Dresser with Open Bottom Shelf

This rustic solid wood dresser features five drawers and one large open bottom shelf. Framed in solid wood.


Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!


Shopping List: 

2 – 4′x8′ Sheets of 3/4″ MDF or Plywood, cut into 15 1/2″ wide strips, 8′ long
1 – 4′x8′ Sheet of 1/4″ MDF or Plywood (can be a scrap, used to cover the back)
2 – 1×3 Boards, 8′ Long
10 – 1×2 Boards, 8′ Long
1 - 1×6 Board, 8′ Long
1 – 1×6 Board, 10′ Long
2 – 1×8 Boards, 8′ Long
5 – Drawer Pulls or Handles
2″ Nails
1 1/4″ Nails
Wood Putty
Wood Glue
Sand Paper
Stain, Paint, Varnish, or other finishing supplies

1 1/4 inch screws
2 inch screws
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
measuring tape
safety glasses
hearing protection
General Instructions: 

General Instructions. Use 2″ nails and glue to fasten pieces, unless otherwise directed. Take a square of the project after each step. Work on a clean, level surface. Keep outside edges flush unless otherwise directed. If using MDF, avoid nailing within 1″ of the outer edges to avoid splitting. Cross nail to reinforce whenever possible. Whenever possible, mark out your joints with a square. This will save you time. Be safe and have fun.

63 1/2" wide x 32 1/2" tall x 18 1/2" deep
Cut List: 

Box and Legs
A) 2 – 1×16 @ 59″ (Shelves for the Drawer Housing)
B) 1 – 1×16 @ 8 1/2″ (Bottom Partition)
C) 2 – 1×16 @ 7 1/4″ (Top Partition)
D) 2 – 1×16 @ 17 1/4″ (Sides)
E) 2 – 1×16 @ 60 1/2″ (Top and Bottom Shelf)
F) 4 – 1×2 @ 31 3/4″ (Side Legs)
G) 4 – 1×3 @ 31 3/4″ (Front and Back Legs)
Trim (I always cut my trim as I go to get perfect joints)
H) 6 – 1×2 @ 12 1/2″ (Side Trim)
I) 2 – 1×2 @ 15 1/2″ (Top, Ends)
J) 2 – 1×2 @ 63 1/2″ (Top, Front and Back Edges)
K) 8 – 1×2 @ 57″ (Front and Back Shelf Trim)
L) 2 – 1×2 @ 7 3/4″ (Bottom Partition Trim)
M) 4 – 1×2 @ 5 3/4″ (Top Partition Trim)
N) 1 – 1/4″ Plywood or MDF @ 18″ x 59″ (You could actually omit this and the piece would be fine)
O) 6 – 1×2 @ 15 1/2″ (Drawer Guides)
Top Drawers
P) 3 – 1×16 @ 16 1/4″ (Bottoms of Top Drawers)
Q) 6 – 1×6 @ 15 1/2″ (Sides of Top Drawers)
R) 6 – 1×6 @ 17 3/4″ (Fronts and Backs of Drawers
Bottom Drawers
S) 2 – 1×16 @ 26″ (Bottom of Bottom Drawers)
T) 4 – 1×8 @ 15 1/2″ (Sides of Bottom Drawers)
U) 4 – 1×8 @ 27 1/2″ (Front and Back of Bottom Drawers)

Cutting Instructions: 
This dresser uses a standard width 1x6 and 1x8 for the drawer fronts. The plan assumes that your 1x6s are 5 1/2" wide and your 1x8s are 7 1/2" wide. Your boards could have a slightly different width, which will create problems with the drawer faces. It is good practice to measure the true width of your boards and adjust the plan to fit your materials.
Step 1: 

Partitions. Begin by fastening the partitions to one of the shelves, board A, as shown above. Use the meausurements above to guide you. You must be 100% accurate when working with drawers, or your drawers will not slide correctly.

Step 2 Instructions: 

Lower Shelf. Add the lower shelf as directed above, using the remaining board A.

Step 3 Instructions: 

Sides. Fasten the sides in place, using the measurements above to guide you.

Step 4 Instructions: 

Top. I refer to these first four steps as “building the box.” After building countless pieces of furniture, I now know that most storage pieces are simply a ”box” trimmed out to become a bookcase or dresser or other storage piece. This one is no different. Fasten the top in place, using the measurements above to guide you.

Step 5 Instructions: 

Side Legs. Using 1 1/4″ nails, fasten the side legs to the box, as shown above. Keep outside edges flush. Notice how the legs do not reach the top of the box.

Step 6 Instructions: 

Front and Back Legs. Fasten with the 2″ nails and glue the front and back legs in place, making sure to fasten to the shelves and the side legs. Keep the outside corners of the legs flush.

Step 7 Instructions: 

Bottom Shelf. Mark on the legs 2 3/4″ up. This will be the bottom of the bottom shelf. Using the 2″ nails and glue, fasten the bottom shelf in place, as shown above.

Step 8 Instructions: 

Side Trim. Using the above diagram, fasten the side trim, boards H, to the sides of the dresser. Remember to use 1 1/4″ nails on the top trim piece. Use the measurements to guide the placement, taking note of the top trim piece being flush with the tops of the legs.

Step 9 Instructions: 

Breadboard Ends. Use boards I to trim out the ends of the dresser top. Follow the above instructions on fastening.

