After building the Murphy Bed for the guest bedroom (craft room) I realized that if anyone wants to sleep on it, they will need a night stand to set things on. The challenge is that the space next to the bed is very limited, about 14″ (35cm). It’s unlikely that any store-bought night stand will fit the space.
The space on the other side of the bed is even narrower! I think I will just add a small shelf on the side of the bed cabinet.
My first idea was to make a series of built-in shelves in the corner, all the way to the top of the cabinet, with a lower shelf extending out to serve as a night stand. The problem with highly custom units like that is that nobody else will want to build it besides me. (Unless you happen to have a Murphy bed built into a space exactly the same as mine!) Not great video and useless plans.
Instead I chose to make a small-space nightstand that will be practical for a lot of people. Not only that, you might want to build it for use as an end table in just about any room. I think night stands usually come in pairs, right?
My wife picked out the knobs and we chose to paint it all white to fit in the playful color theme of the craft room.
I built the framework using 1.5″ (38mm) wide solid pine boards. These are very inexpensive purchases at the home center. The panels, drawers, shelf and top are all made with 3/4″ (19mm) plywood. The bottoms of the drawers are 1/4″ hardboard.
Joinery and tapered legs
I joined most of the unit together using my Kreg pocket hole jig and pocket screws. This is where you can get as fancy as you like or challenge your skills with any number of joints. I work very fast because of my tight schedule and pocket screws are indispensable.
I added some tapers to the bottoms of the legs using my MicroDial tapering jig. If you don’t make a lot of tapers, save some money by making your own tapering jig. Microjig’s product works great though, and will give you quick, accurate, and repeatable tapers.
Assemble one side completely, then slide the shelf in as you attach the opposite side. Don’t forget the shelf! Once the framework is all assembled, it will be impossible to get it in.
Drawers can be intimidating to make, so I designed these to be easy. They are just simple boxes: Plywood butt-jointed together with glue and nails. If the face isn’t perfectly square to the opening it won’t show because the drawers are set back from the face of the cabinet. The trick to making drawers is to not worry about making their lengths to any exact measurement. Just make them deep enough to slide in comfortably and glue in a stop block somewhere in the back. The will close to the perfect spot every time.
Making drawers slide easily
To make the drawers slide easily, sand the runners and the undersides of the drawers as smooth as you can using 220 grit sandpaper. Apply paste wax to all surfaces and polish it out. The drawers will slide like glass! I used homemade past wax made by Linn at Darbin Orvar. She makes it using linseed oil and beeswax. Please check it out on her web site and support another small business by buying a jar!
- WWMM Small-space end table (pdf)
- WWMM Small-space end table METRIC (pdf)
- Sketchup file
- Sketchup file METRIC