How to Convert a Coffee Table into a Dining Table

A coffee table makes a lovely place to rest your TV remote and show off that huge photography book you're never going to read. You might even place your coffee mug on it. But if space is tight, a dining table could be much more useful. Rather than swapping one for the other, it's possible to convert a coffee table into a dining table by adding taller legs. And if you really want to flex your DIY muscles, create a convertible table that you can use either way. It's the ultimate space-saver and a brilliant solution for tiny apartments and studios.

Spacious dining room
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How to Convert a Coffee Table into a Dining Table

Removing the Legs

Bolted legs, screwed directly into threads in the holes, should be easy to remove by turning counter-clockwise. Use a wrench if they're being a little stubborn. Braced joinery has the legs attach to the table with metal or wood corner braces, and you can detach them with a screwdriver. Mortise-and-tenon legs attach with wood dowels and glue, but you can twist them off with a little more force and a pipe wrench. If a square or rectangular mortise-and-tenon hold the leg in place, position a chisel at the seam of the leg and underside of the table. Strike the chisel with a mallet to cut the leg out of the mortise.

Replace Like for Like

To keep things simple, purchase taller legs with the same fittings as those you removed. A standard dining table stands 30 inches tall, so subtract the depth of the table top from 30 for the correct height. With braced legs, apply wood glue to the top of each leg, fit into the hole and secure by inserting screws through the brace and into the leg. Bolted legs should twist in easily, though you may need wood glue if the threads have worn away. To replace legs with mortise-and-tenon fittings, apply wood glue to the tenon or dowel end of each leg and insert into the holes before tightening with a hand-screw clamp.

Stretch Your Legs

Give your coffee table's legs an extension. Scour the stores for matching legs the same width as the existing ones. Purchasing pre-drilled legs will save you effort, so all you need to do is drill into your coffee table's legs and screw the new ones on. Use wood glue for extra security. Paint the legs for a uniform appearance, or leave them for a rustic look.

Best of Both

Make a convertible table that you can switch from low to high. One of the simplest ways is to buy a pair of trestle legs, like those attached to ironing boards or trestle tables, making sure it has a tightening mechanism to keep it at the desired height. Secure them to the underside of the table with two poles attached with brackets, so the legs can easily slide to adjust the height. Two parallel wooden beams attached lengthways will help keep the trestle top in place.