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Bedroom: DIY Parsons Nightstand

After living in our home for over four years, I can finally say, as of last weekend, our bedroom is completely finished! And what a soothing relief that is in my life. Bedrooms often seem to be cast aside in favor of rooms that are seen by guests and enjoyed by the entire family. In our case, we have very little space in our master bedroom (for someone not living in a New York apartment, that is), so the challenge of finding pieces that fit in the room and aligned with our tastes was a little daunting.

I shared earlier about how we opted to use an open closet system in this room and how we had finally rearranged the room to flow better. The only problem was that we didn’t have enough room beside our newly relocated bed to use our hodgepodge vintage nightstands! I had considered mounting little shelves on either side of the bed for a space-saving nightstand solution, but after considering that option, I knew our bulkier bed could really use something with a bit more presence to balance it out. So I drew up these Parsons-style nightstands and got to work on sourcing the materials, which were surprisingly inexpensive. This project ended up being quite the money saver, and I just love the style too! The sleek, modern tables look great alongside our more traditional bed that my dad had made for my parents when they were newlyweds. (My parents have upgraded to a king size bed, so they passed the bed on to us.)


Am I gushing about this project a little? I might be gushing a bit, but really, I’m just so happy to finally have the perfect wall in our bedroom to retreat from the chaos of life at the end of the day. Ahhhh. Feels good.

Materials Needed:
-2 pieces of 8′ 2×10 lumber cut into the lengths shown above
-sandpaper (100 grit regular sandpaper and 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper)
-paint + primer (This is my favorite primer I always use and I prefer to brush on primer instead of using spray primer.)
wood filler
wood glue

Tools Needed:
Kreg pocket hole jig
Kreg face clamp (or any small clamp)
Kreg right angle clamp
Kreg 1 1/2″ screws
Kreg paint grade plugs
putty scraper
-power drill
orbital sander (helpful, but not necessary)
-level (not shown)

Step One: Clamp the pocket jig to the edge of the 28″ long boards and drill pocket holes — two on each side as shown above. Make sure you select the roughest side of the lumber to drill into and keep the sleeker side for the outside of your nightstand.

Unless you are familiar with pocket hole jigs, I highly recommend keeping the scrap pieces of your 2×10 and practice joining them together to get the spacing of your jig and the collar of your drill bit in the perfect place. I’m pretty familiar with pocket hole jigs, and I still practice every time before drilling into my final pieces.

Step Two: Clamp the 28″ long boards to the 13″ piece as shown above, using the handy dandy right angle clamp that I finally bought after years of pocket hole drilling. Totally worth the small investment — it made this step easy and way less cumbersome than using long clamps.

Step Three: Make sure the two pieces you’ve clamped are square and perfectly flush, and then drill your Kreg screws into the pocket holes.

Step Four: Insert the 11 7/8″ piece of wood into the table’s opening as shown above. The distance from the top that you choose to place it is totally up to you! Once you have it where you want it, make sure the piece is level from side to side and from front to back before proceeding.

Step Five: Drill a pilot hole through the side pieces and into the 11 7/8″ shelf you just positioned in step 4. Make sure you countersink the pilot hole so your screw will sit in the hole instead of poking out. I used two screws on either side of the nightstand to hold the middle shelf in place.

Step Six: Use the Kreg plugs and wood glue to fill the pocket holes. Then fill any holes, splintering, and knots in the wood with wood filler.

Step Seven: Once the wood filler is completely dry (I happened to let mine sit overnight), sand down the entire piece until it is very smooth to the touch. If there are any holes or dents still noticeable to the touch, do another coat of wood filler and more sanding before proceeding.

Step Eight: Prime and paint the nightstands. If you want the best finish for your paint, here’s what you should do:

Brush on a thick coat of 1 2 3 primer, but not so thick that it is dripping. Once dry, dip a piece of your wet/dry sandpaper into water and wet sand the entire piece. Make sure you change out the sandpaper when it stops being effective. Keep the sandpaper wet at all times. Sand and dip. Dip and sand. You will notice this process will even out any brush strokes and makes the wood really sleek and smooth, making the wood grain completely unnoticeable. It may take two coats of priming and wet sanding to achieve this.

Then spray two light coats of your paint, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Wait at least a day before setting anything on your nightstands so the paint can cure.

You may choose to put pads or levelers on the bottom of your nightstand, but since mine were sitting on carpet, I didn’t need to.

I thought some of you might be interested in other items in the room, so I’ve rounded up sources for you. Here they are!

-Art: Debbie Carlos x Scout & Catalogue
-Lights: Urban Outfitters
-Rug: Amazon
-Radio: Vermont Country Store
-Bedding: Target
-Pillow: West Elm (no longer available)
-Bed: Handmade by my dad (proud daughter!)

This was a really gratifying project to do, and I think it fits our space perfectly! If you don’t get up toooo close to it, you might think I bought it from a store like West Elm or something, eh? See, DIY doesn’t always have to look DIY! –Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.


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