Order In The House: Our DIY Coffee Table with Storage!

Back in September we said goodbye to our  leather ottoman in favor of creating our coffee table that I am introducing to you now. Our dark brown ottoman was starting to get a little boring and we really wanted to wait till we found the right option for our living room space. The other ottoman was so delicate and I really wanted my little guy to be able to drive his trucks and trains on the coffee table without tearing the leather. PLUS, I was tired of wiping little finger prints off of it every day!!!  So naturally we found a good home for it when we sold it on Craigslist the very next day. I think we sold it for more than we bought it for. He, he, he….

Our new coffee table is definitely a unique one of a kind piece. That’s the way we roll here. Strolling though our favorite antique store a few months ago, I noticed these antique CN Railroad file boxes. They caught my eye right away, and I knew exactly what to do with them. Besides get them straight into my vehicle. Drool, drool….

The above picture is one of the original labels that was stuck on the back of one of the boxes. Pretty neat huh? I have to say it was hard to take off as it would have been nice to keep it.  I would have saved it, but it basically peeled off in pieces.

The first step to creating this beauty was to get each individual  box to stick together. Mr. Holmsey accomplished this by screwing the boxes together with several one inch screws.

To make the legs for it to stand on, we shaped some aged 3×4’s in the shape of a I. This gave the piece sturdiness that it needed to hold it all together. These were just screwed into the frames of the boxes.

When I plan to create a piece of DIY furniture in my home, I think about two things. Functionality, and creativity. The CN Rail boxes had to serve me in regards to storing items such as games, books, some toys, remotes, etc.

The next biggest thing for me is the piece must be unique, rare to others, and be made strong to stand the test of time. I could easily go out to a store and find some great coffee table, but I would rather have a piece that no one else has, and usually in the end costs me less to make it myself. It only took a few hours to make too!

Now look at my son. He has a great new surface to play trains… and he looks very happy!

This table has given our living room so much organization and order in our home. I encourage you think creatively when you are looking for a piece of furniture for your home that will provide a great sense of calm when everything is tucked inside in the drawers…

as well as, a great looking piece I might add?


  1. Gorgeous!! I linked it to my coffee tables project post too, well done!

  2. Amazing design with a vintage feel. I am super jealous – wonderful idea!

  3. Oh my goodness….Jodi….this is simply perfect!!! I love everything about it….the gorgeous patina of the wood (can wood have a patina…or just leather?) :)…..the size of it…..3 drawers!!……so gorgeous!! I’m not sure how I missed this until now!

  4. I love this. What a wonderful idea. So creative. I’m your newest follower. I’m so enjoying your beautiful blog!

  5. Wow! I am in love with your coffee table! Exactly the inspiration I needed for my front sunroom to finish the look I want to achieve out there!

    ps New follower from Places I Land

  6. That is so wonderful. And what I especially love about it, you won’t notice an extra mark or two from playtime. :-)


  7. I LOVE this coffee table. And the history of the boxes makes it even cooler. Great job! I want it!!

    Yanet of 3 SKBs

  8. Cari Skuse says:

    Awesome idea! I was looking for something like this to replace our huge train table we are currently using. It has to go now that we have a Kinect (need more room). I’d love to know if anyone knows where to get more of these file boxes!

  9. Jodi, found your blog over at A Soft Place to Land. I can’t believe I found this post… I am absolutely in LOVE with your coffeetable. In my post from yesterday I was showing off the new living room furniture we bought for our new house and spoke about the fact that we still need a cool coffeetable. I was originally thinking an antique chest or trunk, but this is way too cute. I will most def. be on a sea to sea search for something similar. Thanks so much for sharing and I lvoe your blog. I’m a follower!

    • Yes, A Soft Place to Land is a beautiful blog. So Inspiring!

      Glad you liked the table. Your living room looks great! It’s such a nice feeling when a room comes together. I checked out your site, I love the wood look! I’ll put you on my blog roll.

  10. Wow what a great coffee table, loved the train set on it, too fun!

    • Thanks so much for coming to visit me here. Yes, the coffee table is quite a find that I would do over again in a second!
      Have a good week.

  11. I love it Jodi! Great find. We have a leather ottoman with open storage below which I thought would be useful, but all you see is the clutter. Got any great ideas for me? Happy New Year my friend.

    • I guess it depends on what you need to store, and how much? If you want to hide the “clutter” then why not try a basket or decorative box. Keep your eyes open for something that is an adequate size and of course UNIQUE! Also, when I make a purchase like this I ask myself, If I need the basket for something else one day will I love it in the rest of my home too? Make sense? This is just my one way of my ways to spend money wisely on decor items. Hope this helps.

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