How to Make a Modern Nightstand

A simple and sleek nightstand that can be modified to fit individual needs and reflect personal styles

We like to keep our space as simple and clutter-free as possible. Clean room, clean mind, right? So, we came up with this easy DIY nightstand whose clean lines and functional design help to create a calming space.


If the 2" x 10" you choose is bowed, twisted, or cupped, your nightstand will not be square and there will be pronounced gaps where the wood should meet. Take the extra time and choose a really nice, flat plank

  1. Use a measuring tape to measure out 24 inches and a carpenter's square or ruler to mark a cut line.

  2. Make the first cut with a circular saw.

  3. Measure out another 24 inches and make another cut.

  4. Measure out 15 inches and make another cut line.

  5. Make the cut with a circular saw.

  6. Cut the remaining board into two lengths of 15 inches.

  7. Smooth each piece with an orbital sander. Pay special attention to the ends, as they will be exposed.

  8. Tip

    If you spend more time sanding, your nightstand will look more finished. You can start with 120 grit and then switch to 220.

  9. Wipe each piece until it's free of dust, then apply a coat of polycrylic.

  10. Tip

    If you want more than one coat of polycrylic, give each piece a light sanding with a fine grit paper between coats. I like the natural look of the wood, but painting the piece is also an option.

  11. Drill pilot holes for all screws. The pattern for each side piece is as follows: 3/4 inch from the top, drill three holes at 3/4 inch from the left side, 3/4 inch from the right side, and in the center. At 3/4 inch from the bottom, drill three holes at the same measurements.

  12. Tip

    The shelf can be as high or low as you want it to be. Where you put it is up to you, but make sure that you measure an equal distance from the top or bottom on both sides so your shelf will be level. Two screws on each end of the middle shelf will suffice. In the end, you should have eight drill holes on each side.

  13. Getting your pieces to square isn't difficult, but it does take a bit of patience. Prop up one of the side pieces on two of the shelf pieces. Line up the side with one of the shelves and attach one screw. Keep the first screw loose for the moment in case you need to pivot the side board to keep it square. Make sure the corners are aligned and screw into the opposite side. Finish with the center screw. Hold each piece firmly and apply pressure as you drive the screws to attach the pieces.

  14. Tip

    Watch the speed of your drill. It's easy to go too fast and drive the screws too deep. This is especially easy with finish screws as the heads are very small. The screw heads should be flush with the wood or, in the case of finish screws, just a tiny bit into the wood.

  15. Pat yourself on the back. You've built your very own modern nightstand!

  16. A nightstand with a special iPad shelf
    A place for your gear and a separate iPad shelf
    A place for your books... and mini accordion
    Or whatever is important to you