A guide with building instructions and a cut list for building a simple DIY farmhouse nightstand with a drawer and a shelf. When you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, build it yourself.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find exactly what I’m looking for in a piece of furniture. We spent months searching for the perfect nightstands for our bedroom. I wanted small nightstands with one drawer and a shelf towards the bottom. After searching for so long, I gave up and we decided to design and build our own farmhouse nightstands.
We found plans similar to what I wanted from Ana White’s blog, but we changed them a bit because they weren’t exactly what we wanted. Her plans were technically for a side table, so it was more rectangular. I specifically wanted *mostly* square nightstands.
DIY Farmhouse Nightstand Materials and Cut List (Makes 2 Nightstands)
- 2 – 1×4 – 8 ft. long
- 2 – 2×2 – 8 ft. long
- 1×8 – 8 ft. long
- 1×6 – 8 ft. long
- 1×5 – 8 ft. long
- A 5/8″ square dowel – 8 ft. long
- 1/4″ plywood scrap (drawer bottoms)
- 35 – 1 1/4 pocket hole screws
- 10 – 1 1/4 screws
- Wood glue
- 8- 1×4 @ 16″ (tabletop boards)
- 2 – 1×8 @ 11″ (apron width, backside)
- 4 – 1×8 @ 8″ (apron length)
- 8 – 2×2 @ 25″ (legs)
- 2 – 2×2 @ 11″ (support beam under drawer front)
- 2 – 2×2 @ 10″ (drawer slider support)
- 6 – 5/8″ square dowel @ 10.5″ (drawer sliders)
- 2 – 1×6 @ 11″ (drawer front)
- 6 – 1×5 @ 11″ (drawer sides and back)
- 2 – 1/4″ plywood at 9″x9″ (drawer bottom)
- 4 – 1×6 @ 14″ (shelves)
Farmhouse Nightstand Assembly
First, assemble the sides of the nightstands by attaching the legs. I recommend investing in a pocket jig for this project. We use a Kreg Jig and it is amazing for creating pocket holes. Pocket holes are holes drilled at an angle, so they create a little “pocket” for the screw. They make furniture look much more professional because the screws are not visible. Hidden screws are a necessity when it comes to building furniture.
Once the sides are assembled, attach them to the back apron. Then, attach the 2×2 front support beam. There is also a 2×2 through the center of the nightstand. It is attached to the back apron and front support beam.
One of the 5/8″ square dowels runs the length of the center supports and acts as the track for the drawer.
The other two 5/8″ dowels connect to the insides of the legs, creating the top track for the drawer.
Assembling the Drawer
The drawer of the nightstand is basically an 11″ box. It is made up of three 1×5’s and a 1×6 for the drawer front. Cut a 1″ by 1″ square cut into the bottom of the drawer backpiece. This is the space for the track and allows the drawer to slide in and out. Attach the bottom of the drawer about 1″ from the bottom (above the notch for the drawer slide) using wood glue.
Once the drawer is assembled, attach the top. Assemble the top by gluing four 1×4’s together with wood glue. Then, attach them with pocket holes for added stability. Attach the tabletop using wood glue and 4 pocket holes, 2 on either side of the nightstand apron.
Assembling the Shelf
Assemble the shelf by gluing two 1×6’s together with wood glue. Then, attach them with pocket holes for added stability. In each corner, cut out a 2″ by 2″ square so the shelf will fit between the nightstand legs. Attach the shelf to the legs of the table, about 6″ from the bottom, using wood glue. Add 4 pocket holes, 1 per leg for additional stability.
After the nightstands were assembled I sanded, primed, and painted them. I chose to use the white paint I had leftover from building the kitchen table (Snow Storm by Olympic in semi-gloss) for the body of the night tables. The tops I stained with Minwax Dark Walnut, also leftover from the table. To seal the tabletop I used two coats of polyurethane. I knew I’d be setting a glass of water there every night and didn’t want to leave any rings over time.
The final dimensions for the nightstands are 16×14 (top), 14×12 (body), 26″ tall. And the drawer dimensions are 11″x11″. Overall, the project difficulty was probably intermediate. It wasn’t incredibly difficult, but precision is key when working with cuts of wood this small. Plus, constructing a drawer is pretty intimidating.
I’m so thrilled with how these DIY nightstands turned out! They are exactly what I wanted and look great in our space.