knubbig nightstand

Bedroom Evolution: Organizer Cube to Nightstand

When I got my job last year, it came with some perks, such as corporate discounts. One of the stores was Go-Organize, which was basically made for me. That’s where that organizer cube shown in the bedroom mood board came from. It worked fine in our previous apartment, which had a closet with shelves that could hold organizers and the like. Our current closet definitely doesn’t have shelves, and since we got rid of the nightstand from our old place, I just used the cube. Of course, the cube looks miserably bad as a nightstand, and something had to be done. I debated for a long time what I wanted to do; my initial idea was to build a door to the opening. But that would have also involved adding casters (can you imagine opening a nightstand door directly over wall to wall carpet? Eurgh) and the thin MDF wouldn’t have put up with much. So I decided to flip the cube on it’s side and add a hinged top.

I had some leftover wood from the mirror project, so I cut it down to size. It took ages. I think I might be in the market for a power saw, people.

hand saw wood

The organizer cube itself came apart easily, so I sanded down each side, and used one of the shelf inserts as a base for the planks. This insert was even thinner than the sides, so the planks came in really handy when it was time to screw in the hinges.

different size screwsCatniss screw


Catniss was terribly interested in the screws.

The screws that came with the hinge set were too long for the thin MDF, so I substituted shorter ones I had for the side that would go into the cube itself.

This part was a bit of a nightmare. Drilling in the holes was easy enough (you just tape off the drill bit where it should stop i.e. the length of the screw), but I somehow got my measurements wrong on the shelf insert/future nightstand top.

Hinges go in

You can see in that photo I’d already glued the planks on. I simply aligned them to make sure things were more or less right – I say more or less because hand sawing is far from accurate, and some of my cuts were a little angled. I also think the planks moved a little when I glued them, resulting in all four being slightly off, but it wasn’t too bad. Also for those of you wondering – I plan on storing things in here that won’t be used frequently, so the hinged door won’t necessitate constant displacement of whatever’s on top.

My next hurdle came in the form of painting/sealing. Staining the wood planks went perfectly smoothly, I used the same Minwax Provincial as I did for the mirror. I debated over the paint color for ages. I thought of making it a really deep purple to complement the headboard, but I slowly started dreaming up different color schemes for the room itself. More on that later.

I finally settled on Sherwin Williams Grays Harbor (though I did get a sample of Black Swan as well, a wonderfully deep, rich, purple). What my sleep-deprived, post-workday brain didn’t notice until I got home is that the paint store guy thought I was pointing to the color a step down from Grays Harbor – Dark Night. At first I went with it, it’s a pretty gorgeous color, and on the paint chip it reads a deep navy with hints of green. It looked really good painted on as well (I failed to take photos here). Then I tried sealing everything. Here’s a tip: when you read about expensive but good quality brushes for polyurethane or polycrylic, DON’T assume that a cheaper brush will do. The polycrylic went on decently over the stained wood, but got horribly streaky over the paint. Part of it, I think, was also due to some of the texture of the nightstand itself. I ended up hating how the sealed paint looked, so I sanded everything down to the first coat.

At this point I figured what the hell, and went out and got myself a sample (a quart!) of Grays Harbor. It went on like a dream, and looked gorgeous. And then, after a week of ignoring my project other than sniffing around a bit, one of the cats – Catniss of course – decided to jump in and knock it off the stool. A bottom corner was chipped – not just the paint, mind – and there were two giant scratches on the side.

By then, I really wished I’d bought a nightstand from Target. Hence the photography post from Monday.

I slept on it, and the next day, touched it up and sealed it with finishing wax rather than polycrylic. I also knew from the beginning that the front of the nightstand would look too plain without some sort of hardware or accent, so I added some nailhead trim. And finally, finally, it worked out.

Sherwin Williams Grays Harbor Nightstand

You can see from the shadow that the planks aren’t aligned perfectly, and the nailhead trim is a little wonky (next time I think I’ll go for upholstery nails throughout rather than the pre-made ribbon of trim), but I love it. The gray looks perfect against our walls and the top looks gorgeous.

Catniss polycrylic planked nightstand

All in all, this project really took some work but hey, I have stronger arms for it and a story to tell. And of course, a beautiful nightstand.

knubbig nightstand

xo Rucha


That’s how old I turned 2 days ago! A mid-week birthday just meant that going to dinner that night was quite the effort (hey, work is tiring), but I wasn’t about to cancel a night out at Michael Mina SF.

Believe it or not, a Michelin Star dinner wasn’t the highlight of my birthday. Matt basically earned a spot in the husband hall of fame by getting me this baby:

Cordless drill/driver, Black and Decker

Oh and this:

DeWalt bit set 80 piece

I’ve had a couple projects in mind that would require borrowing a drill, and now I don’t have to! Stay tuned.

xo Rucha