I love reusing and transforming old stuff. No. 1, I’m cheap, and No. 2 (or 1a) I hate the idea of throwing away good things.
I had an old Ikea desk I bought for my daughter, dirt-cheap but semi-stylish, like most Ikea designs. By the way, why did it take the Swedes to show us that cheap furniture can still be designed well? It’s the same with kitchen cabinets–we just keep on cranking out the same tired looks and styles. I’ll leave that rant for another day.
Anyhoo, I dragged that beat-up desk across the country with us to Portland, mostly because the legs were so simple to take off. But when we needed a small deck table, I got to thinking. I could layer two pieces of plywood to make a thick top, brush a polyurethane finish on them to resist the drizzle, and screw on those Ikea legs. The plywood cost under $40, bringing my total to just over $50, for a table that fits my space just right.
I’m guessing you don’t have an old set of Ikea table legs, but here’s the cool thing: they sell tons of screw-on legs separately! The ones I used here cost just $4 each! That’s nuts! So you can screw them onto any old slab or tabletop you have and make something cool!
I was lucky enough to find a patio umbrella with a white pole, which looks good with the legs. By the way, if you live somewhere that freezes in the winter, I’d take the table in for the snow season. You might also use spar varnish on the tabletop, not polyurethane as I did. I may come to rue that decision, but some sanding and refinishing will set it right.
One more tip: Take your time choosing the plywood, to find at least one piece with a nice look to it.