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A Narrow Sofa Table

I have a friend who recently moved into a new apartment. A sectional couch in the small living room left limited space to place a lamp. The solution was to build a narrow sofa table with a modern look to fit the space perfectly.

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The day my friend’s sofa was delivered, I could see there might be a problem.

There isn’t a great place to put a lamp or a drink. There was only about six and a half inches between the sofa and his bedroom door. The side table you see off to the left would fit on the right, but placed on the left, it blocked access to the bedroom. There aren’t a lot of options online and having built a custom sofa table before, building one out of scraps would work perfectly.


I used scrap wood I had on hand, if you needed to buy the materials, here is the cost breakdown:

  • 3/4″ plywood $23.56 for a 2’x4′ project panel
  • 2×2 post $ 7.75 for a 6′ length
  • veneer tape. $ 9.24 for a 25′ roll

That comes in at $40.55 for a custom fit table if you didn’t have any of those supplies on hand.


I worked out the dimensions to be 6″ wide, 37.5″ long, and 27.5″ high. That would make the table about an inch shorter than the sofa arm (leaving room for the baseboard), the same height as the back, and just under the width of the space between the sofa and the door.

The modern look would be in the form of an S shape. I had a bit of plywood leftover from the closet makeover. Once I worked out the dimensions of the piece, I used my Ryobi Table Saw to rip some leftover 3/4″ plywood to 6″ widths.

shelf pieces for a narrow sofa table

Then the Ryobi Sliding Miter Saw came in handy to cut support pieces at 12.625″. 2 of them would be plywood and 2 would be 2×2 posts.

support pieces to build a narrow sofa table laying on a ryobi table saw in a workshop setting

Then I took the exposed edges of the plywood and covered them with veneer edging tape. If you’ve never used it, it’s life changing. It comes in all kinds of species and has hot melt adhesive on the back. Cut the banding to size, leaving about 1/4″ on each end, then use a household iron on a medium setting to iron the wood strip right on to the edge of the board. Composed of thin strips of actual wood, the edging can be stained, sanded, or painted just like it’s part of your original board.

veneer edging before application on edge of plywood board

I find it easiest to line it up about in the center instead of trying to make it perfect on one side.

veneer edging in application process after heat melt adhesive activated

Once you iron it down, give it a few minutes to cool, and then you will have “tags” hanging off both sides.

boards with veneer edging overhang and razor knife

Flip it over and use a razor knife to score it as close to your board as possible.

trimming veneer edging with razor knife by scoring the underside

Then flip it back over and push down on the overhang. It will snap along your score line…

process of trimming end of veneer edging

…and leave you with a fairly clean edge.

veneer edging after cutting off overhang.

Use sandpaper to smooth it out (150-220).

veneer edging after trimming and sanding end

Next you will have some overhang on the sides. Using 100 or so, sand along the edge (by hand) pressing down from the top so as not to pull up on the tape. If you accidentally pull it off, don’t fret! Grab the iron and repress it. The adhesive will melt again and hold it back down.

close up of veneer edge tape before smoothing

As you are sanding, you may see a bit of goob along the edges, this is the adhesive. When the goop is gone, and you have a smooth edge, go back over the edge one last time with 150-220 grit sandpaper for a final smoothing.

close up of veneer edge tape adhesive balling up

Then I used a sponge and applied a water-based stain/sealer to all the pieces in a black/brown color. This is one coat:

sponge and plate with stain next to support pieces of narrow sofa table in workshop setting

and this is the second:

long shelves of narrow sofa table with two coats of stain applied


Assembly was quick. the plywood went on one end and the support post went on the other. I placed it about 5 inches from the side, and in the center of the boards (2.25″ inches from either side). I glued and then screwed the supports in from the bottom with trim screws, then used my Ryobi brad nailer and 1.25″ brad nails from the top. Then I added the top piece in the same way, just on opposite ends (post on the right, board on the left).

base of narrow sofa table in a workshop setting

The last steps have no pictures because I started to get pressed for time (my apologies). I filled in the nail dents with wood filler and when that dried, sanded it smooth. One quick coat of stain on the filled spots, then one final top coat to blend everything together.


When I took it over, it fit just like it was supposed to be there all along.

narrow sofa table next to couch at its new home.

My friend is so happy with his new table. The color and design worked perfectly with what he already had.

The entire project only took a few hours and his living room feels complete.

full shot of narrow sofa table in place next to couch in living room.

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