Nightstand with storage

Maximize the space in your bedroom with this nightstand and matching bed

By Adrian Jones


Photo by Dave Starrett

Building this companion nightstand is a lot like working on the bed. Cut the drawer openings in the maple-veneered front panels using the same plunge-cut technique detailed in “Retain the Grain: Drawing and Cutting Drawers” on page 38. Build drawer boxes, drawer pulls and corner posts to match. The plans show how the drawer openings on the front panel align with plywood plates. These plates are fastened with #6 x 1 1/4″ screws to vertical pine strips fastened to the inside face of the dresser sides. With the 18 1/2″-wide drawer openings here, the plywood plates are located 1 3/4″ from the outer edges of the front and back panels. The drawer slides will be mounted to the plates.

I added a small backboard to the dresser top, to mimic the look of the headboard. The backboard sits higher than the top of the nightstand. Add the backboard cap and undercap, now using screws.

Cut the nightstand top from veneered plywood, then mill solid-maple edging. Prepare a 1/2″ x 3/4″ rabbet in the maple to cradle the ply, and soften the exposed corners with a 1/4″-diameter roundover bit. Next, cut mitres on the ends and install the top edging with glue and clamps. If you are building matching nightstands, orient the grain in the same direction for both tops, and notch the back corners of the tops to fit around the corner posts. As with the bed, use pine anchor strips around the top of the base assembly to provide a place to secure the top with screws driven from below.

Install the drawers on their slides, then give everything a final adjustment. You now have what it takes to make the most of even the smallest bedroom space.

Build a matching bed with storage.


Retain the grain: Drawing and cutting drawers

Keeping the grain pattern of the bed’s base side panels continuous makes the drawers look best. But to make that happen, you have to cut each piece from single pieces of plywood, with drawer openings prepped using plunge cuts from a circular saw.

Start by marking the drawer openings in pencil on the face of each piece of plywood. Before you cut, make sure you support the would-be drawer faces so they don’t fall out and break their edges. You’ll need to use them later. Working on a piece of rigid foam insulation works well. Just remember to retract the saw blade so it doesn’t go all the way through the foam when the saw is plunged fully. Also, complete enough test runs on scrap plywood to feel confident with the process.

I used a thin-kerf blade in my circular saw, guided by a straightedge clamped to the panel surface. Start with the saw tilted up on its base so the blade is clear of the wood. Fire up the saw, then carefully plunge the blade down completely into the drawer-face side of the cut line, near, but not at the end of the line. With the saw base sitting flat, carefully slide the tool back and forth until the saw kerf touches both ends of the line you’re cutting–not beyond. Switch off the saw, then let the blade stop spinning before lifting it out. Repeat the process on all other lines.

The round shape of the blade won’t let you complete the cutouts entirely, but that’s OK. You’ll need to finish them with either a handsaw or a jigsaw. Sand the cut edges to remove blade marks, but don’t round them over. As you cut the drawer pieces from the base side panel, mark the backs of the cutouts so you’ll know where they fit later.

Tools & Materials

Part Material Size (T x W x L*) Qty.

Front panel maple-veneered plywood 1/2" x 23 1/2" x 30 1/4" 1
Side panels maple-veneered plywood 1/2" x 15 1/2" x 30 1/4" 2
Back panel maple-veneered plywood 1/2" x 23 1/2" x 33" 1
Vertical side spacers pine 3/4" x 1 1/2" x 30 1/4" 4
Narrow side spacers fir plywood 1/2" x 6" x 15 1/2" 4
Wide side spacers fir plywood 1/2" x 9" x 1/2" 2
Front corner posts solid maple 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 30" 2
Back corner posts solid maple 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 33" 2
Drawer pulls solid maple 1/2" x 1 1/4" x 14 1/2" 3
Side trim solid maple 5/8" x 1 1/4" x 15"** 4
Front trim solid maple 5/8" x 1 1/4" x 21"** 2
Nightstand top maple-veneered plywood 1/2" x 16 1/2" x 24" 1
Top edging solid maple 3/4" x 1 1/4" x 92"*** 1
Horizontal strips pine 3/4" x 3/4" x 80"*** 1
Backboard cap solid maple 3/4" x 2 3/4" x 25" 1
Backboard undercap pine 3/4" x 3/4" x 20" 1
Small drawer sides G2S**** fir plywood 1/2" x 5" x 14" 4
Small drawer ends G2S fir plywood 1/2" x 5" x 16 1/2" 4
Large drawer sides G2S fir plywood 1/2" x 8 1/4" x 14" 2
Large drawer ends G2S fir plywood 1/2" x 8 1/4" x 16 1/2" 2
Drawer bottoms G2S fir plywood 1/2" x 13" x 16 1/2" 3
Drawer-slide pairs three-quarter extension 14"-long 3

**Trim to fit
***Total length required
****Good two sides

* Length indicates grain direction

Recommended Tools


Nightstand with storage

Illustration by Len Churchill

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