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IKEA Hacks: Our Tiny Dining Table

There’s a lot of talk about IKEA “hacks” out there – taking IKEA furniture and altering/repurposing it – and I’ve always been curious to try one but never really had the occasion to until now.

If you’ve been following our Avocado House remodel journey at all, you’ll know by now that nothing about our little house is standard. The sizes, the angles, even the walls are not 100% straight. So it’ll come as no surprise that when it came time to find a suitable table and chairs situation for the dining area of our kitchen, nothing would fit.

The Hunt For The Perfect Table

We measured the area where we planned to put the table and concluded that it would be best to find a table that wasn’t much more than 2 feet wide, but could be up to 4 feet long. That’s a kind of long and skinny table, but we were undeterred. We started our search on Craigslist (of course) but came up with very little. There are a lot of smallish round tables out there, but those take up a lot of room. There are also a ton of large dining tables and chair sets out there for very cheap on Craigslist, but unfortunately they were all too big for our space.

Measure 5 times, cut once.

We checked IKEA when we went there are dropped a fortune, but even the IKEA tables were just a little too wide for what we wanted. We really didn’t want to be smooshed into the corner when we sat at our table. We were humming and hawing when Anna had an idea.

The Winning Idea

Why not buy another piece of butcher block counter top like we used in the kitchen (which is about 25 inches wide), cut it to size, and attach some legs? Presto, table! And it would match our countertop nicely. Bonus, we would have some butcher block leftover to make shelves.

We quickly adopted this idea and grabbed ourselves another piece of counter top. Next, we had to figure out what to do about the legs. If you didn’t know this before, know now: IKEA sells individual desk/table legs for $10 a piece which come with all the installation hardware. They are super easy to install. So, we picked out some legs we liked and went to pick them up from the warehouse.

Enjoying some granola for breakfast at our new table.

When we found the table legs in the warehouse, we were dismayed to find that they were extremely short. It turned out they were intended for computer desks and I guess those are lower? In any case, we had to switch up our leg choice for the adjustable option, which was a little pricier at $15 but still looked just fine.

Building The Perfect-ish Table

When we got home, we cut the countertop to our desired length of 4 feet, leaving a bit of extra for some shelves in our room (or possibly a small end table, we haven’t decided), and sanded down the end. My dad’s poor circular saw got so overheated cutting through the hard wood that it burned the wood a little and Anna had to sand the burnt part off.

Once the tabletop was sanded and ready to go, we attached the legs. We didn’t try to get creative here, just put one leg at each of the corners. We drilled pilot holes for the screws and then screwed them in by hand because we learned from experience that power drilling IKEA screws is a recipe for disaster in the form of very stripped screws.

We accidentally drilled right through the table top to the other side exactly twice – mistakes we found were actually not noticeable at all, but will still be filled with wood putty.

Once we adjusted the legs to the height we wanted (not the easiest feat), our table was ready to go!

It’s slightly wobbly, but we now enjoy eating almost all of our meals at our IKEA-hacked table. Breakfast is still often eaten in bed, as it should be.

Measuring the piece of butcher block countertop to make the table.
Our cut line and the guide for the circular saw clamped down.
Table cut. You can see the black marks from when the saw got hot and burned the wood.
Sanding the cut end of the table.
Anna used coarse sandpaper to sand off the burnt part and finer papers to get a smooth finish.
Attaching the legs to the table. The wax helps the screws go into the wood more easily. It’s especially helpful if you’re screwing them in manually.
Our finished table! Yes, there is some folded paper under one leg to reduce wobbliness. I never said it was perfect. Also please ignore the construction materials in the background…

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4 Comments

  1. That turned out gorgeous!

    I’ve never heard that wax trick – that’s a keeper.

    • Flo Flo

      Thank you! 😀

  2. Oh my god! We did the exact same thing to create my desk!
    The only issue I have, is that it isn’t 100% stable (it wobbles a bit). We repurposed our actual Ikea kitchen countertop into my desk when we moved. Clever clever 🙂

    • Flo Flo

      Oooh, that’s a great idea too! The secret is, ours is a little wobbly too 😮 The adjustable legs are just reeeaally difficult to get exactly all the same length. We have a little bit of paper folded up under one of them. It isn’t Sunset Magazine, but it works!

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