It was love at first sight. I had been wanting to fill the empty space next to the old nightstands in my 16 feet wide bedroom. One day, I stumbled across a post on Instagram (@dwellandoak), my heart skipped a beat. It was the bedroom of designer Jennifer Ma. She chose a moody wall color just like I did and paired it with a canopy bed and this blonde-colored nightstand from Crate and Barrel. It was the perfect combination of color, class and style. Exactly what I had been looking for all these months–an extra wide piece of furniture with a perfectly proportional design and a beautiful wood tone.
I crunched some numbers, and estimated I could build a pair for around $400. I was initially intimated by the idea of building two nightstands by myself. But with the encouragement from my Instagram friends, I decided to give it a try. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Look how beautiful they turned out!
|Project Difficulty||Cost||Estimated Time|
|Intermediate||$180 each in 2021 (4×8 3/4″ plywood was $70)||3-4 weekends (timeline for a beginner)|
These are the measurements of the nightstand. It should give you a good idea to get started. If you like build plans with clear and easy-to-follow instructions, I have prepared a printable for you (purchase it here). It includes the cut list, all the materials including stain colors, steps with 3D images, and helpful tips and tricks. I made a few mistakes myself tackling this project. If I had known what I know now, I could have avoided a lot of headaches and frustrations. Get the plans, if you want to save time and do it right the first time.
Step 2. Drill pocket holes
Use pocket-hole jig to drill holes at the ends of the legs and cross pieces. Drill additional pocket holes along all the edges of the plywood shelves and sides. Sand all the parts before assembly.
Step 3. Put together the side panels
First attach the 12″x16″ plywood with the 1×2 and the 2×2 cross pieces. Create a 1/4″ inset if you want to. Line up the assembled side plywood with the 2×2 cross piece and the 2×2 legs. Attach everything with glue and pocket-hole screws. Use clamps to keep the pieces in place when drilling. Repeat for the other side.
Step 4. Put together the shelves
With a cross piece lying flat, inside face up, glue and pocket-hole-screw the shelf flush with the top edge of the cross piece. Flip the workpiece over, and repeat on the other side. Create a 1/4″ inset for the top shelf if you want to. Note that the middle shelf uses 1x2s as cross pieces.
Step 5. Put together the entire frame
Start with attaching the top shelf with the two side panels. Then add the middle shelf, the back, finally the bottom shelf. Corner clamps and a second pair of hands are especially handy in this step.
Step 6. Add shims to the inside of the nightstand
Add shims made of 1x trims to each side of the nightstand, one for each drawer slide. Use a countersink drill bit and flat head screws to make sure the the screws won’t interfere with the drawer slides.
Step 7. Build drawer boxes
Cut 1×6 pine boards and 1/2″ plywood to length and build 2 drawer boxes using pocket hole screws and glue to attach the pieces, including the bottom.
Step 8. Install drawers
There are different ways to install drawers. Some are simpler than the others. I followed Ana White’s secret method to install soft closing drawer slides.
Step 9. Add drawer fronts
Insert playing cards around the four sides drawer front to adjust its position before attaching from the inside of the drawer box. Add edge banding.
Step 10. Stain and seal
Do one final round of sanding before staining or painting the nightstand. Seal with top coat so the surface is protected. Add hardware. And you’re DONE!