Build a Simple Nightstand

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/04/2009 - 19:31
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Simple nightstands that can be made from scraps. Uses a simple wood drawer and easy false legs. From Crissie at, a nightstand made from these plans!

26" Tall x 18 1/2" wide x 15" deep


Shopping List

This nightstand uses up alot of scraps. See the cut list for more details on what you will need.

Common Materials
paint brush
Cut List

Cut List for Simplest Nightstand
A) 2 - 1x12 @ 15" (shelves)
B) 4 - 1x2 @ 25 1/2" (side piece of legs)
C) 4 - 1x3 @ 25 1/2" (front and back pieces of legs)
D) 2 - 1/2" plywood 11 1/2" x 5 3/4" (side of drawer box, you could use a 1x12 @ 5 3/4" here)
E) 1 - 1/2" plywood 14" x 5 3/4" (back of drawer base)
F) 2 - 1x2 @ 11" (drawer guides)
G) 1 - 1x2 @ 11 1/2" (bottom front trim)
H) 4 - 1x2 @ 8 1/2" (side trim pieces)
I) 1 - 1x3 @ 18 1/2" (back countertop piece)
J) 1 - 1x12 @ 18 1/2" (front countertop piece) Cut List for the Simplest Nighstand Drawer
K) 1 - 1x10 @ 9 1/2" (Bottom)
L) 1 - 1x6 @ 9 1/2" (Back)
M) 2 - 1x6 @ 10 1/4" (Sides)
N) 1 - 1x6 @ 11" (Face)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
General Instructions

This is not a beginner project. There are lots of pieces and it will be easy to get off square. Please don't attempt as your first project.


Step 1

1. Legs. Start by attatching the legs together by taking a 1x2x25 1/2" and attatching it to the 1x3x25 1/2" on the long edge, so that the two piece make a leg, as shown below. Do this to make all four legs. Mark each leg 3 1/2" from the bottom. Take care to place the 1x3 part of the leg on the front and back, and the 1x2 part of the legs on the sides, as shown in the below photo. This is very important to make sure your drawer fits properly.

Legs to Shelves. Now attatch the legs to one of the shelf pieces, so the bottom of the shelf is flush with the marks made in step 1. This will give a 3 1/2" clearance under the nightstand. Your nightstand should look as follows. Remember, the 1x3 side of the legs goes on the front and back, and the 1x2 side goes on the sides, as pictured.

Step 2

Legs, Top Shelf. Now mark the legs 5 3/4" from the top edge on the insides. Attatch the top shelf, leaving a clearnace of 5 3/4" from the top edge of the shelf to the top of the piece.

Step 3

Legs, Top Shelf. Now mark the legs 5 3/4" from the top edge on the insides. Attatch the top shelf, leaving a clearnace of 5 3/4" from the top edge of the shelf to the top of the piece.

Step 4

Sides, Drawer Box. Your nighstand should appear as above. If everything was done properly, you can now add the side pieces of plywood. If you choose to use 1x12s for the side pieces of the drawer box, make sure you make the back piece of plywood (E) 1/2" shorter, or specifically 13 1/2 x 5 3/4"

Step 5

Step 6

Front Trim. As shown above, now add the front trim piece onthe bottom edge. Keep the top edge of the trim and the shelf flush.

Step 7

Shelf Trim. As shown above, add the side trim pieces (H) to the bottom shelf, and the bottom of the sides of the drawer box.

Step 8

Top, Back. Now add the back top countertop piece (I) as shown above, leaving a 1" overhand on either side.
I would take a moment to measure the inside of the drawer box and confirm that it is exactly 11" wide and 11" deep. (The depth measurement will actually be 10 1/4 to the bottom shelf, and 11" to the side of the legs).

Top, Front. Add the front countertop piece as shown. Leave a 1" overhand on the sides and front.

Step 9

Drawer. The drawer box is much more simple. Start with the bottom piece and attatch the back piece as shown. You will nail through the back piece into the bottom piece. Then attatch the side piece, nailing through the side piece into the bottom and back pieces.

Drawer. Do the same on the other side. Your drawer should appear as above. Finally, nail the front piece to the drawer. Your drawer should look as follows:

Step 10

Drawer. If you have done everything correctly and exactly, the drawer should be a perfect fit. 14. Finishing. Fill any holes with wood filler and sand and finish as desired. Special thanks to one of our readers, Charissa, for creating this PDF to help you.

Project Type


Ana White (not verified)

Thu, 11/05/2009 - 21:10

FYI - You might want to try this piece after you build up a scrap pile, because it requires a variety of boards. Also, this project has a drawer, and this requires you to be exactly accurate with your cuts and measurements. I guess I am recommending you not start out with this project. Send me pics of your success! Love, Ana

Ana White (not verified)

Sat, 11/07/2009 - 08:22

Another note, to make your drawer slide in and out better, inset the bottom piece just a hair instead of keeping it flush with the sides and the back and front. Then the drawer will slide along the side edges, instead of the entire bottom. Good luck!

Lee (not verified)

Wed, 01/13/2010 - 09:14

Thanks again Ana! This one took a little more head scratching than the other two projects, but was still pretty easy once we got it figured out. Once again, great plans.

Proud Daddy (not verified)

Wed, 01/13/2010 - 16:54

Also one thing you can do to help the drawer slide in and out is to coat the parts that touch each other with vasoline. Mainly the outer edges of the drawer and the two drawer guides. You will have to reapply every so often. This is a technique I learned from some furniture repair guys and worked great on an 80 year old dresser we have. It does not have to be very thick either.

Denise (not verified)

Mon, 01/18/2010 - 07:57

I'm off to buy supplies for this. I'll let you know how it goes. I have so many plans I want to build!

Thanks for such a great blog.

Fran (not verified)

Mon, 04/05/2010 - 04:57

Another trick to make drawers glide easily is to rub candle wax on the bottom edges of the sides of the drawer.

Ana White (not verified)

Thu, 05/06/2010 - 12:15

I highly recommend not attaching the drawer face (or cutting) until you fit it to the drawer box opening to get the best fit. I would measure and cut to fit at this stage.

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