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Build Your Own Nightstand – Projects that jump to the top of my list always seem to add more function to our home. If a build promises to put wasted space to good use or bring organization to a cluttered area, I feel extra motivated.
Preparatory steps. Jane used a miter saw to cut the night table’s 2×2 legs, as well as its 1×2 crosspiece. A table saw is handy for cutting sides and shelves, but a circular saw with a guide also works. |
Build Your Own Nightstand
So when I noticed a pile of charger cords, books, and miscellaneous items on my bedside table, I decided it was time to build something that would provide more storage than I currently have. And while drawers aren’t generally considered an easy build, the pocket-hole assembly method I used offers a great solution for beginners.
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Thanks to its generous footprint, two stacked drawers and bottom shelf, my nightstand feels clean and tidy when it comes time to turn off the light. Ahead: What you need to know to build one of your own.
The ideal height for a nightstand is usually 24 to 28 inches. Although modern furniture design favors low-slung side tables, I prefer a traditional nightstand to sit 1 to 2 inches above the top of the mattress.
Alongside my own bed, I designed this side table to be 30 inches tall; That way, the reading lamp casts its light on my book and its switch is within easy reach. To size the nightstand up or down, you can simply adjust the height of the 2×2 legs, keeping the distance of the bottom shelf from the floor.
Following the cut list above, cut the pieces lengthwise. Use the pocket-hole jig to drill two holes in the ends of the front and back pieces for the drawers and each 1 ×2.
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Drill additional pocket holes along all edges of the plywood shelves and along the top and side edges of each drawer base and plywood sides.
Position a 12-inch 1×2 between the two 2×2 legs, 12½ inches down from the top of the legs. Attach it with glue and pocket-hole screws. Place a plywood side on top of the 1×2, its bottom edges flush and the top edge supported; Secure with glue and pocket-hole screws.
Mark a line 5 inches from the bottom of each leg. Place a 12-inch 1×2 between the legs, propped onto the 3/4-inch block and flush with the inside face of the legs. Using bar clamps, secure it with glue and pocket-hole screws. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the second side.
Glue and pocket-hole-screw 20-inch 1×2s to the front and back edges of the plywood shelf, flush with its top. (The plywood will cover one of the two pocket-screw holes at each end.) With one side assembly flat, face up inside, glue and pocket-hole-screw the shelf flush with the top edge of one of the bottom 1×. 2 s. Flip the workpiece and repeat on the other side. Glue and pocket-hole-screw the crosspiece between the two 20-inch 1×2 sides, flush with the top 1×2.
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Place the workpiece upside down on top of the plywood, centered along the width of the top and flush with its back edge. Drive pocket-hole screws through the plywood panel and up. Iron on veneer tape to finish edges; Extra trim
Glue and pockethole- screw a plywood front and back to the bottom of a drawer so that they are flush with its bottom; Glue and pocket-hole-screw the bottom, front and back of the drawer sides. Repeat. Sand both assemblies smooth, and paint all pieces.
Separate the slides and screw one section into each drawer box, centered vertically and flush with the front edge. Connect the corresponding parts inside the workpiece. Insert the drawers by rejoining the two halves of each slide.
Mark and drill holes for the applied drawer front pulls, then tuck the drawer fronts with screws. Drive screws from the inside of the drawer, through the drawer fronts, and into the applied fronts. Remove the temporary screws, drill holes through the drawer boxes and screw in the pulls.
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Even as a self-proclaimed “subliminalist,” I still find myself drawn to the clean lines and effortless simplicity of Scandinavian style. A soft, neutral color palette is very versatile in different spaces without adding too much visual weight. If you’re into hygge (and willing to try your hand at some amateur carpentry), then these nightstands are definitely for you.
If I’ve lost you in “professional carpentry”, I assure you, you can make a pair of these with a few household items, minimal power tools, some cheap special tools, and a piece of wood. The instructions are a bit on the technical side, but I’m confident that if you follow along, we can create something awesome together!
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Pack of 1.5-inch pocket hole screws with square drives (if you’re using a soft wood like pine, get a pack with coarser threads)
Make the top boxes 1. Cut your board at the hardware store into the 8 panels you need to make the boxes – most big box stores have wood cutting stations these days, but you can certainly do it yourself if you want. You will need to cut 4 pieces 6.25 inches long (from the side panels of the nightstand box) and 4 pieces 17 inches (from the top and bottom panels). This will leave you with somewhere south of an extra 3 inches for any length you lose each time the machine cuts. Use the diagram below:
2. Once you have your board cut, you are ready to make the pocket holes, the holes that will hide the screws used to attach the box. Align the Craig jig along the short edge of one of the 17-inch long panels according to the thickness of your board (mine required the jig to be flush with the edge). I don’t care how far from the long edge you place it, but I chose to set mine about 3 inches. Clamp in place so that it is secured to the panel, as well as anchored to your work surface.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have a total of 4 pocket holes on one side of each 17-inch long panel, one near each corner. Once assembled the holes will be hidden under the top and bottom panels of the nightstand box.
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5. Choose one of your 17-inch panels to top your nightstand. Butt the 1-inch edge of the long panel to the 6.25-inch side panel. It is called a butt joint when the edges of a board meet at a right angle. Use corner clamps to hold the two panels securely in place. Make sure the pocket holes face the side panels so they are hidden inside the box when assembled.
6. Use a power drill with a square driver to sink a pocket screw into the pocket hole closest to the corner clamp. The butt joint will allow the screws to go through the pocket holes and into the face of the side panels.
9. Following the same procedure as steps 5 and 6, attach the panel you chose as your bottom panel to the other three sides of the box. Make sure the pocket hole orientation is the same as the top panel so that the top panel holes are hidden inside the box and the bottom panel holes are completely on the bottom of the box.
10. To attach the legs to the bottom of the complete box, place your leg braces equidistant from the corners of the bottom panel (the one with the open pocket holes). I angled my brackets inward so that the legs extend from the bottom of the box to the outside of the fan.
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11. Screw in the bracket. If you’re using a soft wood like pine, I recommend drilling a pilot hole (a hole smaller in diameter than your screw) to prevent splitting.
13. Flip to admire your budding carpentry skills. Repeat steps 5-12 to assemble the other night stand. Now you are ready to add the decorative strap.
14. Mark the leg where you want the straps to hit I chose to put it about 7.25 inches above my leg (think grandma’s knee-high as opposed to a garter belt).
15. Measure the diagonal length between your leg marks (front right to back left or vice versa) when they are screwed into their brackets and then add an extra 6 inches to be safe. Cut two lengths of leather ribbon