Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Child sized Desk becomes a Nightstand

Many of you have already seen this post over at Gail’s blog last week when I did a guest post.

I’m publishing it here today for anyone who didn’t get to see it. 

Hello, my name is Rose, and I’m a Curbshopaholic…….

When Gail asked for guest bloggers to fill in for her during her time off for Jamie's wedding, I was so very happy to be able to help.

After all, if it weren’t for Gail I wouldn’t even BE a blogger.  Well over a year ago, long before I started blogging, Gail very kindly showed many of my projects on her blog.  Why, she even let me write my own post one day…the post that was the jumping off point for me to begin my own blog.

It was titled “Confessions of a Curbshopaholic” which became the title of my blog. (Click on the link to read it.)

She became my blog mentor, guiding me every step of the way, and was my very first follower. 

Thanks so much, Gail, you’re the best!

For my project today  I dug out a piece I’ve had for quite a while now, a year to be exact.  (Unfortunately, yes, I often take that long to get around to using my finds.)

This little desk I found waiting for me at the curb one trash day.  You can read about it in one of my very early posts titled “Curbshop along with me today!”.


I’m always excited when I find a piece of wood furniture, no matter what condition it’s in.

This poor abused and abandoned desk was just begging to become a nightstand.  I could see it in my mind’s eye right away.

The original top was warped and had come off, someone had attempted to glue it back together a few times.

I decided to get rid of the old top altogether and start over with a bigger, prettier one.


storage 005


First up though was a good sanding, a coat of primer and some repairs.

Next, a new color.

I chose a blue green shade I had in my “Oops” collection.  Not unlike Gail, I’m addicted to buying Oops paints whenever I see them.  At $5 a gallon they are the best and cheapest way to experiment with new colors.

storage 012 

After painting I played around with some shelf boards I had purchased for $1 apiece at my favorite store, Real Deals. (this is a small chain in the Central New York area.)

You just never know what you’ll find when you go in to browse there; they buy out overstock and closeouts and sell everything for a dollar or less. I get all my spray-paint there for a buck! 

When they had these wooden shelving pieces, I purchased several, not knowing what I would do with them but sure they would be handy for something.

And what do you know?  The scalloped edges of this piece would be perfect for the front of the top.

storage 021

And I really liked the extra width too.  My current nightstand is tiny and I’m forever missing it when I try to set something down during the night.  My glasses have landed on the floor more times than I can count!

storage 038

I just needed to fill in the gap between the front and back boards.

I grabbed a third shelf and trimmed it down to size on the table saw. At the same time I cut the beveled edges off the other boards so they would line up.

storage 041

I happen to have a biscuit joiner which I’ve rarely used. 

This tool came in handy for joining the 3 pieces to make one smooth tabletop.

storage 046

It’s pretty easy to use, it just cuts slots in the sides of the boards,

The trick is to keep the boards on a flat surface and to cut the holes so they align with the next board.

First get the pieces lined up perfectly.  Then make a pencil mark across all the boards.

storage 048

Use the pencil mark to position the joiner to make the slot.

 storage 051

Then you take the “biscuits” and some wood glue….

storage 053

and join the pieces together!   

If you don’t have a biscuit joiner, you could do this with a Kreg pocket hole jig (Gail shows how easy it is to use here), or even by using glue on the edges and attaching mending plates on the underside of the pieces to hold them together. 

(Something like when I used mending plates to repair a crack in my old ironing board. )

Since I already had the biscuit joiner this was a good opportunity for me to get some practice with it. 


I then stained and added 2 coats of polyurethane to the new top.

Next up, a little decorative touch.  I’ve always wanted to paint birds on something, but can’t paint freehand.

So I cheated and found something online that had birds on it. 

I printed it out and traced the design using carbon paper to transfer it to the piece.


The drawer fronts were the perfect place to add the birds. 

It looked like this when I was done tracing. 

I used this same technique for my Ironing Board Subway Art last fall.


