How to Build a Modern Dining Table-Inspired by West Elm

By Nicole
nicole

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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After seeing this modern dining table from West Elm trending all over social media, I knew I had to build one! I absolutely love the straight lines and the solid look of this table. It is exactly the mid century modern design I love! And I can’t wait to share this beautiful build with you, so let’s get to it!

Modern dining table on a vintage rug with black board and batten on the wall in the background

HOW TO BUILD A MODERN DINING TABLE

(Instructions are based on a 7ft long x 44″ wide; 30″ tall table) If building a different size, be sure to adjust measurements accordingly). 

Wood Needed for Modern Dining Table:

TOP:

2x6x8 pine boards (9)

LEGS:

2x4x8 pine boards (6)

Plywood

APRON 

2x4x8 pine boards (3)

SUPPORTS

2X4X8 pine boards (4)

STRETCHER

2X4X8 pine boards (1)

Materials Needed for Modern Dining Table:

Kreg Jig Screws 2 1/2″

Wood Glue

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

GRK Wood Screws 1 1/2″

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

Here’s a list of the products I used:

Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

Golden Oak Stain

Satin Polyurethane

General Finishes Polyurethane (Satin)

Tools Needed:

Miter saw

Sander

Drill

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! 

Step One: (OPTIONAL) Rip your boards

This step is completely optional. I like to get rid of the manufactured edge on all of my 2x’s before starting any project. This is very easy, but does require a table saw. I’ll share the widths I take them to and then explain how I do this…

For the table top, I rip the nine 2×6’s to 4 7/8″ wide. (2×6’s are actually 5 1/2″ wide)

For the apron, I rip the three 2×4’s to 2 3/4″ wide. (2×4’s are actually 3 1/2″ wide)

For the stretcher, I rip the one 2×4 to 2 1/2″ wide.

Now for How I Do This: (Here’s a great post on how I give my boards a finished look)

I’ll use the table top boards for my example. As noted above, I want my 2×6 table top boards to be 4 7/8″ wide. They are originally 5 1/2″ wide. I simply set my table saw for 5 1/4″ and rip one side of my 2×6. Then I set my table saw to 4 7/8″, flip my board over and rip that side of my board. Now I have a 4 7/8″ board with straight edges on both sides. Follow these same steps for your other boards, to get rid of that manufactured curved edge and achieve a straight edge look.

Step Two: Build tabletop

Cut nine 2×6’s to 84″. Drill 2 1/2″ pocket holes down the length of each 2×6 and attach together using clamps and 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. As shown below….

Pine boards with pocket holes and a drill on top of them

When finished, the underside of your table top will look like this…

Pine boards jigged together to make the top of the modern dining table

Note: No need to drill pocket holes in the last board (as you can see in picture above), since it will not be attached to another board.

Step Two: Build the legs

Cut eight 2×4’s to 25 1/2″

Cut 8 2×4’s to 16″

Boards cut with pocket holes drilled on each end

Drill 1 1/2″ pocket holes on each end of the 25 1/2″ boards. (See above picture for more clarification).

Attach 25 1/2″ board to 16″ board using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. It should now look like this….

Two 2x4's jigged together

Attach another 25 1/2″ board to the other end of the 16″ board using 2 1/2″ p.h. screws. And now it should look like this….

Three 2x4's jigged together

Complete the rectangle by attaching another 16″ board. Making sure everything is square. See picture below….

Lady assembling legs for modern dining table

Repeat with remaining boards. You will have 4 rectangles (these are the table’s legs) when you are finished….

Four legs assembled for modern dining table

Step Three: Build the supports (These are the boards connecting the legs and providing support for the table top)

Cut four 2×4’s to 54″

Drill 1 1/2″ pocket holes in both ends of each board and three pocket hole groupings, spaced out, along one side of the board. See picture below for where pockets holes need to be drilled and how many are needed….

Four 2x4's with pocket holes along one side of each

Attach supports to legs using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. (NOTE: Make sure pocket holes along the side of each support are facing in the direction of where the table top will be placed. You will be using these pocket holes when attaching the table top, so you want to make sure they’re facing in the right direction to be able to attach the table top.) The legs and supports should now look like this….

Supports and legs for modern dining table

The picture below is a zoomed in shot of the above picture and gives further clarification of where your pocket holes should be….

Zoomed in shot of where pocket holes need to be on supports

Step Four: Wrap the legs with plywood

You’re now ready to wrap the legs with plywood. You’ll want to wrap the outside legs and side legs first (as shown below). Do this by cutting your plywood to fit and screwing it on to the 2×4 legs with 1 1/2″ GRK Screws. Repeat this with each leg….

