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How to Make a Nightstand Taller (7 Step Guide)

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  • This article was written by Joshua Lewis – an academic writer and keen DIY enthusiast – to ensure maximum factual accuracy and unique content.

If your nightstand is too low, then you may find it difficult to reach your items and it may throw the aesthetics of your bedroom off.

So how do you make your nightstand taller?

The easiest way to make your nightstand taller is to add new legs to increase the height – attaching a top unit and back panel (with optional shelves) can also make the nightstand taller whilst increasing functionality.

The rest of this article shows you exactly how to make your nightstand taller in 7 steps.

I’ve also included 3 additional ways to increase the height of your nightstand at the end of the post.

Related: learn how to build your own adjustable bed in 7 steps here.

How to Make a Nightstand Taller in 7 Steps

If you’re looking to make your nightstand taller with the least amount of effort, then just follow steps 1, 2, 3, and 7.

Steps 4, 5, and 6 are optional but offer excellent ways to make your nightstand taller, more functional, and visually appealing.

This project can easily be done in a day and shouldn’t cost you more than $50 – it’s the cheapest method of upgrading your nightstand to make it taller.

This project is suitable for beginners.

1: Get the Right Equipment

To make your nightstand taller, you will need the following equipment:

  • Drill/driver with a countersink drill bit.
  • Jigsaw.
  • Mitre or circular saw.
  • Safety equipment (goggles, earplugs, gloves, etc…).
  • Wood glue and wood filler.
  • Spare cloth or rag.
  • Wood stain or paint (with primer) and brushes.
  • Detail sander with 160+ grit sandpaper.

2: Gather and Cut the Materials

To make your nightstand taller, you will need to gather and cut the following materials:

  • Eight pieces of 1” x 2” CLS timber measuring 6” in length.
  • One piece of ½” plywood measuring 30” in height with the width being the same as your nightstand.
  • Two pieces of ½” plywood measuring 20” in length and 6” in width.   
  • Two pieces of ½” plywood measuring 6” in width with the length being the same width as your nightstand -1”.
  • One piece of ½” plywood measuring 6” in width with the length the same as your nightstand. 
  • Two pieces of ½” plywood measuring 7” in height and the same length as your nightstand.
  • Two pieces of ½” plywood that have the same width and length of your nightstand.
  • 2” and 1 ½“ woodscrews.

3: Add Legs to Increase the Height

Add Legs to Make the Nightstand Taller
Add Legs to Make the Nightstand Taller

The next step is to add legs to your nightstand, as this is an effective yet simple way to bring more height to your nightstand.

To build your nightstand legs:

  • Remove any previous legs (below 6”) and fill any holes with wood filler.
  • Sand down the base.
  • Cut eight pieces of 2”x 1” CLS to measure 6-8” in length.
  • Attach two of the pieces together with woodscrews and repeat four times.
  • Attach the four legs to the base of your night stand with one in each corner.

More details below:

3.1: Prepare the Stand

To get started, remove any of your nightstand’s contents and flip it upside down.

Use a drill to remove any previous legs on the base of the nightstand.

Remove any loose screws or nails.

Once done, fill any holes on the base with wood filler and make it flush.

To finish off, sand down the base with 160 grit sandpaper.

Once you have sanded the base, repeat but with 200+ grit sandpaper to make it as smooth as possible, as this helps with drilling holes.

3.2: Prepare the Legs

Using your mitre/circular saw, cut down your 2”x 1” CLS timber into eight pieces, all of which measure 6” (8” if you want a much higher nightstand) in length.

With fine sandpaper (200+ grit), sand down the ends and surface of all eight pieces.

Taking two pieces, place them vertically together at a right angle as shown below.

Make 3 pilot holes along the 2” surface going into the other piece and secure with 1½” woodscrews.

Repeat with the other pieces to make four legs.

With the stand on its side, attach a leg to each corner using a pocket hole on each side going into the stand.

Use wood glue to ensure additional strength and secure with 1½” woodscrews.

Place the stand upright and use a spirit level to ensure it is evenly balanced.

4: Attach an Extra Top Unit for Height and Functionality

Attach an Top Additional Frame
Attach an Top Additional Frame

The next step is to build an additional top unit for your nightstand, as this will give you extra height whilst also being useful.

To build an additional frame:

  • Remove the top panel of your nightstand as well as the loose screws.
  • Measure the length and width of your nightstand.
  • Cut two pieces of ½” plywood that each measure 7” in height with the same length as your nightstand.
  • Cut two more pieces of ½” plywood that measure the same width and length of your nightstand.
  • Sand down both pieces with 160+ grit sandpaper and then 200+ grit.
  • Construct the frame and secure to the nightstand.

