space to store things. I was wondering where you got the end tables from but I idn’t want to ask.


  5. Big fat cow

    Thanks for posting this…I too had wondered where you got the “long” side tables from! I love all the storage it gives you underneath for your books too!

    How sweet the things the hubby’s will do to avoid another trip to Ikea! lol! I’ve had similar experiences here…but I can’t begin to tell you how many trips to Lowe’s is required for even the simplest projects! ha!

    I love Lee’s comment that he has room for all his stuff on the table (dinner plate, drink, etc.)…but still has room for your soy candle! That made me giggle.

  6. Di

    I really like the “after” much better! They look wonderful.
    You guys did a great job of “rethinking” how to make the table fit!

    Love your blog!

  7. Catherine

    Oooh thank you! I have been looking for a tall side table for next to my sectional and this looks perfect and easy enough to customize.

  8. Gine e

    Ashli, girl, you got SUCH a keeper with Lee!
    Tell him great post and great job on those tables.

  9. wooow

    Great job Lee, forced to think outside the box when you don’t want to drive back to Ikea and wait in the “returns” queue. I think they look as if they were made to fit next to your sofa and I love the under neath decorating…

  10. Kathy

    Those are really nice and very functional…never considered a side table that goes with the width of the couch so I may have to give that a try in the near future. Great Job!

  11. lilpeach

    Hey Lee! Props for the awesomely simple IKEA hack. I want…but first I need to clone you~~~

  12. cow

    Necessity is the mother of invention…is that the saying? Well it is true in this case. I was thinking that that size table was so functional and uncommon…love it! Thanks for sharing!

  13. edinshouse

    What I like about your side tables Lee (and Ashli), is that they sit the depth of your sofa ~ there’s no gap between the back of the table and the wall, which I really dislike! And the fact that they’re narrow means they don’t dominate. Since this side of your sofa is open, having a shelf for display is perfect too.
    Great work Lee!!

  14. Emma

    I just came across your blog and have been glued to the computer for hours!! You have a beautiful home! I just had to ask where you got the wire labeled locker basket (on the side table shelf, holding books)? Thanks so much for sharing your home and great tips/ideas with us!

  15. Brittany

    The table looks great! My boyfriend and I love that clock! Where did you get it? You have such a great style!

    • Profile photo of Ashley

      Thanks Brittany!
      The clock is my favorite part too!!
      It is from URBAN BARN, but you can get one for way cheaper on Amazon and then spray it white and save yourself about $150 bucks :)
      Hope that helps

  16. Love the side table idea

    I love the side tables! I am looking for something just like that! Do you remember the name of the tables? Thanks!

  17. Darmy

    Hi I’ve just found your site and can see that I’m going to be spending a lot of time here. I have a question about the stairs shown in the picture. Did you make them? or Did you buy them from somewhere?

    I have a 14yr old cat and she’s not as agile as she once was, and our bed is taller than she’s now happy with. Her solution is to wake me up by meowing, until I lift her up. Obviously I would like my solution to be something similar to the stairs you have pictured.


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