Keep Essentials in Sight With This Sofa Arm Tray

Keep Essentials in Sight With This Sofa Arm Tray

A sofa arm tray keeps everything you need in the living room within close reach.

Let’s face it, your couch can easily swallow everyday items if you lack table space to keep them stable and in view. Remotes mysteriously vanish moments after you set them down, and phones slip between cushion gaps.

From reading glasses to snacks, and everything in between, a sofa arm tray can keep these items in plain sight and easily accessible. Plus, it’s the perfect spot to set down a drink so you don’t have your hands full while lounging in the living room. 

This is especially useful if you use your hands a lot while talking — it eliminates any chance for your drink to spill during a spirited conversation!

You can easily build this small sofa arm tray in less than a day. And, depending on how long it takes the finish to dry, you can enjoy its convenience and receive compliments from friends in no time!


Trim screws and a countersink drill bit next to a wood board

Materials


Measuring the width of a sofa arm with a tape measure

Determine the Size

First, you’ll need to measure the width of the armrest where you’ll use the sofa arm tray.

Measuring a sofa arm with a tape measure.

Then, measure the distance from the top of the armrest to the cushion. 


Making a pencil mark above a tape measure on a wood board.

Cut Wood Pieces

From a piece of 1-by-8 board, cut one piece 1 1/2 inches wider than the armrest and one piece the same length as the distance to the cushion. 

Measuring a board with a tape measure.

Then, cut a third piece 2 1/2 to 3 inches longer than the cushion height. This piece will go on the outside. 


Applying Titebond original wood glue to a board.

Assemble Sofa Arm Tray

You’ll need some 3-inch trim screws, a countersink drill bit, and some wood glue for assembly. Glue the pieces together with Titebond Original Wood Glue to quickly bond them together. This makes the tray sturdier and drilling the screws easier.

Drilling a pilot hole on a a sofa arm tray next to a bottle of Titebond Original Wood Glue.

Use the countersink bit to drill a pair of pilot holes in each location before you drive in screws to secure the joint. 

Close up of a trim screw

Trim screws have a tiny head, so once they’re in place, they’re nearly invisible. 

Repeat this process with the other leg.


Using a power sander on a a sofa arm tray.

Add the Final Touches

After you’ve assembled the sofa arm tray, sand the edges for a smooth finish.

Applying wood stain to a a sofa arm tray.

Next, apply a coat of wood stain with a cotton cheesecloth. 

Applying polyurethane sealer to a sofa arm tray.

Once the wood stain is dry, brush on a coat of clear polyurethane sealer. A water-based polyurethane sealer should dry in about two hours, whereas an oil-based one will take at least eight hours.

After your sofa arm tray is dry, unwind in your living room with your essentials in sight!


Further Reading