Even beginners can build this DIY Potting Bench Outdoor Buffet Table, inspired by a $2,000 Pottery Barn hutch.
I feel like a kid who has just learned to tie his shoes or ride a bike without training wheels.
Fist bump. Oh yeah! We did it! We did it! We did it! Power tools rule! Atta Girl!
Can you tell I’m excited to show off the potting bench outdoor buffet table my husband and I built from scratch?
In the world of superstar DIY bloggers, who hang shiplap in their sleep and build tiny houses in their spare time, I’ve always felt like a little bit of a pretender.
My husband and I have tackled our fair share of household projects during our 11 years of marriage. Things like painting, laying laminate flooring, rehabbing furniture, hanging various fixtures, patching holes in drywall, making minor plumbing repairs and replacing broken parts on appliances. But we’ve never built anything together from scratch. And we leave the big DIYs to the professionals.
I didn’t marry a handy man. Until we built this potting bench together, my husband had never even laid hands on a circular saw. I brought the toolbox to our marriage.
When it comes to DIY projects, I have more of an aptitude than my husband, probably from years of watching my engineer dad tinker on things around the house. But I paint furniture. I don’t build it.
Well, maybe I do.
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After successfully and stylishly hacking an IKEA nightstand with the help of my carpenter friend, I was feeling particularly capable. All Helen Reddy, “I Am Woman,” invincible.
So, I showed my husband some potting bench plans from Ana White and told him we should build our own to use as an outdoor buffet table on our patio. He was skeptical, but I think I convinced him when I showed him the $2,000 price tag for the Pottery Barn buffet and hutch that inspired this project.
We printed out the lumber list, headed to Home Depot for supplies, including our first circular saw.
In addition to the saw, we also needed a drill/driver, a tape measure, a square and a level. And lots of wood screws!
Ana White’s cut list, instructions and how-to video were very detailed and easy for even novices to follow.
Though the instructions didn’t recommend it, we did find it helpful to drill pilot holes when working with the 1X4 pieces of wood to keep them from splitting.
It took us the better part of a gorgeous Sunday afternoon to build the potting bench, but it was totally worth it. We spent between $100 and $150 on lumber and accessories to build the potting bench and transform it into an outdoor buffet table for serving drinks and food on our patio.
We spent another much hotter afternoon painting and staining the potting bench to coordinate with the rest of our patio decor.
After sanding the piece, we painted the entire potting bench with two coats of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk paint in Kitchen Scale, followed by a wash of Shutter Gray milk paint. Finally, we sealed the piece with charcoal gray DecoArt Americana Decor Color Stain, brushed on and wiped off to give the outdoor furniture patina and a weathered look. (I’ll be sharing more about this painting technique in a future post about our outdoor farmhouse table.)
To mimic the look of the Pottery Barn server, I added some black hooks along the apron for hanging towels and grilling tools and whatnot.
I used industrial pipes to make a towel rack for the side of the potting bench. And I also added a bottle opener to one of the hutch supports.
This outdoor buffet table is a fabulous addition to our new patio and pergola area. (Stay tuned; I’ll finally be revealing the entire space makeover later this week!)
When we have parties outside, we plan to use the potting bench for drinks and for serving.
I’ve been having a blast decorating the buffet with galvanized items and other outdoor dishes and serving pieces.
I have even used it for some photography staging.
What better place to photograph a hot weather thirst quencher than on the new outdoor buffet table.
(Here’s the recipe for the spiked mango-pineapple frozen lemonade.)
And if you’re a reluctant builder who is worried that you don’t have the DIY skills to build something like this, I hope you’ll find encouragement in our story. You can totally build this.
Just be safe, follow the directions, take your time and if you need help, ask for it.
The finished project may not be perfect because every build is a learning experience. But you will be proud of your handiwork and you’ll be proud of yourself for attempting something new and different and scary.
If you’re interested in the serving pieces and accessories I used to style our potting bench outdoor buffet table, you can find many of them at the links below:
- Aqua Retro Drink Cooler
- Galvanized buckets
- Galvanized dispenser stand
- Acrylic tumblers
- Clementine & basil candle in can
- Square Acrylic Drink Dispenser (World Market stores)
- Paper straws (Target)
- Hurricane glasses
- Acrylic pitcher
- Crab towel (World Market stores)
- Pink pineapple hand towel
- Pineapple cutting board
- Rope jar (HomeGoods)
- Galvanized charger
- Galvanized ice trough (Walmart stores)
- Olive bucket (Walmart stores)
For more outdoor inspiration, check out these posts: