So, the style of our master bedroom makeover, I’ve been knocking out over the last several weeks, is more of a mid-century modern vibe. After completing my first ever bed-build, I knew I wanted MCM nightstands to match. After perusing Pinterest, I combined some styles that I liked and came up with my own design. Onto, my first ever nightstand build…
Easy How To Build a DIY Mid Century Modern Nightstand
Note: The following plans are for one nightstand. If building a pair of nightstands, please duplicate the material.
Materials Needed for Modern Bedside Tables:
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- 4×8 sheet of 3/4″ plywood (1)
- 1x3x8 pine board (1)
- 2×4 sheet of hardboard (for drawer bottom)
- 1 1/4″ Kreg Jig Screws
- 1 1/4″ GRK Screws (my favorite brand of wood screws)
- Edge Banding
- Paint (I chose Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black)
- Stain (I chose Varathane Golden Oak)
- Poly Clear Coat
- Sanding Sheets (220-grit)
- Furniture Legs (Optional)
Be sure to scroll down to the end of the post to see another gorgeous way to finish this nightstand….using paint!!
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- Miter Saw
- Table Saw (If you don’t have a table saw, you can use a jigsaw or a circular saw)
- Kreg Jig
- Orbital Sander
Step One: Cut the top and bottom panels
Using your table saw, cut the top to 22.5″ x 16.5″ and drill 3/4″ pocket holes in each end.
Using your table saw, cut the bottom to 22.5″ x 15 3/4″ and drill 3/4″ pocket holes in each end….
Step Two: Cut the side pieces for nightstand
Using your table saw, cut the sides (2) to 16.5″ x 14 5/8″.
Step Three: Assemble
Using clamps to keep your boards square, attach each side board to the top board with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws….
Repeat this step to attach the bottom board.
Note: bottom board is slightly shorter in depth than top board. Make sure bottom board is flush to the back of the side boards; as shown below…
Step Four: Cut the back
Cut back to fit and drill 3/4″ pocket holes around the edges. Back should fit tight inside the top, bottom and sides. Attach using 1 1/4″ p.h. screws….
You now have the body of the nightstand and are ready to move onto the drawer boxes.
Step Five: Cut and attach drawer slide supports
Making your own drawer slides, is actually quite simple. To give you a visual, here’s a picture of what the drawer slide supports will look like when they’re all attached to the side panels….
Cut 8 strips of 3/4″ plywood to 14 1/4″ x 1 1/2″….these strips will be your drawer slides.
Now cut pieces of scrap wood to use as guides to install your drawer slides.
Two strips cut at 10 1/4″ (width doesn’t matter) (using miter saw)
Two strips cut at 3 3/4″ (width doesn’t matter) (using miter saw)
One strip ripped to 13/16″ wide (using table saw). Length should be at least 15″ long.
Now you’re ready to install your drawer slides:
Place the two 10 1/4″ scrap pieces, standing up, on the bottom of the drawer box…
Place one of your 14 1/4″ x 1 1/2″ drawer slides on top of these scrap pieces….
Using wood glue and 1 1/2″ screws, attach the drawer slide to side of drawer box.
Take away scrap pieces.
Lay the box on its side (this will make it easier to line up and attach the drawer slides)
Place the 13/16″ wide scrap below your first attached drawer slide and attach another drawer slide right underneath this scrap, using wood glue and 1 1/4″ screws. As shown in picture below…
Remove 13/16″ wide scrap and now you’re ready to attach the bottom drawer slide.
Place the two 3 1/4″ scraps, standing up, on the bottom of the drawer box. Then place a drawer slide on top of the two scraps. Attach the drawer slide using wood glue and 1 1/4″ screws.
Remove the 3 1/4″ scraps and place the 13/16″ wide scrap below the drawer slide and then attach your last drawer slide for this side of your drawer; using wood glue and 1 1/4″ screws. Your drawer box should now look like this…
Repeat these steps for the other side and it should look like this when you’re finished…
Step Six: Cut the legs for nightstand
The legs will look like this…
Cut four 1×3’s at 5″ each.
Set your miter saw to 22.5 degree angle…
and cut the corner of one of your 5″ boards. (Caution: be extra careful of your fingers!!)….
Then trace that angle cut onto your remaining 3 boards and make your cuts….
You should now have 4 tapered legs. Drill pocket holes on the 2 1/2″ side of the legs….
Step Seven: Cut leg braces
Rip the remaining 1x3x8 pine board to 1 1/2″ wide using your table saw. Then cut into 9″ strips using your miter saw.
Drill one 3/4″ pocket hole on one end of each leg brace. Then attach a tapered leg to the end of each leg brace, using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws (Note: Ignore the measurement in the background of this picture. Also, there is no need to angle cut the end of your 9″ strip–I was using scrap wood)….
Attach the tapered leg/leg braces to the bottom of the drawer box as shown below. (I didn’t really measure anything out for the placing of these…I just eyeballed them, knowing I wanted the feet to be visible and slightly turned when the nightstand is sitting upright)….
