Bristol Outdoor Coffee Table

Some of you may have noticed that I've been a little slow responding to my comments and that I'm not posting as frequently this week.  That's because... I'm in Disney World!  Woo hoo!

I'm sure that many of you wouldn't exactly consider Disney World to be a relaxing, romantic vacation with your spouse (and no kids), but Brad and I love it.  We both went to film school at Chapman University which is only a few miles away from Disneyland, and we have been annual pass holders ever since.  (It's pretty fun when you have a few hours in between classes and can hop over to Disney for a quick ride on Space Mountain.)  We still go to Disneyland every few weeks on a random Sunday night for a few hours at a time.  In fact, we love Disney so much that we even got engaged next to the Rivers of America.  Yeah, we're those people. We've been having a blast.  So far, we've hit the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot on the Disney end of our trip.  Believe it or not, there really is an "adult" way to enjoy the parks.  In Epcot, we spent the afternoon drinking around the world.  Strawberry margarita in Mexico, pear cider in England, sake in Japan, red wine in France... you get the drift.  The husband and I shared the drinks.  (If we didn't we may not have been able to walk to the next country...)  He did take one for the team with the Glacier Shot in Norway.  I took a sip and couldn't handle it.  When we purchased it, the cast member said "If you can drink it without making a face, you're a true Norwegian."  I failed that test miserably. We also took a day to hit up Hogwarts at Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

If you're visiting, definitely grab a Butter Beer.  It's a must.  (And, unlike the previous day, completely non-alcoholic!)  It tastes a lot like if you mixed root beer and butterscotch together.  Yum.

Anyway, enough vacation pictures.  Lets get down to business.

This coffee table is the beginning of a rather large outdoor collection that I'm working on based on Restoration Hardware's Belvedere Collection.  I'm building several of the pieces, and I will post plans for even more so that you can have a full set.  I love this collection because it's really easy to build and inexpensive.  (This coffee table can be built for under $50!)

One thing to mention as you're going into building outdoor furniture: you should really consider using redwood or cedar.  If you're painting, cheap-o pine will do the trick, but if you're staining or leaving it natural you're going to want something naturally bug and rot resistant.  One way that I've found to save costs when it comes to outdoor wood is to purchase it rough.  I own a bench top planer, and that thing has definitely saved me quite a bit of money in lumber costs by being able to plane my wood at home.

I know that it's still snowing where quite a few of you live, and the groundhog did see his shadow this year, but in LA it's almost time for spring.  And, you know what that means!  Lots of fun outdoor entertaining!  I need to get you guys prepared.  So, enjoy the coffee table!  Lots more to come!

Estimated Cost: $50


Dimensions as listed above.

Shopping List:


1 - 1x3 @ 1 foot long 1 - 1x4 @ 4 feet long 2 - 1x8 @ 8 feet long (If your 1x8s are 7 1/2" wide, rip them down to 7 1/4" for this plan.) 3 - 1x10 @ 8 foot (or, if possible, 1 @ 9 feet long and 1 @ 8 feet long to minimize waste.) 2 - 2x2 @ 5 feet long

Hardware and Supplies:

1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws 2″ Screws 1 1/4″ Finishing Nails Wood Glue Wood Filler Medium Grit Sandpaper Primer or Wood Conditioner Paint or Stain


Kreg Jig Miter Saw Drill Countersink Bit Finishing Nailer Sander Level Measuring Tape Carpenter’s Square Safety Glasses

Cut List:

4 - 1x3 @ 2 1/2" - Feet 4 - 1x4 @ 9" - Legs 2 - 1x8 @ 50 1/2" - Side (long) 2 - 1x8 @ 27" - Side (short) 5 - 1x10 @ 32 1/2" - Top Slats 2 - 2x2 @ 50 1/2" - Cleats

General Instructions:

Make sure to re-measure and check for square after every step.  Sometimes when building your measurements can be off very slightly, and it’s important that your numbers are exact.  (Especially when working with doors and drawers!)  Measure your available space before building this plan to make sure that it will fit.  Please read through the entire plan before getting started.

