Designing nightstands

We were looking for nightstands that wouldn’t take up too much room and would still be functional. We found that many of the options were either ugly, too big, too expensive, or a combination of all three. I decided that I could design and build nightstands that would meet our needs and it would be a fun project.


  • Dark wood
  • 12 inches wide
  • A drawer or two to reduce clutter
  • A shelf for cell phones



I found a few designs that were similar to what we were looking for, here is my pinterest board with some inspiration.


I started with some simple sketches to figure out how the proportions would work and to see if two drawers were too many.

From the inspiration night stands and through my sketches, I realized that I would prefer to have drawers without pulls, to give a sleek look.


I spent some time in Illustrator laying out several options. Since neither of us have many large books and we have a separate bookshelf, we decided that a shorter bottom shelf was a good compromise for 2 drawers.

Possible designs for nightstand
Possible designs for nightstand, including pull cutouts. (I went with E)

(Almost) final plans

The grid squares are 1/2 inch. I assumed 3/4 in. thick boards, except for on the drawers. Most of the faces are wider than regular lumber, so I assumed we would have to edge join pieces to make boards that were wide enough.

The drawer front pieces, which are just behind the faceplate are a bit shorter to make sure your hand doesn’t hit them when you pull the drawer open.

The gap behind the drawer was originally created to allow a cord to go behind the drawers, but I instead opted for drilling a hole in the back of the nightstand.

The drawer bottoms are 1/8 in. plywood.

I used Ikea Besta drawer runner slides. The plans are missing the details on where the slides are positioned. This was something we figured out at build time.


To make sure the nightstand would be an appropriate size, I created a very rough prototype out of cardboard. I was happy with the size and dimensions and was ready to start the build process.

Cardboard prototype

The build process: Building nightstands

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