In the flurry of moving into a new home, there are often lots of things that are decided, done, and made in a relatively quick fashion…mostly for the sake of getting a room usable as soon as possible. Despite our best efforts to take it slow and make smart and budget-wise design decisions, there are times when we act quickly and take the easiest route just to check a particular project off the never-ending To Do List. Today’s sofa table project is one that we somewhat hastily put together almost as soon as we moved in last summer (so that we’d have somewhere for lamps and drinks). I was going to share it here, but then wasn’t sure how much of a success the table actually was so I pushed it to the back of the queue. But now that it’s been a year, I can confidently say that this sofa table using IKEA parts worked pretty darn good for us…and should you need a quick and easy sofa table in your own home, you might consider giving this idea a try!
Mostly due to the location of the cable hookups (opposite the window) but also because of the large cabinet and shelf we needed to put in this room, I knew relatively quickly we were going to have to float the couch away from the window toward the center of the room. I really liked that this arrangement provided some visual depth, allowed our two furniture pieces to fit in each corner, and left enough space to hang floor-length curtains. However, this arrangement also prevented the use of traditional side tables…there just wasn’t enough space. Drinks and other accessories could be placed on the coffee tables, but what about lamps? A sofa table was the ideal solution!
In all the photos I’ve shared of our living room over the past year, I’ve never really shown nor called attention to what we were using along the back of the couch. Yet even though it’s super basic and relatively boring, this simple sofa table worked exactly as intended: in the most narrow and inconspicuous way possible, it provided a surface for lamps, remotes, a few accessories and drinks.
Originally I had planned to make a sofa table by adding the IKEA legs (that we already had on hand) to a stained plank of wood. From a design perspective, that would have certainly been preferable. But as I was standing in the aisle at IKEA, crossing a bunch of other items off my list, I saw the IKEA Lack shelf and knew I could have this project done and in place quicker than even driving to the hardware store for the wood…much less in the time required for cutting, sanding, staining and edging. So the Lack shelf came home with me; and within about 10 minutes, we had a sofa table in place!
Yep – you read that right! This sofa table is made from a 74″ Lack Shelf and four Nipen Legs, all from IKEA. We simply turned the shelf over and used the included screws to attach the legs to the four corners with an electric screwdriver. No cutting, no measuring…10 minutes!
So why was I so hesitant to share this project all those months ago? Well…as you can imagine from the picture below, this table is not the sturdiest. Because the tall legs are so close together, the table tipped pretty easily when we first put it together and stood it up. In fact, I was worried we’d be constantly knocking it over each time we sat down on the couch.
But snug up against our couch, this table never budged! It never tipped, never wobbled…even with Henry building forts under it from behind the couch! This spur-of-the-moment, 10-minute sofa table made from a shelf turned out to be one of the most functional things we did in this space!
We try to make careful and budget-savvy decisions when it comes to buying and making things for our home(s). But when faced with setting up a home quickly and for such a short time, it can also be hard to linger over decisions or make big investments when there is no way of knowing what we’ll need next time. Pairing an inexpensive shelf with some table legs solved our side table problem without committing us to another big, more permanent piece of furniture! In fact, we can easily disassemble this table and re-use the shelf and legs in other ways in future homes. However, I’m so smitten with the functionality of a sofa table (versus side tables), I just might intentionally setup our next space so we have to use it again!
If you’re faced with an awkward room arrangement that doesn’t allow for side tables, I highly suggest giving a sofa table a try. If you can’t find one in the exact dimensions you need, consider combining a basic shelf with table legs to make your own. Even if you choose alternate IKEA elements or different shelf/legs all together…you can quickly and easily make a functional sofa table using the same method as we’ve shown here!
This is the final project I’ll be sharing in this room…and in a few weeks, I’ll give you the full “final” tour! Next up though, is my office/craft room reveal this Thursday! See you then!
Love this IKEA Hack? Be sure to check out these other clever IKEA projects!