Person woodworking in a woodshop covered in saw dust, holding a cut piece of finished wood atop a small black workbench

How To Build A DIY Hallway Table

Originally contributed by Ali Carroll • last updated 3/31/2021

$125Cost
IntermediateDifficulty
5 hoursTime
$125Cost
IntermediateDifficulty
5 hoursTime

So you want to build a stunning entry table that’s easy to make on your own but complicated enough that people see it and think you’re a pro? 

You’ve come to the right place! Made with warm walnut wood and a show stopping herringbone top, this DIY small hallway table is sleek, modern and an all-around jaw dropper. 

Are you ready to get makey? Grab your tools and let's begin!

Let's Make It

Equipment

  • Hart mini Miter Saw 7 ¼”
  • DEWALT 15-Amp Circular Saw 7 ¼”
  • Spyder framing blade 7 ¼”
  • Kreg K4 Pocket Hole Jig System
  • Irwin Quick-Grip Micro Handed Bar Clamp Set
  • BLACK+DECKER 20-Volt Cordless Drill
  • DEWALT Variable Speed Random Orbital Sander
  • Stanley 25 ft. Tape Measure

Materials

  • Seven poplar wood boards 2” x 2” x 3’
  • Four poplar wood boards 1” x 2 “ x 3’
  • One pine board 1” x 4” x 4’
  • four walnut wood boards 1” x 2” x 3’
  • One box of Kreg 1-½-in Pocket Hole screws
  • Titebond Premium Wood glue
  • Odie’s Oil - Universal
  • Rust-Oleum Universal Enamel Spray Paint in Satin Black
  • Leftover Flooring
01/20

Cutting Your Table Legs

Before we start on anything else, the most important part of building a small hallway table is deciding on the height! 

My own preference is 36” but the best part about DIYing a table is that you can customize it to your own needs! I tend to lean towards taller furniture in small spaces like hallways because I find it draws the eye upward and helps make the space feel bigger than it is.  

Once you’ve decided on the height of your table, measure the thickness of the wood set aside for your table top.

I’m using leftover flooring from a past renovation and each piece is ¾” thick. All that means is that in order to build a 36” tall table I’ll need to make sure the 2”x2”x3’ poplar wood boards I’m using for the legs are only 35 ¼” tall!

Mark the four poplar wood pieces at your chosen length, then cut them along the line using your miter saw. 

02/20

Cutting Your Support Beams

Now it’s time to cut the support beams! 

In order to create a stable wooden hallway table we need to add a few additional bracers. I’ll be using 1” x 2” x 4’ poplar boards, but you can just as easily continue using your 2” x 2” x 4’ boards for this design. 

Using your miter saw, measure, mark then cut the wood into four 11” pieces. 

03/20

Cutting The Cross Beams

The other great thing about making your own table is that the length is entirely up to you! 

The cross beams are what will determine the table’s length, so you just have to decide if you prefer a small hallway table or a long hallway table. 

For my home I decided that 36” long would be perfect for me and give the table a balanced feel.

In total we’re going to be cutting three cross beams to the exact same length. The first two I cut using the 1” x 2” x 4’ boards, and the third I cut using a 2” x 2” x 4’ board. If you prefer a more uniform design it’s 100% okay to cut these from the same board size.

04/20

Drill Pocket Holes

For the four support beams you cut and the three cross beams, we’re going to drill pocket holes into each one! The easiest method I’ve found for this is using Kreg’s incredibly handy Pocket Hole Jig System.  

The Pocket Hole Jig system is a super simple way of making pocket holes without any complex math, measuring or hassle. All you need to do is stand your wood in place with the built in clamping mechanism, then drill into the guides provided with the included drill bit!

For now all we’re doing is drilling the pocket holes, so you don’t have to worry about inserting screws yet. 

Once you have your eight pieces of wood set beside you, drill two pocket holes into one end of each wood piece and one pocket hole into the other end. When done they should have a total of three pocket holes each. 

05/20

Attach The Support Beams To The Table Legs

Spread the wood out on a level surface and place two of the table legs in front of you. Lining them up so that they’re parallel, grab two of your 11” support beams and place them perpendicularly between the two (essentially making a rectangle). Make sure they're perfectly flush to the ends of the legs. 

If you used 1” x 2” x 3’ poplar boards like I did, you’ll want to lay them wide-side-down, pocket-hole-side-up.

Grab a spare piece of 1” x 2” wood and slide it under the support boards, propping them up so that they're the same height as the table legs.

Once properly situated, drill the first support beam into place through your pocket holes using 1-½” screws. 

If you want to be extra extra careful about the stability of your DIY hallway table, you can also add a small amount of wood glue to the ends of your support beams when you screw it in.

