Having a small table or tray next to the tub can be incredibly convenient for holding bath time essentials within arm’s reach. However, tub-side tables can be quite pricey to purchase. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to add this useful feature to your bathroom, making your own DIY tub-side table is a great option. With a few simple supplies and easy construction, you can create a chic, customized tub-side table that looks far more expensive than it actually is.

In this article, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to craft a cheap yet chic tub-side table for your bathroom. We’ll cover choosing the right materials, essential tools needed, step-by-step assembly, decorating tips, safety considerations, and much more. With the right approach, you can build an attractive and functional tub-side table that adds convenience and style to your bath, all while sticking to a thrifty budget.

Choosing Materials for Your Tub-Side Table

When crafting a budget-friendly tub-side table, choosing the right materials is key. Not only do you want to keep costs low, but you also want materials that can withstand the warm, humid environment of a bathroom. Here are some great options to consider:


Opting for inexpensive wood like pine boards, plywood, or other types of wood paneling is a great choice for DIY tub-side tables. Pine and plywood are affordable, readily available at home improvement stores, and can be cut to size easily. Protect the wood with water-resistant paint or polyurethane to prevent warping.

Plastic Storage Containers

Plastic storage containers, crates, or bins make an excellent base for a tub-side table, especially if you want enclosed storage. Look for sturdy plastic tubs or cubbies, available inexpensively at discount and hardware stores. Ensure any container you use is moisture resistant.

Metal Brackets

For added support, use inexpensive metal brackets to reinforce the joints where the tabletop meets the legs or base. This helps strengthen the structure. Right angle brackets work nicely and can be found affordably at hardware stores.

Concrete Pavers or Tiles

An inexpensive option for a tub-side tabletop is concrete patio pavers or tiles. These are durable, waterproof, and cost efficient, providing a sturdy surface. Use an appropriate concrete adhesive to attach the pavers to a base.

Plumbing Pipes

For hairpin-style legs, use standard plumbing pipes which can be cut to size. These offer a sleek, industrial look. Copper, galvanized steel, or PVC pipes work well. Secure with fittings and flanges.

Essential Tools for Assembling Your Table

Constructing your own tub-side table is a relatively easy DIY project, but you will need a few essential tools:

  • Power drill – For driving screws to assemble the table base and frame
  • Circular saw or handsaw – For cutting wood planks to desired dimensions
  • Sandpaper – For smoothing cut edges of wood
  • Pencil and ruler – For measuring and marking cuts
  • L-brackets – For reinforcing joints
  • Screwdriver and screws – For assembling the frame and base
  • Paintbrush and polyurethane or paint (waterproof) – For finishing/sealing the wood
  • Adhesive or epoxy – For attaching tabletop surface like tiles or pavers
  • Safety glasses and gloves – For protection while cutting and assembling

Having these basic tools on hand will enable you to build your tub-side table with ease. Always use tools safely by reading instructions and wearing protective gear.

Step-by-Step Guide to Constructing Your Tub-Side Table

Building your own tub-side table is a straightforward DIY woodworking project. Follow these key steps:

Step 1: Cut the Wooden Frame Pieces

  • Measure the area where you want to place the tub-side table and determine desired dimensions. Standard sizes are 12-16 inches deep and 24-36 inches wide.
  • Cut wooden boards to desired length and width with a circular saw or handsaw. You’ll need boards for the tabletop surface and vertical legs.
  • Use sandpaper to smooth any rough edges. Wipe away excess sawdust.

Step 2: Build the Table Base

  • Arrange the cut leg pieces and fasten together into a frame using corner brackets, screws, and a power drill.
  • For a hairpin leg look, use plumbing pipes secured with flanges to the table corners.
  • Make sure the base is square and stabilized. Use an additional bracket in the center if needed.

Step 3: Attach the Tabletop Surface

  • With the base fully assembled, place the tabletop boards, paver tiles, or plastic container on top aligned correctly.
  • From underneath, attach the tabletop to the legs/base using L-brackets and screws.
  • For concrete pavers, adhere these to a plywood base with tile adhesive before attaching to the legs.

Step 4: Add Supports and Decor Details

  • Use right-angle metal brackets beneath the tabletop for extra reinforcement.
  • Paint or seal the wood with polyurethane to waterproof and finish it.
  • Add decor touches like beadboard paneling, tub-side trays, or other embellishments.

