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DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand

Make this DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand in a weekend using common wood and easy build techniques!

DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand Plans

I was cruising the Restoration Hardware catalog looking for some ideas for my next build, when I ran into the Printmaker’s Series.  I was immediately in love with the Printmaker’s Side Table and started working on a version of my own to use in the bedroom as a nightstand.  This DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand is what I ended up with … and I’m in love!

I love the shape of this piece, the flush top and sides give it a sleek feel with clean lines.  The nightstand is distressed just enough to give a rustic feel, but not enough to take away from the modern look.

You can make the DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand entirely out of wood and supplies from your local home center and with pocket hole joinery.  This version of the rustic side table has a poplar frame for a little added durability paired with pine panels and drawers.

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DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand 04

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Here is what you’ll need for the project:

Materials/Supplies

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Here is the cut list you’ll use to make the DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand.

DIY 3 drawer nightstand cut list

 

DIY-3-drawer-nighstand-measurements

free project plan download

Cut the 1×6’s and 2×2’s for the side panels, top and back.  Make sure all the pieces are consistent in length and width to get tight fitting panels without gaps.  Each side panel is made of (3) 19-7/8″ 1×6’s surrounded by a 16-1/2″ top and bottom 2×2 and (2) 26″ 2×2’s for the sides.

DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand

Prepare one of the side assemblies by drilling pocket holes in the 1×6’s and 2×2’s.  I use a Kreg K4 to drill my pocket holes.  If this jig is out of your price range, Kreg also has lower priced models like the Kreg R3 and the Kreg Mini which give you the exact same holes but just take a little longer to use.

Drilling Pocket Holes in Nightstand Drilling Pocket Holes in Nightstand

Assemble the 1×6 side panels using 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws.

DIY nightstand panel pocket hole joinery

After joining the 1×6’s together, attach the top and bottom 2×2’s to the panel and then attach the side 2×2’s.  I used a combination of the Kreg Face Clamp and the HART Quicktight C-Clamp to clamp together the different sized pieces during assembly.

DIY 3 drawer nightstandDIY 3 drawer nightstand

Next assemble the back of the nightstand, which is exactly like the side assemblies you just made except it doesn’t have 2×2’s on the left and right.

DIY 3 drawer nightstand

Now connect the sides and the back together, clamping the pieces firmly together while assembling.  Use a known right angle to check for square during assembly.  I also used the Rockler Assembly Square with clamps on each side to hold the pieces together while attaching them.

DIY 3 drawer nightstand DIY 3 drawer nightstand

The last major assembly to build and attach is the top.  It uses (3) 16-1/2″ 1×6’s with only 16-1/2″ 2×2 frame on what will be the front of the panel.

DIY 3 drawer nightstand

Now we’ll get a little creative to attach the top.  Flip over the nightstand and clamp everything firmly in place.  Since you can’t effectively clamp the backside of the top, pull those dusty dumbbells or other heavy objects out and use them to hold the top down flush to the workbench.

Start by screwing the top to the back and then work your way down both sides and finish with attaching the front 2×2 frame.

DIY 3 drawer nightstand

The last pieces of the 3 Drawer nightstand to attach are the (3) remaining 16-1/2″ 2×2 front stretchers.  Attach the bottom stretcher first and align it with the bottom 2×2’s of the sides.

DIY 3 drawer nightstand

To get perfect spacing on the remaining stretchers, cut 5-7/8″ spacers and use them to position the 2nd and 3rd stretcher.  This sized opening will give your 1×6 drawer fronts a 1/16″ reveal on the top and bottom.

DIY 3 drawer nightstand

Now that the body of the 3 drawer nightstand is done, it’s time to make those 3 drawers.  Before you start cutting the drawers, take the measurements of the drawer openings and adjust as necessary, leaving enough room for your drawer slides (1/2″ on each side for me).

Use 1×6’s for the draws and cut (6) side pieces at 16″ long and (3) fronts and (3) backs both at 14″ long.  Then rip the (6) sides and (3) fronts down to 4-1/2″ in width and the (3) backs down to 4″ in width.

Now cut grooves in the sides and front to accept the bottom panel, the back pieces don’t get a groove since they will be ripped smaller later.  The groove should be on the bottom of the inside face of each board and should be 1/4″ deep, 1/4″ wide, and 1/4″ up from the bottom.

DIY 3 drawer nightstand

Drill pocket holes in the outside face of the front and the back drawer pieces on both ends.  Flip the pieces so the top edges are on the workbench and assemble the drawer with 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws.  Make sure the grooves in the sides and front are all facing inward and are aligned where they meet in the corners.  The Kreg Right Angle clamp is a lifesaver when building drawers.

Kreg Jig Drawer Assembly Kreg Jig Drawer Assembly Kreg Jig Drawer Assembly

When finished you have a U-shaped channel made by the grooves and open on the back.  Cut a bottom panel to size so it will go into the channel and fully overlap the back piece.  Slide the panel in and attach it to the back piece of the drawer with 3/4″ screws.

