$20 projects: A new side table

This is definitely a week of firsts! I’m very excited that yesterday’s “In the Trenches” interview was so successful and I hope everyone will tune in each Wednesday to see who’s in the spotlight that week. Today, after tantalizing you with mentions of them for the last two weeks, I’m finally debuting the first $20 budget decorating project.

As you probably know by now, I am all about making my home more beautiful. The problem is, my budget doesn’t often want to cooperate with me. In an effort to make sure I am always making progress no matter what, I instituted the $20 rule in my home. On each of my husband’s paydays (cause his money is my money, don’t ya know!) I get to spend at least $20 to accomplish one of the goals on my project list. And that’s what led to the $20 budget decorating projects here… it’s my way of staying committed to my own personal challenge. Hopefully you guys will benefit from it too! 🙂

Bamboo Tray TableI’ve been hunting for something similar to this table for a few months now to go between two chairs in my living room. Unfortunately, every version that I’ve found that I liked cost at least $100. Way more than I’m willing to pay for a side table. (Yeah, I’m cheap like that). I kept hoping to find something on craigslist or ebay or even the local Goodwill, but nope, nothing!

This past weekend I was browsing in the local Pier One and saw a beautiful tray table that I loved. On sale. Still, it was $70-something and since I just bought the two new headboards for the kids, a little bit out of my budget.

As I was leaving the store, I spot these lovely red trays on clearance. I’d wanted one at Christmas time, but didn’t want to pay $20 dollars for it. On clearance, however, it was a mere $5! Of course it was coming home with me.

Standing in the checkout line I happened to spy a few red metal table bases. That’s when the idea hit me… I could buy a base and then add the tray to the top instead of glass. I immediately tried the tray with the red metal base and it looked fantastic. The only problem was the base cost more than the original table I started off looking at– $80! It did let me know I was headed in the right direction.

And so I present to you my new side table:

corner of my living room

The tutorial for creating it is simple. First take one $5 tray (about 18″ diameter) and one $12 Marshall’s clearance plant stand (about 23″ high):

Clearance tablered tray

Combine them as demonstrated by my handy assistant:


Accessorize with a $4 plant from Lowe’s Garden Center. And Voila! New side table:

final tableCute, right? I’m not completely sold on this planter table. I love the legs, but I don’t like the seashell decoration, so I may go check a few other places that have planters to see if I can find something with the same type of great legs without the ornamentation. Once I decide if it’s a keeper, I’m going to epoxy the tray to the table since I don’t plan to use the tray for anything else. Even with epoxy though, it’ll still be a $20 new table.

What do you think about the pop of red? I’m considering painting it all a shiny metallic silver. (A free change, because I have silver metallic spray paint in my craft stash.)

There you go. Your first $20 budget decorating project. With summer coming, you can find planter tables of various styles everywhere. You could change the look also by using a different type of tray. I was just thinking that if I had a more formal home, I’d hunt up a silver (silverplated) tray at one of the junk shops. Imagine how pretty that could be.


11 thoughts on “$20 projects: A new side table

  1. Shannon says:

    I came across your blog from Manuela’s. I love what you are doing and I am in the exact same boat! I have been living in a home that we thought would be temporary (3-5 years) for 3 years now. I am thinking that we will stay longer and I am ready to make it my home. I have no decorating experience what-so-ever being that this is my first home. I am also on a tight budget and trying to do most of it myself. Gets a little overwhelming but I am super excited! I have lived in a home that does not reflect my spirit and I am ready to change that. I love what Manuela said about “blooming where I am planted”. That is exactly what I want to do! Thanks for the inspiration and ideas!

  2. Tricia Ballad says:

    Oh I’m so inspired! I *need* someplace to set my coffee when I’m working on the couch and just can’t bring myself to spend a fortune on side tables. Your plant stand and tray combo looks just perfect – and it has another benefit: It’s small enough that there’s no room for clutter. Add a little plant and there’s exactly enough room for a cup of coffee and maybe the TV remote. No room for the mail, toys, or any of the other random stuff that seems to fill up every other horizontal space.

    Guess I just added a project to this weekend’s To-Do list!

    Thanks again Shauntelle!

  3. bj says:

    Oh, boy…I am just beside myself with your blog! This little tray table is just perfect for soooo many spots around our homes. I can hardly wait to see what you have for us next. I just added you to my favorites blogroll and I also hope you will stop by and visit my site sometime.
    BTW…your helper there is so precious!! 🙂
    Oh, and M. at the Feathered Nest sent me your way!
    hugs, bj

  4. Courtney @ nestinginstincts says:

    Hi Shauntelle! Loving your blog…I think we are kindred spirits. I did a Valentine’s Table for $20 with more features like that to come. I’m ALL about budget decorating and I love finding someone else who feels the same! Keep up the good work!

  5. Art says:

    I like the tray but not the colour. I would wonder how it would look with a distress pewter look which you could do by painting it black with strong circular brushstrokes, then dry-brushing silver in the direction of the shape of the tray. Then spray silver from more than two feet, dusting or fogging the surface. Or, the same colors in craquealure.

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