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DIY Nightstand Plans

I’m Zoe.
My mission is to teach you to  confidently build magazine-worthy DIYs. I used to be terrified of power tools, which is why I'm a firm believer that ANYONE can DIY.
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Gimme that

My favorite part about DIY is being able to customize anything. When I set out to make some new nightstand plans, I found two nightstands that I almost loved. What I really wanted was to combine them, so that’s what I did. I went over to SketchUp and mocked up a rendering for my custom nightstand plans!

Those two inspiration nightstands ranged from $1200 – $2200 a piece, but we were able to build TWO out of red oak for right around $300. That’s total, not for each one! 

diy nightstand made from oak and plywood

The overall dimensions for the nightstands are 28”W, 18”D, 25.5”H.

Alright, let’s start DIYing! 

Recommended Tools: 

What You’ll Need (for 2 nightstands):

  • (1) ¾”x4x8 sheet of plywood (we used red oak)
  • (1) ½”x4x8 sheet of plywood (we used maple. If your store has plywood to match the ¾” sheet, that’s even better) 
  • (8) 2x2x3 boards (we used red oak) 
  • (2) 1x2x8 boards (we used red oak) 
  • (8) 14” drawer slides 
  • (4) knobs
  • Edge banding
  • 1″ screws
  • 1” Kreg screws 
  • 1.25” Kreg screws 
  • Wood filler 
  • Wood glue 

How to Build a DIY Nightstand 

Prefer printable plans? Grab yours here!

STEP 1: MAKE YOUR CUTS 

Cut down your wood according to the cut list below. The following quantities reflect what’s needed to build two matching nightstands. 

The following cut list serves as a guide. Your actual measurements may differ slightly from ours. 

Note: do not cut down the drawer fronts or any of the drawer box pieces just yet. Since drawers need to be precise, it’s best to assemble and double-check the actual measurements before making these cuts.

For What?Wood SizeQuantitySize (inches) 
Top¾” plywood228 x 18
Sides¾” plywood415 x 11.75
Shelf¾” plywood225 x 18
Back¾” plywood225 x 12.5
Drawer Fronts¾” plywood45 11/16 x 24 13/16 
Bottom½” plywood225 x 15
Drawer Box Bottom½” plywood423 x 14
Drawer Box Front/Back½” plywood823 x 4.5
Drawer Box Sides½” plywood815 x 4.5
Side Frames1×2815
Front Frame1×2225
Legs2×2424.75

Wishing for a visual cut list? It’s available in the printable plans!

STEP 2: DRILL POCKET HOLES 

Using the ¾” settings, drill pocket holes into the following boards: 

  • (3) along each edge of the sides 
  • (4) on both short ends of the middle shelf
  • (3) along each short end of the back
  • (2) on either end of the front frame 
  • (1-2) on one end of each of the legs 

Note: If you have a nail gun, I would recommend just using glue and 1.5” nails to attach the top to each of the legs. We wrote the plans this way to minimize the required tools. 

Using the ½” settings, drill pocket holes all around the edges of the bottom.

More of a visual learner? Grab the printable plans! Complete with 3D renderings to help you visualize each step.

STEP 3: APPLY EDGE BANDING 

Apply edge banding to all sides of the top, and the front/back of the middle shelf. 

STEP 4: SAND 

Personally, I like to knock ou the majority of my sanding before I start assembling a project. You can choose to wait until after assembly if you prefer. Check out our post on how to sand wood + the common mistakes to avoid.

STEP 5: ASSEMBLE SIDES 

First, attach the 1×2 side details to the top and bottom of the sides using glue and 1.25” Kreg screws. They should be flush on the inside and on either end. 

plywood pieces with 1x2s attached with pocket holes

Next, we’ll attach the sides to the legs. 

If you opted to install the top with pocket holes, position the pocket holes on your legs in the same direction. They should be facing the back of the nightstand. 

