An easy beginner build project, this mid-century modern nightstand looks great and functions so well!
Hey there Remodelaholics! Scott with Saws on Skates back again to share some new plans with you. This time I’ll show you how to make this retro style DIY mid-century modern nightstand.
Last time I showed you how to make a corner cabinet – the perfect storage solution for a bathroom, entryway or anywhere you need a little extra storage. This time we’ll add some storage and style to the bedroom.
For that mid-century modern look I designed this piece with clean lines and slanted drawers without knobs or handles.
How to Build a Mid-Century Modern Nightstand
See the building plan below and click here to see the photo tutorial over at Saws on Skates
3/4″ 4×8 plywood
1/8″ 2×4 hardboard
1×2 – about 36″
1×3 – about 14″
3/4″ brad nails
1-1/4″ pocket screws
1-1/4″ brad nails
2″ wood screws
Table saw or circular saw
Countersink drill bit
Router and cove bit (optional)
Note: 3/4″ plywood is actually thinner than 3/4″. To avoid driving the pocket screws through the edge of the plywood, set your pocket hole drill bit between the 1/2″ and 3/4″ mark.
Make the Top. Cut a piece of plywood to 22-1/2″ x 16-1/2″ and drill pocket holes in each end.
Make the Bottom. Cut a piece of plywood to 22-1/2″ x 15-3/4″ and drill pocket holes in each end.
Make the Sides. Cut two pieces of plywood to 16-1/2″ x 14-5/8″.
Assemble the Carcass. Apply glue to the top, clamp to the sides and attach using 1-1/4″ pocket screws.
Apply glue to the bottom, clamp to the sides so that the bottom is flush with the back of the sides and attach using 1-1/4″ pocket screws.
Cut and Install the Back. Check the inside dimensions of your carcass. It should measure 22-1/2″ x 13-1/8″. Cut the back to fit the carcass from a piece of 3/4″ plywood and drill pocket holes around the edges.
Apply glue to the edges of the back, position in the carcass and attach using 1-1/4″ pocket screws.
Cut and Install the Drawer Slide Supports. I made my own drawer slides rather than buying them. You can purchase drawer slides, but you may need to adjust the width of the drawer box (Step 12 and Step 13). Cut 8 pieces of 3/4″ plywood to 14-1/4″ x 1-1/2″.
I cut a few pieces of scrap wood to help install the supports. I cut two pieces to 10-1/4″ and two pieces to 3-3/4″. I also ripped a piece of scrap to 13/16″. Place the 10-1/4″ scrap on the bottom of the carcass, apply glue to a support, place on top of the scrap and attach using 1-1/4″ brad nails. Remove the scrap. Hold the 13/16″ scrap below the support, apply glue to another support, place below the scrap and attach using 1-1/4″ brad nails. Remove the scrap. Place the 3-1/4″ scrap on the bottom of the carcass, apply glue to a support, place on top of the scrap and attach using 1-1/4″ brad nails. Remove the scrap. Hold the 13/16″ scrap below the support, apply glue to another support, place below the scrap and attach using 1-1/4″ brad nails. Remove the scrap. Repeat for the other side.
Cut the Legs. Cut four pieces of 1×3 to 4″. Cut a 22.5 degree angle on one end – please be careful making these miter cuts as these parts are small. Drill two pocket holes on the opposite end of the miter cut.
Cut the Long Leg Brace. Cut a 1×2 to 18-13/16″ and drill a pocket hole in each end. Apply glue to each end and attach a leg using 1-1/4″ pocket screws.
Cut the Short Leg Braces. Cut two pieces of 1×2 to 9-5/16″ with a 22.5 degree miter cut on one end. Drill a pocket hole on the opposite end of the miter. Apply glue to the end and attach a leg using 1-1/4″ pocket screws.
Install the Legs. Draw a line from corner to corner on the bottom of the carcass. These lines will help align the legs. Apply glue to the long leg assembly, place on one of the lines and center from corner to corner. Apply glue to the short leg assemblies, place on the line and center from corner to corner. Once the legs are properly aligned, attach using 1-1/4″ pocket screws. Also drill several countersink holes in the leg braces and attach using 2″ wood screws.
