Blog,  Decor

Transform a $30 IKEA Dresser Into A Beautiful Custom Nightstand

There’s something about having actual matching nightstands that makes me feel like an adult. At 28 years old, I was tired of random mismatched tables next to my bed. Instead of purchasing new, expensive nightstands, I opted to turn two $30 IKEA dressers into custom nightstands.

There is no need to run out and buy a plain-Jane mini dresser or nightstand if you already have a piece of furniture (or two) that would work. This project can be as simple as painting and/or staining a dresser and upgrading to some prettier hardware. Or, you can customize further by adding extra wood pieces and more elaborate hardware, like I did.

Nightstand Before After

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This whole project took me a few evenings to finish. It shouldn’t have taken that long, but I ran into a hiccup when I stained them. The first one I stained (on the left in the picture below) turned out beautifully. I applied two coats of stain, added part of the hardware, and then stained the second nightstand. Apparently, I stirred the stain a LOT more before staining nightstand number two (on the right in the picture below). See the difference?

Custom Nightstands

I initially hated the color of the second nightstand. So much so that I ended up hauling them both into my house to decide which color I would ultimately use. Let’s just say I did NOT want to sand down the darker one and take the time to redo it. Once in my house, I decided the mistake was a blessing in disguise and opted to finish them both in the darker color.

Back outside to the garage they went. I applied another coat of stain to the first nightstand with the well-mixed stain (2 coats). Then both nightstands received a polyurethane topcoat to seal them.

How to Transform the IKEA Dresser into Custom Nightstands

  1. Add planks of wood to the tops of the dressers to give decor items and bedside essentials a wider space to sit on. The IKEA dresser has a lip at the top, so a solid filler piece was needed between the top of the original dresser and my new plank top. I used a paint stirring stick as my filler and screwed the planks into place. I didn’t fill in the holes with wood filler because I liked how it looked. But you absolutely can. **Update: I now have a finish nailer and wish I’d had it for this project. It would have worked perfectly to nail these tops down.**
  2. Add a small piece of trim right under the above-mentioned planks. It gives the nightstand a more elegant and polished look. Cut these down to length with a miter saw and use brad nails to secure them. **Update: I’d definitely use my finish nailer if I were to do this again!**
  3. The last touch is to add an extra wood plank around the base of both nightstands. The original dresser has a large awkward gap between the bottom drawer and the floor, so adding 4-inch planks solved that problem!

Bonus Addition to Your Custom Nightstands

Bun feet would look really nice on the bottom of these nightstands. I didn’t add them to my custom nightstands because I didn’t have the patience to order them, wait for the delivery, then add them to my nightstands. I wanted them in my bedroom, like, yesterday.

Drawer Pulls as the Finishing Touch

I found these really great drawer pulls on Amazon. They come in several lengths (which means I’ll probably buy some for my kitchen drawers?), and I chose the 13-inch pulls. To dress the handles up further, I added a thin piece of black spray-painted lattice between the drawer front and the handle. *Added bonus: this covered up the original hardware holes, so I didn’t have to fill them in. Win-win!

I love, love, LOVE how these turned out! As of February 2020, I have found that the IKEA Rast dresser is no longer available. 🙁 But, there are still plenty IKEA pieces or other thrift pieces that you can still pull off the same concept with!

What do you think? Is this something you could pull off?

Custom Nightstands Pin