A New Nightstand

Corey and I have been talking a lot lately about the direction we want our bedroom to go in.

At this point, the vast majority of the stuff in this room will not be here long term. We want to upgrade to a king-sized bed, we desperately need new curtains, we’re hoping to track down a fabulous new duvet cover, and those tiny little white nightstands are just not working for us anymore.

So, needless to say, there’s a lot of change on the horizon for our bedroom. Basically the only thing that will stay the same is the wall color, and I can’t even guarantee that for sure.

But, all in good time. We’re trying really hard not to rush into any decisions, because we’d like to re-do our bedroom with things that will actually last us for a long time, not things we’ll get sick of in two years. So, we’re taking our time and making sure to choose classic pieces and colors that we can live with for a very long time.

Starting with this new dresser-turned-nightstand for my side of the bed.


I’ve been looking for a small dresser to use as a nightstand for several months now. I knew exactly what I wanted and was extremely picky when browsing, so it’s taken quite a long time of casual Craigslist perusing before actually finding something worth my time. The hardest part was that I wanted a wood dresser, not a painted one, which is next to impossible with the painted-furniture-craze that has overtaken the world right now. I mean, I love a good painted piece, but there’s a limit to what I can tolerate, and my bedroom has already exceeded it, so I needed to bring some wood back in, stat.

We found this guy for $35 (SERIOUSLY) and snatched it up as quickly as we could. When we got it home, we realized that it was so cheap because there was quite a bit of damage to the top. There were a couple of very large water spots, and the whole thing was looking pretty beat up.

I wasn’t too worried, though – I’ve seen so many different tutorials all over the internet for restoring wood furniture, so I was pretty eager to try a few of them out. I decided to start with the water stains – I wasn’t sure there was any way I’d make them look any better…they were obviously very deep stains and the wood was damaged enough that it was a completely different texture than the rest of the top.

I’ve heard mayonnaise can work miracles on water stains, though, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Pretty sure Corey thought I had lost my damn mind when he came in the living room and saw the top of our dresser covered in mayo. I got some serious eye rolls when I told him what I was doing, but I had faith. Everything I’d seen said to let it soak in for a few hours, so I gave it about 5-6 hours before wiping it off.


Now, it’s not perfect. The wood is still definitely a different color where the stains were, and it is still a different texture. But this is about a million times better than it was before, so I’m not complaining.

I also tried out the vinegar and oil trick I posted about a few weeks ago on Friday Finds – you just take 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar and rub it all over to restore the finish and get rid of minor scratches.

After a quick rubdown, the whole thing was looking so much better. I never wanted an in-perfect-condition dresser, because the whole idea was to have something that looked a little antique, so this is fantastic for me. I love that it still looks a little worn and old but now instead of looking like a $35 Craigslist dresser, it looks like someone actually cares about it.

Once I had the wood looking all nice and clean, it was time to tackle the drawer pulls. My plan was to do gold ring pulls, but I was a little frustrated to realize that with shipping, it would cost me about $30 to order all six pulls, which would almost double the price of the dresser. I did a little Googling, though, and found a solution I liked much better – a DIY version!

The original tutorial can be found at Sarah M. Dorsay Designs, and I’m amazed at how simple it is yet how much it looks like the real thing. All you’ve got to do is grab some gold cotter pins and beveled washers (we found ours at Ace Hardware) and some gold rings. The tutorial didn’t specify what the gold rings were or where in the store to find them, so we struggled with that a bit – we finally figured out that they were probably brass o-rings used for plumbing, but neither Ace Hardware nor Lowe’s had them in-store. So, we ordered some online (from here) for about a dollar each. It definitely made the overall cost a bit more expensive, but we still saved over half of what we would have paid to get the real deal, so I’m not complaining.

All you have to do to put them together is slide the beveled washer and the o-ring onto the cotter pin, push it all through the hole in your drawer, and add a regular washer to the back – then you use some pliers to fold out the pin and hold everything in place, and you’re good to go!

I love how easy (and cheap) it was to make these, and I think they look fantastic.

So, obviously now that we have this little dresser here a few other things have changed in the room. This is the not-so-pretty part of the post, though, because the whole room is in a bit of a transition phase. Let me show you what I mean.

This corner is where we had always wanted to put this chair. I think it works well here, but I don’t think anything else in this corner works. We have the old nightstand sitting here for now because we are holding onto it until we replace Corey’s nightstand (so we can Craigslist ’em together), but eventually I’d like to get a small round table to sit next to the chair.

I’m not sure what will happen with the mirror – I love (LOVE) having a floor length mirror in our room, so I imagine it will definitely stay in here long-term, but I’m still playing around with how I want it to look. We could leave it leaning, or we could actually hang it, we could leave it black, paint it, or just add some detail to the wood to brighten it up a bit. I have no idea where we’ll land on this one, but I’m taking my time before deciding! And, of course, the turtle shell and rhino will probably have to leave this corner and find a new home elsewhere. I’d like to find some pretty art to hang above the chair eventually.

This is the other big change. Ew, right? We moved Corey’s dresser downstairs to turn it into a media console for the garage, so he’s been living out of these plastic drawers for the last few weeks. We moved my dresser over here and now Corey and I are sharing it (my new nightstand fits some of what was in there, but obviously not all of it) while we save up for a better solution. The long-term plan here is to fill this wall with tall wardrobes from Ikea so we can ditch the dresser completely. Our closet isn’t very functional and it would be great to have some more storage space in here, so we’re excited to get some big wardrobes with lots of shelving and hanging space so we can spread our clothes out a little more. I also think it’ll be great for our tall ceilings – we haven’t really taken advantage of them yet and this room could use some height! But, before we tackle that we want to get rid of the carpet in here, so it’s just one step at a time. We’ll get there eventually.

So, what’s next in here? We’re currently on the lookout for a good replacement for Corey’s nightstand, and we desperately need to deal with the curtain situation. Hopefully after that we can start thinking about the flooring and replacing our bed – with three dogs that like to be in bed with us, a queen gets just a little bit crowded!

What’s your nightstand situation like? Any brilliant ideas for what we can do with that awkward chair corner?

2 thoughts on “A New Nightstand

  1. Don’t have any helpful nightstand suggestions, since my tiny bedroom in Spain doesn’t even have room for them. But just wanted to say – I love the character of your restored wood nightstand, so much charm and warmth!


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