The (free!) round coffee table


I love my new free round coffee table for so many reasons:

  1. Duh. It was free
  2. I saved it from being crushed and thrown out, so: it’s recycled
  3. It gave me a project to work on with a product I can be proud of
  4. It has opened up the space in our living room so much

I should probably back up and explain what I am talking about.

When I moved in with Marc recently (more on that story for another post. BIG deal for me), there were some changes that needed to happen in his townhouse. But a big one that even he agreed with was the coffee table situation. He has an L shaped sofa and had a big square coffee table in front of it. It took over the whole space and because of it’s size, was way too close to the sofa making it a tight squeeze just to sit down. And it made it really hard for Pooka to jump up and down unto the sofa because she had no room for a running leap. And lets be honest, that was my number one concern so I had to figure out a solution for it.

A few years ago I bought a really nice, hand made piece at Scott Antique Market that I use as a bar. I love it because it’s made out of recycled wood and iron and the man I bought it from was the man who made it. No middle man. It cost me $385 and I considered it a steal.


For those of you who don’t know what Scott’s is, it basically is the greatest thing in the South. It’s a huge market that happens the second weekend of every month. Vendors and shoppers come from ALL OVER to sell or buy anything from authentic European antique furniture, new and refurbished pieces of furniture, jewelry, rugs, paintings, milk crates, zebra heads, what have you. Literally, anything you can think of, you’ll find it at Scott’s.

So I went to Scott’s, found the  man who made my bar and asked him what it would cost to make a round, two shelf coffee table just like the bar. He quoted me $895 to which I nearly fell over. I went around all of Scott’s asking all the vendors who make their furniture and heard prices up to $1400. Turns out the one thing you can’t find at Scott’s is a round, wood and metal table. The reason it’s so expensive is because it takes a special welding tool to weld iron in a circular fashion, and you have to have an expert welder in that practice. In addition to the fact that there’s a lot more wasted wood because of the round shape.

I left Scott’s heartbroken and headed back to Atlanta. Later that day Marc and I headed to West Elm to buy some lights and lo and behold what do we see?! A ROUND WOOD COFFEE TABLE. Now albeit, there was no iron and not exactly what I was looking for, but I was still very interested. But something inside me told me “This is a display and they aren’t going to sell it to me.” Sure enough, I was right. But I did get a tip from the manager on where she got the “table” and where I could find another one: The Home Depot.

Turns out, the “coffee table” was really an electrical cable spool.

That’s a coffee table?

So Marc and I rushed over to Home Depot, I ran to the electrical aisle, grabbed the poor guy working there and begged him to give me the spool that still had the cable wrapped around it. He graciously unspooled all the cable and let my happy ass walk away with the wooden spool for FREE.


Zero dollars.

And you know what he said they do with those spools as soon as they are done with them? Throw them down the trash compactor. WHAT?! I mean what a waste! That’s solid pine used for those spools (the big ones anyway). Why not at least send them back to the company that sends you the cable so it can be reused? Unnecessary waste like this makes me crazy furious. But at least that day I saved one spool from an untimely death.

We bought some sandpaper, a stain, some felt and happily went home with our rescued electrical cable spool.


We removed the old, big, bulky, square coffee table and put in our little round table in it’s place to see if we liked it. We decided we did so I went straight to work on my project.


First I sanded the whole thing down. I had to sand off all the company logos and permanent marker writings that were all over it, so I figured I would just smooth the whole thing over. That took a minute and some arm strength…




Next I stained it. I used an old sponge I had lying around for this exact purpose and used about half of the little tin can on it for one coat. I let it dry before deciding wether to do another coat or not, but we decided we liked it with just the one coat.




Once it was perfectly dry I cut up the felt and put it on the bottom to cover the bolts that could possibly scratch the hardwoods when we move the table…aaaaaaaaaaaand that was it!


Tried out a couple of stain colors, surprisingly Marc preferred the grey wash.



Free, refurbished, recycled coffee table. And we LOVE it.


So I am curious, what would you pay, if anything, for this coffee table?




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