1 Nightstand 5 Ways

Transform an unfinished nightstand into a custom table for your bedroom.

Nightstand Before

This unfinished nightstand has tons of potential, it just needs a little creativity.

Garden Chic

To get this cottage-inspired look:

1. Paint the Pieces: Paint the base of the cabinet; let dry. For a playful two-tone look, cover the top in a slightly brighter shade of the same color. Paint the molding white.
2. Cut Molding: After sketching a pattern you like, cut screen molding to size. Attach the painted pieces using wood glue. If desired, add trim nails to hold the pieces in place.
3. Add Beads: Use crafts glue to temporarily adhere glass beads to the top of the cabinet.
4. Glaze the Top: Follow manufacturer's instructions for applying epoxy over the beads. For finished edges, use painter's tape as a mold. When dry, use a palm sander with fine-grit paper to sand the edges. Clean the entire surface and edges with alcohol on a soft cloth.
5. Swap Hardware: Replace the standard wood knob with glass hardware to mimic the clear beads on top.

Molding Detail

The screen molding is thin enough for a small space like this door front and is very inexpensive.

Custom Top

Clear glass beads used for floral displays add shine to this tabletop. They appear to float in several coats of ultra-gloss epoxy, which looks like glass when dry.

Modernist Chic

To dress up your bedroom follow these simple steps:

1. Paint the Piece: Paint the entire nightstand a color that matches your décor.
2. Cut Ribbon: Cut a piece of foam-core board to fit snugly inside the door panel. Cut strips of ribbon to run horizontally (enough to cover the height of the panel when placed side by side), allowing an extra 2 inches on each strip for wrapping around to the back of the board. Repeat for vertical strips from another color ribbon.
3. Weave Ribbon: On the back of the board, tape vertical ribbons in place on top and horizontal ribbons on one side, and then fold ribbons over the top or side. Weave a horizontal ribbon across the vertical ribbons and tape the finished end in place on the back of the foam core. Repeat for remaining ribbons. Pop the finished panel into place.
4. Add Pulls to Top: Install oversize drawer pulls on three sides of the top.
5. Replace Hardware: Add a sleek new door pull in the same metal finish as the pulls on top.

Custom Paneling

Fill the inset with a ribbon design on foam-core board for an easy swap if your room decor changes.

Detailed Topper

Corral your stuff with large handles on three sides of the nightstand to keep papers, books, and other items from falling off the sides.

Monogram Nightstand

To personalize the nightstand, follow these steps:

1. Paint the Cabinet: For an aged effect, cover the nightstand in a base coat of paint. When dry, add a lighter shade of paint, then sand the edges to allow the darker color to show through. For contrast, paint the door panel a shade darker than the top coat.
2. Stencil a Monogram: To make a monogram stencil for the door panel, enlarge a letter on a photocopier. Use a fine-point marker to trace the image onto stencil plastic (available at crafts stores) and then cut it out with a crafts knife.
3. Glue Buttons: Use a strong adhesive, such as Liquid Nails, to attach buttons in a free-form pattern or a graphic shape to the table's front and sides.
4. Top it Off: Sandwich a flat item, such as a vintage hankie, under a piece of tempered glass cut to size (a hardware store can make the necessary cuts).
5. Add a Knob: Finish the night table with new hardware. You need only one, so you can splurge on an unusual knob.

Button Embellishments

Mother-of-pearl buttons are a subtle, tone-on-tone accent on this ivory cabinet.

Vintage Touches

A vintage hankie provided sweet inspiration for this nightstand. Use anything you love, such as a photo or a pretty piece of paper, to guide your design.

Rustic Redo

1. Stain the Table: Cover the nightstand in two coats of dark stain.
2. Add Bamboo Mats: Cut bamboo place mats to fit the top. Attach them with a strong glue such as Tough as Nails.
3. Grout the Mats: Use tinted grout to fill in between the bamboo pieces. Wipe away excess grout with a damp cloth.
4. Glue Paper to Door: Use a jigsaw to cut away the inset door panel. Sand rough edges and cover the hole with rice paper glued in place. Or cover the door panel with paper cut to size.
5. Install a New Knob: Add an Asian-inspired pull, such as this square aged-bronze knob.

Lit Up

For ambiance, set a battery-operated light inside the cabinet. It casts a pretty glow behind the rice paper.

Mat Tops

Bamboo place mats cover the top of a table in an inexpensive alternative to tile. The application also works with beaded or tiled place mats.

Grate Inspiration

Using a vintage grate, transform this nightstand with these steps:

1. Stain the Cabinet: Coat the nightstand with decorator's glaze. Photocopy a vintage grate and then enlarge an interesting section. Have the photocopy laminated and cut out the pattern with a crafts knife to create a stencil. Tape the stencil to the top of the cabinet and fill in the design with antiquing glaze.
2. Apply Finish: When the stencil is dry, cover the entire cabinet, including the stenciled design, with a coat of a natural-finish stain that includes a sealant.
3. Stamp a Fabric Panel: Remove the door. Cover the grate in white paint and use it as a stamp on a piece of fabric large enough to cover the cabinet opening. When dry, hem the sides and bottom, stitch a rod pocket along the top, and hang the painted fabric with a tension rod.

Custom Fabric

Reduce errors when stamping fabric by taping the fabric to a flat surface before applying the stamp.

Custom Top

For an inlaid effect, stain a stencil on the top. Apply with a quick, up-and-down motion using a stippling brush (available at crafts stores) to prevent bleeding.

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