Project: DIY Coffee Bar

I’ve lusted over images of coffee bars for far too long. Now that fall is letting us know that it’s on its way soon (Wednesday was a high of 68 here in Des Moines this week!), I figured it was time to put matters into my own hands.

Here’s a couple of coffee bars that inspired me after scouring other WordPress blogs…

From Imagineitcreateit:


From WorkingGirlDIY:


But where to begin? I scoured Craigslist for any kind of kitchen cart or narrow table that would work for my vision. I found several options, but most were either far too expensive for my budget or not quite big enough. Okay, so what now? DIY the table/cart entirely? That would probably require multiple trips to hardware stores. Which would be totally fine with me if I had the time for that while managing a toddler. Plus, the plans I found online were more expensive than I was willing to spend on something that Levi would deem unnecessary (ETA: He agrees that it is a worthwhile project!). But we’re going to be drinking a LOT of coffee this fall and winter to keep up with all the changes to come! I decided on a budget. $20. And did I break it? Nope! I halved it. This whole project cost me a whopping $7.55 after one very short trip to Home Depot.

I already had most of the things I needed, but here’s the full list of supplies:

  • Old shelving unit, ready to be recycled
  • 1″ x 10″ x 6′ wooden board, cut in half (purchased new)
  • Black paint (I used Rustoleum chalkboard paint)
  • Brown paint (I used a generic espresso color that matches some of our trim)
  • Paint brushes
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drill and drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • 2″ Mending plates (purchased new)

For the wall decorations:

  • Chalkboard
  • Single hooks
  • Chalk
  • Mounting screws

It didn’t take long to realize that I had a perfect base for my bar already. This “gem” has been in Levi’s possession since before we met, and has been used in our kitchen since we moved into the new house. It was too tall to be a coffee bar, but by removing the legs and replacing the small top with a larger top, I knew it could work.


The first step was to disassemble the unit. The cheap formica shelves needed an update, so I painted them with some chalkboard paint that I had on hand. I don’t plan to use them for drawing on but figured it would work just fine anyway. Two coats was enough for this step.


Next, I painted the wood for the top of the bar. I used an espresso color that we had on hand from being used on numerous doors and trim around the house. How fitting for a coffee station! When those were dry, I used mending plates to attach them together. I then measured where it would go and screwed it to the base of the bar. Then I was ready for the really fun part—the decorations!

wpid-img_20150820_082818.jpgI toyed around with the idea of putting casters on the bottom of my bar to make it into a cart, but it didn’t seem worth the money to buy locking casters that I probably would never need to unlock and use. Still an option in the future if I really want to though.

I knew I wanted my coffee cups to be on display hanging off little hooks, so I snagged this chalk board that we had been (seldom) using in the playroom. I already had the hooks from the failed attempt to attach them directly to the wall, so I got those out and decided on where to place them. Top and bottom it was.


I mounted the board to the wall above my bar and added some coffee cups. I think it might look better with a set of plain white cups, but the assortment we have is pretty fun too.


Now to put everything together…..


Shout out to my girls Amy, Ashley, and Katie for the awesome MPLS coasters!


I can’t wait to brew some hot coffee this fall. It’s still cold press season for us, so I’ll have to be patient, but hot tea is just fine for me any time of year. Do you have a coffee, tea, or hot cocoa station in your house? Tell me about it!

3 thoughts on “Project: DIY Coffee Bar

  1. I remember getting this bookshelf at a Staples in Phoenix. My brother Rusty helped haul it home. It served its purpose in many apartments, so I’m glad it found a way to get transformed.

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