Now you’re ready to make the drawers….
Step Eight: Cut all the pieces for the drawers
Cut 4 drawer box sides: Using 3/4″ plywood, rip 4 boards to the following dimensions: 5 1/2″ x 15 1/2″.
Cut a 5 degree angle on one end of each drawer side.
Then measure 14 3/4″ on the long end and cut (a regular 90 degree angle). See picture below for more clarity….
Cut 2 drawer box backs: Using 3/4″ plywood, rip 2 boards to the following dimensions: 5 1/2″ x 19 3/8″ .
Drill 3/4″ pocket holes on each end and attach to sides, using wood glue and 1 1/4″ p.h. screws….
Cut 2 drawer box fronts: Using 3/4″ plywood, rip 2 boards to the same dimensions as the 2 drawer backs (5 1/2″ x 19 3/8″).
Drill 3/4″ p.h’s on each end and attach to sides, using wood glue and 1 1/4″ p.h. screws.
Your drawers should now look like the picture below (without the hardboard bottom–that’s our next step)….
Cut hardboard to fit and attach to bottom of each drawer, using wood glue and a brad nailer or tiny nails….
Step Nine: Cut drawer slides for nightstand
Rip 3/4″ plywood to 11/16″ and cut at 15″. You’ll need 4 of these.
Attach these to the sides of your drawers with 1 1/4″ wood screws.
To find the right placement, use a scrap piece from your 1x3x6 pine board. Set the drawer on your workspace and place a 1×3 scrap against the side of the drawer…
Then place your 11/16″ x 15″ slide on top of the scrap 1×3.
Ensuring that the front of your drawer is flush with the end of the slide, attach using wood glue and 1 1/4″ screws.
(Note: some of the slide will stick out on the back. Don’t cut that off. This will ensure that your drawers don’t push into the drawer box further than they should).
Your drawer slide should look like this now….
Attach the other drawer slide to the other side of your drawer and it should now look like this from the front…
Repeat these steps for the second drawer and now you’re ready to insert the drawers into the nightstand drawer box….
Step Ten: Add drawer fronts
Now you’re ready for the drawer fronts. Obviously, we want to cover up all of those rough front edges of our drawers, so we’re going to add drawer fronts.
Rip two 3/4″ plywood boards to 6 5/8″ wide and cut length to fit with a 1/8″ gap on both ends (for easy sliding).
Attach to drawer inner fronts, using 1 1/4″ screws….
Build the Nightstand Topper for a Mid-Century Modern Look
At this point, you could leave the nightstand how it is. This simple design looks great! But I wanted a little more height and functionality, so I decided to add a middle shelf. This allows me to store things I want quick access to. For example, our tv remote, my eyeglasses, extra books, etc. I love how this simple addition really adds to the modern style I’m going for.
Step One: Cut the sides
Rip 3/4″ plywood to 5 1/2″ wide strips (2) and cut to fit the top side edges.
Drill 3/4″ pocket holes along one long edge and attach to nightstand top with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. Do this for both sides….
Step Two: Cut the nightstand top
Rip 3/4″ plywood to fit on top of the sides you just attached above. Attach to sides using 1 1/4″ GRK screws.
Nightstand Finish Work–Make them Pretty
Once again, we could just leave them as is. Sand and add paint or wood stain and marvel at how well they turned out. But we still have all of those exposed plywood edges. And they’re just not pretty.
I prefer to give them a more finished look by adding edge banding. Note: Before adding edge banding, sand your entire nightstand with 220-grit sandpaper using an orbital sander.
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How to add edge banding:
- Simply cut each strip to fit the edge of the plywood you’re needing to cover.
- Attach it to the rough edge by running a hot iron over it a few times.
- Next, slide a block of scrap wood over the edge banding to seal it into place.
- Use an exact-o knife to trim off any of the edge banding not attached to the wood.
Now you’re ready for stain or paint. For the nightstand above, I chose Tricorn black paint for the shell of the nightstand and Golden Oak Stain for the drawers….
In the end, I chose black hardware….
I recently built two of these nightstands for my daughter’s new bedroom makeover. She chose a painted finish for hers. So, I painted the entire nightstand white. Then I added thin lines to the drawers, using painters tape…
Next I filled in the lines with Sherwin Williams Shade Grown. Which is kind of a green-black color. I love how they turned out!
So many different ways to finish this mid century modern nightstand. So many different colors of paint or stain you could use.
Next time I would like to build one with these hairpin legs. Wouldn’t that look amazing!!
I hope you’ve found this DIY Mid Century Modern Nightstand post to be very helpful and informative. Are you ready to go build your own? Who says it has to be a nightstand? This design would look amazing in the living room too!
As always, please let me know if you have any questions. I love helping you turn these building plans into something tangible. You never know what you’re capable of until you try! You’ve got this!
Until next week,
Happy Building, Friend!!
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