Step 10 Instructions: 

Front and Back Edges. As you did in the previous step, follow the above instructions to fasten the boards J to the front and back of the dresser. Use the 2″ nails to fasten through the face of J into the edges of the top. Also fasten to the legs.

Step 11: 

Front and Back Shelf Trim, Boards K. Trim out the shelves as shown above. Notice how both the front and back of the dresser are trimmed. Keep top edges flush.

Step 12: 

Partition Trim. Follow closely the diagram above to fasten the partition trim pieces, boards L and M, to the partitions. The most important point is the drawer openings must match the above diagram. Again, you will need to do this on the front and back.

Step 13: 

Back, N. Using the 1 1/4″ nails, fasten the back to the back of the dresser. Avoid nailing where there is less than 1 1/2″ of backing.

Step 14: 

Drawer Guides, O. The drawer guides just need 2 nails each to keep in place. Use the shorter nails and fasten in place. If you cannot fit your nailer into the drawer opening, you can fasten through the face into the end edges of the drawer guides.

Step 15: 

Top Drawers, P and Q. Fasten the sides of the top drawers to the bottoms, as shown above. A trick to get your drawers to slide better is to bring the bottom piece up slightly. Then rub vasoline on the drawer sides. The bottoms of the drawer sides act as glides, and the bottom of the drawer is not dragging on the bottom shelf. Just 1/4″ would do the trick.

Step 16: 

Top Drawer Backs, R. Fasten the backs to the top drawers as shown above. See the final diagram for attaching the fronts.

Step 17: 

Bottom Drawer Sides and Bottom, S and T. Following step 15, assemble the bottom drawers.

Step 18: 

Bottom Drawer Back, U. Fasten the backs to the drawers, as you did for the top drawers.

Step 19: 

Drawer Faces. Insert the faceless drawers in the correct openings. Position the matching faces on the drawers, keeping approximately 1/8″ gap around the drawer face. As shown above, you want the space to be equal on all sides. When satisfied, use the 2″ nails to fasten the drawer face to the sides and bottom of the drawers.

Project Type: 
Estimated Cost: 
Skill Level: 


You are so inspiring. I would also like to know if you could do plans for the easels that are shown! I gave myself a gift of a compound miter saw just because of you.

I love it. Well, I love all of your plans but I'm a little apprehensive with my skills. When I look at this piece I see a bathroom vanity. Of course you'd have to adjust the drawers for plumbing but that's not such a big deal. Honestly ... this is just what I was looking for in a vanity. Hmmmmmmm ... got me thinking on this one.

Wow - I love it! This is definitely going into my project file to try once I develop my woodworking skills a little more. Thanks for the inspiration!

Love these plans! I would use this as a media stand! Could you make some suggestions how to modify the hutch to fit a TV and DVD player. I am really excited to get started.

I'm curious if i'm the only one who cannot access the facebook group - I've tried several searches from 2 addresses using different ISP's and still cannot find it.

could someone please help?

I really like this! I think it will go well with the Farmhouse bed. Thanks again for all of the plans you so generously share. You're awesome!

You Rock!!! I look forward to reading your blog every day. I am wondering how to modify it to where it is like the Farmhouse dresser.........

WE've been looking for a buffet for our dining room! This is such perfect timing, I can't wait for hubby to make this! In a red finish it will be so pretty and go with the rest of the house... THANK YOU for posting this! You are quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs!

WOW! Just what I'm looking for...but I will use it as a bath vanity (inspiration from your FB Page). But, I am horrible with math and not sure how I need to calculate to make it smaller than 62". I need it closer to 50". Also, we just have one sink...so I would gut the middle drawer, correct?


This is great! I think I'm going to have my father-in-law make this for our babies room. It's deep enough to put a changing pad on top and when baby is old enough it's just a nice dresser w/out being solely meant for a baby room. I like that we can put bins underneath for easy access to toys!

My dad and I are almost finsihed building this peice!! After it is painted, I am going to make a cushion for the top and use it as a window bench in my daughter's room! Thanks Ana!

On this piece... can the bottom become drawers instead of storage? If so, can you give me some direction on how to do this? Thanks so much.

YES, this is lovely! I could see a vanity in this style, too. Too bad PB's cost over 1000 bucks! I saw your farmhouse vanity - and while it's adorable, we are packrats that need storage! LOL Ana, any way you could modify this to accommodate the plumbing under the sink? I'm sure we could eventually figure it out...but since we're newbies I'm sure you'd do it faster and obviously better! Thanks for everything!

I love this and hope to make it... but I need something a bit more narrow. If I send an email with our measurements could you tailor the measurements a bit?

Are there instructions for how to do the drawer glides? Or am I just not seeing it? I am a way newbie on drawers, if there are instructions here that would be great, or direct me to another post. Thanks!

this dresser is a good one but it cost me $450 so far and i used nice pine wood so if ur doing this and want it to be nice keep that in mind and dont cut ur drawer wood until u get the frame built a couple of the measurements where off on the trim at the top too!

I have a bunch of 1/2 inch mdf scraps. Do you think the dresser would still be sturdy enough if I used those?

I have a bunch of 1/2 inch mdf scraps. Do you think the dresser would still be sturdy enough if I used those instead of the 3/4 inch?

I am going to try and use this as a basic outline to make a bathroom vanity, I hope it works out, there are vanities like this at pottery barn that go for like 2000 buckeroos!

I can't wait to build this along with the hutch. I'm going to use it in my dining room along with my farmhouse table that we are building right now. I love this website......