Blog,  DIY Projects

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 mismatched tables next to my bed, so decided to turn two plain $30 IKEA dressers into custom nightstands.

This project can be as simple as painting and/or staining the 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. Should it have taken that long? No, but I ran into a hiccup when I stained them. The first one (on the left in the picture below) stained beautifully. I did two coats of stain, added part of the hardware, then stained the second stand before I sealed them. Apparently I stirred the stain a LOT more before staining nightstand number two (on the right in the picture below). See the difference? ?

Nightstand comparison

I initially hated the color of the second stand. 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 in the darker color.

Back out to my garage they went. I went over the first nightstand with the well-mixed stain (2 coats), then sealed both stands with a polyurethane topcoat.

This is How I Customized My Nightstands

  • I added planks of wood to the tops of the dressers to give them a wider surface for items to sit on. This was as simple as adding a paint stirring stick between the top of the original dresser and the planks I added. The sticks served as a solid filler for the planks to sit on. I screwed the planks down and left them like that. I didn’t fill in the screw holes with wood filler because I liked how it looked. **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.**
  • I added a small piece of trim right under the above mentioned planks. I think it gives the nightstand a more elegant and finished look. I cut these down to length using my miter saw and used brad nails to secure them. **Update: I’d definitely use my finish nailer if I were to do this again!**
  • The last touch I added was an extra plank of wood 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

I didn’t do this, but seriously considered it. Bun feet would look really nice on the bottom of these nightstands. Especially if you have a tall bed – it would help ensure your nightstand isn’t too short.

Drawer pulls are the perfect 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 used the 13 inch ones. To dress the handles up further, I added a thin piece of black spray painted lattice between the wood and 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 avaialble. 🙁 But, there are still plenty IKEA pieces, or other thrift pieces that you can still pull off the same concept with!

Nightstand Pin