My wife has had an awkwardly tiny bedside table for a long time. You can fit a lamp and a charging iPhone and thats about it. So it’s time for an upgrade.
I wanted something sturdy, with a large surface area, lots of storage, and easily accessible from the bed. So here’s what we came up with. Its basically made from 2 by stock wood from home depot, with 1 by wood for the drawers, with a built in pop-out power strip and hard wired lamp.
It takes about 4 hours to cut and sand all the wood, then assemble the table. Then about a half hour every day for a few days as you stain/polyurethane to finish the project up. Total cost is about $100, nearly half of which is the pop up power strip, so you can make a simple bedside table without the power strip for much cheaper.
Also, if you'd like to see more of my projects, head to www.sampaulling.com and check out what we've been up to.
Let's get to it.
Step 1: Required Parts
Note: I provide links to all the parts you'll need outside of the wood and steel pipe at my online store shop.sampaulling.com. You can load up your cart and checkout quick with amazon and have your parts in a few days.
Wood: You'll need quite a bit of wood. Here are the specs.
Size: 2×4 Length: 8′ Quantity: 5
Size: 1×4 Length: 6′ Quantity: 1
Size: 1×6 Length: 6′ Quantity: 2
Size: 1×6 Length: 8′ Quantity: 1
Size: 2×6 Length: 8′ Quantity: 1
Size: 1×8 Length: 8′ Quantity: 1
1×4 plywood for the back – optional
3/4" Finishing Nails
3.25" Hole saw / Jigsaw
1/2" black steel pipe from Home Depot
Step 2: Cut List
Heres how to chop up all your boards.
Board: 2x4 Cut to : 29.5" Quantity: 4 Used for: Legs
Board: 2x4 Cut to: 16.5" Quantity: 10 Used for: Side Inserts & Back Vertical Supports
Board: 2x4 Cut to: 14" Quantity: 4 Used for: Side Rails
Board: 2x4 Cut to: 18" Quantity: 4 Used for: Front and Back Rails
Board: 1x4 Cut to: 16" Quantity: 2 Used for: Small Drawer
Board: 1x4 Cut to: 15.5" Quantity: 2 Used for: Small Drawer
Board: 1x6 Cut to: 15.5" Quantity: 4 Used for: Large Drawer
Board: 1x6 Cut to: 16 Quantity: 4 Used for: Large Drawer
Board: 2x6 Cut to: 22 1/3" Quantity: 4 Used for: Top
Board: 1x8 Cut to: 17 3/4" Quantity: 2 Used for: Drawer Front
1/4" Ply cut for bottom of drawers, depending on whether using inset bottoms or fixed to bottom.
1/4" ply cut for back panel: 12" x 17.5"
Step 3: Side Panels
Make the side panels from 4 – 2 x 4 x 16.5 boards.
Use pocket holes on the inside to connect them together (2.5″ screws) and make a few holes for pocket screws on the top and bottom edges to connect them to the frame later.
Step 4: Two Side Frames
Using the panels from step 1, make the side frame by attaching the two 29.5 inch legs and the 14 inch 2 by 4s as the top and bottom rails.
Step 5: Back Rail
Add the 2 by 4 pieces of back rail as shown.
Make sure the pocket holes are on the inside. The pocket holes should be drilled on the narrow part of each piece.
Step 6: Front Rails
Add the 2 by 4 front rail pieces as shown.
I put the pocket holes for the top rail on the top so would be hidden by the top. For the bottom rail I put them underneath so they would be hidden.
Step 7: Smaller Top Drawer
Drill pocket holes in the both ends of the 15 ½ inch length 1 by 4 drawer pieces.
Join the 16 inch pieces to the 15 ½ inch lengths to form the drawers. You can either route the sides to fit ¼ inch plywood base inside or fix the base to the bottom. Fit the drawer slides to the bottom of the drawers as well.
Step 8: Two Larger Drawers
Drill pocket holes in the both ends of the 15 ½ inch length 1 by 6 drawer pieces.
Join the 16 inch pieces to the 15 ½ inch lengths to form the drawers.
You can either route the sides to fit ¼ inch plywood base inside or fix the base to the bottom.
Fit the drawer slides to the bottom of the drawers as well.
Step 9: Fit Drawer Slides to Inside of Cabinet
Follow the instructions of your slides to fit them to the sides of the cabinet.
Usually there should end up being half an inch gap between the bottom of the drawers and top of the rail underneath it but follow the instructions that come with your drawer slides.
Take your time to get these level and directly across from one another.
If they are off, the draw will not slide smoothly, or at all.
