How to Build a SUPER Easy Nightstand for Beginner Builders

Hi everyone! I’m Allison from Shark Tails, and I’m stoked to be back at Remodelaholic sharing my plans for these super basic, super EASY to build nightstands!

Beginner Night Stands20 Shark Tails

Let me tell you, this project was loooong overdue. We moved into our current house about a year ago, and one of the first rooms I wanted to overhaul was the master bedroom. It is a nice open room but was very dingy and dated. One of the biggest issues I had with it was the wall-to-wall carpeting (we have three dogs so I try to avoid carpet when I can).

I was so excited to get started I just went in guns blazing without a real plan or vision for the room, which was a huge mistake. I knew I wanted to get rid of the carpet and replace it with plywood (a project that I ended up loving and you can see HERE) but everything else I did was kind of random, and the room did not end up with a cohesive finish, or even really finished at all. It was a rush job through and through. I’ve been getting a little better at taking my time and making choices that I love, but sometimes I just want to do it all in one weekend, ya know?

Anyway, I’ve had an especially hard time finding a pair of nightstands that are in our price range AND fit “our” taste (do you like how I threw the word our in there as if my poor husband even has a say?) As a result, we’ve been living with sad little wire kitchen shelves in place of actual nightstands for the past several months, when what I really want are these beauties from West Elm:

Mid Century Nightstand Acorn C
Photo credit:

Sadly, I cannot afford to spend $300 on a nightstand, especially when we need two, so I tried to come up with something I could build myself using materials I already had, and still fit with my aesthetic. 

For this project, I used 1″ knotty pine because, as mentioned above, I already had some in the garage that I wasn’t using for anything. You could certainly use 3/4″ plywood instead to eliminate the need to piece the knotty pine together for the top and bottom, but it worked well for me! 

How to build a simple and easy nightstand | Beginner friendly building tutorial by Sharktails on

How to Build a Beginner-Friendly Simple Nightstand

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To build one nightstand, you’ll need:

  • Kreg Jig pockethole system
  • Knotty pine: 1x8x8, 1x12x8, 1x3x4 and two 1x10x6s (alternately you can use a sheet of plywood)
  • Drill
  • Mitre, table, or circular saw (I love my mini circular saw and use it all the time!)
  • Electric sander
  • Wood glue
  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter’s pencil
  • Level
  • Hammer
  • 1 1/4″ spiral finishing nails
  • 1 1/4″ Kreg screws
  • Wood filler
  • Paint brush and rollers
  • Medium-fine grit sanding block
  • Primer and paint (or stain and clear coat if that’s your preference)


The good thing about using the pine boards is that I only had to make short cuts to length. I’m not fantastic with a table or circular saw yet, so cutting perfectly square pieces from a sheet of plywood is challenging for me, as well as intimidating. 

Beginner Night Stands1 Sharktails

The top of my nightstands are roughly 30″ by 18 1/4″ wide, but really you can build these to whatever suits your needs. For the top and bottom pieces, I cut four 1x10s at 30″ each, and attached them together with 3/4″ pocket hole screws and wood glue. Make sure you have pocket holes going in both directions, to ensure a strong and snug fit.

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For the sides of the box, I cut two 1x12s at 18 1/4″, making sure to measure the actual length of the sides from the constructed bottom piece before doing so. (I always like to measure first to ensure lengths even if I am working from a plan, as sometimes they will vary by even 1/16 of an inch depending on your lumber.) Attach the two side pieces to the bottom using 3/4″ pocket holes and wood glue.

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The long back piece needed to be cut at 28 1/2″. Once I made sure it was a nice fit, I attached it to the bottom and sides using 3/4″ pocket holes and wood glue. At this point, before attaching the top, I filled in all my pocket holes with wood filler. I have used the Kreg plugs a few times, but I find the filler is faster and easier, and since I was painting and not staining the tables, it was definitely the better option. I left the filler to dry for a whole day before sanding it smooth.

Next, attach the top piece to complete the box: I used wood glue and 1 1/4 spiral finishing nails.

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The legs were a bit of an experiment for me. I love mid-century modern style but to buy eight 16″ tapered legs and the top plates to boot would have cost more than I spend on groceries for a month (actually that’s a lie I spend an obnoxious amount of money on food). Instead, I opted to use an extra 1x8x8 piece of knotty pine I had lying around, and it was just enough for the eight table legs I needed. Real talk: I was not precise in my angles (you won’t see me getting near a protractor anytime soon) and my method was admittedly crude (but effective)!

First, cut two equal pieces at 24″ from the 1×8, then use your level to draw a straight line from one corner to the other.

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Next, using either a circular saw or table saw (I decided to put my big girl pants on and try the table saw) cut the board down the middle from corner to corner, following your line. I did this free hand but you could use a straight edge guide if you wanted it to be perfect. What you will end up with are two big right angle triangles. Do the same thing with your other board, and now you have four legs.

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Determine how tall you want your table to stand, and trim the legs accordingly. I cut mine at 16 1/2″ because the top of my mattress sits pretty tall.

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Attach the legs to the table using 3/4″ pocket holes and wood glue. I lined mine up square with the edge, but it might look cool if the legs were inset a few inches as well!

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The last step is to add a brace piece along each side to stabilize the legs: I used some 1×3 pine that I had handy. I cut two pieces to size and attached them to the legs using 3/4″ pocket holes. 

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I’m going to be honest with you guys: I did not put a lot of effort into the “finishing” steps of these nightstands. No caulking gaps or anything of the like. I sanded them down to a relatively smooth finish, and that was pretty much it.

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I gave each table one coat of Zinsser primer using a brush for the inside corners and a roller for the rest, and followed it up with two coats of Behr white enamel trim paint. 

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I let the tables dry for a few days after the second coat of paint before moving them into the bedroom and setting stuff on top of them. I am very impatient, but my hatred for chipping fresh paint miraculously trumps my impatience believe it or not!

For how easy these tables were to throw together, I am really happy with how they turned out! They are clean and simple and I love how the white contrasts with all the different colours of wood in our bed. Here is what we were using before:

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And here are the new night stands:

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A bit of an improvement, yes? I went into this project thinking that these night stands would be a placeholder until we could save up for something we really loved, but they turned out better than expected and I can see them sticking around for awhile!

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I love how much storage space they provide; I can keep some comfy throws on my side for extra chilly nights (my man-friend enjoys a cool bedroom for sleeping whereas I like it toasty warm!)

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Beginner Night Stands18 Shark Tails

I built this knock-off West Elm bed using plans from Jen Woodhouse and it has a LOT of different wood tones, so I’m glad I opted to paint the night stands rather than stain them. I do think these are super versatile and would look great either way depending on the vibe of a room, though!

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If you tackle these, make sure to share with Remodelaholic so we can see your beautiful handiwork!

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I hope you all enjoyed this post! I’m already getting excited for my next Remodelaholic project…until next time! 

More beginner-friendly building plans:

simple sliding barn door

Pottery Barn style wood slab coffee table

easy modern side table

$5 blanket ladder

easy X sofa table

simple diy x sofa table, featured on



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I am a DIY lovin' Canadian chick who is obsessed with her dogs, junk food, and garbage picking. I started my blog,, to document the process of updating our nineties home.

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