Tools & Materials
Whether it holds bedside reading, potted plants, or bowls of snacks for guests, a compact pedestal table is one of the handiest pieces you’ll ever own. With a bit of DIY know-how and some simple materials, you can make this mirror-topped version for a lot less than the cost of a new look-alike. This Old House general contractor Tom Silva built it using two precut wood rounds, a newel post for the pedestal, and a beveled-edge mirror and ceiling medallion to dress up the top and base. Paint yours a favorite hue, and put it wherever you need a little landing spot.
Mirror-Topped Accent Table
Accent tables are usually 18 to 24 inches tall, so the newel post is cut to height and fastened to the tabletop and base with lag screws. We chose a post with a square bottom; for aesthetics, Tom used a hole-saw bit to round it off where it meets the round base. “It makes the pedestal shape more streamlined,” he says. Use mirror adhesive for the tabletop, as regular adhesive may damage the mirror’s backing.
Prep the Tabletop and Base
Find and mark the center point on each wood round. Place one round on top of a piece of scrap wood. Use a No. 10 countersink bit to drill through the center; this will create a pilot hole for the lag screw and a shallow recess for the screwhead so that it will sit flush with the surface. Repeat with the second round. You now have a tabletop and base.
Glue the Ceiling Medallion to the Base
Flip the base over so that the side with just the pilot hole (not the countersink recess) faces up. Center the medallion on the base and mark its location. Apply vinyl adhesive caulk to the back side of the medallion and press it into place. Use caulk to seal gaps around the medallion’s perimeter and center hole.
Size the Pedestal
Choose the table’s height and mark two cuts on the newel post, one at each end. (For a stable table, don’t cut within the narrow, turned section.) Make sure to leave just enough length at the bottom, typically 13⁄4 inches, to drive your hole saw all the way through (see Step 5 photo). Use a miter saw to cut the pedestal.
Drill Pilot Holes in the Pedestal
At each end of the pedestal, draw an X from corner to corner to mark the center. Drill pilot holes into the center points for the lag screws.
Reshape the Bottom End of the Pedestal
Clamp the pedestal to a work surface with the bottom end hanging over the edge. Fit a hole-saw’s drill bit into the pilot hole you made in Step 4. Drive the saw through the end to cut off the corners, leaving behind a round shape. Sand the cut surface smooth.
Fasten the Base to the Pedestal
Apply wood glue to the bottom of the pedestal. Begin driving the lag screw through the underside of the base. Once the screw protrudes through the base, slip it into the pilot hole at the bottom of the pedestal. Tighten the screw.
Fasten the Tabletop to the Pedestal
Apply wood glue to the top of the pedestal. Begin driving the lag screw through the top of the tabletop. Once the screw protrudes through the top’s underside, slip it into the pilot hole at the top of the pedestal. Tighten the screw.
Paint the Table and Add the Mirror
Sand and prime the table, then paint it using semigloss paint. When it’s dry, center the mirror on the tabletop and mark its location. Use a caulk gun to apply dollops of mirror adhesive to the tabletop. Press the mirror into place.