5 Essential Steps to Building a Custom Nightstand: A Detailed Guide


There’s an immense sense of accomplishment that comes from creating your own furniture. The journey from raw materials to a functional item is not only empowering but allows you to produce pieces that perfectly match your space and style. One of the most doable and practical DIY projects you can undertake is building a custom nightstand. This vital piece of furniture adds significant functionality to your bedroom, and one that’s handcrafted can elevate your decor to new heights.

The Purpose of a Nightstand

Prior to embarking on the project of building a custom nightstand, it’s crucial to comprehend its role and significance in your bedroom. A nightstand, or bedside table, serves a multitude of purposes. It offers a surface for essentials like lamps, alarm clocks, smartphones, books, or a glass of water. Moreover, it usually features storage spaces like drawers or shelves for keeping other necessities at arm’s length. Apart from its practical roles, a nightstand also plays a substantial role in enhancing the aesthetic charm of a bedroom.

building a custom nightstand

The Plan: Drafting Your Nightstand Design

The initial step in building a custom nightstand involves drafting the design. This comprises determining the dimensions and structure of the nightstand. Ideally, for ease of access, your nightstand’s height should be approximately the same as your mattress top. The width can be varied based on the space available and your requirements.

Required Materials and Tools

Your choice of materials can considerably influence the look and durability of your nightstand. While hardwoods like oak or maple are robust and long-lasting, they can be quite costly. Conversely, softwoods like pine are more budget-friendly and simpler to handle but may not be as durable. Plywood or MDF (medium-density fibreboard) can also be viable options for a budget-conscious project.

In terms of tools, you’ll require the following:

  • Measuring tape
  • Saw (circular or table saw)
  • Drill
  • Sandpaper
  • Screws
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps
  • Paint or wood stain (optional)

A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Nightstand

With your design and materials at hand, it’s time to commence building your custom nightstand. Here are the steps to help you navigate the process:

1. Wood Cutting:
Kick start by measuring and marking the cuts on your chosen wood as per your design. Use a saw to execute the cuts accurately. You’ll need to cut pieces for the top, sides, back, bottom, and any shelves or drawers you plan to incorporate.

2. Frame Assembly:
Start assembling the frame by affixing the sides to the top and bottom using wood glue and screws. Ensure everything is square and level before tightening the screws.

3. Back Attachment:
Fasten the back piece to the frame. This not only completes the basic structure but also provides stability to the nightstand.

4. Storage Integration:
If your design includes shelves or drawers, this is the time to incorporate them. For shelves, cut pieces of wood to fit inside the frame and attach them with screws. For drawers, construct a box with a bottom and four sides, and install it using drawer slides.

5. Final Touches:
Sand the entire nightstand to smooth out any rough edges and prepare it for finishing. Apply a paint coat or wood stain, based on your preference. You can also add a protective topcoat for additional durability.


Building a custom nightstand isn’t just a fun and rewarding DIY project; it also allows you to add a personal touch to your bedroom decor. With the right tools, materials, and a bit of patience, you can create a custom nightstand that fulfills your needs and mirrors your style.

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