Floating Bedside Table




About: boldly doing what my mother told me not to.

Hello there! Welcome to my very first Instructable. If you like it please consider voting for me.

I spend a lot of time in bed. I'm disabled and need to rest a lot. It's an incredibly comfortable bed with handy drawers underneath. Unfortunately the drawers make it difficult to have a bedside table. I was clearing out some old magazines a while ago and had a couple of spare magazine files - cheap wooden ones from Ikea. It occurred to me that they would make good floating shelves if I could find some way of suspending them. A few weeks later I was visiting someone else's house and noticed some very handy door hooks that would be perfect for hanging the shelves.

To make a floating bedside table you will need:

A wooden magazine holder
Two over the door hooks that will fit the width of the side strut of your bedframe
Wood varnish or paint a similar colour to your bed frame
Sandpaper of different grades
A paintbrush
Craft knife
Dremel with various attachments
Drill with metal drilling bit
Hammer and piece of cloth
Two nuts, bolts, and washers
A Philips head screwdriver
Two sticking plasters (or more depending on how competent you are with tools)
*Animals are optional but highly recommended

***Safety disclaimer: this Instructable involves using tools that can cause injury or damage to property if not used competently. Do be careful and know your limits fellow instructonauts!***

Step 1: Preparing the Shelves

Now it might seem to some that I've gone about things a little backwards because I begin by varnishing my shelves. It just so happened that we had a break in the general gloom that is summer in Manchester so I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and get the varnishing done. If you want to make the necessary holes in your shelves first then skip ahead to step two and then do step one.

The IKEA magazine files are made of relatively rough unfinished wood so they'll need a bit of a going over with 80 grit sandpaper. If you are using similar magazine files make sure you go with the grain (natural markings on wood). When you've had enough of sanding give it a wipe with a cloth to get rid of the dust. Now you're ready to start painting.

I'm not going to say too much on this next step as there are far too many ways to decorate your floating bedside shelf. You can wax, oil, paint, varnish, modge podge magazine pictures; the world is your oyster!

I chose to varnish mine a similar colour to my bed frame. I used three coats of varnish sanding with 120 grit paper in between, passing the drying time by watching the cats and dog cavort.

To avoid washing the brush out each time wrap it in a plastic bag to stop it from drying out.

Step 2: Attaching the Hooks

Balance your hooks on the shelf and mark where you need to make holes to accommodate the small lip on the hook. Where you place your brackets will determine whether your shelf is open at the front or not. I opted for the latter so that I can stash chocolate there without it being seen.

Using a craft knife score along the marks you have made. I put a bit of from tape on the interior to reduce splintering. The magazine file was made of fairly thin wood so it didn't take much to cut through.

Use a dremel and drill bit to tidy up the slot you have made to make it uniform in shape and to remove any rough bits/splinters. Test out the slot with the hook and make adjustments if needed.

Using a drill and metal bit make a hole in each hook just under where it attaches to the bed frame. My hooks are made of stainless steel so it took a little while to cut right the way through and it got very very hot so do be careful.

As you can see I wasn't terribly fussy about getting holes bang on dead centre. It will be hidden from view anyway. If during drilling your hook starts to bend just give it a tap back into shape with a hammer. I de-burred using a dremel with grinding bit.

Attach your hooks to the shelf. You may need to tap it firmly home with a hammer, shielding the hook with a piece of material. Drill through the hole in the hook to make a hole in the wood underneath wide enough to accommodate your bolt. Take the rough bits off the inside of the shelf with the craft knife.

Bolt your hooks to the shelf, placing a washer on the inside, and tighten using a Philips screwdriver and a pair of pliers. Place a sticking plaster over each screw head to prevent it scratching your bed frame. I'll replace mine with pieces of leather eventually.

Suspend your floating bedside shelf from the bed frame and check to see if it's roughly level. If not you can bend the hook that goes over the bed a small amount to see if that helps. It's one of those intuitive adjustments so I can't be too prescriptive about it but if you make it worse bend it in the opposite direction. :)

Check that the shelf can support the weight of something roughly the same weight as a hot cup of joe so that if it does collapse you don't find yourself in hot water. (igmc)

Step 3: Enjoy!

Once you are all done and satisfied with its stability lie back and have a lovely cuppa to hand whilst enjoying unfettered access to your drawers. ;)

If I've made any errors or you have any helpful suggestions please comment below. And if you like it don't forget to vote. :D



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    31 Discussions


    3 years ago

    where do you get the wood peice


    4 years ago

    This something both of my sons need due to having trundle beds that underneath theirs that pull out. They both have their beds again one wall as well so no place available for a nightstand. This is a doable option!

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Great job I actually like that idea @crank_girl I wish I could have one

    Hello. :) I don't see the option to vote, so I favoutrite instead. (guess the contest is over?)

    Anyway, I didn't actually read the whole thing because I have to get going now, but I wanted to say this is a very good idea. Nice of you to share for those who may need it. I don't think it would work for my mother.

    I was also going to provide a translation for the Portuguese comment but then I read a little further and it seems someone already did. Having not read the entire Instructable, I am not sure why he mentioned cats, but assume there is a reason. :)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Olá boa tarde, um abraço amigo aqui de Portugal. Gostei da sua ideia, bem pensada!! mas adorei os seus gatos, eu tenho seis selvagens mais os amigos deles que quase todos os dias vêem comer gratis.

    4 replies

    i thought, "either she speaks portuguese, or {hopefully} one of those 'translate' signs pops up!" [i guess neither] :)

    up above, i wondered if you meant england, or new york, but i'm sure manchester, ny is as bloody hot, blazing sunny & humid as is buffalo {further reading ~ phrases, & colour vs color ~ cleared the mystery up} :)

    i'm getting right on this fantastic project a.s.a.p, & i'mvotingfor you, so no more comments about my DRAWERS, please ;D


    Reply 4 years ago

    Ah, right! Thanks for the translation. You guessed right, it's Manchester UK (unfortunately). Good luck with your drawers - you'll be surprised at how much they will hold! :)


    notunfortunately; it's beautiful there!

    did u see 'mulberry' when bert referred to alice's underpants as "your big drawers"? :D i'm surprised @ how much my drawers hold every time i gain an ounce!

    because of your idea, i'm also going to attach something similar to one end of my bed so the pillow doesn't fall on the floor all the time. i have a twin bed, but no head or foot boards cuz i'm 5'10", & those hamper stretching & thrashing.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Very Nice instructable! I voted for you & I hope you win. I also agree with everyone else that you have a very handsome Parson Jack Russel terrier. I had one as a child and she was the best dog ever. Bit of a bed hog though. I find that to be the price one pays to have a wonderful dog in their lives.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks holly. Yeah, total bed hog. What with him and the four cats there's barely any room for my partner and I. :)


    Reply 4 years ago

    The cup holder is a great idea. I have yet to complete a matching one for my partner so I'll include your idea. Thanks!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    nice look and explicit instructions, thanks!