Step 1:

Attach the table legs to the short side using your Kreg Jig and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws.  The top of the 1x8 should be flush with the top of your sides.  (As noted in the "shopping list", measure your 1x8s before attaching them.  If they are 7 1/2" wide or wider, rip them down to 7 1/4".)  Repeat this step to get your second assembled side.

Step 2:

Attach the long side 1x8 boards to your assembled short sides using your Kreg Jig as shown above.

Step 3:

Attach the 2x2 cleats to the long sides of your frame by countersinking 2" screws through them.  To make this step easier, you may want to pre-drill your holes in your cleats so that you're not trying to hold on to the board at the same time that you're drilling.  Make sure to leave a 3/4" gap above the cleats to allow for your top slats to slide into.  (A helpful tip to make this perfect: pre-cut your 1x8s and line up a scrap piece above your cleat with the top flush with the top of your frame.  Butt your 2x2 cleat up against it and clamp it into place.  Now, when you remove the 1x8 scrap, your cleat should be in the correct place.)

Step 4:

Attach the top slats to your cleats as shown above by counter sinking 2" screws from the bottom of your 2x2s.  You could also nail them into your cleats using 1 1/4" finishing nails from the top to give some temporary security and hold them in place while you screw them in from the bottom.  Remember to use wood glue!

Step 5:

You could use your Kreg Jig to attach the feet to your long sides and legs, but wood glue and 1 1/4" finishing nails will do the job.  Put a few nails into the feet from the leg side, and angle your nail gun about 45 degrees upward from the opposite side of your foot to nail it into the long side.


Finish your project as desired.  Make sure to sand it down with medium grit sand paper and fill in all your holes with wood filler before tackling that paint or stain.  For more tips on finishing, visit The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Finishing.

8 Replies to “Bristol Outdoor Coffee Table”

  1. FAB!!! Oh my goodness, this is the set that I’ve been hoping somebody would share plans of, love it! Just in time, too, because now I may rethink that sectional I was thinking of building after all! Many thanx!!!

  2. Oh my goodness, this is the set that I’ve been hoping somebody would share plans of, love it! Just in time, too, because now I may rethink that sectional I was thinking of building after all! Fabulous!!!
    Many thanx!!!

    1. Hi Lisa! I’m so glad you like it! I’ve already built the chair and side table… those plans will be coming up soon. The ottoman is the next thing I’m building once I get home from my trip. I’ll also post plans for the sofas and the daybed… are there any other pieces you need? If so, I’ll make sure to draw up some plans for you!

  3. Oh my, you have been busy! I’ll have to look at the collection again and let you know, but I think you might have covered it all! Thanx for the offer!

    1. Wow – I love all of the pieces, but I think my hubby might have a cow if we (notice I put we – hee hee) were to make them all. Living in a cold climate, we wouldn’t have the storage space for it all! I think everything you are offering will be more than enough. I do have to ask about the cushions, however. I am a total novice at sewing and to buy is so dang expensive. Any cost savings tips on that would be much appreciated. Thanx for all that you do!

      1. Haha, yes, I think building all of them could get a little crazy!

        Honestly, I can’t sew, either. I’m awful. When Ana and I were first talking about this project, we had discussed standardizing the cushion size to 24″x24″. The problem was that in this design the cushions fit underneath the arms, which left a very narrow seat. I did a quick google search… with I created a 3″ thick seat cushion that was 30″ wide by 22″ deep (a few inches less deep than mine) for $78. You could alter your dimensions a bit to make something like that work. Another $$ saving tip would be to add throw pillows to use as the back instead of a custom fit back cushion. That’s what I did for my outdoor sofa that I made last year and it’s still very cozy. Good luck! If you find any better solutions, please share with us!

        1. Thanx, I’ll have to really think about this one. I have been looking at some cushions in the store and the less expensive ones feel pretty cheap. Ugh!

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