DIY Furniture: Bedside Table Project

Check out these simple instructions on building a small table, complete with lighting…and a whole lot of charm.


  • 1"x12"x8' Unfinished Board
  • Minwax Wood Finish Stain
  • Shelf Bracket w/ Screws
  • Light Kit
  • Swag Wiring Kit
  • LED Light Bulb


  • Circular Saw
  • Drill
  • Drill Bit
  • Spade Bit
  • Square
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Soft cloth for staining, or foam brush

One thing I love about today’s trend in decorating is you don’t have to spend a fortune on furniture for your home (yay!). Instead, people are investing in a few quality pieces and mixing in thrift store finds or DIY projects. This is great especially if you want to change up your furniture often (Which I do. Always.).

Enter bedroom sets…love ’em or hate ’em, it seems they’re all over-priced and dated, or yours is a collection of mismatched furniture that doesn’t give you that (insert decorating style here – shabby chic, contemporary, traditional, etc, etc ) look you’re going for. Icky bedroom furniture is a perfect opportunity to do some DIY work for a custom look that’s entirely your own. 

Check out these simple instructions on building a small table, complete with lighting…and a whole lot of charm. 

STEP 1: Make the Table

Using a 1″ x 12″ x 8′ unfinished board from Waters, measure and cut 12″ off of one end of the board to serve as the “table” surface. (I like using a circular saw for this. DeWalt cuts like butter, but if you don’t have one, stop by our rental counter!) Twelve inches is fine for a small book and an alarm clock – and it keeps it from getting too cluttered (I’m a clutterholic). Next,  cut a 1” strip, we’ll use that later to hang our board. When you’re finished, sand the two cut ends a bit to get rid of the rough edges.

STEP 2: Wood Finish

Put a durable finish on your cut boards. For this project I used a mahogany stain from Min-Wax, but you could just as easily paint it, or cover it with some batting and fabric (eek! the possibilities!!). While your boards are drying…move on to step 3.

STEP 3: Let There be Light

Pick up the light fixture of your dreams. I used an interior wall sconce for this project, and switched out the shade for a more contemporary look. Light kits are simple to install and come in a variety of finishes. Place your light fixture on the board and lightly mark with a pencil where you would like it to go. This is all up to personal preference, there are no right or wrongs here! Once you’ve marked the outer edge of the lamp, pull out the bracket that came with your light. Use a measuring tape to find the distance from the bracket to the outside edge of the lamp. (Or eyeball it!) Place it on the board, and making sure it’s centered (probably shouldn’t eyeball this one) mark the spot, then using a spade bit, carefully drill a hole large enough for your wires to fit through with ease. 

STEP 4: Install Light

Because this light will not be hardwired, we have to add a plug to our wires. Stick with me, it will be easy. Using a drill, pre-drill your holes and then screw your lamp bracket onto the board according to the instructions. Fish the wires out the back, and fasten the light to the bracket. Now, here comes that swag kit (or other wire kit if you want, I like the length of a swag kit. I get greedy with my cords.). Using the instructions found on both packages, wire the two together. The swag kit will have a lot of wire, depending on where your electrical outlet is, you will need to trim off the excess before connecting it to your lamp’s wires. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully. Electrical projects can be very simple…but also need to be done exactly right. 🙂 Leave the bulb and the shade off for the time being.

STEP 5: Table Surface and Mounting

We’re almost done (whew!), it’s time to attach our table surface. Using the 12″ board we cut off earlier, place the board at the desired height and mark lightly. Screw in your shelf bracket to the table surface (pre drill those holes – it will save you some heartache), then attach it to the back of your table. While the board is on it’s side, attach your 1” piece up at the top, on the back, above the wires. This will allow you to secure your table to the wall, and also leave room for the wires to hide down the back of the board.

Let There Be Light Part 2

Now you’re ready to finish off your project with the perfect shade. I wanted something whiter and more modern than the shade that came with this light. There’s a variety of shades available at Waters for all kinds of decor. The last steps are to install your shade according to the instructions with your light, pop in a bulb and you’re all set!


WHOA. You’ve made your own bedside table and completed an electrical DIY project! Be sure to Facebook or Pin your completed project so your friends can tell you how amazing you are. Because you are. Totally. 


For all of your DIY questions and supplies, come see us at Waters True Value! 

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