Cool Custom Furniture Projects

By Chris Dato  •  September 22, 2014



The benefits to do-it-yourself projects are numerous. First and foremost are the bragging rights of being able to casually tell impressed admirers, “Yeah, I made that.” In addition, these projects can be a productive and practical use of your free time, and teach you new skills or refine old ones. Do-it-yourself projects can also be a crafty way to save yourself money, while adding elements of your own personal style into your environment. For additional money saving tips, see our series on home repairs you should do yourself.

Ana White is a mother and handywoman who aims to help everyone take advantage of these perks. She is one of the leaders of the DIY movement, and has been featured by HGTV as well as The Home Depot as part of their “do-it-herself workshop” series. Her website,, leaves even the most inexperienced craftsman (or craftswoman) with no excuse for not tackling one of its thousands of projects. The projects are categorized by skill level ranging from started project to advanced, and each one features free, detailed step-by-step instructions with pictures, a cut list, a list of the tools you will need, and an estimate of the total time and money you will invest. Here are a few of the unique and cost-effective plans.



Industrial Cart  

This industrial cart is a very simple design, and is designated as a ‘starter project’ which is the lowest skill category. It takes about 2 hours to put together, and the materials will cost around $70 from The Home Depot. A comparable plastic industrial cart goes for $185 at Sears. The website also suggests leaving the casters off of the bottom to use the unit as a modern bookshelf.


photo: Ana White-



Garage Shelving Unit

No room is more notoriously in need of organization than the garage.  This garage shelving unit made from 2x4s only requires you to have a ‘beginners’ skill level, takes about 4 hours, and is both space and cost efficient. The shelving unit is 20’ long and cost $170 in materials, which is $20 less than you would pay at Sears for a unit 1/3 the size.   


photo: Ana White-



Outdoor Dining Table

Kiss the late sunsets of summer goodbye in style with a DIY outdoor dining table. This project is also for ‘beginners,’ and will cost you just $50 in materials. This one is designated as a weekend project, which means it takes about 20 hours to complete, and the finished product is sure to draw attention from house guests. It would cost upwards of $500 for a comparable outdoor dining table at Sears.


photo: Ana White- offers many helpful tools in addition to the free plans. There is a section of the website for people to submit stories and photos of themselves doing the projects, which is a great source for useful tips or design possibilities. So the next time you are about to drop big bucks on store bought furniture, just consider making it yourself. It might be easier than you think, and no matter what you will end up with a piece that is literally one of a kind!

Chris Dato Chris Dato A Southern California kid born and raised, Chris is happiest with sunglasses on his face and sand under his back. Although a self-proclaimed master money saver, he prefers the term 'responsibly frugal' to 'cheap.'

Leave a comment