Toilet Table

Apparently toilet tables are like a thing now. One more thing we can blame on the smart phone, I think.

When you have a bathroom where the vanity is close to the toilet, you can easily set the phone down when you…um…use the facilities. Don’t act like you don’t take your phone into the bathroom. I’ve read the polls.

I have been known to drop a phone or two in the toilet, so I decided I needed some sort of table in our water closet (we really do call it that ’cause we’re fancy…jk). I went to Pinterest and Houzz to see if I could find a sophisticated version of what I had in my head, and low and behold it’s totally a thing. People are putting what looks like a sofa table over the tank even. I find that weird, but a side table seems completely acceptable. I don’t know why. I have some sort of nonsensical rules about bathroom furniture I guess.

Tank table=weird. Side table=sophisticated. That’s the rule.

I wanted to do this for practically nothing, because I need to drop a whole ton of money on a shower door like last year yesterday. (Soon! I need that door now! Decide, already, Avone!) And, ya know, curriculum and feeding a dozen neighborhood boys every day. And saving my pennies for the kitchen. Pretty much I just didn’t feel like spending any money. But I did look around and found some really cute little accent tables and small cabinets and corner shelves. None of which were priced low enough for me to think, “Oh heck, I’ll just buy something.”

So I went to the garage and looked through my scrap and whipped up something based on what I already had.

butcher block

I had this piece of butcher block left from our last kitchen renovation. I never threw it out even though it’s small, because I thought it might make an awesome cutting board someday. Or toilet table. You never know when you’re going to want to build a toilet table.

I grabbed some pieces of scrap to make an apron for under the butcher block, but I had to buy something for legs.

apron scrap

This didn’t break me. I bought four at 98¢ each. I wasn’t sure yet how tall I wanted it, but thought I might end up cutting two of those in half. Which is what ultimately happened, and then I used one for the support pieces and returned one. So, $2.94 plus tax.


I bought treated balusters as legs because they’re much cheaper than pre-made legs and I liked the rougher look of them, since I wanted a rustic table. I read somewhere a long time ago that you can use treated lumber inside as long as you paint or stain and seal it and don’t let your kids or pets eat it.

I don’t have pets and my kids have never really been the kind to chew on table legs. So yeah. Do what you want. We live on the edge. (That scene from Raising Helen totally just popped into my head, but apparently no one has taken the time to put just that scene on youtube. Slackers.)

I cut one of the balusters into pieces to use underneath the table top for support. I just did it the same way I did this entry bench since it’s very sturdy.

bottom support

I used a combination of nails and wood glue for extra stability.

wood and nails

Gorgeous, right?

build table

Okay, not yet. I also grabbed a piece of scrap for a lower shelf.


I just used used nails and glue at the corners.

attach shelf

If this shelf was going to hold anything heavier than toilet paper, it maybe would be best to add some support. I didn’t see any point in that.

Always check to see if you’re level!


This was so easy. It took me as long to stain it as I spent building it–about the length of one major Nerf gun/water gun war.

I wish I could blame the kids for knocking over a full can of stain in my driveway, but that was totally my fault. Luckily the hose was already running to fill up water guns and I was able to grab it quickly and hose down the driveway, pushing the stain down into the street. It was watered down enough that it didn’t do any damage. (It’s oil based and would definitely have soaked into the driveway had I not saturated it immediately, I’m positive.)

I also happened to soak a bag of cement that was at the edge of the garage. The hubs grabbed it up quickly to hopefully salvage it (water+cement=concrete, y’know) and the bottom busted out of the wet paper bag that it comes in. (Seriously people, paper?)

Cement powder went everywhere. There were bikes and tools and my table…

We frantically started scrubbing the driveway and washing stuff down so there wouldn’t be hardened concrete on everything. I wish I had video. It was probably hilarious.

So anyway. The table needed some stain to make all the different scrap pieces match. I started by staining the apron, legs, and lower shelf a medium orange-y tone (golden pecan) to match the butcher block.

Once the entire table was the same color, I used a bit of walnut in places to darken the grain so it would have more depth. This is when I spilled my stain. Amidst all the chaos I forgot to continue taking pictures. Oops.

Then, I came back over it with a gray wash. I wanted it to be almost sheer, but just enough to tone down the orange and give it an aged look.

I was trying to replicate (or at least coordinate with) the finish on this large letter M I found at Ross a while back.

large letter M

I’d say I succeeded.

replicate finish

It’s looks like it’s too close to the toilet, but it’s really not.

close to toilet

I made sure to measure for knee room. (I chose the butcher block, rather than some other pieces we had, because of its depth.)

knee room

A candle, some magazines. The essentials.

reading materials

toilet table

Don’t act like you don’t have reading material in the bathroom. I’ve read the polls.

Tell me what you think