More details below:

4.1: Prepare the Additional Unit

Use your drill or any other tools to remove the top panel of your nightstand.

Remove any loose nails or screws and sand down the area underneath where the top panel was with 200+ grit sandpaper.

Measure the length and width of this top panel and make a note.

Once done, use the jigsaw to cut two pieces of ½” plywood that each measure 7” in height and that measures the same length as the length of your nightstand, as these are your sides.

Cut two more pieces that measure the same length and width as your nightstand top panel – these are your top and bottom panels.

Sand down both of your pieces with 160 grit sandpaper before finishing off with 200+ grit sandpaper.

4.2: Construct and Attach the Additional Unit

Now you have your four pieces, connect them in a rectangular shape as seen below.

To do this, first temporarily secure them with wood glue and use a clamp to hold them in place.

Make 4 pilot holes in the top and bottom panels going into the sides.

Secure the structure together with 1½” woodscrews.

Spread wood glue onto the top of the nightstand and place your structure on top.

Depending on the thickness of the material your nightstand is made from, secure the structure with appropriately sized pilot holes and woodscrews to the nightstand.

Ensure the sides are flush with the stand and sand the sides with 200 grit sandpaper to ensure everything lines up.

5: Add a Tall Back Panel

Add a Tall Back Panel
Add a Tall Back Panel

To really add some height to your nightstand in an easy but effective manner, you’re going to add a large back panel to the stand itself.

To do this:

  • Measure the width of your nightstand.
  • Using this width, cut a sheet of ½” plywood that measures 30” in height.
  • Sand down the surface of this sheet with 160 grit sandpaper and then 200 grit sandpaper.
  • Sand the sides with 200+ grit sandpaper.
  • Mark 10” from the top of your nightstand and make a mark.
  • Secure the new panel to the back of the nightstand in the 10” zone with 2” woodscrews.

More below:

5.1: Build the Panel

Take your sheet of ½” plywood and using a pencil, make a line the same length as the width of your nightstand.

Mark another line to measure the height of the piece to be cut as 30”.

Use a jigsaw to cut this piece, using a ruler as a guide to make sure the 30” sides are accurate, as this is important for getting the right height to ensure structural integrity.

Sand down the surfaces of the new panel with 160 grit sandpaper, slowly moving up to 200+ grit.

Sand down the edges and sides of this piece with 200+ grit sandpaper, ensuring you don’t remove too much material.

5.2: Secure the Panel

With a ruler and pencil, make a horizontal line on the back of the nightstand that is 10” from the top.

Mark another line on both sides of the new panel at 10” from the bottom.

Spread glue over this surface so it is evenly spread out.

Using the ruler as a guide, place the new panel onto this glue so the bottom of the new panel lines up with the 10” line on the nightstand.

This means you should have the new panel adding 20” of height to your nightstand.

Ensure the sides line up and that the panel is not at an angle or wonky.

As this is only temporarily secured, use the lines as a guide to drill several pilot holes into both the new panel and the nightstand.

Secure the structure together using 2” woodscrews.

6: Attach Shelves for Storage and Support

Add Shelves to the Back Panel
Add Shelves to the Back Panel

Now you have your new back panel, it needs some additional boards secured to make it into a small shelving unit, as this helps with aesthetics and structural support.

To do this:

  • Cut out two side pieces of ½” plywood measuring 6” in width and 20” in length.
  • Cut out two middle pieces of ½” plywood measuring 6” in width and the length only 1” less than the width of the nightstand.
  • Cut out a final top piece that measures the same length as your nightstand with a width of 6”.
  • Sand down all pieces with 160 grit sandpaper and then 200 grit.
  • Glue the sides onto the three pieces in a shelf-like structure.
  • Secure with 1” woodscrews.
  • Secure the shelving unit onto the back panel.

More below:

6.1: Construct the Pieces

Using a jigsaw, cut out two side pieces from your ½” plywood board to measure 6” in width and 20” in height.

Repeat this with two more middle pieces but for the length, make sure it is the same as the width of your nightstand but -1”, so your middle pieces can fit in between the side pieces.

Cut a final top piece which is 6” wide but the same length as your nightstand.

Sand down these five pieces with 160 grit sandpaper, going easy on the sides, and finish off with 200+ grit sandpaper.

6.2: Make the Shelf

Take your five pieces and assemble as shown below to make a basic shelving unit, ensuring the top panel rests smoothly on top and that the middle panels fit smoothly in between the side panels.

Use glue to hold this structure together.

Make 2-3 pilot holes in the side panels going into the top and middle panels and proceed to secure with 1” woodscrews.

Secure this to the back panel with evenly spread wood glue.

For additional strength, make a few pilot holes on the back of the panel going into the side pieces of the shelf and secure with 1” woodscrews.