Step 10: Fit Drawer Fronts
he small drawer front is the 1 by 6 piece measuring 17 ¾ inches long (1/4 inch narrower than the space they are fitting).
The large drawer fronts are the 1 by 8 pieces measuring 17 ¾ inches long (1/4 inch narrower than the space they are fitting).
Fit the drawer fronts ensuring equal gap at top and outer edge for both.
Drill two holes through the inner drawer front and then fix the outer drawer front by screwing through the inner drawer front into the outer drawer front using 1 ¼ inch screws.
Step 11: Make the Top
Make the top from the four 2 by 6 pieces measuring 22.5 inches long (this gives a ¾ inch overlap on each side.
Use pocket holes on the bottom side to piece them together, just like we did in step 1 with the side panels.
Step 12: Mount the Top to the Cabinet
If you are installing pop out outlet:
You may want to consider tracing the outline of the outlet’s required hole and using the hole saw or jigsaw to remove the required wood before attaching the top to the cabinet. It will be easier to cut now. If you choose to do this, see step 14 and then come back here.
Drill pocket holes on the side and back panels on the inside facing upward.
Make sure you get equal spacing around the edge so the overlap appears even from all sides.
Drill through the top of the front 2 by 4 rail so the top can be screwed on from underneath.
Place the top with the good side down and then place the upturned cabinet on top.
Make sure you have equal gap all around and then fix the sides and back with 1 ¼ inch pocket hole screws and the front edge with 2.5 inch wood screws through the front rail.
Step 13: Back Panel Install
Fit the back panels from the inside.
I suggest you leave at least half an inch gap around the edge and use ¾ inch finishing nails to attach it from the inside.
Dimensions given in plan (12 inches by 17 ½ inches) allow for 1 inch overlap around each side.
Step 14: Staining and Finishing
Sand well to smooth our joints and remove any wood glue residue. Start with 120 grit and work up to 200’s.
Apply Pre stain and your choice of stain color or paint as desired. If using stain/polyurethane finish, lightly sand with finer and finer grit sandpaper between applications.
Typically, I use at least 3 coats of polyurethane on project, with 4 or 5 coats going on projects that will likely have water glasses and condensation on the surface. In this project, I used 5 coats.
The final coat was brushed up with 0000 fine steel wool instead of sandpaper.
Step 15: Add Drawer Pulls
Add hardware of your choice to the drawers (you will need to temporarily remove the front drawer parts).
Step 16: Adding Electronics
In the very back corner of the top, you’ll want to cut a hole for your pop out power plugs. The outlet I picked here fits juuuuuust inside the area between the back of the cabinet and the back of the drawers. You’ll need to trim off extra black plastic bits attached to the power outlet to squeeze it in there, but its not too hard. Trace an outline of the outlet in the very back corner, then use a jigsaw or hole saw to cut out a 3.25″ diameter circle.
I used a jigsaw, so I cut it a bit small and then used a sanding bit on my dremel tool to increase the size of the hole as needed to get it to fit.
Slide the power strip down into the hole from the top and then slide the locking ring up into place from the bottom. I also had to trim some black plastic off of the locking ring because it was hitting the back side of the cabinet.Do what you need to do.
Step 17: Building and Attaching the Lamp
Your lamp kit should come with instructions for wiring up the lamp, but in general, a lamp is a very simple electric device, so don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this before.
Start by laying out the black pipe in the shape you want it in (mine is a vertical 10″, a horizontal 8″, and then another vertical 10″).
Begin threading the lamp cord up through the bottom of the pipe flange (that we will use to attach the lamp to the surface of the top) and then through the first vertical pipe section. Screw on the pipe section. Move on to the 90 degree elbow. Same thing. Thread the cord through, then screw on the pipe. Do this with each section of pipe until the lamp is created.
Once all the pipe is together, hammer in the included pipe-to-thread connector that came with your kit and begin assembling the lamp parts on top of this piece. There should be a schematic in your lamp kit that shows you the order. It’s just a few pieces.
Once you reach the socket, make sure you connect the correct wires of the cord to the correct terminals in the socket. One on each side. Then, to test, screw in a lightbulb of choice (I like warm white LED’s) and plug it in. If it works, your golden! If not, go back and figure out where you might have connected something incorrectly. Check your wiring again.
Drill a 1″ hole in the top of the nightstand where you want the lamp to be centered. I put mine exactly opposite the hole drilled for the power strip for a balanced look, but it can be anywhere. Feel free to be adventurous. Then drop your power plug down the hole and attach the pipe flange to the cabinet with 4 – 1.25″ wood screws.
The lamp is done!