Tuesday, October 28, 2014

30 DIY Copper Embellished Nightstand

As our oldest son continues to eat his veggies and grow into a teen, we have been very slowly making updates and tweaks to his bedroom.  The goal is to give it a little more sophistication and to give him a space that will fit his needs through high school, yet encompasses his personality as well.

You would think that after living with three little guys and a hubby for the previous 14+ years, I would be able to decorate a space for boys without much thought.  Not the case at all.  In fact, I still find it extremely challenging.  My common color plan of neutral grays and blues paired with playful accents of teal and pink, which marries our boy and girl common spaces, does not apply to the boy's personal spaces.  They like oranges and reds paired with less white and more wood tones.

So when our oldest spilled some water on his nightstand (and then left it for a few days), the top of it was donzo.  And being a cheapy laminate version from Target, there was no chance of sanding things down and fixing it.  Although it had seen better days, I was able to salvage the hardware and the drawer components before kicking the frame to the curb.

Using the previous drawer measurements, we set out to DIY a new nightstand for our growing buddy.

Knowing that we had an upcoming copper color challenge with some fellow blogger pals, I selected a warm walnut toned stain which I paired with copper hardware.  Because the piece was being stained, I picked out a nicer maple plywood to work with.  The entire nightstand was built out of a 4'x4' piece of the maple, which will be nice and sturdy and hopefully last for years to come.

Below is a quick look at the design plan.

To create the outer frame, we created a simple box using our Kreg jig.

The jig allowed us to screw down into the wood at an angle, and prevents the need to utilize nails and screws on the exterior of the furniture.

We followed a similar method to create the base (a second simple box).

As I mentioned, we already had the drawer pieces and hardware from the previous nightstand.  That meant we just needed to create a new drawer face.  To affix the face, we would have to measure the previous face and create matching slots.

The slit along the bottom was created by running the face of the board over the table saw two times.

The holes (to attach to the pegs of the previous drawer) were created using appropriately sized drill bits and only drilling about 1/2 down into the drawer face.

Once everything was assembled, we used a stainable birch iron-on edging to clean up the exposed edges of the nightstand.

Once completely built, I pulled it inside for a quick photoshoot.

Simple box frame, check.  Simple box base, check.  New drawer face, check!

We also had a separate piece of smooth birch paneling for the back piece, which we stained prior to attaching it later in the process.

When it came to staining the nightstand, I went straight to my existing stain collection and grabbed the same dark walnut color that we used on the top of our built-in bookcases.

The different wood type (maple), meant that the stain didn't soak into the wood in the same fashion as the pine we had used with the last project.  I noticed some very minimal brush marks after the first application, so in-between coats I used a very fine grit sanding block to eliminate those lines and smooth down the finish a bit.

For the second coat, I found it to be much better to apply the stain/poly combo with a soft cotton rag.  No more marks and a nice pretty finish.

Because the stain had built-in poly, there was no need to add any additional protective finishes.  The nightstand dried in a semi-gloss protective finish.

For the copper hardware, I first tried to gild some brass corners and the ring pull.  The gilding didn't stick to the hardware at all, so I turned to plan B which was a brilliant copper spray paint.  Instant shiny copper finish!

To match the screw heads to the brass brackets, I just sprayed a small amount of the copper spray paint into a disposable cup and used a q-tip to touch things up.

And done!

I was running low on light so I popped the nightstand near our son's window to take these photos.  The warmth of the sunset pouring in really pulled out the walnut finish.  I will be taking some more photos of the entire space very soon.

The copper is a subtle compliment to the warm walnut stain.

Although the nightstand really isn't my personal style, our oldest totally digs it.  And when he made a comment that his favorite part was that his dad built it for him, my heart melted and oozed and fluttered and even did a few cartwheels.

Although I have no control over how quickly my son grows, I don't want his room to be too sophisticated.  So now that we have this beautiful piece, I am scheming up a few ways to bring back in some playful teenage-esque finishes to the space. 

And I don't know if you have heard, but copper is the new gold.  It is hot right now, and that is why we selected it for this quarter's color challenge.  You can see how my fellow blogger pals incorporated copper into their projects by checking out the links below.


  1. I love that, Jen! It looks so masculine and mid-century modern. Great job!

  2. I loved this project! So, you used the drawer sides and back and the hardware from the other nightstand and just needed to add a new front to the drawer? Wow, I'm impressed. I would love to make some of my own furniture, but I wouldn't know where to start.

  3. OH I wish I was this creative! Love the details :) Great job

  4. Love it all! Wherever did you find that awesome ipod dock?

  5. I absolutely love how this turned out. Also loving the whole copper theme, it works so well with blue. And I hear you about the boy thing...I'm moving our big guy out of his crib and planning a room that I like, with colors and a theme I can tolerate are a real struggle for me.

  6. Nice work! I love that the stain has built in poly. I think I'll use something similar for my next project. I also like the copper accents. I'm not a gold person at all but I love copper for some reason. It just seems a little more muted but still sparkles. Love it!

  7. I love the iPod dock your son has on his nightstand - where is it from?

  8. this came out seriously awesome- I love it! :) the wood tone is excellent.

  9. This is so amazing! I love the copper tone, and I have been seeing it everywhere! If only I was able to build something that looked just as incredible as your piece! Haha thanks for the inspiration :)

  10. When I click on the pictures to follow the link it just takes me to your home page. Just wanted to let you know :)

  11. This is amazing! I need one just like it for my sons room, do you do custom? ;-)

    1. Sure! If you come finish the rest of his room for me. It seems like a fair trade right? ;)

  12. Oh my gosh, the fact that your 14 year old son was so appreciative of something that his dad built for him warms my heart and brings a tear to my eye! I think that speaks volumes about what wonderful parents you and your husband must be.

  13. Great job, it looks great. I have always loved copper.

  14. Hi Jen! Great blog filled with even greater organization and design ideas! Just wanted to let you know that I have nominated you the One Lovely Blog Award!

  15. What a beautiful piece of furniture! I think a kreg might be going on my Christmas list :)

  16. This nightstand is truly beautiful and sophisticated. And it's great that your son appreciates it!!

  17. The touches of copper was definitely my favourite. Good idea. I love coppers and brasses and golds. It's sophisticated, as long as you don't overdo it!

  18. Where is that lamp from? I love its base.

  19. Great job, and I think it looks very manly! My oldest spilled a lot of stuff on her nightstand and dresser, both of which need fixing now. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a lot of furniture - especially for children- now comes with a water resistant surface. So my younger daughters stuff still looks good.

  20. I think a Kreg will definitely be on hubby's Christmas list this year! ;-)
    I have him made a lot of stuff and this will help make things look so much prettier, ha!

  21. This piece is absolutely gorgeous! And so sweet that your soon loves it especially because it's home made. Thanks for the great read!!

  22. Jen- This is awesome!!! How did I not know about iron on trim...have I been living under a DIY rock?!


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