This mini table can hold a cuppa and a snack, as well as the remote control, while taking up hardly any room.
Coffee tables are useful for drinks, books and remote controls but can take up a lot of floorspace, especially in a narrow room.
An end table is a good alternative, but if squeezing it in means having a shorter sofa most of us would go without to be able to stretch out.
The space-saving solution is to abandon traditional tables altogether in favour of a tray that is designed to fit over the armrest of a sofa or chair.
It could be made industrially out of moulded plastic, sheet metal or steam-bent plywood but we simply used lengths of 8mm dowel and 18mm thick plywood finished with timber stain applied using a cloth.
This armrest tray may look like a high-end designer homeware but it’s very quick and easy to make. And if you have plywood offcuts and stain left over from other projects, you just need to buy the dowels for $40.
TIP A flat, square-shaped armrest works best for this type of tray.
Working with plywood
Plywood is a versatile material, with the grain of each successive ply or layer running perpendicular to the last. This allows it to be cut into irregular shapes without splitting along the grain.
For furniture and pieces that will be on show like this tray, use quality plywood of at least BC grade.
To make an armrest tray to match your lounge, measure the arm width and the drop down the side required for easy access to the storage tray.
Next, draw a half-template grid that is easily reversed to make a full template, with the arm hook and storage tray the same width.
TIP Test-fit the cardboard template on the sofa arm before you cut out the plywood, making sure it’s snug