Published on April 16th, 2011 | by Jules Yap


Coffee Table Train Set

Materials: Liatorp Coffee Table

Description: The hack includes the Liatorp coffee table with glass top and pull out drawer that was modified to include an N scale model train set.

I didn’t like the white so I painted about 95% of it black. Four coats of satin black furniture paint to be exact. I left the shelf that the drawer slides on unpainted for two reasons. One, the paint would just rub off as the drawer glides back and forth over the shelf. Two, simply to provide a highlight color to offset all the black. The last thing cosmetically, was I purchased two new pull knobs for the drawer as the stock ones did not match the black.

The drawer from the factory includes a cross in the middle of the drawer making four available compartments, and two particle board pieces that make up the drawer bottom. Now obviously this won’t work if you plan to utilize the entire space in the drawer. Leaving out the cross was easy but by doing so, the bottom particle board pieces are rendered useless. So I need a floor for the drawer. I took the necessary measurements and made my way over to TAP plastics, had a custom floor made, and I was good to go.

After assembly, the only thing left to do is design the train layout. I used a program called AnyRail available at Once the layout is set, it’s just a matter of purchasing the engines, cars and scenery that you like to complete the look. Since this was my first attempt, I spent a little more than I probably would have liked but I think it was worth it. It’s definitely a conversation piece and fun to look at.

To see a video of the trains in action, check out this youtube video.

~ Jaxan, Sacramento, CA

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

10 Responses to Coffee Table Train Set

  1. Steph says:

    I want this table in brown. Did the black go over their paint easily? I read somewhere about needing to sand and stain IKEA’s furniture first. How is the paint holding up?

  2. David says:

    Absolutely superb! I always wanted a trainset but never had any idea how to fit it into my rather cramped world. This is putting ideas in my head! :-)

  3. Frank says:

    What is the dimension of the layout? I know the table itself is 36.5×36.5, but what size did the layout end up being? Great job, by the way.


  4. majeral says:

    Very Cool, I got my first N gage train at the old age of 28. My hubby bought it for me . Now Iam 68 and still have the the train going to dig it out and make something cool like that great thank you

  5. Anonymous says:

    Looks great! Now I have to make one for me!
    The only suggestion that I would offer is to put the train with the longer cars on the outside track. They would work and look better on the larger radius curves.

  6. anonymous says:

    The little driver of that red car stopped at the R/R crossing must be really pissed by now…

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is a nice hack. I had some ideas the same some years ago and look at this:
    I like mini-worlds….its like a doll-house syndrom! LOL

  8. Es fantástico, recuperaré el Ibertren del trastero de mis padres para hacer algo como esto. ;-)

  9. Fantastic! My Dad would like this.

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