Mark 7” from the bottom of legs. This is where the bottom of the side will line up. The top of the side should be 4.5” from the top of the leg. 

attaching 2x2 legs to sides using pocket holes

Attach with glue and 1.25” Kreg screws, making sure the 1x2s are flush with the outside of the legs. 

STEP 6: ATTACH TOP 

If you have a nail gun, you can add glue to the tops of each of the legs and then nail through the top and into each legs with 2-4 1.5” nails per leg. 

If you opted to install with pocket holes, place glue on each corner of the top and then place legs. The side that has a 4.5” gap (and the pocket holes) should be placed facing down towards the top.

attaching top of nightstand to legs with pocket holes

Make sure the corners are flush with the top and secure with 1.25” Kreg screws. 

STEP 7: INSTALL MIDDLE SHELF

Your nightstand should still be positioned where the top is facing down towards the ground. 

Place clamps on each of the legs so that they are in line with the bottom of the sides. 

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this step, but you can see the same principle applied in the next step. 

Place the middle shelf on top of the clamps. The clamps should be holding it in place. Feel if the shelf is flush with the 1x2s. Adjust the clamps as necessary until the middle shelf is flush with the 1x2s. 

Once positioned, secure with 1.25” Kreg screws. As you screw it in, continue feeling against the 1×2 to ensure it’s flush all the way across. 

STEP 8: INSTALL THE FRONT 1×2, BOTTOM AND BACK 

Place a clamp on the two front legs at 7.75” down from the bottom of the leg. Place your 1×2 on the clamps. The bottom should fall 7” from the bottom of the leg and be flush with the sides. Adjust as necessary. 

attaching 1x2 with pocket holes

Attach the 1×2 to the front legs using glue and 1.25” Kreg screws.

Next, install the bottom. You can again use the clamp method to hold it up while you screw it in place. Since the bottom is ½” plywood, switch to your 1” Kreg screws. 

attaching 1/2" plywood bottom with pocket holes

Then install the back. The back will not be flush with the back of the legs, so check to make sure it’s square and straight before securing with 1.25” Kreg screws. 

checking for square

STEP 9: MAKE YOUR DRAWER BOXES 

Now that you have the main structure assembled, we can measure for the drawer boxes and drawer fronts. Check out this post for tips on measuring for drawer boxes and our favorite way to assemble the boxes

We made our drawer boxes with ½” plywood, glue, and 1” Kreg screws. There are a lot of different ways to make drawer boxes, but this is the method we’ve found works best for us. 

STEP 10: MAKE YOUR DRAWER FRONTS 

For the drawer fronts, we’ll first cut them down to the correct width and then we’ll add the grooves before cutting it into two separate drawers. 

Cut a piece of plywood to be 1/16” smaller than the final width you need to account for the edge banding that we will apply in a minute (the cut list already reflects this, but double-check your measurements based on your opening). Then cut the second side to be about 13” wide.

Adjust the depth of your circular saw to be shallow enough to cut through just the top layer of the plywood.

side view of plywood with a thin line cut through it

Mark where you want to cut the grooves. We made a total of 5 marks, each spaced approximately 4 ⅛” from one another. 

marking lines on drawer fronts using a speed square

Cut along your marks to make the grooves. 

Then cut your piece into two drawers of equal height. Remember that each piece should be approximately 1/16” smaller than you need the final drawers to be in order to account for the edge banding.

Once cut, apply edge banding to all sides of the drawer fronts. 

STEP 11: INSTALL DRAWERS + DRAWER FRONTS

Check out this post for details on how to install drawers and drawer fronts.

installing drawer fronts using deck of cards as spacers

There you have it! Now you know how to build your very own DIY nightstand! If you’re ready to tackle your own, be sure to grab the printable plans, complete with 3D renderings and a visual cut list!

make this DIY nightstand
dalmatian laying on black canopy bed in blue bedroom with light oak nightstand
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