DIY Parsons Nightstand

DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!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.

DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!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.

DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!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

DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!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)

DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!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.

DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!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.

DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!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.

DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!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.

DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!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.

DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!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.

DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!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!)

DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!DIY Parsons Nighstand— lumber needed is only $8!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.

  • These are adorable. You ladies are so talented.

  • I just bought a kreg jig for another project (Im renovating a vintage trailer!!) and that is a miracle tool. It is a billion times sturdier and easier than trying to screw at an angle. I wish I knew about it sooner!

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  • So cool! Your bedroom looks lovely!


  • Love this chic and modern nightstand!


  • It looks so simple and classic! Versatile too – if you ever moved and wanted bigger night stands, these would work well in a kid’s room or as a side table!

  • oh my god I AM SO MAKING THIS! I don’t own a pocket hole jig so I might just screw in from the top and fill it in but you’ve really got my DIY bones rattlin’ 🙂

  • This looks great, Mandi!! I have the same problem of a very tight space for our nightstands, and have been looking around for some DIY inspiration. I will probably end up doing something a little different, I think I want to cantilever the shelf (and add a base) so it can be turned to use as a mini desk, but yours is very close to what I envisioned! I love the tip for getting a smooth surface. In the pictures, you really can’t tell that it’s wood!

  • Loving this nightstand!! So modern!!

  • This is great! After a disastrous bedside table DIY/painting attempt a few years ago, I will definitely follow these tips on my next attempt!!

  • So simple but it looks so good

  • I like how simple it looks, no embellishments whatsoever, I really like that!

  • Right now we have long chairs, cause we haven’t decide what to use as tables for our bed. We have a pretty high bed, so normal ones doesn’t work. But this is a very good choice when you have a higher bed 🙂 Thanks for this tutorial.

  • Your bedside table are lovely (and would probably work in just about any room!), but whoa, that bed! Your dad is awesome!

  • I feel like I can recreate all sorts of Ikea furniture now, but that will be more solid. Thanks!

  • Love this!! Simplistic and elegant, yet very Mid-Century mod. It would compliment many different decor styles and looks lovely in your home. Great tutorial 🙂

  • Love this!! Simplistic and elegant, yet very Mid-Century mod. It would compliment many different decor styles and looks lovely in your home. Great tutorial 🙂

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