How to Add a Shelf to an End Table

What You'll Need
Piece of wood
Drill and bits
Twowooden brackets
Screwdriver and screws
Measuring tape
Wood stain or paint
Wood glue
Wood plugs

An end table is a fantastic piece of furniture; useful, modular and light, it sits next to your favorite sofa or armchair so that your drink, remote control or book always remains at your fingertips. But you can make your end table even more useful by adding a shelf. The addition of a shelf can give you a little extra storage room for magazines or knick knacks, and it can add an interesting aesthetic dimension to the piece of furniture.

Step 1 – Select Your Wood

First look for a piece of wood that will match your end table. If you want your shelf to match, look for a piece of wood with a similar grain pattern; later you can use wood stain or paint to match the color of the shelf to the table more closely. You can purchase a piece of wood from the hardware store or recycle pieces that you might have at home.

Step 2 – Size the Wood to Fit

With your measuring tape, measure both the width and depth of the end table you’re working on. Take note of the measurements. You’ll want your shelf to be of the same depth as the table, but slightly narrower than the spacing of the table’s legs.

Using these measurements, take your saw and trim the piece of wood you’ve selected to match those dimensions. With your sandpaper, smooth away any rough edges or splinters.

Step 3 – Paint the Shelf

After trimming the shelf to size, you can stain, varnish or paint it, according to your needs. Keep in mind that you may not be able to exactly replicate the color of the table.

Step 4 – Install the Wood Brackets

Now that your shelf is the right size and color, take your two wood brackets and place them about 1/2 inch away from the edges of the shelf. Making sure that they’re straight and equidistant, mark their locations with a marker.

Then choose how high up on the legs of the table you’d like to install your shelf. Use your drill to pre-drill holes into the legs; lightly coat those holes with wood glue for extra stability. Line the brackets into place and screw them into the table legs.

Step 5 – Add the Shelf to the End Table

Finally pre-drill holes in the shelf where you will install the brackets. Lightly place the shelf over the brace. If it’s a heavy piece of wood, you may need an extra pair of hands for this part of the task. Then securely screw the shelf to the brackets. Fill in any holes with wood glue and wood plugs. Before you use the table, let it sit for about 24 hours. You want to make sure that any wood glue dries.