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15 Unique Ways To Repurpose A Worn-Out Coffee Table In Your Home Or Garden

Coffee tables are an important anchor point in the living room, but after years of wear and tear, you might find that your old furniture piece is more of an eyesore than anything else. When it's time to replace your existing coffee table, however, it might feel like a waste to simply discard the old one. Luckily, there's a solution: upcycling. According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2022 Consumer Expenditure Survey, homeowners spend an average of $3,193 yearly just to furnish their homes, but you can easily help to lower those costs, get more out of the dollars you already spent, and reduce your waste by transforming the pieces you already own.

Of course, refinishing or repainting an existing piece can do quite a bit to help extend its life, but some other, more creative solutions can give your coffee table a second life in a different area of your home. With some creative thinking and elbow grease, a simple coffee table can be transitioned into a functional storage solution for a small space, a place for your kids to comfortably play, or even a spot to create a flourishing vegetable garden. The possibilities are endless, so don't be afraid to explore and tweak ideas until you're left with the perfect piece for your space.

1. Toy table

If there's one thing kids know how to do, it's get creative with the things they have available to them, and this toy table can provide plenty of fun opportunities that will let their imagination run wild. The idea is simple — take an existing coffee table, cut out a few holes in the surface, and fill these holes with plastic containers, similar to the design of a kitchen sink. The containers can be used both to organize toys and as a more fun surface for playtime. As a bonus, if the containers get dirty, you can easily pop them out and wash them in the sink.

2. Clothing rack

If you're lacking closet space, finding room for your entire wardrobe can be a struggle. With this coffee table transformation idea, however, you can create a space to hang your clothes and store your shoes in one simple step. Take your old coffee table, then create a rack along the top out of metal or PVC pipe. The bar can be used as a place to store your hanging clothes, the top of the coffee table can hold onto folded or miscellaneous items, and the area under the coffee table can give you space to store your shoes. 

3. Bench

Because they typically sit lower to the ground than console or dining tables, coffee tables are often the perfect base for a DIY bench. It is, of course, important to ensure that your coffee table can safely support the weight of a person, but if you're confident in its sturdiness, you're pretty much already good to go. Your coffee table can be used as a bench as-is, but if you want to provide more cushioning and make it look more like dedicated seating, you can wrap a piece of foam in some fabric and secure it to the top of the table.

4. Planter box

If your coffee table has built-in storage — or you're willing to do a bit more building — consider turning it into a planter box. Options that already have storage will likely only need a bit of lining before you're able to start planting to help protect the material from moisture, but the tabletops of more minimalistic options can also be removed, cut down, and repurposed into pieces to help close in the sides of the table. Of course, the exact plans will depend on the specifics of your coffee table, but this DIY is a great, low-risk chance to test out or improve your building skills.

5. Pet bed

It's not uncommon to want to treat your pets like royalty, and with this DIY, they can get a healthy dose of luxury without you having to shell out a ton of money on an expensive pet bed. Flip over your existing coffee table, add a cushion in the empty space, glue some feet onto the bottom, and finish everything with some fabric or trim around the top to create an adorable miniature four-poster bed for your furry friend. If you don't have a pet, this can also make for a great base for a doll bed for kids.

6. Play table

Coffee tables might be too short for adults to comfortably sit around, but they're the perfect height for kids. Add a couple of stools to your coffee table, and suddenly, you have the perfect spot for kids to eat, draw, or do their homework. This coffee table hack can make a great addition to a playroom or children's bedroom, but since your old coffee table likely aligns with your own home décor aesthetic better than items designed specifically for children, it can also be easily incorporated into the other rooms of your house without sticking out.

7. Storage bench

If your old coffee table has storage, there's no reason to let that go to waste. Rather than having it sit in the middle of your living room, push your old coffee table up against a wall and use it to hold whatever you need to stow away, from extra toys to pieces of clothing. If your coffee table has multiple levels, it can also be a great place to store books or display knick-knacks, and the top can be used as either another surface for storage or as a bench, depending on how sturdy the piece is and what you need in your space.

8. Ping pong table

A ping pong table can make for a fun addition to a game room or basement, but sometimes, you just don't have the space to incorporate something with such a specific and limited use. Luckily, there are ways around this, and one of those involves making your own ping pong table out of a coffee table. To transform the piece of furniture, all you need to do is add a small divider in the middle. This can be permanent, or you can make one that can be added and removed if you'd like to use the coffee table to hold drinks or play other games.

9. Standing desk

If most of your work requires you to sit at a desk, the unfortunate truth is that you're likely sitting stationary for longer periods than recommended. There are a few different solutions to this, but one of the easiest is to create a standing desk that allows you to work without being seated. Unfortunately, these desks are often pricey and can feel like an unnecessary investment if you're not sure how often you'll use them. Instead, consider placing a coffee table on top of your existing desk to raise your work surface and give you the chance to try out the idea.

10. Command center

Family schedules can get overwhelming, so it pays to have a central location to keep track of important documents, dates, and reminders. However, if you have a little chalk paint and an old coffee table, you don't have to worry about spending extra money on a pre-built command center. Take the tabletop off your coffee table and give it a coat of chalk paint to create an easy surface to jot down notes. From there, you can also tack on a small shelf or basket built out of the remaining pieces of the table if you're willing to do a bit of building.

11. Shelving

If you're looking for a truly unique twist on plain shelving, consider building a unit out of your old coffee table. This will likely take some power tools to accomplish, but the build itself is incredibly simple. Saw your table in half, either right down the middle or slightly off-center, if you want a more staggered look. Then, attach one half to the wall with the legs facing out towards the rest of the room. After it's secure, stack the other piece on top and nail everything down with some mounting brackets to ensure your new shelving unit doesn't wiggle or fall.

12. Coffee bar

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, coffee is the most important beverage of the day. To add a luxe twist to your morning routine, consider building your own coffee bar. Take your old coffee table, place it up against a wall with easy access to an outlet, and place your coffee or espresso machine on top — alongside your coffee beans, syrups, and toppings. Use any lower storage on the table to hold on to less frequently used items, then add on a shelf or some hooks above your coffee maker to hold your favorite mugs, and you're ready to brew.

13. Patio furniture

Sometimes, your furniture pieces just need a change of scenery. If you have an old coffee table that no longer works in your indoor space, why not try it out as a way to perk up your patio? Metal and glass options are already pretty likely to stand up to the elements, but if you have a wood or particle board patio table, it can be helped out with a layer of sealant. If it does still end up wearing down with time, at least you can rest assured that you still saved yourself some money and got additional use out of your piece along the way.

14. Console table

Most of the time, the only difference between a coffee table and a console table is the height. If your coffee table no longer fits your needs but is still in fairly good condition, consider giving it a boost with some new legs to make it more functional in a different area of your house, like behind the couch or in your entryway. The specifics of the project, as always, depend on what coffee table you're working with, but legs like these Happybuy Hairpin Table Legs from Amazon are easy to install and much less expensive than investing in an entirely new piece of furniture.

15. Scrap material

If your coffee table is at a point where it's simply not worth the effort to repair, it still doesn't have to go to waste. If all else fails, there's always the option of cutting it down and using the pieces as scrap or material for another project. Glass tabletops can be hung on the wall and painted or used as a dry-erase board, metal table legs can make for solid supports for plants in the garden, and real wood pieces can be used for just about anything, from massive projects like making your own cabinet doors to more beginner-friendly crafts like creating a custom cutting board.