Bed Side Shelf




Introduction: Bed Side Shelf

About: I am an Industrial Designer from Hong Kong pursuing a BFA in Rhode Island School of Design. As part of my third year of study, I am currently exchanging at the University of Edinburgh for a semester to expan...

When you charge your phone at night, do you worry that the cables will get caught in your bedding and catch fire? Do you like to read before you sleep, but don’t know where to put down the book? Do you lose your glasses in the bedding after taking them off? If you have these problems but can't afford the space or money for a bed side table, then you should build your own bed side shelf! The shelf is sleek and slim. It slips underneath the mattress and can store a handful of small items. Built in is also a simple elastic cord cable management system. The elastic cords allow you to easily push electronic cable into a storage area and keep them tangle free.

Step 1:


The shelf is made of three components: the two legs that slip underneath the mattress, and the shelf storage. The foot of the shelf is curved to accommodate the ridge on bed frames. There are also inner side pieces which help positioning of the shelf boards. Behind the shelf is the storage compartment with has elastic cords running across it to allow users to cram in electrical cables. The elastic cords are threaded through holes located on the two side components. The triangular form of the storage compartment also provides additional support for the shelf. This project is great for beginning wood workers who are interested in making their own small scale furniture at home.

6mm ply wood
Wood glue
2.5m long thick elastic cord (This could be found in fabric stores for a low price)

Step 2:

Measuring the Bed

Measure the thickness of your mattress and round it up to the nearest 50mm then add an extra 50mm to accommodate for the storage. This measurement determines which shelf leg pattern would be appropriate for your bed. My mattress was 220mm so I printed the leg pattern for 300mm.

Step 3:

Cutting out the pieces

Print out the appropriate shelf pattern and lay them all over the ply wood, in total there should be 9 different parts (4 side pieces, 4 shelf boards, 1 front ridge). Cut out the different parts using a band saw. For the interior curves on the legs, you should use the spindle sander to smooth it out. Use a scroll saw and 5mm drill to bore out the holes on the side pieces for the cable management system. (Alternatively, you can cut out the different pieces using a laser cutter.)

Step 4:

Chamfering the storage board C

For a flushed finished on the shelf, sand off 3 corners of board C so it looks like the picture above. Attached in the pattern is also a profile of how the board should look.

Step 5:


Begin by gluing the smaller inner side pieces onto the outer sides. Be careful to align the pieces so that they are flush along the top and front of shelf. Once those are set in place, using the inner piece as a guide, glue the shelf storage boards onto the side. The easiest way to do this is to start with the back board A and slowly move to the shelf board D. Use clamps to hold everything in place and let it dry. Lastly, attach the ridge board E to the front of the shelf.

Step 6:

Finishing Touches

Finish the shelf by sanding down the whole shelf with 180, 200, 250 grit sand paper.

Threading the elastic cords

Loosely thread the elastic cord through holes on the sides. Then weave the end of the cord through the external loops. Slowly tighten and adjust the elastic cord one row at a time so that the tail end of the cord is tucked underneath the loops. Once its all tucked away and tight, cut the excess cord off.

Step 7:

Using the shelf

Once everything is complete, you can slip your shelf under the mattress. Be sure that there is stable support from under the legs of the shelf and the leg is not on top of the bed frame ridge. Finally, slip under your covers and enjoy the comfort and ease of having a bedside shelf.

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    5 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Do you see any downsides in making the shelf taller? Being in a smaller bed I think I might run into it while I'm sleeping at that height. I love the cord management idea, that could be an instructable all on its own!


    3 years ago

    It turned out great! I especially like the chord storage idea :)


    3 years ago

    I had a similar table once that was used with the living room sofa. I especially like how you have a raised lip on the table to prevent things from falling in the middle of the night.


    3 years ago

    That looks really good! I like the design :)


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks! It's my first instructable :) hope you get a chance to try and make it!