DIY Modern Two Drawer Nightstand

We’ve moved SEVERAL times in the last few years, but this last time was rather odd.ย  I literally sold almost everything we had so we didn’t have to move it.ย  Then, RIGHT BEFORE WE PACKED UP THE SHOP, I built a brand new DIY modern bedroom set with two oversized DIY modern nightstands and a queen size bed.


WHAT?! Why in the world?


I dunno.ย  I mean, I think I just panicked.ย  I was afraid I’d be without a shop for forever (a little dramatic, I know), so I felt some strong urge to build a bunch of crap I didn’t need last minute.


Also, when I sold our old bedroom set, Danny told me not to build a new one until we got to our new home because he was afraid I would change my mind on what I wanted (he knows me well ๐Ÿ™‚ ).ย  But, after one long night on a mattress on the floor, he turned to me in the morning and asked “how quick do you think you could have that new bed built?” HAHAHAHAHA.ย  You didn’t have to ask me twice ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  I went to the lumber yard for the stuff THAT DAY.


What he didn’t know is that in addition to the bed, I wanted cute nightstands.ย  He hadn’t agreed to the nightstands.ย  But when I went to the lumber yard, I added a few extra board feet to my order and crossed my fingers that it would be enough to get the nightstands made without Danny knowing ๐Ÿ˜‰

And it was!ย  And Danny was not NEARLY as excited as I was about it haha.ย  But, even though they are tucked safely (I hope) back in storage until we get our new place built (stay tuned for a blog post on the whole story), I love them and I am so glad I have them and I CANNOT wait to set them up to use them…finally!


So without further blabbering, I’m sharing the how to ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I made this whole set out of poplar and it really gave it a fun, modern feel.ย  I was able to build two large nightstands and the bed for about $200 in poplar.ย  That’s a STEAL. By the way, the plans for the bed will be out later this fall.ย  I wasn’t able to get the finished pictures of it before moving.ย  In the meantime, check out this gorgeous king size storage bed plan ย ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  And also, check out the plans for these other modern nightstands I built a while back to go with my DIY mid century dresser.


I’ve got the video tutorial for you here, and the step by step below ๐Ÿ™‚



This post contains affiliate links.ย  See disclosure policy for details.


Here’s what you’ll need per nightstand:

(1) 1x10x8

(3) 2x2x8

(2) 1x8x8

(2) 1x6x8

1/2 sheet 1/4″ plywood

Dowel Jig


Wood Glue

Kreg Pocket Hole Jig

1 1/4″ pocket hole screws


Miter Saw

Circular Saw or Table Saw


Router (optional)

Rabbeting bit

(2) pair 16″ drawer slides

(2) large modern drawer pulls

Step 1: Cut and Assemble Side Frames for DIY Modern Nightstand

Now, I made my nightstand from poplar.ย  Some big box stores and some local lumber yards will have poplar, but many of them will not have poplar in anything other than 1xs.ย  So, if you are going that route (like me), you’ll have to make your own 2x2s for the frame by gluing 1xs together and ripping them down to 1 1/2″ square.ย  OR, you can grab some standard pine 2x2s from the store instead.


I cut my four “legs” from 2x2s at 24″ long, and four top and bottom pieces of my sides from 2x2s at 14″ long.ย  To assemble the two frames, I used dowels and this awesome dowel jig from Rockler.ย  This was my first time using dowels and it wasn’t difficult, but you HAVE to pay attention to where you line up your jig to drill your holes so they will line up.ย  As long as you pay CLOSE attention, it’s super easy.ย  But, if desired, you can always pocket hole them together as well ๐Ÿ™‚

Use dowels to assemble the frames for DIY modern Nightstand

Basically, to assemble the frame with dowels, you just drill a hole SLIGHTLY deeper than 1/2″ the length of your dowel into both pieces you are joining.ย  Then you apply wood glue, insert the dowel, then squeeze (clamp) together while the glue dries.

Step 2: Add Side Panels to DIY Nightstand Frames

Now that you have two frames (wait for the glue to dry from step 1!) assembled, now it’s time to add the panels.ย  For this, glue (or pocket hole screw if desired) two pieces of 1×8 together to make a panel about 15″ long and 14″ wide.ย  Typical 1x8s are 7 1/4″ wide, so gluing two together will make 14 1/2″ wide…so just trim these down once glued.


Drill 3/4″ pocket holes along the two long edges and attach like shown using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

Step 3: Assemble the Remaining Nightstand Frame

Now that the two side panels are assembled, next is the rest of the frame.ย  There will be a 2×2 at the top front, back front, and back bottom.ย  Cut three of these at 30″ long and attach using either dowels or pocket holes and screws.ย  I used dowels again just like in step 1.ย  Make sure to pay attention to the location of the holes so the pieces line up.