Some black sharpie marker to fill in the design, followed by a good sanding gave me the look I was going for.

A little bit of glaze was quickly wiped on and then off again to tone down the color.


Next up I attached the new top with L brackets and added some new knobs.

Now to introduce it to it’s new home.

(This is the scary part; I can’t believe I’m going to show you pictures of my bedroom!  We’ve been nearly 10 years in this house and still haven’t removed the very old striped floral wallpaper from the walls.  Maybe this will embarrass me enough to give me the incentive I need to get around to it!)


It’s the perfect height!


And I’m loving all the extra room I have on the top!



These vintage books were just the right shade to go with my new nightstand. I think I’ll keep them there for a while.



Cost breakdown for my new nightstand; base found for free; $3 for the top; $4 for the 2 glass knobs (on sale at Hobby Lobby); and pennies for the paint, stains, and poly I used from my existing stash.

That brings it to less than $8.

blog signature


  1. Ummm... LOVING IT!!! This is spectacular! I'd love to do a print on something but I had no idea how to do it, but now maybe I need to get me some carbon paper :)

  2. Your new nightstand looks amazing! Love the painted base & stained top. Great job! I've never heard of Real Deals before, and will have to search them out. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Yep, after seeing it the second time, I am totally positive now - that is just SO PERFECT that I almost can't stand how awesome it is!! You really rocked this one girl!

  4. I love it. Nightstands need to be large enough to hold a lamp and all the necessities and also the right height. This one is perfect. I especially love the birds on the drawers. So whimsical.

    How is Sandy doing?

  5. Wow! That looks amazing! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  6. Yep, I totally agree with everyone else! A nightstand needs to be big, and I LOVE the technique you used for the bird stencil, pure genius!
    And of COURSE I'm in love with that color. Thanks again for doing the guest post!

  7. Rose~
    Whoa! what a beautiful piece. You could never convince me that was a curb find! (unless I hadn't seen this transformation) The color is fantastic. Love the stencil-- the books a perfect match.
    And even the wall paper has a hint of the same color in it! You may need to wait on peeling it off...LOL! Who knows it may come back least that is what I tell myself. LOL... love this 'NICE SIZED' bedside table.

  8. Now that is absolutely GORGEOUS!

  9. Seriously - JUST as AWESOME the second time I see it!!! Did I mention that I am loving the color?


  10. I can't get over your talent in remaking things. This is truly gorgeous!

  11. So beautiful! I LOVE IT! I feel so inspired to go find something and make it beautiful.

  12. this is fabulous! I love it!

  13. Looks great! What a good idea. So unique.

  14. I'm so impressed Rose! This table is gorgeous and it would work so well in our new farm house when we get it! Can I commission you to make one or two for me??? Pretty Please!!!!!! (must be read whining!)

    I LOVE the birds and branches and the width of the table top! You have given me a million creative ideas with this!!!!


  15. WOW, this is gorgeous!!!! I am loving your Blog...I have an addiction too. Just had heavy garbage in our area and it was the best, craziest couple of days....lots of great finds. Hard to believe what others throw in the garbage. Thanks for sharing.

  16. It looks absolutely amazing. You did a great job on it as usual.

  17. These pictures are so impressive. I am sure my peers will enjoy these too.childrens furniture

  18. Saw this post on Gail's sight and loved the birds! But did I save it? Of course not. It has taken me 3 hours of blog "research" to find you! Where did you get the bird design? Diane :)

  19. Oh and by the way, I'm now a follower so I don't miss any more of your curbside finds!

  20. I always see those old desks that are too small to be used as desks anymore. What a great idea for one! I love how you stained the top and made the rest of it look old. You did a great job on the birds. Did you choose that paint color to go with those books? It matches perfectly!

  21. Love this! I'm your newest follower. Visiting from


  22. I must have said "thats amazing" so many times I read your post!!

    Absolutely wonderful job!!!

    The Joyful Thrifter


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you!