How to Give Your Nightstand a DIY Storage Upgrade

Say goodbye to bedside clutter. These simple do-it-yourself additions will more than double your nightstand's storage potential.

modern bedroom with DIY nightstand
Photo: Brie Passano
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Do you ever feel like you can't keep your nightstand clean? Books pile up, a lamp takes up valuable surface area, and charging cords twist and tangle until you don't know which cord is for what device. What you need isn't a new nightstand, but rather a few simple storage upgrades. We built two separate add-ons—a charging station and a lower shelf—to maximize the storage potential of this bedside table. Follow along with our steps below to see how to build your own!

We used a Target side table as the foundation for our project and all measurements are customized to it. If you're using a different table, make sure to cut boards to your own measurements.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Cordless drill or screwdriver
  • Level
  • Table saw
  • 2-inch hole saw bit
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Nail gun


  • Nightstand or side table
  • 8 1-inch L-brackets
  • 32 2-inch screws
  • 3/4 x 24 x 48-inch white oak board
  • 1/4 x 24 x 48-inch plywood
  • Dowel kit
  • Wood glue
  • Hook and loop tape
  • Power strip


  1. Make Cuts

    Cut your wood to the below dimensions.

    Piece Dimensions Quantity
    Bottom Shelf 3/4 x 20 x 10 inches 1
    Top Board 3/4 x 20 x 7 inches 1
    Side Boards 3/4 x 6 x 3 inches 2
    Back plywood 1/4 x 18-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches 1
  2. attaching L brackets to nightstand legs

    Install Brackets

    First, you'll add a shelf to the base of your nightstand. On each leg, measure 7 inches from the bottom and install an L-bracket. The L-brackets should face each other to provide a base for the shelf. Use the level to ensure they are mounted level.

    Measure the depth between the front and back legs at this height to determine the depth for your shelf. Measure the width from the outside of the front legs and add 2 inches. This will determine the width for your shelf. Once you have these dimensions, cut the 3/4-inch-thick piece of wood to size. We used white oak.

  3. attaching L bracket to bottom shelf

    Install Bottom Shelf

    Once you've cut your wood, place it on top of the mounted brackets. You should have roughly 1 inch protruding past the legs on either side. Once in place, secure it from the bottom to the L-brackets. It is easiest to drill from the bottom, so you might want a partner to help hold the board steady while you drill the first few screws.

  4. securing shelf side with L brackets

    Assemble Top Shelf

    Next, you'll build the shelf that tops your nightstand. Measure the top of your nightstand to determine the width and length for your top shelf. You'll need one long board and two short boards. Our shelf was 20 inches wide by 6-1/2 inches deep by 4 inches tall.

    Once cut to size, line up the edges of your side pieces with the edges on the bottom side of your top piece and then move the side pieces in about 1/2-inch each. Once in place, secure with two L-brackets on each side.

  5. drilling hole in shelf with hole saw

    Build Back of Top Shelf

    The back of the top shelf is a thin plywood so you can drill a large hole in it. Measure the back of your top shelf to determine the size for your 1/4-inch plywood board. Once cut, use a 2-inch hole saw drill bit to drill a hole in the desired location. This hole will accommodate the cord for your power strip, so it's best for the hole to be made on the side of the board that's closer to the outlet on the wall.

    Sand edges, if necessary, and wipe clean with a tack cloth. Attach plywood board to the back of the top shelf using a nail gun.

  6. Attach Top Shelf

    Next you will attach the top shelf to the desk using a dowel kit. Every dowel kit is different, so follow the manufacturer's instructions. If you are using a kit similar to ours, first drill two holes into the bottom edges of the shelf. Then place the marker stubs into the holes with the points facing out. Hover the shelf directly over where you want it placed on the nightstand and push down. The point on the marker stubs will make an indent on the nightstand where the holes for the dowels should go. Remove the shelf, drill holes at the marks, and insert dowels. Finally, remove marker stubs and place the shelf on the dowels with the holes aligned. If desired you can add a dab of wood glue to bottom of the top shelf before sliding onto the dowels for security.

  7. placing power strip into shelf

    Attach Power Strip

    Finally, place hook-and-loop adhesive strips on the back of a power strip, then feed the cord through the hole in the back of your shelf. Both sides of the adhesive strips should be on the power strip, with the sticker of the top one removed. As you near the back of the shelf, press on the power strip and adhesive strips firmly, securing them in place.

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