DIY Modern Wooden Nightstand

When we were moving into our home from the previous rental, we arranged for local movers to help out with the process. Everything was going great and the movers were unloading furniture into the master bedroom, which was one box spring mattress and one Ikea side table. That’s when one of them politely smiled at Bhaskar and said, “Sir, I think it is time to upgrade your furniture”. For a second, I didn’t know how to respond or whether to be offended, but then I looked at the side table and couldn’t control my laughter. I realized that we had been living like grad school kids for almost 5 years and it was definitely time for us to upgrade.

Our room has come a long way since. But coming back to the topic of this post, the nightstand – it is a custom build by my on-demand in-house woodworker, Bhaskar 😛

Nightstand build by Bhaskar

Reasons we chose this project

  1. I was looking for a modern nightstand within my budget and something that would compliment the green/blue and natural tones of our master bedroom.
  2. Bhaskar really wanted to learn to build drawers, so this seemed like a great opportunity to achieve both our goals.

Inspiration and Design

Once again, I was heavily inspired by Roost & Ramble‘s Cane Nightstand (picture on the left). We also had a beautiful painting from Cambodia (picture on the right) that was the driving factor for our bedroom colors. Check out our post on building a custom floating frame if you haven’t already! The top wood of the nightstand pulls out the orange from the picture.

We had the option of building two drawers, but I went with one so that I would have space to shove my large work bag/purse when I get back from work.


  • My mantra – Measure once, measure twice and then measure again. It is so important to measure exact dimensions of the space any furniture will take up. I usually go the extra mile and draw out all boundaries with painters tape to envision how the bigger furniture will fit the space.
  • Test out paint colors ahead of time on MDF or whichever material you choose to use. Unfortunately, I skipped this step and when I started painting the nightstand. I ended up painting two coats of other colors before I found my perfect shade. Well, on the bright side, if the paint ever gets scraped, it might just look like a multi colored designer dresser!

Tools and Material

  • Tools used
    • Miter saw
    • Circular saw
    • Table saw
    • Router
    • Sander
    • Drill set and bits
    • Nail gun
  • Material used
    • ¾” MDF
    • 2×2 pine – 8ft
    • Poplar hard wood
    • Pocket hole screws
    • Primer
    • Paint – Dark Everglade Behr
    • Full extension drawer slides
    • Drawer knob


1. Cut MDF for the side panels and the bottom of the stand. Our dimensions for the side panels are 16′ x 26′ and the bottom was 16′ x 22′.

2. Cut the legs for the side panels, these are as long as the height of the side panels.

3. Attach the legs to the side panels using pocket hole screws. The side panel is elevated to make it flush with the legs using a ¾” spacer underneath.

4. Attach the side frames to the bottom using more pocket hole screws. Also attach the back support to the side panels using pocket holes.

5. Attach 2 more support pieces to the top of the nightstand, this will also be used to screw in the hardwood top.

6. Build the drawer frame as per your dimensions and attach the panels with pocket holes. The bottoms are made with ¼” MDF and are glued and nailed to the drawer.

7. Attach drawer slides to the side panels, make sure the drawer slides are level and positioned the same on both panels to avoid problems with the drawer catching and not moving in and out smoothly.

8. Next cut out the false fronts for the drawers from MDF. Once the drawers are built and fit well, the drawer front is attached from the inside using 1” screws.

9. For the top of the nightstand, use hardwood like poplar. Cut the hardwood to length and measure it to have a ½” overhang on all sides. Then attach it to the nightstand using the support pieces that were done in step 5.

10. Once the drawer is ready, prime the entire nightstand. Primer is important for MDF as it is a porous material and will require multiple coats of paint without a primer.

11. Once 2 coats of primer are done, paint the nightstand. We used rollers and brushes for some final details. 

12. Finally for the accent trims, cut the ½ x ¾”  wood trim to size and use a brad nailer to attach to the side panels. And voila! The nightstand is ready!

Final product


The approximate price breakdown:

  • Wood: ~$50
  • All other supplies: ~70

Overall, it is a really great piece for this budget.

Tips and Tricks

  • Pocket holes are a great way to join wood for frames. We used pocket hole plugs as well and painted them in.
  • Make sure to prime MDF before painting. MDF is absorbent and soaks in all the paint, so you will require at least a couple of coats, even with the 1-coat guarantee paints.
  • While making the accent trims, use a miter saw to get 45 degree cuts. It is optional and you can use straight cuts but angular joints give it a professional look.

Aannndddd that’s a wrap.

Loving Life Today

Our Instagram account has over a 100 followers! A huge shoutout to all our followers for sharing our journey and supporting us!

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