Plywood wrapped around 2x4's to create the legs for furniture piece

You’ll notice in the picture above that I used 1×10 pine wood to wrap my legs. I did this on the first table that I built (I have built a few of these). However, through trial and error, I found it easier to use plywood to wrap the legs. I feel like it looks better too, with no seams. 

Before wrapping the inside of the legs, we’re going to attach the stretcher.

Step Five: Attach the stretcher (before wrapping the rest of the legs)

Cut one 2×4 to 58″. Slide the stretcher between the legs. A portion of the stretcher will be sticking out on both ends, make sure this is an even amount. When attached and the table is finished, it will look like this….

Graphic showing the view of the stretcher for the bottom of the table

Because you’ll be working against gravity here, it helps to prop up the stretcher with a 2×4….

2x4 propped up by another 2x4

Once it’s propped up and in place, you’re ready to attach it. Using 2 1/2 wood screws, drill through your plywood (as seen in the picture below). Do this on both sides of the stretcher and at the other end of the stretcher too, of course.

2x4 attached to plywood with screws to form stretcher for modern dining table

Once the stretcher is attached, you are ready to finish wrapping the legs (exactly as you did in Step 4)….

Legs wrapped and stretcher in place for modern dining table

Step Six: Attach tabletop to legs

Place tabletop on top of legs and center.

Tabletop placed on top of legs and centered

CENTERING YOUR TABLE

To find the center of the length: Measure length of table and divide by 2. Mark this spot as the center of your table top. Measure length of legs/supports and divide by 2. Mark this spot as center of your legs. Line the two lines up to center the length of the table. Repeat these steps for the other side of the table and line up those lines too.

To find the center of the width: Measure width of table and divide by 2. Mark this spot as the center of your table top. Measure width of legs/supports and divide by 2. Mark this spot as center of your legs. Line the two lines up to center the width of the table. Repeat these steps for the other end of the table and line up those lines also.

Note: It takes a lot of positioning and repositioning to get the lines to line up all at the same time. Keep working at it, til it’s as close to lined up (center) as possible. (Eyeballing it is key also).

Once the top is centered on the legs, attach the top from underneath. This is where those pocket holes along the sides of your supports come into play. Attach using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. Here’s an underneath view of the table…

Graphic showing where pocket hole screws need to go

Step Seven: Attach apron

Cut the apron to fit the length of the table (both sides). Drill five sets of 2 1/2″ pocket holes, evenly spaced, along one side of each apron….

Apron being added to modern dining table

Clamp apron to underside of table with pocket holes facing up and towards the inside of the table…

Clamps holding apron onto side of table

Attach to underside of table using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws….

Pocket holes drilled from the underside of apron and attached

Once the side apron boards are attached, cut the end apron boards to fit and repeat the above apron steps. It will look like this when finished….

Table top attached to legs

All said and done, the apron will look like this…

Modern dining table on driveway

Step Eight: Sand and finish 

Sanding is such an important step of every furniture build. Not only to get that smooth-to-the-touch finish, but also to bring out the natural color of the wood. You can see the difference in the picture below from where I’ve sanded and still need to sand. Notice how all of the yellow is gone where I’ve already sanded? So much better!

Sander on top of pine wood boards

There is also a process to sanding. I like to sand in the following order: 60-grit; 120-grit; 180-grit; 240-grit. Using each of these grits in this order and blowing off your project (I use a leaf blower) between each grit, will give you a super smooth furniture finish.

Now you’re ready to stain your modern dining table. For my table, I chose Varathane Golden Oak Stain. Once dry, I used Varathane Satin Poly for the legs and stretcher (2 coats). And General Finishes High Performance Poly for the tabletop (4 coats). I love this Poly! It is very durable and holds up great with kids and all the wear and tear a dining table goes through…

Table top stained

I will say, this table is solid! I highly recommend moving it, to it’s new home, in two pieces (by taking the tabletop off). I found it helpful to mark clearly (from the underneath of the table top) where it attaches to the legs, before removing the tabletop. Much easier to line up when set in its new place than having to center everything again.

We love our new modern dining table! What a statement it makes!

Modern dining table on a vintage rug with black board and batten on the wall in the background

And what a savings building it myself. Buying it in the store would have cost me over $3000…

Modern dining table with decor on it and gray chairs along with a picture in the background

I have since changed up that light. You can find the plans for the light here….

Modern dining table on new rug

And the bench to match is the perfect finished touch. (Plans coming soon)….

Table and matching bench with light above them

PIN IT FOR LATER….PINTEREST PIN

Until next week,

Happy Building, Friend!!

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More Great RL Table Posts:

Easy How to Make a Console Table with Hemp Rope

Easy DIY McGee & Co. Coffee Table Dupe

A Easy How to Make a DIY Fluted Side Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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