Look for Less Nightstand Hack: Create a Stunning Nightstand on a Budget

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Are you searching for a way to infuse your style into your bedroom decor without breaking the bank? I’m sharing how I made my dream designer-inspired nightstand look for less. The keys to creating a nightstand hack, understanding your space needs, and where to find the perfect nightstand to transform. I’m guiding you through this project to transform your bedroom into a stylish sanctuary with affordable decor and a budget-friendly nightstand. 

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

look for less nightstand hack to polish off affordable bedroom decor

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creating a designer look for less nightstand with affordable bedroom decor

The Art of a Look for Less Nightstand

When creating a look for less nightstand, the key is to balance style and affordability. You can achieve a high-end look without the hefty price tag by repurposing and upcycling existing items, finding budget-friendly alternatives, and styling your bedroom with affordable decor. Then, find your dream nightstand and break down the details that will help transform your budget-friendly alternative.

This is my dream nightstand. The key details are the routered top, the moulding on the drawers, the two little knobs, the leg details, and the shelf.

Assessing Your Space and Needs

Start by evaluating your bedroom space and determining the ideal nightstand size and design that complements your decor. Consider the height and width of your bed, the available space beside it, and any specific storage requirements you may have. This initial assessment will guide you in finding the perfect nightstand solution but budget-friendly.

Designer tip: Want more details on nightstand height? Learn more here. hint: your nightstand should be the same height as your mattress or a few inches taller.

affordable bedroom decor with nightstand hack
Bed frame, rug, lamp, throw blanket, art, marble dish, vase, flowers, Curtains.

Scouring Thrift Stores and Online Marketplaces

One of the best ways to find budget-friendly options for your nightstand hack project is by exploring thrift stores, antique markets, and online marketplaces. These treasure troves often hide unique, stylish pieces of affordable bedroom decor and furniture waiting to be transformed into your dream nightstand. Look for sturdy items with interesting shapes or details that can be easily revamped. It may be challenging to find 2 identical nightstands, so keep this in mind!

Buying Unfinished Furniture

Buying an unfinished nightstand offers possibilities for personalizing and customizing your furniture. In addition, opting for an unfinished piece lets you put your creative touch on the final product. Whether you stain or paint it, you can select the exact colour, finish, and style that aligns with your vision. 

This is the route I decided to go for my look for less nightstand project since it helped make it budget-friendly. I found an unfinished nightstand in the perfect proportions, and since it was solid wood, I could make changes to it and still stain it afterwards.

Ways to Elevate Your Look for Less Nightstand

  • Adding Mouldings
  • Paint and Stains
  • Hardware Upgrades 
  • Decorative Accents
budget-friendly nightstand project to get a high end look for less styled with affordable bedroom decor

Inspiration for the Look for Less Nightstand

The inspiration for my project hack came from a nightstand I saw featured on Studio McGee. When I eventually found it online, it was not only much more than my budget for nightstands; it was double the size I wanted! We have a narrow but long room, so smaller nightstands are what we need for the space.


side by side comparison of the unfinished nightstand and the look for less nightstand hack


Step 1

Build the unfinished nightstand by following the instructions in the package, do not attach the knob or the shelf. 

building the unfinished nightstand

Step 2

Measure the drawer front. The height of the existing drawer should be the same, but the width should run from the inside edge of the leg to the other inside edge of the leg. Refer to the images above if you are unsure.

Draw the correct sizing onto the plywood with a pencil and cut it using a table saw, mitre saw, or something that will give you a straight edge. Note, if you prefer to use a different type of wood, please do! I chose this plywood because it was thin and would not extend past the legs of the table!

drawing the drawer outline on plywood to cut

Step 3

Measure the strip of wood that runs above and below the drawer. You want the front of the nightstand hack to be flush, so cut some plywood the same size to attach to this.

If you do not do this, the drawer front profile will stick out further than the strips above and below the drawer front.

Step 4

Using an iron, iron the wood veneer to the sides of these pieces to give a clean finish and make them look like solid pieces of wood. Trim any excess once it has cooled.

edge banding in birch

Step 5

Take your new drawer front and cut pieces of moulding to go around the perimeter of the drawer front. Cut these pieces using a mitre saw or mitre box and hand saw.

Use wood glue to attach them to the new drawer front. Use clamps to ensure they dry in place.

cutting the molding to go on the drawer front

Step 5

Use wood filler to fill any gaps around the moulding. Sand once it is dry.

finished drawer front to be nailed to the old drawer front

Step 6

Using a router, cut the detailing into the edge of the top of the look for less nightstand. You should practice on a scrap piece of wood first.

routered nightstand top

Step 7

Using a hand saw (or router), cut the leg detailing to match the designer version of the nightstand. There are 5 lines total that wrap around the 2 front legs. The middle line is wider than the other 4 lines.

Step 8

Attach the drawer front to the drawer (ensure you do not attach it to the sides, or else the drawer won’t pull out!). Also, attach the strips above and below the drawer. You can use wood glue or a Brad nailer. Remember to sand if you use wood filler!

Add wood filler to the gaps where the strips above and below the drawer meet the table legs; they should be flush. Once dried, sand to ensure there are no rough pieces (these will be harder to stain otherwise).

showing the nightstand hack coming together

Step 9

Stain your nightstand once your wood filler has dried (preferably after 24 hours)! I recommend testing the stain on the back of the shelf since this area will not be seen. I used a coat of Behr semi-transparent Cordovan Brown and then a very light coat of whitewash pickling over the top (I watered this down).

My biggest tip is to ensure you stain both nightstands at one time. I did mine separately to ensure that it turned out how I wanted, but something happened to my can of stain in the week between the first and second nightstand. It may have been knocked over and shaken up? I’m not entirely sure! My mistake, but live and learn!

Step 10

Attach the shelf and brackets. Ensure your shelf is level with a spirit/bubble level. Use a drill/driver to attach the shelf at your preferred height (I chose 11 inches from the ground), and use the brackets/screws in the package. 

finished nightstand hack project

Step 11

Attach the knobs. Carefully measure to ensure the knobs are equal on both sides and go into the drawer rather than the side pieces we covered on the nightstand.

Step 12

This is optional, but I chose to line the nightstand drawers with wallpaper and add a few organizers from our local dollar store. Then I styled the tops with affordable decor that suits our bedroom.

bedroom styled with affordable decor
Shop the bedroom Bed frame, rug, lamp, throw blanket, art, marble dish, vase, flowers, Curtains.

Creating a stunning nightstand doesn’t have to drain your wallet. By embracing the look for less nightstand hack, you can achieve remarkable results within your budget. With careful planning, resourcefulness, and a touch of creativity, your bedroom will showcase a stylish, personalized nightstand that will impress. Get started on this exciting project today, and let your imagination run wild!

Step-by-step Video

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