Nightstand With Hidden Power Compartment




Introduction: Nightstand With Hidden Power Compartment

About: I'm an Electrical Engineer by training and profession. I enjoy working on complex problems and processes, and I especially like finding ways to do complex tasks more efficiently. My current interests are wo…

This instructable shows how I made a nightstand for my daughter that has a hidden compartment containing a power strip.

One of our daughters recently returned to college and is now living in an apartment. She asked if I could make her a nightstand to store some of her books. She left the basic layout of the nightstand up to me but did give me the following dimensions to work from: 24" tall x 18" deep x 18" wide.

I've posted several instructables about how I'm working on making shop cabinets and drawers for my garage, so I thought I would try my hand at making a nightstand with drawers and a shelf to hold her college books. In addition, I though I would add a place for a hidden power strip given how much electronics are typically put on a nightstand (phone, light, alarm, fan, etc.).

I made this nightstand over the course of a week and just recently delivered it to my daughter. I am fairly pleased with how it turned out from an appearance standpoint (I've never made a nightstand before).

Step 1: Tools & Materials


o Table saw

o Circular saw

o Hole saw (~2")

o Hacksaw/bandsaw (to cut piano hinge)

o Router

o Kreg pocket screw jig

o Air nailer (to nail on faceplates)

o Air stapler (to staple bottoms on drawers)


o 3/4" birch laminated plywood (it's what I had available)

o 1/4" birch plywood for drawer bottoms

o brass piano hinge

o power strip

o 17" drawer slides (see my other instructables for details)

o drawer knobs

o stain

o polyurethane sealer

Step 2: Sketch the Basic Design of the Nightstand

The first thing I did was sketch out the basic layout of the nightstand using the dimensions that my daughter gave me.

I've started sketching my designs on a piece of scrap wood to make them more permanent. All I did was sketch the basic outline, and then, as I built the nightstand, I added the dimensions for the various piece parts.

At this stage, the drawer dimensions are not that important. I was wanting to identify the approximate location of the bottom shelf, and the approximate heights of the top two drawers. Note, though, that I did sketch in a 4" section at the rear top portion of the nightstand to be hinged, as I wanted to build in a hidden electrical power outlet.

After I started building the sides, I decided to make the top so that it would have about a 2" overhang on the left, right, and front (20" x 22").

Step 3: Cut the Sides, Top, Shelf, Drawer Slide Supports, Front Faceplates, & Rear Supports ...

Using the basic sketch, I went ahead and cut the major pieces on the table saw.

The front faceplates and drawer supports are 1-1/2" wide. I decided to make the bottom shelf supports and top & bottom back supports about 5-1/4" tall.

Step 4: Add Drawer Slide Supports & Bottom Shelf Supports to Side Pieces

Using the same basic techniques that I describe in the other shop cabinet & drawer instructables, I positioned the two side pieces adjacent to each other and then drew lines for where the bottoms of the drawer supports should go. This will determine the actual heights of the drawers.

I attached the drawer slide supports and the bottom shelf supports with glue and 1-1/4" nails.

Step 5: Position Electrical Outlet & Drill Holes

I then took the rear top back support and positioned the electrical outlet on it and marked where I wanted to drill holes for the power cords.

I then drilled several 2" holes in the support to allow the plugs and cords to pass through to connect to the electrical outlet.

Step 6: Attach Drawer Slides to Drawer Slide Supports

Then I attached the drawer slides to the drawer slide supports.

It is much easier to do this BEFORE the cabinet is assembled.

See my other instructables for details.

Step 7: Assemble the Sides, Shelf, Bottom & Top Rear Supports, & Faceplates

I used the Kreg jig to drill pocket screw hole in the bottom of the shelf and in the two rear supports.

I attached the top and bottom rear supports and shelf using pocket screws & checked squareness.

I then attached the two horizontal faceplates using glue and nails, and then the cut the vertical faceplates to size and attached them with glue and nails. Note that the faceplates have a 1/4" radius on the outside edges (using the router table).

Step 8: Cut Top & Attach to Hinge & Base

I then made a judgement call concerning how deep the outlet box should (4") and then cut the top on the table saw.

I attached the 4" section to a piano hinge that had been cut to size and attached to the top rear support.

The top rear support needed to be lowered about 3/16" of an inch to allow the piano hinge to be flush with the sides of the nightstand. The nice thing about pocket screws is that you can remove them and adjust and that is what I did.

In addition, I added a support to act as the front of the hidden storage compartment and I added another 1-1/2" support just behind the top front faceplate (not shown in attached photos). Both of these had pocket screw holes drilled in the sides and the top. I then attached the larger portion of the top to the base using pocket screws.

Step 9: Make Drawers

I've described in other instructables how to make the drawers.

One difference in these drawers is that for the top drawer I added dividers so that the top drawer could be segmented if desired. I routed a 1/4" slot into the sides (before cutting the sides) and then cut the dividers to fit after assembly.

Step 10: Make Drawer Faceplates and Attach Knobs

For my shop cabinets, I did not make faceplates, but for the nightstand, I made faceplates that cleared the top and sides by at least 1/16" and then rounded the corners with a router.

Step 11: Stain & Polyurethane

I then stained the nightstand and added the polyurethane finish.

Step 12: Put in Service

I then delivered the finished nightstand to my daughter and she immediately put it to use.

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