Turn a Desk Into Nightstands

by Natalie
4 Materials
3 Days

Do you need a pair of small, but tall nightstands or end tables? Most vintage nightstands and end tables are super short, and it's hard to find a pair these days!

We have the solution though! Find an old desk, and take it apart! Here's how!

Get all of the details, supplies used, and more pictures of the process here.

This is what our desk looked like before. It was a craigslist find, and I really hoped there were going to be 8 legs to this desk so it would be an easy makeover.

When I went to pick it up, I was bummed to find out that at some point two of the back legs were cut off.

But I was already determined to make this desk into nightstands. So I bought it, and came up with a plan to add new legs so each end could stand on it's own.

First I removed the back paneling, unscrewed the top, and then removed the middle wood braces.

I also removed what remained of the legs that had been cut off. Of course this is optional if you are able to find a desk or vanity that already has 8 legs.

When the demo was done we were left with a few holes and damage to repair.

As for the legs, I found some similar legs at the store, cut them to the right size, and cut notches to match the old legs.

Then I glued and nailed the legs into place.

After the construction was done, I prepped the new nightstands for paint and painted them in a few coats of General Finishes Seagull Gray.

I also cut new wood tops and stained them in a dark gray walnut stain.

After everything was dry I screwed on the new tops, using the old screws and the old holes from the old top.

Now these matching nightstands are perfect for a small bedroom, or living room!

Get all of the details, supplies used, and more pictures of the process here.

Suggested materials:
  • Thrifted desk
  • Hammer, screwdriver, oscillating tool, pliers
  • New legs
See all materials
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 7 questions
  • Gale O'Neal Gale O'Neal on Jan 17, 2020

    Question: What will you make with the middle part? A floating shelf perhaps?

  • Johndiy Johndiy on Sep 22, 2020

    I'm a little confused about the legs. Did you use the old ones or buy all 8 brand new ? I love your idea and like everyone, we need different night stands. Thanks so much, John DuBois

  • Sue Sue on Sep 23, 2020

    This is awesome makeover, but I liked the pulls that were on it originally and what did you create with the middle piece? My sister took an old 1930s vanity table, the kind with the huge round center mirror and low middle piece. She also cut them apart and painted them white for her daughter's twin beds. This was in late 1960s. Wish I had kept that vanity (it was given to me and my husband when we first got married by his mother when we needed furniture to fill our apt). Thanks for sharing this, love it.

Join the conversation
3 of 38 comments
  • Subha Subha on Sep 23, 2020

    Creative 👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻

  • Mary Russell Mary Russell on Sep 23, 2020

    Cant you just imagine someone buying these taking them home and getting a brain storm by making a top for a great desk?

    • Susan QC Susan QC on Sep 26, 2020

      Isn't it great how these Hometalkers make something they need out of something they DON'T need? I'll bet there's a post on here somewhere that shows how to turn a couple of old night stands into a great desk! That's what I need.