If you need an entry table for your foyer -- or for that spot near the front door in your living room -- buying a pricey new piece from your local furniture store isn't your only option. Flea markets, yard sales, and other secondhand shops are great sources for furniture. But, sometimes you won't find the right piece right away. In that case, consider making your own do-it-yourself entry table from flea market finds instead. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Though corbels are typically used on the exterior of a building, you can recycle a pair of the bracket-like pieces as a table base. You'll need to mount them to the wall to make your table sturdy, but they'll end up resembling table legs. Once you've mounted them, top them with a scrap slab of marble, a plank of wood, or have a glass top cut to fit.
If you don't find a pair of matching corbels at your usual flea market haunts, try a shop specializing in architectural salvage.
A pair of old columns are another option as a base for your do-it-yourself entry table, though you may need to cut them to the proper height. As with the corbels, you can top them with a long, narrow piece of marble, glass, or wood to create the table's top.
Unless you're a master of faux-finish painting, make sure you use architectural salvage columns instead of hobby store reproductions made of plaster or resin. The fakes tend to look cheap and tacky.
The iron base from an antique, treadle sewing machine makes a charming entry table base. The bases range from plain to ornate, and making a table is a fantastic way to recycle them for modern use. Depending on the table top you choose and how you accessorize it, the look can be country and rustic or modern and industrial. Paint the base for a soft, shabby look, or leave it as is for a sleeker look.
You can top your sewing machine base with a wood or glass top -- or even use an old tray or shallow crate.
Iron Fence or Balcony Sections
Cast iron balcony railings or fence sections make wonderful entry table bases. The old iron works with a wide range of decorating styles, including both casual and dressy interiors. If you don't find a balcony piece that's already three sided, you have old fence sections or gates cut and welded into the proper shape.
As with the other entry table base options, you can top the fence piece or balcony rail with the material of your choice. Wood, glass, marble, and granite all work well. Using multiple planks on the top creates a rustic, farmhouse table look.
For a fun, floating table look, cut the end from a dining table (the part without a table leaf divide) or table desk -- or even cut a traditional console table in half. Leave two legs intact and use them for the front of your table. Mount the cut side of the table to the wall with L-brackets, and then paint the brackets so they blend into the wall.
The final look depends on the table style you choose. Choose a piece with turned, farmhouse legs for a country or cottage look. Choose a mid-century table with tapered metal or paperclip legs for a fun, retro effect. For a formal or glamorous look, choose a formal table with cabriole legs, or a Jacobean table with oversize, bulbous legs.
Hang a Shelf and Skirt It
If you don't find any flea market pieces to alter or turn into table bases, look for a pair of old drapery panels instead. You can make a skirted entry table. Draperies with pleated headers work especially well.
Depending on the size and style of your entry, cut plywood or MDF into a rectangular or half-round shape to use as the shelf turned tabletop. Paint the tabletop, and then mount it to your entry wall with shelf or L-brackets. Staple hook-and-loop tape around the three exposed sides of the tabletop, and stitch the other half of the tape to the drapery header. Attach the drapery panels to the hook and loop tape and your tabletop to skirt it. Hem the draperies if needed, or just tuck them under for a lush, puddling look.