Cut the Drawer Box Sides. Rip four pieces of 3/4″ plywood to 5-1/2″ and cut to 14-3/4″ with a 5 degree miter cut on one end.
Cut the Drawer Box Backs. Rip four pieces of 3/4″ plywood to 5-1/2″ and cut to 19-3/8″ Drill pocket holes in each end. Note: You may need to adjust the length if you purchase drawer guides, rather than making your own (Step 6).
Assemble the Drawer Boxes. Apply glue to the ends of the drawer back, clamp to the sides and attach using 1-1/4″ pocket screws.
To make the drawer box fronts, rip two pieces of 3/4″ plywood to 6″ with a 5 degree bevel on one edge and cut to 19-3/8″. Place the front in between the sides with 5 degree bevel on your workbench and mark the top edge of the front. Rip the front to this mark with a 5 degree bevel. Drill pocket holes in each edge of the front. Apply glue to the ends of the drawer front, clamp to the sides and attach using 1-1/4″ pocket screws. Note: You may need to adjust the length if you purchase drawer slides, rather than making your own (Step 6).
Check the dimensions of your drawer box. It should measure 20-7/8″ x 14-3/4″. Cut the drawer bottoms to fit your drawer from 1/8″ hardboard. Apply glue to the bottom of the drawer box, place the drawer bottom and attach using 3/4″ brad nails.
To make the drawer slides, rip four pieces of 3/4″ plywood to 11/16″ and cut to 15″. Test fit the drawer slides and the drawer in the carcass. The drawer should move easily without being too loose. Adjust the width of the slides if necessary. To install the drawer slide on the drawer box, place the drawer box on your workbench, clamp a scrap piece of 1 x3 to the side, place the slide on the scrap, mark the ends and cut to length. Apply glue to the slide and attach using 1-1/4″ brad nails. Repeat for the remaining sides of the drawer boxes.
Cut the Drawer Fronts and Attach to the Drawer Boxes. The drawer fronts attach to the drawer box and will be visible from the outside of the nightstand. Cut two pieces of 3/4″ plywood to 22-1/4″ x 7-1/2″ (these pieces are cut a little wider than necessary in order to make the bevel cuts). Set your table saw to 5 degrees and cut a bevel on one side of each drawer front. From the beveled edge, measure 6-7/16″ and cut a 5 degree bevel parallel to the first bevel.
To attach the drawer front to the drawer box, first insert the drawer box into the bottom drawer opening in the carcass. There should be an 1/8″ gap between the drawer front and the carcass. Place a few scrap pieces of 1/8″ hardboard on the bottom of the carcass, place the drawer front on top of the scrap, then place 1/8″ hardboard on each side and clamp in place. If you can’t fit the 1/8″ scrap on each side of the drawer front adjust the length of the drawer front to fit. From inside the drawer box, drill countersink holes and attach using 1-1/4″ wood screws. Repeat for the other drawer front.
Optional: I used a cove bit in my router to make a “pull” on the underside of each drawer front. This will make it easier to open the drawers.
Note: The drawers are shallower than the depth of the carcass. If the drawers set too deep inside the cabinet, attach two 3/4″ wood screws to the back of the drawer box. Adjust the screws in or out to position the drawer front flush with the front of the cabinet.
Finish the Nightstand. Fill any holes in the carcass with wood filler, then sand the carcass and drawer fronts. Prime and paint the carcass. Apply several coats of polyurethane to the drawer fronts. Apply candle wax to the drawer guides to help the drawers move smoothly.
For more build plans check out Saws on Skates:
More DIY nightstands:
Scott eats, dreams and practically has sawdust running through his veins! He's a woodworker, furniture designer, furniture builder and DIYer. His workshop is tiny and all of his tools are on wheels to maximize space. The name of his blog, Saws on Skates, is a wink and a nod to his small, mobile workshop!