DIY Simple Nightstand with a Drawer


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March 15, 2024
Zoe Hunt

This DIY nightstand plan is a fun one. Yes, it’s a simple nightstand with a drawer, but we added a little extra detail to make it a little more fun. You can forgo the wavy detail around the bottom or switch it out for a scallop design or something even more unique. With the simple addition of adding the waves, this simple nightstand turned into the cutest little nightstand! 

DIY nightstand with drawer and wavy detail

This DIY nightstand was part of a bedroom refresh. For more details on that, check out these related posts: 

Alright, let’s start DIYing. 

How to Build a Simple Nightstand with a Drawer 

Recommended Tools:

Shopping List: 

Our Finish: 

For our project, we used Valspar primer and then 2 coats of Stainmaster in Dappled Glass in satin. We had the Stainmaster paint leftover from another project, otherwise I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. It does not self-level, so every paint stroke or roller mark is visible. We prefer Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel for furniture builds. 


The final dimensions of this nightstand are 20” W x 18” D x 26 ¾” H. The inside dimensions of the drawer are 4 ½” D x 11 ½” x 12 ½”. 

DIY nightstand 3D rendering with dimensions

Cut List

The following cut list serves as a guide and your actual dimensions may differ. We recommend making your cuts as you work through the project so that you can make adjustments to the dimensions if needed. 

For What?Board SizeQuantityLength (Inches)
Top¾” Plywood119 ½ x 17 ½ 
Bottom¾” Plywood115 x 14 ¼ 
Sides¾” Plywood213 ½ x 6 ½ 
Side Detail1×2213 ½ 
Side Detail (Lower)1×3213 ½ 
Front Detail1×3115 
Back¾” Plywood115 x 6 ½ 
Drawer Front¾” Plywood14 ¾ x 5 ½ 
Drawer Box Front/Back¾” Plywood212 ½ x 5 
Drawer Box Bottom¾” Plywood112 ½ x 11 ½ 
Drawer Box Sides¾” Plywood213 x 5 

If you are using this as an end table where the back of the table will be visible, we recommend cutting an additional 1×2 and 1×3 both to 15”. This will allow the design detail of the squiggle and top frame to continue around the back side. 


If you want to add the additional detail of tapered legs to your project, you can do so using the DIY taper leg jig. We cut our taper about 6 ½” up the leg and set the miter saw to 5-degrees. We tapered two sides of each of the legs, rotating the leg 90-degrees between the cuts. 

cutting tapered leg with DIY taper leg jig on miter saw

After tapering the legs, we marked the outside corner (aka the corner of the leg that is straight and not angled from the taper) with painter’s tape. This isn’t necessary, but I find it to be helpful when trying to decide which direction to install the legs for the tapers to correctly work. 

taper leg with piece of tape on the outside corner


To cut the wavy pieces, you can definitely freehand this, but I wanted things to be a little more consistent. I marked the center of my bottom detail pieces and then I drew two lines from the side: one at 1” and one at ½” in. These will help line up where the curves start and stop. 

I used a paint can as a guide to draw the curve. I first centered the can up with the middle line and traced the curve until it hit my ½” line. 

tracing paint can to create curves

Then I moved the paint can so that the top was close to in line with my 1” line and “blended” in with the curve from the middle. 

Though I originally drew the design on both sides, I actually only cut one side of it and then used it to trace the rest of the curves.

tracing curve using leftover piece

Once we had the curves drawn, we cut it out with a jigsaw.

cutting curve with a jigsaw


Using the ¾” settings, drill pocket holes in the following boards: 

  • (2) on both short ends of the side pieces 
  • (2) on both short ends of the back 
  • (3) on both short ends of the bottom and (3) on one long end of the bottom 

Note: in our pictures you will see pocket holes around the bottom piece. We decided to secure the front detail piece with nails instead, so we didn’t end up using the pocket holes on the front.