For the second support beam, we’re going to actually move it in 2-½” from the ends of the legs. (This will end up being the bottom of our table, so we want to leave enough room for us to clean the floor underneath). 

Once in place, use the drill to secure it the same way you did the first, then repeat the exact same process with the other two table legs!

06/20

Attach The Top Cross Beams To The Table Legs

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Following a very similar process to the previous step, lay one of the combined leg pieces on its side so that the support beams are standing vertically and the legs are lying horizontally. 

Now grab one of your 1” x 2” x 36” cross beams and line it up so it’s perpendicular to the end of the leg where the support beam was pushed flush to the edge (aka: the top of the table). 

Prop the cross beam up off the floor with another spare piece of 1” x 2” wood, and keep the pocket holes facing up. Once in position, drill the cross beam into the leg, again using a small dab of wood glue for extra measure. 

Repeat the exact same process on the opposite end of the cross beam, then flip the whole table over and go through Step 6 again. You should end up with a three sided table-like structure!

07/20

Attach The Bottom Cross Beam

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Now that we’ve created a wooden contraption that stands, lets flip it over with the legs sticking up, top-side-down. 

We’re now going to secure the thicker 2” x 2” x 36” cross beam to the center of the bottom support beams. 

Measure and mark the middle of the bottom two support beams, then position your cross beam (pocket-hole-side-up) and hold it in place using wood clamps or a friendly helper.

Drill your 1-½” screws through the pilot holes and into the bottom support beams. 

08/20

Take A Break!

Guess what? We’re done building the frame! We’ll be adding a few more panaches later, but essentially the framework for your small hallway table is complete! 

If you added a little bit of extra reinforcement with wood glue like I did, now is the perfect time to let the glue rest and harden overnight while you catch some well-earned z’s! 

09/20

Attach An Additional Cross Beam

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Standing the table right-side-up, prepare one last cross beam to go along the top of the table. (The bottom is the side with only one cross beam in the middle). This particular cross beam is going to be wider than the rest, using 1” x 4” x 4’ pine board. 

Cutting it the exact same length we cut our other cross beams, measure and mark 36” and make a clean cut with your miter saw. 

Drill two pocket holes into each end using your Pocket Hole Jig, and then mark the center of the top support beams like you did in Step 7. 

Line your cross beam up so that it’s completely flush with the top of the table, clamp it into place, then drill in the screws.

10/20

Cut the Triangle Support Beams

In order to create your triangle supports, we need to cut the ends of our boards as angles so that they lie flush against the cross beams. 

But before we do this, let’s take a brief journey back to middle school math class! Remember when we had to try to find angles and sides of right angled triangles? We’re going to employ a little bit of that knowledge today! 

Omni Calculator

First, let’s try to find the sides of our “triangle”. To find side A, measure the bottom cross beam and make a mark at the halfway point. Write this number down. Then to find side B, measure the distance between the bottom cross beam and the top cross beam, writing this number down as well. 

Now to find side C all you need to do is ask google! Using this handy formula calculator, plug in the lengths of side A and side B, and the calculator will automatically tell you how long side C is. You will also notice that a number for angle a has been calculated. 

On a piece of 2” x 2” x 4’ wood board, measure out the length of side C and make a pencil mark on the wood. 

If you’re using a miter saw with a built in protractor and angle guide, simply set the angle to angle a from the online calculator. 

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If you don’t have a miter saw, simply line a protractor up with the bottom edge of the board and mark where angle a lands. Connect this mark to the bottom right corner of the board, making your cut guide. 

Next, move your protractor up to the line marking the length of side C and mark the exact same angle as before (angle a). Just like you did on the bottom, connect this mark to the bottom right side of your pencil line. 

You should now be looking at a wood board with two identical diagonal lines, essentially forming the shape of a parallelogram.

Cut along each diagonal guide using your miter saw, and then repeat the exact same process for a second piece of 2” x 2” x 4’ wood board. (Again, if your miter saw includes tools for cutting angles you can ditch the protractor step).

11/20

Glue On The Triangle Support Beams

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Using Titebond Wood Glue, line up your two triangle supports so that they meet at the very center of the top crossbeam then glue them down. 

Since it’s in a place that might be trickier to clamp, you can also try using a pin nailer to hold the pieces in place while they dry.

12/20

Paint The Table Structure

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Once the glue has had a chance to dry, set yourself up in a well ventilated area and cover the workspace with either an old sheet, plastic or cardboard. 

Place the table frame in the center of the sheet and go grab your spray paint! I opted for Rust-Oleum Universal Enamel Spray Paint in Satin Black because I really want the legs to look sleek and modern and contrast the warm wood color of the tabletop. 

When applying spray paint, make sure you’re spraying from at least a foot away to ensure evenly covering the whole surface and not causing pools of paint to build up.

Once the whole frame is covered with an even coat, reward yourself with a coffee break while you allow it to dry!

