Make Use Of An Unused Dining Table Leaf With These Clever DIY Ideas

Do you have a dining leaf collecting dust in a storage closet or garage that just never seems to be needed? Or did you stumble across someone else's old, discarded leaf at a garage sale for a great price? Either way, we're here to let you know that these leaves can actually be put to excellent use and repurposed to become new pieces of furniture or decor in your home.

Because of their function, dining table leaves are typically made of solid wood or another sturdy material that is durable and versatile. They also come in various sizes and colors. These characteristics make them excellent candidates for upcycling. So, it's not surprising that innovative online creators have come up with a number of projects to put spare ones to work. Keep reading to learn how you can turn this table-extending item into everything from a coffee table to wall decor.

Create spacious, wall-mounted shelves

To refinish a spare table leaf as a wall shelf, this DIY from uses an electric knife to remove extra hardware and an electric sander to smooth down the old surface. But you don't necessarily need to recruit the use of power tools. Instead, use pliers to remove old bolts and dowels, and sand manually by using a hand sander, like this Wal-Board model, available at Home Depot. Since table leaves are typically heavy, also be sure to use brackets appropriately rated for the weight, plus the weight of additional items you plan to add.

DIY a table riser for buffet style meals

Turn an old dining table leaf into a table riser that can be used for food displays and buffet setups for large meals. Start by removing old bolts, and then refinish the leaf by sanding and painting. Once the surface is sanded, you can use any color of spray paint, house paint, or chalk paint. This project uses white chalk paint, followed by an accent paint with a pearlescent finish. Of course, you can use any color that fits with your party decor or theme. If you use chalk paint, follow up with a coat of finishing wax, like the Jolie topcoat, available on Amazon.

Make a space for hanging plants

This project is unique because it uses a slatted table leaf, and turns it into hanging plant wall art. To get the look, first mount the slatted table leaf on an outdoor wall. Then use a couple of small potted plants, cradle them with macrame pot hangers, and hang them from the top of the leaf with a long S-hook. When mounting the leaf, you can use any hardware of your choice, as long as it will hold the weight of the leaf and the plants. But a French cleat system, like this option from CFOFT on Amazon, will provide surefire strength and staying power. You can also use this hack indoors or make it low maintenance by placing faux plants in the pots instead of the real deal.

Use two table leaves to build a bespoke coffee table

If you're covered in the dining room but need some surface area in the living room, use this hack to turn spare table leaves into a coffee table that's perfect for your space. Start by refinishing the leaves to your preference, and then glue them together at the edges using an industrial strength glue, like E6000, available at Home Depot. Clamp the leaves together while they dry, and then reinforce their connection with mending plates and screws. This project uses hairpin legs as a final step, but you can add any style of table legs, depending on your desired coffee table look and height. 

Hack a console table for narrow spaces

The narrow profile of a solid wood table leaf can make for a great console table to display decor in your entry or hallway. Start by giving the leaf a sanding to remove the old finish, and repair any holes or blemishes with wood filler. Sand the table down again, clean with mineral spirits, and refinish by buffing Danish Oil into the surface – like the Watco product, available at Ace Hardware. The last step is to finally add table legs. For the look in this project, search for hairpin style table legs, which offer a mid-century modern style

Turn a leaf into a writing desk

Repurpose a table leaf to be a custom writing desk for your study or bedroom. On the underside of the leaf, screw leg mounting top plates into all four corners to serve as anchoring points for the desk legs. Then, screw wooden legs into place. This project goes bold with a bright blue paint color for the entire desk, including the legs. But you can use any paint color of your choosing, or opt for different leg and desktop shades for a cool color block effect. Make it all last by sealing your work with a clear coat of paint. Then, decorate your new writing desk to create an inspiration workspace.

Dress up a leaf to be a decorative table

This creator repurposed a table leaf to create a kitschy, decorative end table that looks like a box of Marlboros. Of course, this specific design won't be for everyone, but you can use a discarded leaf as a canvas for any type of artwork. Paint the leaf using interior paint, and leave some original wood exposed for a unique look. For the encapsulated effect, seal your design with a layer of epoxy. Then, add legs to turn it into a table, or as an alternative, use mounting hardware to hang it on the wall as a piece of artwork.