How to Make a Lifting Coffee Table


Coffee tables with lifting tops are often found in households with family members who like to play video games while sitting on the sofa. The table lifts and pulls toward the seated person, moving the usable table surface to closet proximity. The lifted table will hold up to 30 pounds, depending on the hardware used, and some tops are adjustable so that you can set the height to exactly what you need. An effective way to make your own lifting coffee table is by converting a drawer-style table.

Things You'll Need

  • Prybar
  • Screwdriver
  • Putty knife
  • Construction adhesive
  • Wood clamps
  • Tape measure
  • Lift hardware
  • 2-by-4-inch board
  • Table saw
  • Screws
  • Open the doors of the coffee table and remove any drawers. Look at the underside of the tabletop to locate the tabletop fasteners. Often, a table will have angle blocking at the corners with screws through the blocks into the underside of the top. Unscrew the fasteners.

  • Lift off the tabletop. If the top is also glued, use a prybar, screwdriver and putty knife to wedge between the top and the sides and cut the glue. Slide the tools along the sides to slowly separate the wood pieces.

  • Remove the inside of all drawer boxes. Usually the drawer is a complete box and the drawer face is screwed to the box. Unscrew the drawer face from the box.

  • Unscrew the drawer rails from the inside of the coffee table.

  • Apply construction adhesive to the back side of the drawer face and position the drawer face on the outside of the side of the coffee table to look like the drawer is still functional. Clamp the face to the coffee table with wood clamps until the glue cures.

  • Read the installation requirements for your lift mechanism. Typically, the lift mechanism will mount to the inside walls of the tabletop or to horizontal framing installed to support the mechanism. The mechanism will have two armatures, but it may mount as one or two pieces.

  • Position the two-piece mechanism against the short, inside ends of the coffee table.

  • Use the fasteners recommended by the manufacturer in the locations marked on the mechanism. Make sure your fasteners will not penetrate to the outside of the coffee table side pieces. Check the height of the mechanism below the top edge for proper alignment.

  • Screw the mechanism into position inside the coffee table. Single-mount mechanisms may require you to build a 2-by-4-inch board support inside the coffee table cavity to support the mechanism. Often, this type of blocking support can be attached directly to the bottom of the coffee table floor.

  • Position the coffee tabletop centered over the base. Press the mechanism arms against the underside of the top by reaching through the door opening. Mark the fastener locations. Remove the top. Lift the arms forward.

  • Attach the arms to the underside of the coffee tabletop using fasteners provided by the manufacturer. Check the screw length to make sure the screws will not come through the top of the table before screwing them into place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not overload the tabletop when it is lifted. This can cause armature failure which will collapse the top.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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