Hacking Cheap IKEA Tables for Pet Stairs

Geek Culture

2014-08-20 06.01.22
We have two wonderful dogs and yes, we let them on our bed. Our older pooch is a tripod (has been since before we adopted her, and it’s never slowed her down), and is now 14 years old. For the last few years, we’ve had an old ottoman at the foot of our bed that she was able to use to get up, but it’s been getting more challenging. I decided it was time to build some stairs to make the path up easier for her. Time for a trip to IKEA!

Here are the parts I ended up using:

4 Lack side tables
4 (or 5) 3″ x 3″ x 6″ pieces of wood
1 bag 1/4″ wood dowel pins
2 x 1/4″ x 5-1/2″ threaded bolts
2 x 1/4″ wing nuts
4 x 1/4″ washers
2 SAXSKÄR bath mats
Wood glue
Spray Epoxy

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The Lack tables were on sale for IKEA Family Club members for $4.99 each, and the bath mats were $3.99 each. The rest of the materials we needed to buy were around $10, so the total came in under $40 for the whole thing. The top of our bed is 28″ off the floor. The old ottoman solution was at 15″ making for two pretty large steps for our dog. I decided to make two steps, one at 10″ an one at 20″ for an easier trip up.

First, I built one of the tables, using the standard instructions.

I took a second one of the table tops, and created a template for the location of the attachment hole in one corner and used that to mark spots for drilling on the feet of the four legs of the first table. Using an electric drill and a 1/4″ bit, I drilled a hole in the bottom of each foot, and drilled out the existing holes in the second top. With wood glue and the plugs, I attached the second table top to the bottom of the first table turning it into a near-cube shape. The standard height of the Lack table is 17-3/4″, and the top is 2″ thick, so with the added “top” on the bottom, it now measured 19-3/4″ tall. Just about perfect.

[Please note – for my version of these stairs, I added a fifth leg in the middle of the table for extra strength. The max load for a Lack table is 55lbs. Our dog is closer to 60lbs, so we wanted a safety margin. But for dogs under 55lbs, just the normal 4 legs should be fine.]

For the shorter step, I basically repeated the above process, but using 6″ legs. I bought wood legs for this because the standard Lack table legs are hollow, so cutting them down would make it far more difficult to attach them. Also, I used 3×3 pieces, which is nominally 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″, to replace the Ikea legs which actually are 2″ x 2″. You may be able to find baluster legs or other architecural pieces at your hardware store that match more closely.

With the two steps, one at 20″ and one at 10″ done, I put them together using the bolts, nuts, and washers via holes drilled through two adjacent legs on either piece. Finally, I used the spray epoxy to glue the bath mats (which fit the tops perfectly) to each step.

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The final product has worked excellently. Our old pooch can get up and down from the bed easily and safely.

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