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DIY Couch Arm Table

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This week I continue on with my scrap MDF DIY projects (check out my MDF project from last week here!) !  This one is a simple fun and quick DIY! 

This one was built out of necessity!  When we moved into our single family home we went from a simple 3 seat couch in our living room to a 7 seat sectional!  It’s the most comfortable couch I’ve ever owned and worth every penny!!  But with this choice to buy such a big couch we didn’t have the space for end tables and, well, I need my coffee first thing in the morning.  I prefer that coffee on my big comfy couch!  So I decided to make myself an arm rest tray/table.  

This is a piece loved by the whole family – our son loves to use “his table” to eat his oatmeal on in the morning and my husband fights for it for his own coffee.  I think there will be a second one in production for our house very soon! 

DIY Couch Arm Table

Step 1: Measure your couch arm rest

DIY Couch Arm Table
sofa arm rest table

To measure my arm rest I found it easiest to use an actual ruler.  Since the arms of a couch are not perfectly square, the ruler allowed me to lay it across the top while holding two scrap wood boards up from the sides to get a full measure of of how wide the face of the table needed to be.  This also gave me a point to measure down from to get the side measurements for the table.  The last measurement you will need is to determine how long you want your table.  

My couch arm width for the table is 8 inches.  For the measurement for the side boards I settled on 5 inches.  This measurement would give enough stability without being too long and scraping the couch cushion.  For the length, I debated between 10 inches and 12 inches and ultimately settled closer to the smaller size at 10 1/2 inch. 

Step 2: Cut your MDF to size

I over complicated this step, and this a lesson learned for building our second table!  

I decided to measure and 45 the corners of this table.  Since I was using wood filler and then was painting the piece there was NO REASON for this!  If I was going to make the table out of wood and stain it this may be a different story, but even still I’d like follow these steps and skip the 45-ing. 

I choose to use my miter saw but this could be easily cut with a circular saw as well; especially since there is no reason to 45 the corners.  

I cut the top, tray piece at 8 inches by 10 1/2 inches.  Then cut two side boards at 5 inches by 10 1/2 inches. 

For this step, assuming you are using 3/4 inch material, I would recommend cutting the tray board 1 1/2 inch smaller and the side boards 3/4 inch longer.  This way you will be able to nail the side board to attached them to the tray board from the side.  The overall size of the tray will end up being the same but will be made up of the side boards and the tray piece in the middle.

diy couch arm table

Step 3: Glue and Nail your side boards to the tray board

To put your arm rest table together you will want to use a square tool to ensure your wood pieces are held square together while nailing.  I also choose to use some wood glue, I applied a small bead on the side of the tray board and then pressed the side board against it and used my nail gun and some smaller brad nails to hold it all together. 

Step 4: Fill nail holes & Sand

Use a wood filler to cover any nail holes and/or space between the boards. 

If I’m being honest my 45 degree cuts were not perfect and for me there was some space and gaps that I did not prefer.  I had already planned to fill the nail holes so I just used that filler to also fill in any spacing where the boards came together. 

After the filler dried, I used a fine sanding block and went over the filler to ensure it was flat an smooth. 

diy sofa

Step 5: Paint your Arm Rest table

table ideas

To paint the arm rest table I had initially planned to spreay paint it; however, I found this great paint at Walmart by ColorPlace.  The paint is very durable and is washable!  The paint is also priced very reasonably – I can only find the gallon size online and the gallon is less than $16. 

I have found it is very easy to wipe down and clean.  This is important in the case of toddlers! 

I did not prime my arm rest table since I was using a black paint I didn’t think it was necessary; however, I did do two coats of paint.  I allowed about 30 minutes between coats and then left it to sit and dry overnight before using.  

Step 6: Enjoy your coffee! (If the kids allow)

Either way you’ll have a place to put it!

couch sleeve

*Disclosure: We only recommend products that we regularly use ourselves and all opinions expressed here are our own.  This post contains affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, we make earn a small commission

DIY Couch Arm Table Links

Home Depot: HandPrint 3/4 in. x 2 ft. x 4 ft. Medium Density Fiberboard
table ideas
Walmart: ColorPlace Ready to Use Interior Paint, Onyx Black, 1 Gallon, Semi-Gloss
diy couch arm table

DIY Couch Arm Table

Build Time 2 hours
Dry Time 1 day


  • Miter Saw or Circular Saw
  • Nail Gun
  • Sanding Block
  • L-Ruler/Square


  • MDF
  • Wood Filler
  • Wood Glue
  • Paint


  • Measure the Couch Arm Rest
  • Cut MDF to Size 
  • Glue and Nail Side Board to the Tray Board
  • Fill Nail Holes & Sand
  • Paint Arm Rest Table
  • Enjoy your Coffee! (If the kids allow) 
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