How to Build a Modern Coffee Table-Pottery Barn Dupe

March 3, 2022

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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As usual, when looking for a modern coffee table build, I perused Pinterest for the perfect fit. Usually when I don’t find anything that catches my eye there, I search my favorite furniture stores for ideas. My go-to’s Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, McGee & Co, Arhaus, West Elm….to name a few. When the Folsom Wood coffee table popped up on Pottery Barn’s site, I knew that was the one! I love the chunkiness of this piece. It is such a solid, modern coffee table with clean lines and the finish on it is perfect!

Modern coffee table made of wood and stained a light color with 3 Christmas trees on top

And that $700 price tag doesn’t discourage me…because I’m going to build mine for a LOT less. Can’t wait to share with you how to build one too. So, let’s get to it!


(Instructions are based on a 49″ long x 16 1/2″ wide; 20″ tall coffee table) If building a different size, be sure to adjust measurements accordingly). 

Wood Needed for Modern Coffee Table:

2- 3/4″ 4×8 sheets of quality plywood

4- 2x4x8 pine boards

Materials Needed for Modern Coffee Table:

Kreg Jig Screws 2 1/2″

GRK Wood Screws 1 1/2″ (any brand wood screw will work; just sharing my favorite here)

Edge Banding

Finish (I.E. paint/stain/poly) (If building for an outdoor space, be sure to use exterior poly)

Here’s a list of the Finish products I used:

Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

MinWax Tinsmith Gray Stain

MinWax Special Walnut Stain

Satin Polyurethane

Tools Needed:

Miter saw



Kreg Jig

Table saw (OPTIONAL)

Affiliate Links Included

NOTE: If you’ve never used a Kreg Jig, here’s a great tutorial.   If you don’t have one, I highly recommend buying one. You will use it all the time in the DIY realm! And it makes builds so much easier!  Amazon has a great price for them! Here’s the link!!

Step One: Make all of your cuts  

Cut four 2×4’s at 13″ each

Cut four 2×4’s at 12″ each

Cut four 2×4’s at 47 1/2″ each

2x4's cut to length needed

Step Two: Drill pocket holes

Drill 1 1/2″ pocket holes on both ends of all of your above cuts except the longer boards (47 1/2″)….

2x4's cut to length needed with pocket holes drilled in each end

Step Three: Build sides

Attach two 13″ boards to two 47 1/2″ boards using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. Make sure it’s square.

Modern coffee table base made of 2x4's

Repeat these steps with your remaining 13″ and 47 1/2″ boards. You should now have your two sides…

Base and top made of 2x4's

Step Four: Add stretchers to the sides

Attach all four 12″ boards to one side, using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. Make sure pocket holes are facing out. This will make it easier to attach the other side….

Legs added to coffee table base

Attach the other side to the top of the stretchers (12″ boards), using 2 12″ p.h. screws. Note: this picture shows the frame on its side. Be sure to flip it once to sit it upright, before starting next step (“Wrapping the Frame”)….

Frame of coffee table built out of 2x4's

Step Five: Wrap frame with plywood

Your coffee table frame should now be in the upright position and look like this. (See picture below). Cut plywood to fit each section and attach using 1 1/2″ wood screws. I found it easiest to attach in the following order:

Ends (front and back)

Wrapping frame with plywood. Starting with the ends first

It should now look like this…

Frame of coffee table wrapped with plywood

Sides of ends…

Wrapping the sides of the ends with plywood

Bottom and top of long 2×4’s…

Table frame made of 2x4's and wrapped with plywood

Top and bottom…

Raw wood modern coffee table

Step Six: Attach edge-banding

Using a hot iron, attach edge banding to all exposed plywood edges. This is a very simple process. Simply, cut the edge banding to fit and iron it on. Press it down for firmer grip…using a wood block, slide it up and down on the ironed-on edge banding.

Edge banding added to cover the rough edges of plywood

Step Seven: Ready for stain

Now you’re ready for stain.

Brush on Pre-Stain first and let it dry.

Then apply Tinsmith Gray and wipe off excess. Allow to dry.

Apply Special Walnut next and wipe off excess. Allow to dry.

Give it 2-3 coats polyurethane.

Cans of stain and poly

That’s it! You now have a beautiful Pottery Barn-inspired modern coffee table; for a fraction of the price….

Modern coffee table side view

Furniture build in a family room with a couch and pillows in the background

Bird's eye view of a family room

Want to build an end table to match? Plans coming soon!


Until next week,

Happy Building, Friend!!

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Hop over to Instagram to see all of the RL behind the scenes. What am I working on now?….come check it out!




POTTERY BARN FOLSOM WOOD COFFEE TABLE (If you would rather buy one than build it 🙂  )

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