DIY travertine table: Making an earthy desk for the new Style Curator studio

If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen that we recently got the keys to a brand new SC studio! Woohoo, such an exciting time! And the first thing we needed in the space was a large work desk. Naturally, I decided to DIY one, ha! In this space, we’re going for an earthy, minimalist aesthetic so I designed a simple table that appears to float off the wall with two travertine pillar legs supporting it.

Watch the video below to get a glimpse of the process or keep scrolling for all the materials and steps. I’m not going to lie, this table was a case of trial and error… but we got there in the end!

Related article: DIY outdoor dining table with tiled pillar legs
Related article: 20 easy ideas to create a stylish home office

Items you will need:

  • 4 x Kmart oak look side tables (sold as a set of 2  I used the smaller legs for this DIY and the larger legs for my outdoor table DIY)
  • MDF board 2400mm long x 1200mm wide
  • Honed travertine kitkat mosaics (also called finger or Twix mosaics)
  • T-Rex glue
  • Travertine coloured grout (and measuring jug, bucket and stirrer to mix)
  • Primer
  • Feather finish (initially I used render on the tabletop but this product didn’t bond as well as I would have liked so I scraped it off and re-did the tabletop in Feather Finish for a more hardwearing finish)
  • Paint (Haymes ‘Organic 2’)
  • 2 x travertine tile adhesive vinyl sheets from Bunnings
  • 5 x framing timber offcuts (2 pieces for each pillar leg and one to secure against the wall to support the tabletop)
  • 2 x cable ducts from Bunnings to allow cables to run through the table (you won’t need these if you are creating a dining table)
  • Jigsaw
  • Trowel
  • Tile float
  • Paint brush
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil

Steps:

1. Glue two of the side tables on top of one another using T-Rex glue. The height of these tables was a bit low, so I used a few offcuts of timber to bring the height up to 720mm. And on the wall, I secured a piece of timber at the same height.

travertine table diy materials
Start by creating the table supports
wall support
A piece of timber on the wall will hold one end of the table

2. Place the MDF board on top of the pillar legs and wall-mounted timber. Use screws to secure it in place.

table set up
Then place the piece of MDF board on top
crafting textured table
And secure it in place using screws

3. Then using a jigsaw I cut the end of the table into an arch. I did this by finding the centre point of the table and using a level like a giant ruler, I drew a guide line with pencil that I cut around.

round travertine table
Next, cut one end of the table into an arch shape… or whatever shape you like!

4. It was at this point that I realised a single pillar leg wasn’t going to offer enough stability for our table. It felt wobbly and as though it wouldn’t be able to hold the weight of 3-4 computers. So used another 2 Kmart tables and 2 offcuts of timber to create an identical pillar leg as Step 1 and placed this next to my first leg.

I also cut out 2 holes on the tabletop (can be seen in later images) to allow for cables to run through the table. I cut these at the size of cable ducts I bought from Bunnings by using a hole drill bit and a jigsaw.

kmart table legs
At this point I decided 1 leg wasn’t secure enough so I added another. I like the look of them nestled together

5. I wanted to give the tabletop an organic texture so I mixed up a batch of render and applied it. However, I forgot to apply primer so the render did not bond well to the tabletop. And, after a couple of weeks, I also felt that render wasn’t the best finish for a work desk so on the weekend I removed the render and refinished the table with Feather Finish instead (and was sure to add a primer, too!).

mixing up concrete
I wanted to give the tabletop an organic texture so I covered it in render but later found this didn’t bond well. Perhaps using a primer would help but I was happier with the texture of Feather Finish (see materials list)
table concrete mix
Work in small batches to prevent the mixture from drying
rendered top table
And work quickly to apply it to the tabletop
concrete top table DIY
It will look a bit messy but this all adds to the organic feel and you can sand it back as much as you like

6. Next I worked on tiling the pillar legs. Because I don’t have a tile cutter in the studio and cutting natural stone is quite tricky, I decided to use full pieces of tiles only. This meant there would be a small gap at the top of each pillar leg. So to disguise this, I found travertine-look adhesive tiles in the tile section of Bunnings. I cut these to size using a Stanley knife and screwed these around the top of the legs. These worked so well to hide the timber off-cuts and create the appearance of solid travertine legs.

table leg covers
To cover the offcuts of timber at the top of my table legs, I used vinyl travertine look sheets
cutting
I cut these roughly to size as they would be hidden
table leg tops
And screwed them in place

7. Then I tiled the pillar legs. To do this, I applied T-Rex glue using a trowel and placed the travertine kitkat mosaic tiles on top. Using 1mm tile spacers, I achieved consistent spacing between sheets.

grout mix
The next step was to tile the pillar legs
tile pillar legs
Kitkat mosaic tiles are surprisingly easy to work with as they bend with the curve of the legs

8. Once the glue was dry, I grouted the tiles using travertine coloured grout to blend seamlessly. It’s important to wipe away excess grout with a damp sponge while the grout is still wet.

grouting pillar legs
After the tile glue dried, I applied a travertine coloured grout

9. Then, I finished the tabletop by applying a generous amount of ‘Organic 2’ paint by Haymes. It works beautifully with the tones of the travertine tile.

acrylic render tabletop
I also used a sponge to paint the table top in a colour called ‘Organic white’ from Haymes
render table top
I applied 2 coats for a hardwearing finish

10. Lastly, I finished off the table by using travertine coloured silicone between the two pillar legs. I also used white silicone to secure the duct covers and create a neat finish between the tabletop and wall.

sealing tiles
The final step was to silicone the joins
sealing table
Including where the table met the wall
sealing table to wall
A good tip is to use a small paddle pop stick and windex
textured table top
I also added cable covers to create neat holes for the computer cables to feed through

That’s it! I love how this table turned out. It’s such a great fit for our studio space and also cost a fraction of anything I could have bought in stores. Plus, it’s got our signature style all over it and brings something unique to the space.

Do you have any questions about how I created this DIY travertine table? Post them in the comments below and I’ll get back to you asap. Or would you like to share what you think of it? Love it or loathe it?

More DIY ideas

beige office desk
minimalist office
travertine office table
tiled pillar legs
travertine pillar legs
travertine tile pillar legs
textured top table
Gina of Style Curator sitting at DIY travertine table
pilar table
Completed DIY travertine table

This article was first published in July 2022

Gina Beschorner Style Curator

Welcome to Style Curator, your destination for daily interiors inspiration, styling tips, reno advice, home tours and DIY projects!

We're on a mission to help you create a home you love. And with plenty of tips and tricks, tutorials and other home inspo, we give you all the tools to achieve it!

I’m Gina, Founder and Interior Designer, and you can read more about Style Curator here.

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