Here is a shot of my drawers all with views of (starting from the bottom) the front, back, and bottom back.

DIY 3 drawer nighstand

The last thing to attach are the drawer slides.  Because the outside is flush with the frame, there is a 3/4″ difference between the frame and the inside of the panels.

Cut (6) 15-7/8″ cleats from the 1×4 (it’s okay they’re 1/8″ shorter than the drawer slide since it saves from using another board).  Premount the drawer slides to 1×4 cleats and then attach the cleats to the inside of the panel.  Using a jig to mount your slides will help with consistency.

drawer slide jig

To mount the cleats to the nightstand body, predrill 1/4″ holes in the corners of the cleats.  Locate them at the height recommended in your drawer slides instructions.

DIY 3 Drawer Slides

Now you can mount the drawer extensions to the drawers using the same jig from before.  You’ll need to mount them 3/4″ back from the front of the drawer to account for the false drawer front and 2×2 frame.  I used a scrap block the same thickness as the drawer front as a spacer for this.

drawer slide jig

Now all that is left is the staining and attaching the drawer fronts.  I went with a Kona stain from Rustoleum.

DIY 3 drawer nightstand

Install the drawers so you can measure and adjust the fronts as necessary.

DIY 3 drawer nightstand

Cut the false drawer fronts to size and attach them from the back with 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws through 5/16″ holes drill in the front of the drawer box.  This gives you some wiggle room to adjust the drawer front just right for perfect reveals.

Before mounting the drawer pulls, I put 3 coats of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal wiping varnish on the outside and drawer fronts.  It is a wonderful finish and easy to apply.

Lastly mount your drawer pulls by drilling through both the drawer box and the false front and use the long bolts the pulls came with.

IMG_0843 - 3 DIY 3 drawer nightstand handle

That’s it!  You’ve got yourself an awesome DIY 3 Drawer Nightstand for a fraction of the cost of buying it at the store.

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  • Tony

    Home Depot, at least in my area, carries 2x2x8 select pine. It’s less money than the poplar. In my area it was laying flat below the rest of the select pine…almost out of view.

    • Brad

      Yeah, you could go with pine too for sure. The poplar takes stain much better and is a little more durable, that’s why I chose it for this.

  • Krissy

    Please excuse my ignorance. What did you use to cut the grooves for the drawers?

    • Brad

      I used a tablesaw, Krissy. You could also just cut the panel a little bigger and nail it to the bottom as well if you don’t have a tablesaw.

  • Linda Baldock

    Nice build and thanks for the easy-to-follow plans.

  • Dennis

    Almost finished with my “copy” of your great plan. I’m wondering about the attachment of the drawer fronts. My case and fronts are stained and sealed and ready to mount but I have a slight gap (drawer front to false front) on one side of one drawer that I need to slightly shim, How many 5/16 holes did you drill and what was the hole placement on the false fronts? Also, did you glue and clamp? Thanks for the advice and for the great plan. I’m going to make a chest of drawers to match, following the basic plan!

  • Mark

    My first foray into furniture building. Thanks so much for the plans and inspiration. This was so much fun!

  • Garrett Mercier

    Also my first cabinet build, first dado cuts, and first drawers. A person asked me to build a 2 drawer cabinet with very specific dimensions (13″x24″x24″). I found this article, modified, and built it. Thanks for the help! Cost me about $130 for anyone interested, and about 5 hours total time. I went with $20/drawer hardware which brought the price up a bit.

  • Garrett Mercier

    Also my first cabinet build, first dado cuts, and first drawers. A person asked me to build a 2 drawer cabinet with very specific dimensions (13″x24″x24″). I found this article, modified, and built it. Thanks for the help! Cost me about $130 for anyone interested, and about 5 hours total time. I went with $20/drawer hardware which brought the price up a bit. “Provincial” color Minwax stain with 3 coats of poly.

    Here are some pictures of my finished product.

  • Fernando Balandran

    Hi Brad my very first project almost done with one, just need to stain it we went with Espresso. I have one question if I wanted to do mortise and tenon, and maybe spline joint, and butt joint for the 3 piece board. Should I be worried about wood movement? I guess what I’m asking is how would you tackle it without pocket holes? Thank you!

    • Fernando Balandran

      Here’s latest pic

      • Fernando this is awesome!!! Did you end up going with the pocket holes or something else?

        • Fernando Balandran

          Hi Brad well I wanted to try something different than pocket holes for my second one, but I was short on time so I went ahead with pocket holes. Needless to say second one looks a lot better than the one on the picture. Nice plan! Thank you!

  • Kent

    Thank you for the plans I used them to make two nightstands and plan on using the same general process to make a 6 drawer dresser. Had a few minor challenges (warped wood, imperfect cuts) mostly due to poor quality wood and bad craftsmanship..hahah. Wish I could justify buying a planer it would have made the end product a bit better!