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Behind the Couch Table DIY

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I decided to DIY a behind the couch table shortly after we set up our new living room space.  In Alexandria we did not have the space for anything like this, so I was super excited to finally be able to have one! I wanted the shelf to run the length of the couch and provide a place to set a drink or a phone.  Therefore, it did not have to be very wide, just very long! I also did not want to lose access to the plug behind the couch, so I found a way to corporate that into my shelf!

Behind the couch table diy

Step 1: Measure and determine the size

As I mentioned, I wanted my shelf to run the full length of the couch, which is 118” long.  I did not want to push the couch too far off the wall, so I decided to build it 6” wide. With my design ready, I was ready to build this DIY sofa table.

Step 2: Purchase Materials

The best part about moving is being able to do DIYs with my mom and sister now! My mom and I headed to Home Depot in search of my materials. With my sofa table plans in hand, we found a perfect 3/4 in. x 6 in. x 10 ft. pine board for the top of my shelf.  I found a matching 3/4 in. x 6 in. x 8 ft. pine board that I purchased to use for faux legs.  I wanted to hang my shelf using L brackets, however I did not want the brackets to be visible. 

Step 3: Cut the Shelf

First, I cut down my 10’ board.  I only had to cut 2 inches off to make it the perfect length!   

Next, I cut down the 8’ board.  Since my couch sits in a corner, I decided to only do one side of the shelf.  No one will ever see the other side of the shelf so no reason to waste the lumber! The back of my couch is 28 ½” tall, so I cut the board at 28 ¼”.  

Behind the couch table diy
Behind the couch table diy

Step 4: Cut in Plug Opening (optional)

I purchased two flat extension plugs to recess into my shelf! I cut out two 4”x2” rectangles to house the plugs using an Oscillating Saw.  In Alexandria, I did not have a plug near the couch and with a 4+year old iPhone, power is required!!

furring strips
hairpin legs

Step 5: Sand the Wood

Behind the couch table diy

Next, I sanded the wood using a palm sander.  I softened the edges by sanding along the edges of the wood to make it more rounded and less sharp.  I started with 120 grit sandpaper and worked my way up to 220 grit sandpaper to make it smooth to the touch.

Step 6: Stain or Paint the Shelf

Andrew & I love all things wood, so of course I chose to stain our shelf.  First, I wiped the board down with denatured alcohol to ensure all dust was cleaned off.  I used a Minwax’s Colonial Maple wood stain and applied two coats using a 1.5” Paint Brush, allowing it to dry 8 hours between each coat.  Then, I applied a finish for an extra layer of protection.  I chose to use Hellman’s indoor/outdoor finish as I wanted to keep the wood safe in case someone didn’t use a coaster!  I allowed the first coat to dry for 4 hours.  Before applying the second coat, I sanded the shelf with 220 grit and wiped the wood with denatured alcohol again.  Finally, I applied the second coat, allowing it to dry for 24 hours.

reclaimed wood sofa tables
pocket hole
coffee table project

Step 7: Notch out the Trim

So, this is something I will admit I didn’t plan for! I thought I was about to hang the shelf, when I realized the quarter round was going to force the faux leg to sit too far away from the wall.  Using my Oscillating Saw, I notched out the quarter round! 

rustic sofa table

Step 7: Hang the Shelf

Behind the couch table diy

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to use 3 “L” Brackets to attach the shelf to the wall.  I found the studs in the wall using my stud finder.  Then I screwed the “L” Brackets into the wall.  Next, I set my shelf on top but I did not screw it into place just yet!  

Step 8: Attach the Faux Leg

With the shelf resting on the L-brackets, I was ready to attach the faux leg. I held the faux leg board in place and used my brad nailer to nail the two pieces together with 1-3/4″ nails. The holes were small enough that I did not bother to fill them, however you could apply a bit of woof filler, sand the holes (LIGHTLY!) and apply a small amount of finish over top!

Behind the couch table diy
Behind the couch table diy

Step 9: Screw the Shelf into Place

Behind the couch table diy

With the leg attached, I screwed the top into the L-brackets.

Step 10: Install Plugs (optional)

With the sofa table attached, I was ready to set my plugs into place! Installation of these plugs is super easy.  I placed the plugs into the openings and used the screws provided to attached them to the wood. Finally, I plugged them into the wall and was ready to enjoy my new skinny sofa table!

Behind the couch table diy
Behind the couch table diy
Behind the couch table diy
Behind the couch table diy

Looking for a different style shelf? Check out our post on DIY Custom Floating Shelves

Behind the Couch Table DIY Links

sofa table

Behind the Couch Table DIY

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour
Build Time 2 hours
Dry Time 2 days


  • Circular Saw
  • Oscillating Tool
  • Palm Sander
  • 1.5" Paint Brush (could use a 2" Chisel instead)
  • Drill / Driver
  • Brad Nailer
  • Straight Edge
  • Rags


  • 3/4 in x 6 in x 10 ft pine board
  • 3/4 in x 6 in x 8 ft pine board
  • L Brackets w. Screws
  • Flat Extension Plugs
  • 120 Grit Sandpaper
  • 220 Grit Sandpaper
  • Minwax Colonial Maple Wood Stain
  • Minwax Hellman Clear Semi-Gloss
  • 1-3/4" Brad Nails


  • Measure and Determine the Size
  • Purchase Materials
  • Cut the Shelf
  • Cut in Plug Opening (optional)
  • Sand the Wood
  • Stain or Paint the Shelf
  • Notch out the Trim
  • Hang the Shelf
  • Attach the Faux Leg
  • Screw the Shelf into Place
  • Install Plugs (optional)
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2 thoughts on “Behind the Couch Table DIY”

  1. 5 stars
    What made you feel that the L brackets were necessary? I would think that being pinched between the couch and the wall would be sufficient if you added a leg on the other side. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi! You could definitely do legs on either side, you might have to put one in the middle depending on how long you want it. I originally started my design as just a shelf but wanted to hide the L brackets from view, so that’s how I ended up with one leg!

      If you do add legs, just make sure it’s sturdy. If you make it as long as I did, I do think a middle leg might be necessary to keep it from tipping over. If it’s sandwiched between the couch and wall though, you could probably get away with 2 legs!

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