the living room corral-er: a how-to.

Have you guys checked out the awesome Starfish Jewelry giveaway we’re having this week? Be sure to do so! You won’t regret it!

So there was this point in the middle of our living room revamp, where I decided that maybe there was no reason for the giant bowl-o-moss-balls that had been sitting there for a year.

That I was over it already.

Nothing against moss balls. Moss balls are the best. Mine had just been sitting there for four years. But maybe…just maybe…if one of our oh-so-beloved offspring, or that of the visiting variety, picked one up and threw it across the room, scattering a bazillion pointless moss ball pieces into sheer oblivion, one more time…I just may lose it.

In short, I was ready for something super functional, but I wasn’t sure what. I was sitting in the middle of Disney World a few weeks ago during nap time in the room, when it was quiet with the kids…and this popped into my head.

I’m not really sure what you call it. A bin? A crate? A thing? I get ideas for things all the time. I’m kind of useless like that. So I decided to scratch it down and put it together when we got back.

All I knew, was that I was sick and tired of walking into the room to start up 90210 Uh, I mean Design Star, and my plans were foiled once again, by the lost remote. So, I designed this little crate, to sit atop our gargantuan coffee table. With a nice contrast of natural materials and stained wood, attractive meets functional. It corrals the remote, all my latest reads…and the occasional rando floral arrangement if I feel so inclined.

This piece measures a generous 25.5 x 25.5, so you could adjust yours accordingly. But for ours, we gathered the necessary amount of cut 1 x 2’s, {27 pieces for this project, total.} And got to work.

First things first, we lined 16 of the already cut pieces down on the floor, placing them in the shape of a square. {at 24″ long} We made sure that they were actually squared, by bracing them against both the wall and a side board for support. Holding it steady, we then used two more pieces, and placed them on top, hammering each one down as we went.


Helpful hint: it helped to steady each board with double nail-age {Not a word. Roll with it.} to keep it from turning wonky when we moved it. The boards tented to rotate a bit with only one nail, so we went back and adjusted accordingly.

One of my favorite stain colors is Minwax’s Early American. But my favorite part of this piece was going back and adding some additional layers of stain, after that first official pass. It gave the boards a simple varied look, and I was immediately in love with the color and affect.


In that process, I also stained four additional pieces of 1 x 2’s cut to a slightly larger length. 2 were 25.5, and 2 were 24. They fit like little puzzle pieces around the already existing square, and once they were dry, we simply hammered them on to the sides, but turned sideways. Doing this covered up the “supportive beams” underneath, and gave the centerpiece a more “boxed” and finished look.

In the meantime, I took four more pieces of unstained wood, {25.5 (2) + 24(2)}  and some natural jute that we scored from the local home improvement store. With my fave tool handy {the glue gun} I simply wrapped each piece tightly, and secured each end with a glue gun.


We cut one more piece of 1 x 2, into equal 2.5 inch pieces. We simply joined them to the top with a drill from underneath. These sat in each corner, and would serve as supports for the jute wrapped pieces.

We joined each piece to each corner, again, alternating the sizes and fitting each one together like a jigsaw puzzle, by using the drill.

Tada! Remote gremlins be gone!

Retrospect notes via Jamin: {Since we made this up and did it on the fly} we should have jigged out each corner, and run each post all the way through to the bottom. It would have given it a more seamless look, but I also don’t mind this one. The jute wrapped boards hide any imperfections well.

A one of a kind tray/crate/box/corraler/magazine thingy for our gargantuan coffee table. For around 35 dollars, + stain…we were happy with the end result!

As usual, let us know if you try it! We love our little corral-er. Happy Wednesday, everyone!

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Responses to the living room corral-er: a how-to.

  1. Love it! I like how you made darker stain lines for variation! I have a “remote holder/everything else holder” to on my coffee table but not as cute as this!!!

  2. O yea, forgot to mention that we finally hung/finished the doors(last weekend)
    that we made for our bookcase (inspired from your last “redo” post a few weeks back”! Can’t wait to show you :)

  3. Catherine says:

    Looks really great. I’m doing some jute-wrapping myself these days…doesn’t it make things look pretty?

    Your whole living room looks gorgeous. You guys did an amazing job.

  4. Layla says:

    Coolest. Corral-er. EVER!!!!!!!!!
    You’re so creative, friend!


  5. I really like it! I wonder if I could make it?

    • Jamin Mills says:

      Of course you can……it’s super simple. Also as always if you don’t have a saw or don’t want to bother with one, the guys or gals at the local home depot will cut all the pieces for you. Just take the measurements to them. With them cutting all you have to do is out it together! Have fun!

  6. Christina says:

    You need a store. With all of your wonderful creations. Seriously. Every time I see a creation- I’m like THAT is the coolest thing she’s made! This is no exception!

  7. Love this! Thanks for the how to! It goes perfectly on your coffee table, which is also fabulous, btw!

  8. Shannon says:

    I love the visual weight & feel of this. The detail of the jute on this project really pulls it all together. Inspiring me to get my projects done! Have a great day.

  9. Um, useless is not a word I would use to describe you! AH-MAZING is more like it!

  10. I love the texture it brings to your table. I think it will work with many decorative looks. Great job!

  11. Can I just say, you have amazing taste. That is all.

  12. Melissa says:

    Love it. And I think I can see one made to fit on top of my (ugly dark brown leather) ottoman…will keep the kids using it as a trampoline as well!

  13. Dorothy says:

    Brilliant idea-I think you could sells tons of these!

  14. Adriane says:

    This turned out great!!! What a beautiful way to contain the living room clutter…I might just have to make myself one of these!

    Thanks for sharing such a detailed how-to!

    -Adriane @

  15. Jennifer says:

    love the color, texture, function…such a great design!

  16. Brendan Rae Bard says:

    great tray

  17. Sarah says:

    This is so lovely! I love that it’s so large & can hold so much! And the jute wrapping is great! Nice job! :)