Step 4: Add Decorative Edge to Nightstand Frame

Using a router and a rabbeting bit, I cut a small (about 1/8″ deep) notch around the edge of the top of the frame.ย  This is totally optional and serves no other purpose other than I just thought it looked cool haha.ย  It makes it look like there’s a “riser” or something between the frame and the top.

Step 5: Add Top to Nightstand

Glue (or pocket hole and screw) two pieces of 1×10 together to make a panel about 33″ wide and 17″ deep.ย  Gluing together two 1×10 will give you a width of 18 1/2″ย  Just trim down after gluing.

Sand and glue onto the top of the nightstand frame.ย  The top should sit flush on all sides.

Step 6: Install Drawers

The last step in building these nightstands is to install the drawers.ย  I built two drawers for each nightstand for this from plywood scraps and used poplar for the fronts so it would match the rest of the piece.ย  You can see how I assemble drawers in this post.


First, I attached the 16″ slides to the carcass.

For my drawer boxes, I ripped my scrap plywood to about 6″ wide.ย  But you could also use 1×6 boards for this instead.ย  I assembled the drawers with dadoes for the bottoms and pocket holes and screws for the sides.

Then, I installed them into the nightstand carcass on the drawer slides.

Once everything was lined up, I cut two pieces of poplar for the fronts at 7 1/4″ x 29 3/4″.ย  I screwed these in from the backside to attach.

The last thing is to finish the piece and add drawer pulls.ย  First, the finish.


I used natural color Watco Danish Oil.ย I wanted the natural color of the poplar to show up, but wanted something that would dry “clean” and not still feel oily even after it’s dry.ย  Sometimes I use mineral oil for a natural finish…but it never really dries.ย  Danish oil does, though ๐Ÿ™‚


Now let’s talk about this hardware.ย  Freaking gorgeous.ย  I LOVED these long pulls from D Lawless Hardware.ย  They were about 17 inches long!!!ย  And you wouldn’t believe the price.ย  SERIOUSLY.ย  Get you some!!ย  They’re cheap ๐Ÿ˜‰

Keep your eyes peeled because I will be using this exact same style pull in a slightly smaller size (they come in all sizes!) in our new kitchen in our new home very soon! (PS blog post explaining the move, the new home, and all our plans coming soon…lots of exciting news.)


Anyway, that’s it.ย  A two drawer modern nightstand.ย  I’m actually planning to skip the dresser in the new house since these two nightstands have so much storage space in these large drawers.

I love the variation here in the wood.ย  I know some people hate poplar, but I really love the look.ย  I love leaving it out in the sun to darken some after oiling.ย  Did you know wood “tans” in the sun?ย  It does…it’s crazy how much darker it can get just from sun.


If you look really close at the top drawer in the pictures, you can see a “tan line” around the left side of the drawer pull.ย  I left the piece in my shop with another leaning on it and the sun shone through the window for a few days on it and tanned it.ย  Over time, it’ll even out.ย  Isn’t that weird??

Alright so what do you think??ย  Love it or hate it?? Actually, if you hate it, just don’t tell me, okay? HAHA!ย  I just love this modern style…so simple, but classy and clean.


Plans for the modern bed I built to match coming soon ๐Ÿ™‚ย  It’s worth the wait, I promise!ย  Lots of fun, simple, clean, modern builds for our new home coming soon.ย  So if you aren’t already following on social media (Instagram and Facebook), and getting email updates, be sure to follow and sign up so you don’t miss anything!


Oh, and don’t forget to pin this for later ๐Ÿ™‚

Until next time, happy building! ๐Ÿ™‚

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3 Comment

  1. Kelly B
    July 30, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    I love it! Looking forward to your bed reveal!

  2. Andrea
    October 2, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Can you tell me the dimensions of this nightstand? It is beautiful! I have been shopping around forever, and never finding JUST the right one (under $2500 EACH!), so I think I’ll just build a couple of these beauties. They hit my style markers: modern, but not overtly mid-century to the point that I will get sick of them when that trend wears thin again, and solid wood with clean lines that border on traditional. Oh, also do you have an estimated cost to build? Thanks so much for sharing your plans.

    1. Shara, Woodshop Diaries
      December 15, 2018 at 10:44 am

      These are about 32″ wide I believe and about 25″ tall and 16″ deep (if I remember correctly). The cost would totally depend on the type of wood you use. I used poplar and I bought $200 worth and build a bed and two nightstands from it.

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