You will also need pocket holes in the following boards for the drawer box, but we don’t recommend cutting the pieces for the drawer box until after the main structure is assembled: 

  • (2) on both short ends of the drawer box front/back pieces 
  • (2-3) around all the ends of the drawer box bottom
Want to DIY buy don\'t know where to start? Click here to grab your free guide!


In our photos, you’ll see that we only installed the top detail pieces at this stage. The reason for this is that we were still deciding what kind of shape to cut the bottom detail pieces to (scallop was a close second). Since we were still debating on the design, we added the bottom detail pieces at the very end, but you can go ahead and install them now if you have them ready. 

To install the side detail pieces, you can either use just glue and leave things clamped for at least 30 minutes before moving onto the next step, or you can use some 1.25” nails to hold them in place as the glue dries. 

nailing 1x2 to plywood to create a panel

Mark ¾” from the bottom of the side pieces. This is where the top of the bottom detail will go. The top detail piece will be flush with the top of the side piece. 

Install the pieces so that they are flush with the sides of the side pieces. Install using glue and 1.25” nails if desired. 

nailing curvy detail piece to bottom of nightstand

If you decided to cut extra pieces to continue the design around the back, you can also install those now. 


Secure the sides to the legs using glue and 1.25” Kreg screws. The top of the 1×2 on the side should be flush with the top outside of the leg. 

side of DIY nightstand assembled with pocket holes

Repeat with the other set of legs and the other side piece. 


Install the back so that the inside is flush with the inside of the back legs. Install using glue and 1.25” Kreg screws. The pocket holes should be facing the inside of the cabinet. 

DIY nightstand base standing in garage


Slide the bottom between the side pieces so that the pocket holes are facing the inside of the cabinet. Secure using glue and 1.25” Kreg screws so that the bottom of the cabinet is flush with the bottom of the back and side pieces. 

The front of the bottom should be set back ¾” to allow room for the front detail piece.

installing bottom of DIY nightstand using pocket holes


Line the front detail piece up with the top of the bottom and secure it using glue and 1.25” nails. 

Free download wood sizing cheatsheet


Build and install the drawer box. For detailed instructions on how to do both of these steps, check out our DIY guide to building and installing drawers.


Since we were painting this drawer front, we applied spackle all around the drawer front to cover up the plywood edge. Once the spackle was dry, we sanded off the excess until it was nice and smooth. You can also cover the edges with edge banding instead. 

Position the drawer front so that it has equal gaps on both sides, the top, and the bottom. We like to use playing cards to get everything adjusted.

using playing cards as spacers to position the drawer front

Once we were happy with the location, we clamped the drawer front in place and then secured the drawer front to the drawer box with 2 screws. 

Once the drawer front was installed, we installed the knob in the center of the drawer. This should be approximately 2 ¾” from the top and 7 ⅜” from the sides.

drilling hole for drawer pull


Since we installed the top after painting, we decided to use right angle brackets to install the top. If you install the top prior to painting, you can just nail the top into the sides/back/legs. 

installing top of DIY nightstand with corner brackets

Center the top onto the base. We would recommend installing the top before adding the trim. If you add the trim first like we did, it’s difficult to get accurate measurements because of the curve of the trim. 

If your trim hasn’t been added yet, center will be ½” overhang on the front/back and ¾” overhang on the side. 


We first prepped our saw for cutting the delicate trim pieces and then we cut the pieces at a 45-degree angle on both sides to get a clean mitered look. We highly recommend measuring and installing each piece as you go for the tightest miters. 

To install, place the top of the trim flush with the top and secure with glue and 1.25” nails. 

installing trim to top of DIY nightstand

There you have it! Now you know how to build your very own nightstand with a drawer. This “nightstand” would also look really cute as a side table in a living room! As I’ve built more pieces of furniture, I’ve realized the nightstands and side tables are pretty much interchangeable. 

DIY nightstand in feminine bedroom with floral wallpaper

If you’re looking for more DIY inspiration, check out these posts:

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