Introduction: 3 DIY Bedside Table Modifications
Does your bedside table look like a mess of charging cables and gadgets? Want to clear away the mess and make the nighttime ritual of charging everything easier? Well in this post I show you how I made 3 modifications to these bedside tables to incorporate a USB Hub, A Wireless Charger and A Cup Holder. There is even a secret compartment!
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Step 1: Mod 1 - Adding a USB Charging Hub
I'm sure this site is common for a lot of you out there. A mass of charging devices taking up the space on your bedside table. You have to make sure everything is charged ready for tomorrow but how do you do it elegantly? Here's how...
The first modification will be added to the drawer so its easier to remove it from the bedside table itself. Most drawer slides have little tabs that click up to allow them to separate.
Step 2: Mark & Cut the Side to the USB Hub Housing
To take care of the mess of charging cables I decided to add a USB Charging Hub to the drawer. This will clear up the top of the bedside table. The hub I used has USB C and 45W fast charging so it will be future proof. I thought it would look better to sit in the drawer at an angle so I used a bevel gauge to set the angle by eye.
I could then transfer that angle to a scrap piece of MDF. This will be my angle guide moving forward. I also cut a piece of MDF to sit snug in the drawer. This piece will be the back side to the housing for the USB Hub. Using the angle guide and the Hub itself I marked where the Hub needed to sit in the drawer.
Measuring the thickness of the USB Hub came to about 13mm thick so I used the angle guide to mark 2 lines spaced 13mm apart. This will be channel the Hub slides into. Offering up the Hub again and marking where the back sits gives me a mark to cut to at the bandsaw. Check the cut to how its all fitting. I was pleased with how it was sitting in the drawer so I could move onto the next step.
As the bedside tables I have are walnut I thought adding some walnut wood to the top of the housing would be a nice addition. I marked a line on the side MDF piece to cut at the bandsaw. This will be what the walnut sits on top off.
Step 3: Trace & Cut the Second Side to the USB Hub Housing
With the one side piece done I could trace it onto a second piece of MDF. This side wont have the channel cut out of it though. It will have a pocket routered out instead. This is because its the side that will be seen inside the drawer. Using a straight bit in the router set to about 6mm deep I carved away the material inside the lines I traced. Checking the fit with the hub to make sure it fit in place. With the pocket done I could cut the rest out on the bandsaw.
Step 4: Glue Pieces Together
The housing will be glued together with 2 centre pieces to act as spacers. These pieces are 65mm but that measurement will depend on the hub you're using. Wood glue is all that's needed for this joint. Add clamps to hold the pieces together while the glue dries.
Step 5: Cut & Fit Walnut Tops
With the glue dry its time to add the walnut tops. The angle means we need to remove some material from the leading edge of the walnut. I cut this angle with my handsaw and then cleaned it up with some sandpaper. Checking the fit to make the sure the bottom and top piece fits well. It's looking a lot better already but it need to be glued in place.
Wood glue and clamps are all that's needed to secure the walnut in place. Its worth checking the hub fits at this stage still. If its tight you can sand away any tight spots to get it fitting snug.
Step 6: Mod 2 - Adding a Cup Holder
The second modification comes in the form of a cup holder. The space at the front of the USB Housing is ideal for this.
To create the cup holder I used a flush trim bit in the router. A circle template I made for a previous project is ideal for this too. The flush trim bit follows the edge of the circle template. This make a really neat and accurate cut. I set the depth of the router to about 3mm. That's plenty to give somewhere for the cup to sit.
Step 7: Mod 2.5 - a Secret Compartment
This is a mod that I realised by accident. The USB Housing has a space underneath it. So its the perfect secret compartment! To access it you would need to remove the drawer from the table and lift out the housing to get access to it.
Step 8: Paint the MDF & Fit in Bedside Table
The MDF needs a splash of colour in my opinion so I first gave it a coat of white egg shell paint. Egg shell paint works great at sealing MDF and giving a smooth finish. I then painted the sides Magenta (not pink!) to give a stark contrast against the walnut. When you open the drawer it should bring some vibrancy. The whole pieces got 3 coats of spray lacquer to protect the paint and the walnut.
In order to get power through the drawer to the hub there needs to be a slot cut. I first drilled 2 holes next to each other and then used my hand saw to cut a line straight down to the one side of the holes. This kind of L shape slot will make the wire less likely to pop out of the slot. There also needs to be a hole drilled in the back of the bedside table to allow the power cable through.
Step 9: Mod 3 - Adding Wireless Charging
The third modification is to add a wireless charging pad to the top of the bedside table. This will make it really easy to sit my phone down and have it charge.
I couldn't get access to underneath the top of the table unfortunately so I would have to router a pocket from the top instead. I thought using some thin plywood (1mm thick) would work well as an inlay. Its thin enough to allow the wireless charger to still work through it.
To mark the shape I needed for the inlay I used a scribe made from a bottle top. This is just a hole drilled in the middle of a pop bottle top that a pencil can fit through. The bottle top then follows the edge of the wireless charger to give me an oversized circle. I then drew on a straight line for the USB cable too. I made them oversized so the shape could sit on an edge all the way around the charger and the cable. The plywood inlay gets cut at the bandsaw. With it being 1mm thick its really easy to sand to shape too so I cut wide of the line and sanded back to the line.
Step 10: Router Pocket for Inlay & Charger
I could then trace around the inlay on the table top. Painters tape helps hold it in place while I trace round it. I added painters tape to the base of my router to prevent it from scratching the table top. I set the straight router bit to a little deeper than 1mm so the plywood inlay would sit flush to the surface later.
Once the fit was snug I marked around the charger and wire to give me the area I needed to router deeper. The depth of this cut needs to allow the charger and wire to sit slightly below the surface. Ideally they would sit so when the plywood inlay is fitted it all flush to the surface.
Wireless chargers can get warm so its a good idea to drill some vent holes through the pocket to allow the heat to escape.
Step 11: Fit Charger & Inlay in Place
I thought the plywood inlay would suite the tables better if it was painted black. To fit it in place I opted to use double sided tape. This is because I didn't want a permanent fixture. If the charger or cable breaks in the future I will need to be able to pop up the plywood inlay so I can access what needs replacing. The tape will allow me to do this.
The inlay pops into place and is held down by the double sided tape. In order to better manage the power cable to the hub and the USB cable to the wireless charger I added some cable management clips to the leg on the back of the bedside table.
Step 12: Done!
Here are the modifications complete. All the messy charging gadgets can be charged using the hub in the drawer. The drawer can be closed to hide them away. The cup holder is at a much more convenient position while your bed so no more awkward reaching for your drink on the top of the bedside table. The wireless charger on the top makes it easy to sit your phone down and have it start charging too. I hope you liked this project and are inspired to give it a go for yourself. You could make adaptations like this to loads of different pieces of furniture. Modify and make them your own!
Runner Up in the
Secret Compartment Challenge