Ensure the shelving unit lines up smoothly with the dimensions of the back panel for maximum effectiveness.

7: Add the Finishing Touches and Paint

Paint the Nightstand
Paint the Nightstand

Now you have the structure of your nightstand, the most important bit is making it look like the same nightstand.

To do this:

  • Fill in any holes with wood filler.
  • Sand down your new nightstand once more.
  • Gather the same color paint or stain used on your previous nightstand. 
  • If you are using paint, apply a suitable primer for your paint to the nightstand.
  • For stain, re-stain the nightstand with another coat to ensure it is the same stain.
  • Take a brush for paint or a rag for stain and evenly coat your new nightstand.
  • Apply any additional color schemes/hardware/ décor that was present on your previous nightstand.

More details below:

7.1: Prepare for the Final Touches

Take your wood filler and prepare it accordingly.

Take a small brush or rag and fill in any pilot or pocket holes that are present both on the outside or inside of the new nightstand.

Flatten out with a scraping tool or something similar.

Leave to set and when ready, sand down with 180+ sandpaper.

Ensure each filled hole is flush with the rest of the nightstand surface.

With 200+ grit sandpaper, give your new nightstand a final sand.

7.2: Paint or Stain

To begin decorating your nightstand, buy the same paint or stain that was already on your previous nightstand.

If your previous nightstand had no stain or paint, buy one of your choice.

For staining, take a spare cloth or rag and gently dip it into the stain, evenly applying it onto the nightstand.

For painting, apply a suitable primer for either your oil or water paint and apply this to the nightstand.

Once applied, take a small brush and evenly paint your nightstand, ensuring both the inside and outside of the nightstand are covered.

Leave this to dry.

If your previous nightstand has any other hardware, décor, or color schemes present, make sure to match it on your new nightstand.

This is necessary for consistency and makes it look like the same nightstand instead of a new product, which is the overall aim of this project.

3 Additional Ways to Make a Nightstand Taller

The strategy listed above is the most effective, cost-efficient way to make your nightstand taller whilst still being useful.

The increased height on the legs as well as the additional shelving unit brings an entirely new aesthetic to the room.

However, if you would prefer either a simpler or cheaper way to do this – or if this is not high enough – there are a few more simple ways to do this.

3 other ways to make your nightstand taller are:

  • Buy nightstand legs higher than 6-8” that suit your nightstand design online, ensuring they are all the same.
  • Make a back panel higher than 30” and incorporate another shelf into the structure.
  • When making an additional unit to sit on the nightstand, make it higher or make another additional unit of the same size to add 8”.

More details below:

1: Fit New Legs

Flip over your nightstand and take a picture of the legs.

If these are simply wooden legs or legs with no particular shape, you can buy some new wood and repeat the steps above to make new legs – just make sure to make them higher (10-12”) than the measurements stated in step 3.

If your legs are of a particular design, either contact the manufacturer of the stand or use your picture to find them online using Google image search.

Once found, look for different available sizes and pick what’s right for you.

You can then unscrew or take off your previous legs and replace them with your new ones.

2: Increase the Back Panel Height

Modify step 5 slightly by cutting a larger piece of ½” to be used as your back panel.

The piece in this guide is 30” long, 10” of which is attached to the nightstand, so it only adds 20” of height.

If this is not enough, simply make it higher.

However, the higher you go, make sure that a third of the total length sits below the top of the stand.

In this instance it is 10”, but if you take it higher, this number will increase.

This is to ensure maximum structural strength.

3: Fit a Sub-Unit

When making the top unit in step 4, you can simply repeat this step to make a sub-unit.

This will sit beneath the top unit and attaches in the same way (pilot holes and appropriately sized woodscrews).

Just make sure that the rest of the dimensions used in this guide are altered/accounted for to ensure your unit is robust enough to support itself.

If you don’t have enough material for another additional subunit, simply make the side panels up to 5” higher, as this is enough to make a difference.

The top and bottom panels do not need to be altered, and so this saves time and material.

Again, the dimensions of the other aspects of this unit should be accounted for.

Conclusion: Attach New Legs for More Height

The most basic way to make your nightstand taller is to attach new legs – either by making them yourself or purchasing new ones from the manufacturer.

You can then add an extra top unit (and sub-unit if required) for more height, or even go as far as incorporating a back panel with shelves to maximize the height and functionality of your nightstand.

Up next: discover how to build your own space-saving Murphy bed in 7 steps here.


Disclaimer

This post is for informational purposes only.

Always take care when using power tools and other equipment – consider enlisting the help of a professional if you are unsure how to tackle a DIY project.

Image Attribution and Licencing

Main image: ‘Wooden Nightstand and Mirror’ by ferar (Getty Images) – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.

All other images are custom made and used with permission.

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