Ikea Coffee Table Trash to Treasure

Hi Friends,

As Big and I prepare for our big move, we quickly realized that while we both have complete bedroom sets, we’ve always lived with roommates who’ve furnished the common areas such as the living room and kitchen. We started scouring through Craigslist for free or steeply discounted furniture and browsing through various Pinterest posts for DIY furniture tutorials and IKEA hacks!

One man’s trash…

I pinned this particular IKEA coffee table hack by Brynne at PaintTheWorldWhite.com not only because I loved the rustic look but also because her tutorial was super straightforward! A few days after showing Big, he came across an IKEA Lack coffee table by his building’s trash area, and his dad called to let us know he had picked up some beautiful planks of wood from a neighbor re-doing their deck – the DIY stars had aligned.

Long story short, we painted our FREE black coffee table white instead of purchasing it new, saving us $45 + tax + transportation costs + time for a trek out to IKEA. Yay!

Painting IKEA Lack coffee table
Saved $20+ by reusing a can of leftover paint

Big’s dad had a can of EasyCare paint/primer in white from a previous project, so, in true DIYtoWealth fashion, we used this instead of going out to get a new can. Don’t forget to lightly sand all surfaces beforehand so the paint/primer has some texture to adhere to! Also, check out this post by our friends at Homeli for the best approach to prepping, painting, and protecting laminate furniture such as IKEA. 

While I painted, Big removed any unwanted nails, filled the holes with wood filler, then sanded the discarded deck planks nice and smooth. He then stained one side of the wood planks with 2 coats of Minwax stain and trimmed excess wood with his dad’s Ryobi hand saw once fully dried (we wanted 2″ of overhang on each end).

Sanding deck wood planks
Taking a break from painting to enjoy the view <3
coffee table stain
Minwax Wood Finish Stain in Ipswich Pine
coffee table saw
If you don’t have access to a saw, your neighborhood Home Depot or Lowes can trim wood for you
coffee table chalk
Saved $6.70 with our 70% off coupon!

We simplified the process even further by purchasing one paint color for the wood planks vs the three listed in Brynne’s tutorial. Big suggested we check out paint colors at Michael’s since they often have great coupons, either through the store or through RetailMeNot.com. He found a 70% off coupon, so we ended up paying only $2.70 for our $8.99 jar of Americana Decor chalky finish paint. We wanted the beautiful wood grain to show through, so we watered the paint down by 3 parts paint to 1 part water. After the first coat dried, we finely sanded the surface to create a “weathered” appearance.

coffee table wood filler
Saved $3 by using leftover wood filler!
coffee table drilling
Drilling pilot holes for our wood screws
coffee table drying
Letting the wood glue dry between the wood planks and top of the IKEA table
Spraying on polyurethane to protect the surface from wear and tear
Coffe table Final 1
Final Product!


Here’s a sexy spreadsheet of cost comparing our DIY vs starting from scratch vs buying brand new mid-tier versions:

Cost Savings for Coffee Table
We were able to keep our costs down by finding the Ikea table, Wood planks, and having paint, stain, and polyurethane leftovers from our family.

Lil’s takeaways:

  1. I appreciate Big’s work ethic (he would always be the first to suggest working on our coffee table each morning) and ability to see the big financial picture (he is the coupon king).
  2. Foam rollers are WAY better than paint brushes when it comes to painting laminate surfaces – the brushstrokes were painfully visible on the IKEA table and looked super unprofessional.

Big’s takeaways:

  1. Always keep a look out for what people are throwing out; with some imagination and hard work, you can make it great again.
  2. 90% of the battle is just showing up! Once Lil and I got going on this project, it seemed like it was done in no time.  Now we are addicted to DIY – it is so rewarding and good on our wallets.
  3. Always use a tarp or cover to protect the surfaces your painting on. We had some drips of white paint on the deck.  We later found out the dollar store sells big plastic tarps, as well as nice sets of foam brushes.

We hope you found our inaugural DIY furniture post helpful and interesting! Feel free to drop us a comment below and follow us on Instagram to see how our coffee table fits into our new apartment 🙂

These were some little steps to big savings!


Lil & Big

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