Thursday, March 19

Nightstands Day 16 - Chunky Modern

Welcome back! Today is day 16 in our DIY nightstand series. See the entire series here. Today's nightstand has a chunky build paired with clean lines for a modern style. It's a wide, shallow plan with a large drawer and an open shelf.

We'll be giving you two options for the base - keep it open (above) or frame it in (below). It's an easy way to customize the style to your taste! And of course you can customize it further with the paints and stains you choose. Our combo of stained top and black painted legs adds to it's modern elements, but you could always tone it down a bit by finishing the top and legs the same.

This design was inspired by another nightstand I spotted on pinterest. I fell in love with the sleek, industrial style. We painted wood legs black to mimic the look, but if you have a way to make a metal base (any welders in the group?) you could more closely match the inspiration. You could also try a set of hairpin legs to give it a more industrial vibe. 

image via pinterest

Shopping List:
1  -  2x12  @  8' (you can use a 6' if you cut your sides being about 1/8" shorter)
2  -  1x2  @  8'
1  -  1x12  @  4'  (or a 21" scrap)
1  -  1x10  @  4'  (or a 20" scrap)
1  -  1x6  @  4'
1  -  1x8  @  4'  (or a 20 3/4" scrap)
wood filler
wood glue
1 1/4" screws
2" screws
Kreg Jig with 1 1/4" and 2 1/2" pocket screws (optional)
finishing nails (optional)

Finished Dimensions: 24" wide  x  25" tall  x  11 1/4" deep

Remember to always double check your measurements before you cut. Use 1 1/4" screws unless otherwise indicated. Pre-drill your holes and countersink your screws. Always use glue before you screw the boards together (you don't have to let it dry first), I'm not going to list it in every step, but it's a good idea to glue everything! Be safe, and have fun!

Cut List:
(A)  2  -  2x12  @  24"   (top/bottom)
(B)  2  -  2x12  @  12"   (sides)
(C)  8  -  1x2  @  10"   (legs)
(D)  2  -  1x2  @  11 1/2"   (front/back trim)
(E)  2  -  1x2  @  8 1/4"  (side trim)
(F)  2  -  1x2  @  6 3/4"   (side bottom trim)
(G)  2  -  1x2  @  21"   (front/back bottom trim)
(H)  1  -  1x12  @  21"   (shelf)
(I)  2  -  scraps @   ~7 1/2"   (brace)
(J)  1  -  1x10  @  20"   (drawer bottom)
(K)  2  -  1x6  @  9 1/4"   (drawer sides)
(L)  1  -  1x6  @  18 1/2"   (drawer back)
(M)  1  -  1x8   @   20 3/4"   (drawer front)

Start by attaching the sides (B) between the top and bottom boards (A). Use a Kreg Jig or drill through the top and bottom into the sides with 2" screws. Be sure to keep the front, back, and outside edges flush.

Assemble each leg section by putting two leg pieces (C) together as shown below. Keep the top and bottom edges flush. Drill through the face of one piece into the edge of the other.

Attach one leg section at each corner of the bottom board, keeping the outside edges flush. Place them so you see only one 1x2 from the front and back (from the sides you'll see both boards). This will make the legs appear the same width as the side boards from the front (if you turn them the legs will look wider than the side boards). Attach them using a Kreg Jig (if you don't have a Kreg Jig it would be easier to drill down through the bottom board into the top of the legs before you attach the side boards to the bottom board with 2" screws).

Attach a piece of front/back trim (D) between the front set of legs, and between the back set of legs. They should slip right into the corners of the leg sections. Attach by drilling through the legs into the trim, and up through the trim into the bottom board with 2" screws.

Attach the side trim boards (E) between the front/back trim boards in the same way.

If you want to add trim to the bottom, start by attaching the side bottom trim (F) between each set of legs. A Kreg Jig would definitely be easiest for this part, or you could very carefully drill through the legs into the trim but you would need at least 2 1/2" screws.

You can leave it with just the side trim for a different look, or attach the front/back bottom trim (G) between leg sections in the front and back.

Install the shelf (H) in the opening of the nightstand. I've drawn it set down 3 3/4" from the top, but really the measurement of the bottom opening is more important since the drawer needs to fit (and if you made your sides even a 1/8" shorter it can throw things off down there). So first make sure the space at the bottom is 7 1/2" high, and don't worry so much about the top space. Keep the shelf flush with the front and back edges of the nightstand, and measure the distance at each corner of the shelf to make sure it is level. Attach the shelf using a Kreg Jig, or by drilling through the sides into the ends of the shelf with 2" screws.

Cut two scraps of wood (I drew it using 1x4s but really anything will work) about 7 1/2" long, then cut both ends off at a 45 degree angle to make the braces (I). Attach one brace in each bottom corner of the back of the nightstand using a Kreg Jig, or by drilling through the sides and bottom into the braces with 2" screws. You could alternatively run a 21" length of 1x4 across the top opening to serve as a back to the shelf so things can't fall out. Basically you just need something back here to hold the sides, top, and bottom square to keep it from shifting or leaning over time.

Now you can make the drawer. First double check the opening of your nightstand. Most drawer slides require the drawer box to be 1" narrower than the opening. Start by attaching the two drawer sides (K) to the drawer bottom (J). Keep the front, back, and outside edges flush. Use a Kreg Jig or drill up through the bottom into the sides. 

Attach the drawer back (L) between the drawer sides, keeping the back edges flush. Use a Kreg Jig, or drill through the sides and bottom into the back board.

Follow the directions on your drawer slides to install the drawer box. Keep it level, and make sure the drawer box ends up recessed 3/4" from the face of the nightstand (this will make your drawer front end up flush in the next step).

Set the drawer front (M) over the drawer box and center it with a 1/8" gap all around. Use finishing nails to attach the drawer front to the drawer box. It can help to trace the drawer box on the face of the drawer front first so you have an idea of where to nail. One the drawer front is secure enough to remove the drawer box, I like to reinforce it with my Kreg Jig.

The building is done, now you just have to finish it! Start by filling any holes with wood filler. Let it dry, then sand it smooth (repeat if necessary). Then sand the whole table smooth for a great finished product (a good sanding can be the difference between looking professional vs. crafty). Then finish with any paint or stain and polyurethane you like.

We still lik the look of a stained top with black painted legs, but don't be afraid to have fun with it!

We only have two more days left in our series, but tomorrow is one of my very favorite plans in the series... so stick around!


  1. What size drawer slides di you need for this project? Also where do you get them, the drawers are only 9 1/4" deep but the hardware stores I have looked at have only 12" slides and no smaller.

    1. 9" slides would be perfect. I've had good luck finding odd sizes like that on Amazon. (something like this

  2. Can you confirm how to read your shopping list? I am new to woodworking and don’t know if the two values are in inches? For example “ 1 - 1x10 @ 4'” does that mean 12”x10”x48”? Or is or 1”x10”x48”?