It’s always a little funny to me what projects really take off. Without fail, the carefully conceived, created, and documented tutorials seem to flop; while the “I pulled this off in 10 minutes” projects soar almost instantly! The reality is, most of us like a fast, easy DIY that actually works; and that is absolutely the case for the DIY sofa table we made (yes, in 10 minutes!) with some IKEA parts. Let me show you how to make your own sofa table quicker and easier than you might have thought!

Sofa table with lamp behind couch

When To Use a Sofa Table

I think the sofa table is an often overlooked solution to many couch layout problems. All too often, we assume side tables and coffee tables will provide the perfect spots for our lamps, drinks, and decorations; but in reality, these surfaces can be too low, too high, too far away, or all of the above!

Based on our own living experiences, here are some situations when a narrow table behind the couch was (or could have been!) the perfect solution!

  • When you need to float the couch away from the wall (like in our Kansas Living Room)
  • When the couch acts as a room divider, and the back of it is therefor exposed (like in our San Diego Living & Dining Room)
  • When the couch is too long to comfortably support side tables
  • When you need to fill an awkward void created by a bump-out or bay window
  • When you need added storage for pillows, games, coasters, remotes etc in a family or living room
  • When you have a sectional, and side tables feel too far away from all seats (like in our San Diego Living & Dining Room)

Landscape image of a living room with furniture, a fireplace and mantle, as well as decorative pillows and wall art in blues and greens

Vertical image of a beige couch with decorative pillows in front of a sofa table and window with white and blue curtains

We used this console table in our Kansas Living Room. It sat, quite inconspicuously, behind our floating couch where side tables just would not fit. It really did a fantastic job of holding lamps, baskets, decorations, and drinks; and it made me a true believer of this often overlooked furniture item!

Vertical image of a sofa table with a lamp, candle, plan, and basket of remotes placed behind a beige couch with decorative pillows

Yes, You CAN Make a Sofa Table!

There are lots (and lots and lots) of stylish and affordable sofa tables available on the market, but if you don’t want to invest in (yet another) expensive piece of furniture, making your own is actually one of the easiest DIY projects you can tackle…even if your’e not very handy.

In fact, this specific DIY sofa table tutorial is something anyone can do (as it requires very few skills or power tools); and the result is surprisingly sturdy considering how fast and easy it is. Let me show you how it comes together!

Vertical image of a sofa table with a lamp, candle, plan, and basket of remotes placed on top

Supplies Needed

This DIY sofa table is actually a super clever and quite affordable “IKEA hack” because it is made from an IKEA Lack Shelf and four legs. Because the shelf isn’t real wood and the legs simply screw on, you won’t need any power tools…just an electric screwdriver!

Landscape image of a white shelf and four separate table legs with text overlay

  • 1 Ikea Lack Shelf – we used the white 74″ length, but this same shelf also comes in 48″ and several colorways. Be sure to pick a shelf that is proportionate to your couch length.
  • 4 Ikea Legs – the specific decorative legs we used are no longer available, see below for some great alternatives
  • Electric Screwdriver

Alternatives to the IKEA Lack Shelf

IKEA Lack hacks exist all over the Internet. So I assumed the Lack products were great quality and sturdy, especially considering the thickness of these floating shelves. However, when I picked up my Lack shelf, I was shocked to discover that…like most IKEA items (especially ones at this pricepoint)…it was very hallow and light-weight. I discuss the “sturdiness” of this couch table below, but if you’d like to use something a littler more…ahem…solid, consider these other options:

  • Other floating shelves – Floating shelves are indeed a great solution because they will be finished on all sides and tend to have a thicker profile. Shop around for ones that are made of real wood or have a finish you like!
  • Sheets of reclaimed wood or common boards from the hardware store – These will require cutting, sanding, and staining; and you will also likely need to pre-drill pilot holes with a drill/drill bits and use wood screws to attach the legs. (Not impossible – just a little more work than what I show in this tutorial.)

Alternatives to the IKEA Legs

The curvy, decorative IKEA legs we used for our DIY sofa table are unfortunately no longer available. However, there are lots of great alternatives you can use. When shopping for table legs, keep these two things in mind:

  • Most sofa tables measure 30″ finished height, so you will want legs around 28″ tall.
  • IKEA table legs come with mounting plates pre-attached that allow you to screw them right on, no additional plates or hardware necessary. Below are some great table legs that have the same attaching mechanism.

How to Assemble This Easy DIY Sofa Table

Get ready for the quickest, easiest DIY ever. (It was so fast, in fact, we didn’t snap any pictures!)

  1. Unpackage the IKEA shelf and turn it over onto a clean, protected floor (like a carpet) so it doesn’t get scratched.
  2. Use the included screws to attach the legs to the four corners with an electric screwdriver.
  3. Turn the table right-side-up and place it behind your sofa.

I told you it was fast…no cutting, no measuring…10 minutes!

Vertical image of a sofa table with a lamp placed on top behind a beige couch

Give It Some Style

I intentionally made our table to “blend” into the background, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a few extra steps to dress it up a bit and make it more of a statement piece. Here are some fun upgrades you can add on to this basic project:

  • Spray the table legs with spray paint for a pop of color.
  • Wrap the Lack shelf (before you add the legs) in peel-and-stick wallpaper, contact paper, or even decorative tapes (like I did to this striped dresser) to give it some pattern and charm.
  • Apply a subtle pattern with vinyl cutouts (like I did to this other IKEA table)
  • Use iron-on wood edging or furring strips to give the table a modern two-tone look.

Is This DIY Sofa Table Sturdy?

It took me a long time to share this project here on the blog. Why? As you can probably tell from the picture below, this table is not the sturdiest. Because the width is fairly narrow and the tall legs are so close together, it tipped pretty easily when we first assembled it and stood it up. In fact, I was worried we’d be constantly knocking it over each time we sat down on the couch.

Vertical image of a sofa table with a lamp, candle, plan, and basket of remotes placed on top behind a beige couch with yellow and green decorative pillows

But snug up against our couch, this table never budged! Although the feet being nestled into carpet might have helped, it never tipped, never wobbled…even with kids building forts under it from behind the couch!

TIP! If you plan to use this specific DIY table against a wall (like as an entryway table or sideboard in a dining room), I suggest securing it to the wall with anchors and brackets so it doesn’t tip with heavy traffic/use.

Vertical image of a sofa table with a lamps, candle, plan, and basket of remotes placed on top behind a beige couch with yellow and green decorative pillows

When faced with setting up homes quickly and for such a short period of time, we often find ourselves trying to balance the desire for good quality investment pieces and just getting something to fill a very specific need. Since we never know what we’ll use/need in the next house, affordable hacks like this one can be just the ticket.

Pairing an inexpensive shelf with some table legs solved our couch table problem without committing us to another big, more permanent piece of furniture; and it was easily one of the most functional solutions we implemented in this room. If you’re faced with an awkward room arrangement that just doesn’t allow for side tables, I hope you give this easy DIY sofa table project a try!

See You Soon!
Megan