13/20

Wait, What's A Herringbone Pattern? 

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Let’s delve into a quick little lesson here to help us understand what we’re trying to do with the tabletop. 

If you already know what a herringbone pattern is then you can sit back, relax, and continue sipping your coffee thinking about how nice your table’s going to look.

A herringbone pattern was initially named after the bone structure of a herring fish, with a repetitive pattern and symmetrical design that closely mirrors the appearance of its skeleton. 

When dealing with wood or flooring, the pattern is made up of two rectangles placed together to make an arrow shape. The short edge of the piece on the left is then lined up so that it is flush with the long side of the piece on the right. Stacked and interlocking this way, the pattern repeats itself and makes what is called the herringbone pattern.

This design can be seen all over the place in roads, architecture, braids, fashion and more, but today specifically we’ll be using it to create our one of a kind DIY hallway table!

14/20

Dry-Fit Your Wood Into A Herringbone Pattern

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Using the herringbone technique for something like a tabletop is all about the center line. On the wide center cross beam we attached in Step 9, find the middle with your measuring tape and draw a line down the whole board. 

Next, grab the wood you have set aside for the top of your table. I’m using leftover pieces of tongue-and-groove walnut flooring to make the process simpler, but you can use any kind of wood you like, as long as each piece is of a consistent thickness and size. 

Place the first piece of wood at the very top of the midline you drew down the crossbeam. Turn this piece so that it lies across the right half of the table top and angles toward the center line at a 45 degree angle. Position it so that the midline lines up with the middle of its width (i.e. the short side of the wood plank). 

Leaving that piece where it is, pick up a second piece of your specialty wood and place it onto the left half of the table top. Angling this piece at a 45 degree angle in the opposite direction, line the wood up so that it’s width is completely flush to the length of the piece on the right. If positioned correctly, the two pieces should connect to make a perfect arrow shape. 

Now that you have the first arrow formation laid down (without any glue), repeat the exact same process over and over again until the table is filled, always starting with the piece on the right. Keep an eye on your zigzag pattern, ensuring it stays centered and that the halfway point on each width lines up with the midline you drew down the crossbeam.

15/20

Glue The Table Down!

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One of the reasons why tongue and groove flooring is so great for creating a herringbone pattern is because you don’t have to worry about milling or planing your wood. Since it already locks into place seamlessly, you’re guaranteed a straight, flat, professional finish with very little effort.

Working one piece at a time, apply wood glue to the width and grooved length of each board, fitting the flooring pieces into place. (Don’t worry about gluing them down to the crossbeam yet). 

Once you’ve glued the whole herringbone pattern together, allow the glue to dry and take a very well earned break!

16/20

Trimming The Tabletop

Now that the glue has dried and we’re looking at one big wooden herringbone pattern, it’s time to trim off the excess! 

Leaving the top centered on the table, measure and mark your edges with a measuring tape and pencil, then cut along the lines with a circular saw.

Measure the width of the guard on your circular saw. Place a straight piece of wood down the length of the table and move it so that it’s the same distance from the edge as the saw guard is wide.


Then clamp it down with a couple of wood clamps and use it as a super easy cutting guide!

17/20

Attach The Table Frame

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Starting with the two shorter ends of the table, measure the table width and cut two pieces of specialty 1” x 2” x 3’ walnut board down to size. (I used walnut wood boards so that it would compliment the walnut flooring).

Next, measure the new table length (not forgetting the addition of your two frames on either end) then cut two more pieces of 1” x 2” x 3’ walnut board to size.

Now let’s glue the frames to the table! Use wood clamps to hold the pieces in place while the glue dries, or a pin nailer if you don’t have enough clamps.

18/20

Sand The Table

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Using 120 grit sandpaper and an orbital sander, go over the entire surface of the tabletop until any unwanted marking has disappeared. 

Even if you’re using flooring that has already been sanded, It’s always good to give any wood project like this a good once over to get rid of any glue or pencil marks that might be on it. 

19/20

Apply The Finish

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To make sure your table has lasting shine, durability and vibrancy, cover the whole table top with a protective finish! I absolutely love Odie’s Oil Universal. It’s affordable, it looks incredible, and it even smells great! 

To apply the oil, give it a quick stir, then pick some up with an old rag and begin buffing it onto the table. Rub in circular motions, really making sure you’re getting the oil into the grain. Cover the whole surface and don't forget the sides of the frame around the top. 

20/20

Success!

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It’s done! You did it! You have now made a gorgeous one-of-a-kind small hallway table completely from scratch!

Its unique leg structure elevates the design and adds key areas of interest, while the herringbone pattern transforms it into the belle of the ball! 

I absolutely love this table, and you know what it’s good for? Resting a bottle of celebratory champagne as you drink to your new amazing DIY table!

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