Step 5: Seal and Install Your Table

  • Apply a final sealant coat to protect the wood from moisture. Let dry fully.
  • Position your finished tub-side table safely next to the tub/shower once fully dry.
  • Fill with bathroom necessities and enjoy your new custom bath storage!

Decorating Your New Tub-Side Table

Once constructed, consider these tips for decorating and styling your new DIY tub-side table:

  • Paint or stain the wood in a color that coordinates with your bathroom’s color palette.
  • Use baskets, trays, or bins to corral bath essentials. Opt for materials like wood, wire mesh, or durable plastic.
  • Add special details like beadboard back paneling, ceramic knobs, or a tranquil wallpaper inside the tabletop.
  • Arrange fresh flowers or plants in pots to bring nature into the space.
  • Include decorative framed photos, candles, or other spa-like accessories.
  • Install a swung-arm sconce lamp attached to the side of the table for lighting. Use an LED bulb.
  • Roll up high quality towels and display neatly or place essential oils and body products in an organized manner.
  • Keep the look tidy by storing additional items out of sight in baskets or bins.

Blend style with function by personalizing your tub-side table with choices that suit your bath decor best.

Safety Tips for Your DIY Tub-Side Table

When using any electrical or sharp objects around water, it’s crucial to keep safety in mind:

  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets with tub-side tables. This prevents electrocution risks.
  • Check that sconce lights and lamps have appropriate wattage for bathroom use indicated. Do not overload outlets.
  • Ensure the table is made of water-resistant materials to prevent warping, mold growth, or rotting over time.
  • Position the table securely out of the way of shower spray and splashing to avoid slipping or electrical dangers.
  • Attach the table to studs in the wall for stability using brackets or other hardware.
  • Avoid placing candles directly on the tub-side table. Opt for LED flameless candles instead.
  • Store chemicals like cleaners out of reach of children in locked cabinets rather than the tub-side table.
  • Apply non-slip pads under table legs to prevent sliding on wet bathroom floors.
  • Check regularly for any loose legs, protruding screws, or other hazards needing repair.

Stay vigilant and conduct routine maintenance on your DIY tub-side table to enjoy it safely for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Crafting Tub-Side Tables

What is the best wood to use for a tub-side table?

Water-resistant woods like teak, acacia, and cypress are ideal, along with pressure-treated pine. Ensure any wood is sealed properly.

What is a good size for a tub-side table?

Standard sizes range from 12-16 inches deep by 24-36 inches wide. Allow at least 6 inches of clearance from the edge of the tub.

Should I use treated lumber?

Yes, choose exterior-grade treated lumber to stand up against moisture. Apply additional protection like polyurethane.

How can I get hairpin legs for my tub-side table?

Use standard plumbing pipes cut to size, secured with flanges to the tabletop corners. Galvanized, copper, or PVC pipes work.

What should I use to seal the wood?

Polyurethane is ideal for waterproofing. Opt for a satin or gloss finish for easy cleaning and high moisture resistance. Reapply annually.

How can I secure the tabletop to the base?

Right angle brackets underneath provide the strongest support. Also attach using screws up through the legs into the bottom of the tabletop.

What are safe ways to incorporate lighting?

Swing arm sconces attached to the wall or LED battery powered lights work well. Avoid placing portable lamps on the tabletop.

Where should I position the tub-side table?

Install it next to the tub’s exterior side, keeping a minimum 6 inches of clearance from the tub edge. Avoid placing inside the shower.

How can I decorate my tub-side table?

Paint or stain it to match your bathroom. Use baskets and trays to organize essentials. Add decor like flowers, wallpaper, ceramic knobs, or framed photos.

How can I make storage for small items?

Affix beadboard with shelves to the back for open storage or glue a small shelf across the front. Use plastic bathroom storage bins and trays inside.


Creating your own cheap yet chic tub-side table is an easy, budget-friendly DIY project that can add functionality and charm to your bathroom. With the right materials, tools, and safety approach, you can build a customized bath storage solution tailored to your space and style needs. Just follow our step-by-step instructions to construct a solid, water-resistant tub-side table suited for holding your bath time necessities within arm’s reach. With the convenience of keeping toiletries and towels organized neatly beside the tub, you can enhance your routine and relax in luxury, even on a budget.