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  • Writer's pictureAbby Barratt

DIY Nightstands

Wow! I can't believe the nightstands are finished. I was inspired by some nightstands I saw online at a popular home decor store but the total cost for two nightstands was $1345 and they wouldn't ship until late August/early September! I didn't want to wait that long and was confident I could just make them myself using the picture online.

These nightstands and I went through a lot of firsts together. It was my first time tackling drawers! The second nightstand definitely went much smoother than the first and took about half the time. I'm excited to share my plans and cost breakdown with you all so hopefully you can make a set for yourself!

Let's start with the overall dimensions of the nightstand. I measured the space between the bed and the wall on both sides to determine just how big I wanted them to be. I needed these to be bigger than the one I saw online.

The dimensions of the nightstand:

32" wide

30" tall

18" depth

I tacked the sides of the nightstand first. I used red oak 2x2's from Lowe's and sheets of red oak plywood to build the sides. I cut 15"x15" sheets of plywood with my circular saw and Kreg Rip Cut guide. I used my Kreg Jig to create pocket holes on the back side of the plywood (see picture below) so that it would attach to the frame. Don't forget to use wood glue! We want nice, tight joints that don't move or shift over time.

I wanted the plywood to be attached to the back edge of the 2x2 so I used a scrap piece of wood (pictured above) to elevate the plywood to the correct position while I screwed into the pocket holes. I made sure each leg was exactly 4.5" long before screwing into position (see picture below).

Once the sides were complete, I cut 6 29" red oak 2x2's to create the frame. I added one pocket hole to the inside of each 2x2 making sure the pretty side was always facing out. (see picture below) Don't forget to use wood glue for each step along with your pocket holes to create nice tight joints. I ended up clamping the frame and leaving it overnight to dry before making the shelves. At this point my garage is a complete disaster!

The next morning I cut my shelves. The shelf size is 14 13/16" wide & 28 15/16" long. Since I'm making this nightstand by myself and it was getting pretty heavy at this point, I found it easier to turn the entire nightstand upside-down to screw in the top self. I hammered it down using a rubber mallet to get it perfectly into place.

For the second shelf, I turned the entire nightstand on it's side and drilled into the pocket holes from the side. I made sure that everything stayed level and in line with the 2x2s. Again, I'm sounding like a broken record... but don't forget the wood glue!

Now the entire frame is done! Next up.... DRAWER BOXES! I had to do a lot of research before tackling this step. I ended up buying some fancy 14" soft close drawer slides on Amazon. Here are the dimensions of the drawer box you need to build:

Total width: 28" wide

Total depth: 14"

Front and back pieces: 26 7/16" wide & 5 15/16" high

Side pieces: 14" long & 5 15/16" high

Trust these measurements! I ended up building my drawer box too big the first time around and had to redo the entire thing to fit inside the drawer slides.

Make sure to leave the pretty sides on the inside of the drawer box and the uglier sides out! Pocket holes go on the outside of the drawer box on the front and back pieces. There will be a drawer face on the outside of the drawer box so we don't care what it looks like. Just remember, pretty sides go inside! These corner clamps were a lifesaver and kept everything in place while I screwed into the pocket holes. Don't forget to use wood glue before screwing in.

I ended up using scrap 1x2's to hold up my drawer slides while I screwed them in. I wanted to be sure my slide started an inch up from the base of the frame. Start with your bottom drawer first! Also, keep in mind where you want your slide to start depth wise. Yes, it's 14" but you want to account for the depth of your drawer face so the face of your drawer sits flush with the frame. Does that make sense? Take the piece of wood you'll be using to make your drawer face and line it up where you want it to ultimately sit. Once you've done that, create a mark right behind it. THAT MARK is where your drawer slide should start. Also, be sure to be using a level during this entire process. We want the drawers to be perfectly level for a smooth close.

I found it easier to dry fit my box between the drawer slides first before attaching a bottom. If I made the box too big, it's much easier to unscrew everything and rip the dimensions down before attaching the bottom (I learned this the hard way the first time). Once I knew the drawer box frame fit width wise, I was able to add my drawer bottoms! Remember, pretty side facing inside! I attached the bottom using 1 1/4" wood screws (pictured below).

Now you're ready to attach your drawer boxes to your slides and add your drawer faces! I left my scrap 1x2's in for this step. I extended my drawer slides all the way out and attached the boxes flush to the end of the drawer slide. After that, I made my drawer faces. I made the bottom one first then measured to make sure I had the right dimensions for the top face. My drawer face dimensions were 28 7/8" wide and 7 7/16" tall. I used clamps and shims to hold them into place then used the same 1 1/4" wood screws to screw the face into the drawer box from the backside.

Once the drawer faces were in place, I used wood veneer edge banding on the inside of the drawers to make them look finished and give them a cleaner look.

I added wood filler where needed and sanded things down with a 220 grit sanding pad. Now time for wood conditioner and stain! I wanted to keep the natural color of the red oak (it's so pretty!) but make everything look a little more uniform. I ended up deciding on Pickled Oak by Minwax. I love the way the color turned out! I made sure to use pre-stain wood conditioner first because I read that oak is very porous and I wanted to be sure the stain went on evenly. I didn't waste much time between the pre-stain and stain. I applied both with a rag.

I let the stain dry overnight then added my hardware the next day. I wanted extra long pulls and found these gorgeous one's on amazon. These were a bit of a splurge and you could definitely go with some pretty knobs or smaller pulls if budget is an issue. FYI - I had to get longer screws to fit into the back of these as the screws that come with these pulls are too short to feed through the drawer box and face. They were easy to find at Home Depot!

Voila! Now here is the part you are probably the most interested in... COST BREAKDOWN:

Red Oak 2x2's = 26 x $11.26 = $292.76

Soft close drawer slides: $50.08

Pickled Oak Stain: $4.98

Drawer Pulls: $76.12

Oak Plywood= 6 x $30.64 = $183.84

Things I had on had:

Wood glue

Kreg jig




Grand total for each nightstand is $303.89. Had I purchased the smaller version of these nightstands online, they would have been $672.50 each if you include shipping and taxes. So overall I saved over 50% on cost and get to enjoy them a lot sooner. :)

Be sure to tag me in your progress if you decide to make these yourself and be sure to message me on Instagram if you have any questions!

Always, Abby

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12. 11. 2023

Hi Abby, Our daughter-n-law saw a pic of your night stand and loves it. She wants my husband to build a couple of these for her. We can follow your instructions, but just wondering if you have a supply list. Thanks in advance, Laurette

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