Introduction: Make Your Nightstand Taller

I’ve had the same nightstand for almost 50 years. It started as one of those white princess-style nightstands. It’s been through many paint jobs, and was long overdue for an upgrade.

I recently purchased a new bed and new mattresses and I found the old night stand is just too low for the new bed. I looked into ways to make it higher. I’m not an expert wood worker, but I have a few minor skills, mostly at reasoning out how to do things!

I could have gone out and bought a new nightstand, and I did look, but A) I didn’t find anything I liked, B) I didn’t find anything that was the right dimensions and C) I LIKE doing stuff like this and figured, I’d give it a shot. Worst case, if I wrecked it, I was considering buying a new one anyway!

The nightstand already has legs, so adding “buns” would just look silly. I had to figure out another way to make it 7-8 inches higher. I took my measurements and went to HomeDepot for supplies.

This is what I came up with:


1 pine plank from Home depot, 1in x 8in x 6ft.

1 24in x 24in x 1/2inch pine panel - I asked Home Depot to rip is down to 18inch x 13in

Screws in various lengths.

Wood Glue

Wood putty



Pretty contact paper is optional, or you can just use paint.

E6000 glue to seal the edges of the contact paper. You won't need this if you are only painting.

New handle hardware

Cordless drill

Impact Driver (Or a screw driver will do)


Dremel tool with cutting blade (optional)

Step 1: Remove the Top From the Nightstand

Most furniture has a finished edge. For this particular night stand, I knew I could not replicate the routered edge. My solution was to remove the top and reuse it on top of the new shelf.

I started by removing the drawers from the nightstand and turning it upside down. As you can see, there are just four simple screws attaching the top to the frame. I removed the screws and the top came right off.

Step 2: Measure the Top of the Frame

In this step, I measured the top of the frame and cut a piece of plywood to the same dimensions. I don't have the equipment to do my own cutting, so I purchased a 1/2 inch x 24 x 24 inch piece of plywood and had Home Depot rip it down to the dimensions I needed - in my case, 18 inches x 13 inches.

I also purchased a plank of wood measuring 1in x 8in x 6ft.

KEEP IN MIND, that the thickness of plywood is approximately 1/32 of an inch thinner than the thickness stated. This has something to do with the drying process.

I asked the nice folks at Home Depot to cut two 13 inch segments from the 1in x 8in x 6ft plank. I knew I would have to measure the longer piece and cut it at home. Theoretically, the the long piece should be 18 less 2 inches less 1/16th of an inch, but I I figured, it would be easier to measure it when the other pieces were in place and I could use a saw to cut the length I needed.

Step 3: Assemble the New Shelf

Glue the two shorter segments to the aligning sides of the shelf to form a "U" shape. The glue is used to make it easier to screw the pieces together.

Pre-drill holes to prevent the wood from splitting.

Screw the 1 x 8 x 13 inch segments to the shelf board.

Once the U-Shape is complete, measure the gap between the boards and cut a piece of wood to fit.
Glue the long piece between, and then screw that into place as well.

You should have, what amounts to a three-sided box.

Step 4: Screw the New Shelf on to the Top of the Frame.

I used the wood glue to set the new shelf on top of the frame.

I pre-drilled the holes and then screwed the shelf down to the frame.

Step 5: Cut a Hole for Charging Cords

This next step is optional. I knew I wanted to use this new open shelf for my electronics – my kindle, tablet, etc. and I wanted to have a small hole at the back for cords. I drilled a few small holes at the back of the shelf, then used my Dremel tool with a cutting blade to make a small opening in the back of the cabinet.

Step 6: Paint the Night Stand With Primer to Seal the New Wood.

This next part is up to you

Whether you decide to line the new shelf with contact paper, or whether you prefer to paint it, you will need to prime the nightstand to seal the new wood. The contact paper will not stick to the wood, so in any case, you need to prime the shelf.

Once you prime the nightstand, apply the contact paper.

I've always found that the edges of the contact paper lift. I used my finger to smear E6000 glue along the edges of the contact paper to seal it to the nightstand.

Step 7: Attach the Original Top to the New Shelf.

Putting the lid back on was a bit of a challenge for me. I applied glue to the tops of the box frame and then lined up the lid and let it dry.

If you are good with a drill, you might be able to angle the screws in such a way as to attach the lid from the sides. I'm not that good. I decided to simply screw the top straight down into the frame. Once I determined I had the right screw length, I put three screws along each side. This top wasn’t going anywhere.

Step 8: Final Paint Job.

I painted my nightstand a colour called "Dark Onyx" by Behr.

It's now eight inches taller and the perfect height to match my new bed and mattresses.

Step 9: Add New Hardware

This step is optional.

In my case, I didn't want to reuse the old hardware, but my new hardware was a different length and had centre holes that were spaced further apart. I measured the distance between the centres of the handles and transferred the measurements to the drawer face.

I drilled new holes for the handles, and then used wood putty to fill in the old holes. I primed, then painted the drawer face.

Once the paint was dry, I installed the new drawer pulls.

I hope you found this Instructable interesting, and even if you don't need to raise the height of a nightstand, perhaps it will inspire a solution to different problem you may have.

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