Customize an IKEA LACK Table With This Easy DIY

Whether you're decorating on the cheap or selecting a few investment pieces with budget-friendly items mixed in, sourcing from Ikea can be a great way to keep your spending in check. Transforming a simple Ikea piece into something with character is easier than you might think. With a little time, patience and money, you can embellish a simple coffee table with a Greek key design and make it look way more expensive than $50.

(Image: Sarah Dorsey)

Things You'll Need

  • Ikea Lack Coffee Table (46 - 1/2" x 30 - 3/4")
  • Greek key template (download here and print four times)
  • 3/4"-thick MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) 
  • Tape 
  • Bandsaw, scroll saw, or jigsaw 
  • 3/8" drill bit
  • 220 grit sandpaper 
  • Microfiber cloth
  • White spray paint
  • 3/4" angle brackets
  • Heavy-duty adhesive
  • Caulk gun
  • Drill and screwdriver bit 

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Step 1: Attach the legs to the coffee table

Following the instructions included with the coffee table, attach the legs. You'll attach the lower shelf later.

Step 2: Prepare the Greek key template

After printing four copies of the template, roughly trim the paper to size. There are two sizes as you will need: four smaller Greek key shapes for the short sides, and four slightly larger Greek key shapes for the longer sides.

(Image: Sarah Dorsey)

Prepare to cut out the keys by taping the templates onto the MDF. Note: The MDF pictured here has a wood veneer on the face, however, the wood veneer is not necessary.

Step 3: Cut out the Greek key

If you have a scroll saw or bandsaw, use it to cut along the outer edges of the template. A jigsaw can also be used; however, it is more difficult to keep a straight line. Repeat on all eight Greek keys (for steps 3 to 5).

(Image: Sarah Dorsey)

Step 4: Drill a pilot hole to cut out the center

Using a drill bit with a diameter slightly larger than the thickness of your saw blade, drill a pilot hole through the center of the square.

(Image: Sarah Dorsey)

Step 5: Cut out the center of the Greek key

If you have a scroll saw, use that to cut out the center, beginning inside the pilot hole and cutting along the inner lines of the template. If not, a jigsaw will also work well. For ease of cutting, brace the Greek key against scrap wood while cutting.

(Image: Sarah Dorsey)

Step 6: Sand

Using-220 grit sandpaper or a sanding block, gently sand all rough edges and the surface of each key.

(Image: Sarah Dorsey)

Step 7: Paint the Greek keys

After removing all dust with a microfiber cloth, paint the Greek keys with paint of your choice. I opted to use Rustoleum Heirloom White in a satin finish. The color is slightly more cream than the table itself, but since the Greek keys are offset a little, it isn't noticeable. Alternatively, you can take the table to the paint store and have it color matched with a brush-on paint.


  • Since there are several sides to paint, using spray paint, versus a paintbrush, makes the process much easier.

Step 8: Attach the shelf

Attach the shelf included with the Ikea coffee table. The table comes with a metal guide that's used to mark the shelf brackets. We chose to drill another hole in the guide in order to mount the shelf lower than the manufacturer's instructions.

(Image: Sarah Dorsey)

Align the guide against the leg at the bottom, and mark the hole onto the leg with a pencil—repeat on all four legs.

(Image: Sarah Dorsey)

Using the brackets included with the coffee table, locate the pencil marks and attach the shelf mounting brackets to all four legs.

(Image: Sarah Dorsey)

Place the shelf on the brackets and secure the shelf in place from the opposite sides of the legs (follow the instructions included with the coffee table).

Step 9: Attach the Greek keys

On the back side of the Greek key, attach one side of an angle bracket to each end of the shape. Always hold the shape up to the table to confirm the correct placement of the brackets.

Attach the bracket to the back of the Greek Key
Attach the bracket to the back of the Greek Key (Image: Sarah Dorsey)

Apply a small amount of adhesive to the brackets on the end of each Greek key.

(Image: Sarah Dorsey)

With the table turned upside down, place a Greek key on each 90° corner where leg meets tabletop. (Note: there are two sizes for the keys: the smaller size (qty 4) go on the short ends of the table, and the larger size (qty 4) go on the longer ends of the table.

(Image: Sarah Dorsey)

Mark the bracket holes onto the bottom of the table with a pencil. Drill pilot holes to prevent splitting, using a drill bit just slightly smaller than the size of the screws included with the brackets. Attach both brackets (qty 2 per Greek key) with screws, using a drill and driver bit. Repeat on all eight Greek keys. Once done, load up with your favorite coffee table books and enjoy.

(Image: Sarah Dorsey)
(Image: Sarah Dorsey)
(Image: Sarah Dorsey)
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