Bed + Bath

DIY Nightstand Ideas

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DIY Nightstand 650 PX

Personalize your bedroom by making a nightstand that reflects your style. Repurpose vintage suitcases for a simple nightstand with storage or transform floating shelves into a legs-free nightstand for a minimalist approach.

Suitcase Style

Stack three to five hard-shelled vintage suitcases for a simple, travel-inspired nightstand with built-in storage. Any suitcases with completely flat sides that are durable will work; use what you have readily available or find some at a thrift store or resale shop. Stack one suitcase onto the next using a durable craft adhesive, or stick-on hook and loop tape if you ever want to disassemble your creation. Add the adhesive or hook and loop tape in between each stacked suitcase so their widest sides are secured together.

Make a nightstand out of a single hard-shelled suitcase or even a hard briefcase by adding table legs and matching top plates to the bottom. Cut a sheet of plywood or fiberboard to fit inside the suitcase for added strength, then attach the top plates to the bottom of the suitcase with screws; the screws should grab the plywood or fiberboard inside the suitcase. Turn each leg clockwise to twist it into its respective top plate.

A Case for Space

Repurpose a wooden wine crate, vintage woodworker's chest, machinist's chest or musician's rolling road case into a nightstand with plenty of storage space.

  • Add legs and matching top plates to the bottom of either a machinist's chest or a wooden wine crate to make the nightstand just the right height. If you prefer a low nightstand, use a wooden crate on its own, without legs. Store personal items such as your phone and tablet inside the chest's drawers.
  • Clean up a worn road case that spent part of its life touring with bands. Leave the case as is, or decorate it with bumper stickers featuring your favorite bands for a rock-inspired look. Seek a case with locking casters to ensure the case doesn't roll when you touch it.
  • Repaint a small, cube-shaped toy box with chevrons or stripes. Give it a distressed look by applying one paint color, rubbing candle wax over it, then painting a second color. Sand some of the top paint layer off to reveal the finish beneath.

Free-Floating Nightstand

Attach a floating shelf to the wall near your headboard for a nightstand that doesn’t take up any floor space. Secure the shelf to wall studs or wall anchors to ensure it stays put. To figure out the ideal height to position the shelf, sit or lie in the bed and mark the wall with chalk. Note the height that's comfortable for you to reach items you may store on the nightstand. If you'd rather not attach the shelf to the wall, add legs and top plates to the bottom of the shelf for a mid-Century-inspired nightstand.

Recycle a Log

Craft a nightstand from a tree stump.  Pick a stump with edges that are straight and fairly smooth so the nightstand's top will be level once finished.

TIP: To eliminate bugs, ensure that you use a tree stump that has been thoroughly dried indoors for several weeks.

How to Make a Tree Stump Nightstand

STEP 1: Chip the Bark Off

Chip the bark away with a hammer and chisel. You may be able to peel the bark off once you loosen it a bit. If it proves difficult a pry bar may be used. Watch out for bugs in the bark.

STEP 2: Sand the Wood

Sand the top and bottom cut edges of the wood with a BLACK+DECKER 1/4 Sheet Finishing Sander using 100-grit sandpaper, then finish with 150-grit sandpaper. Round the nightstand top edges slightly as well. Wipe the dust away with a tack cloth or clean lint-free rag,

STEP 3: Apply the Finish

Apply a coat of linseed oil or paste wax to the wood, rubbing product on with a lint-free rag. You can use numerous coats of polyurethane if you prefer a glossier look.

STEP 4: Attach the Legs

Attach three or four hairpin legs to the underside of the stump using #10 panhead screws and a BLACK+DECKER 12V MAX* Cordless Lithium Drill/Driver. If using a tall stump that is high enough and stable enough on its own, legs are not necessary.

TIP: Hairpin legs come in different sizes. The ideal leg size for your nightstand depends upon the thickness of the wood and how high you'd like the stand to be. Use chalk to mark a spot on the wall near your bed at the desired top height for the stand. Measure the distance from the spot to the floor, then subtract the thickness of the wood to determine an ideal leg height.