skinny nightstands

We’ve just about got the boys’ room whipped into shape enough to start showing you guys what’s going on in there. Hopefully you don’t have one of those fancy scratch ‘n’ sniff monitors, because I can promise you it looks better than it smells. How can such little feet stink up a room so badly?

I’m sure their room will be covered in Lego pieces and dirty socks a majority of the time, but I’m going to at least give them a good start. Maybe they can keep it clean long enough for me to blog about it? But let’s be real, it won’t always look like these images.

Their room will likely span several posts, starting with this project that we began back in the fall when it was still warm enough to work in the driveway. You saw a glimpse of it here.

I bought this desk two whole years ago. It was from a garage sale for $7 (I talked her down from $10. Yes, I’m that lady.) and I was going to use it for a different purpose in our last house, but then I went a different direction. It happens.

It was one of those items that made the cut (i.e. wasn’t sold on Craigslist) when we moved here, but its days were numbered. It had to be used soon or it was a goner. I wanted to use it to make skinny nightstands since I have three boys in one room and it’s a tight fit! This is a very popular blogged item, and frequently posted on Pinterest. I really have no clue where it originated, but I’ve been seeing this idea in various ways for a few years now.

So here’s what we started with…

nightstand desk

It was not in great shape, but I knew a little sanding and paint could change all that.

rough top

Scratches and water rings, and is that a burn mark?

The first thing we did was remove the top. There were several screws all around the edge.

unscrew screws remove top

This is what it looked like with the drawers and top removed.

top and drawers removed

We cut that middle part out and were left with two taller-than-we-needed nightstands, so my husband used a circular saw and just cut through the entire thing right below where the first drawer was.

make shortercut off with skilsaw

The three-year old was desperate to help in some way, so I gave him some wood glue and a tape measure to distract him from the saws.

attach top desperate to help tape measure

Cutting it down left us with some rough spots, but they were easily fixed with wood filler and sanded smooth.

rough spots

I got distracted by making lunch and forgot to get a picture of it afterward. Sorry!

The three-year old was worn out after lunch and all that gluing and measuring, so he put himself down for a nap by watching Mickey in the van (with the door open, of course!) while we worked away in the driveway.

worn out

We used the table saw to cut the top into two new tops.

cut top

Then it was time to prime them. (Sand first, of course. I forgot a pic of that, too.) I was originally thinking it would be easiest to use spray primer since there are so many edges and sides and cracks, but I remembered I had some primer from an earlier project that was already tinted gray, which is what color I wanted to paint these. Shocking, I know. Also, this Zinsser is much more durable than a spray primer. And since this is for a boys’ room, I figured the extra work now would be worth it in the long run.

spray primer tinted primer

I primed away with my brush until dark, which came way too soon. I hate you, Fall!

primed drawers primed

And then I sanded down the side of the top that had been cut on the table saw so that it would match the original edge. I didn’t need a router since the original edge just had a slight rounding. I just used some coarse paper on my mouse sander.

sand edges

So then we brought everything in from the driveway and set up a painting area in the living room (my dream house has a huge, heated workshop).

I did a real quick sanding with a fine block just to get rid of any primer bumps.

paint inside

I tested a few different gray paints that I had on hand from when I bought samples for the master and the hallway (which you haven’t seen yet because it isn’t finished).

paint colors

I decided to go with Mountain Smoke, because I didn’t want the nightstands to be so light that they blended into the wall. (The boys’ walls are the same light gray as the master; I painted them at the same time since I already had all the paint stuff out and was anxious to cover the different, but equally yuck, green that was previously there.)

One sample jar was more than enough to cover both of these nightstands.

paint sample

I finished painting them, let them dry, and then moved them into their room with no hardware.

painted nightstand

It took me two months to add hardware. Mainly because I moved on to other projects and never finished the boys’ room. I just got it functional enough to use and then got distracted by more urgent things.

I was planning to buy some “fun” draw pulls since a kid’s room is such a great place to take risks and be whimsical, but I have yet to find anything I want for in there.

I am a huge fan of the ring pulls and actually thought I’d use them somewhere else instead of letting the boys have them, but I don’t have anything in mind right now, so I put them back on the nightstands after a good cleaning.

I soaked them in warm vinegar and water and then scrubbed them with steel wool to get rid of years of funk. I think they look gorgeous!

drawer pulls

Forgive the tight shot, I don’t want to reveal anything else in the room yet. 🙂

I’ll be back in a couple days to show you more of their room. I’m really loving how great it looks. Here’s hoping they can keep it up to “mom standards,” which seem to be a bit cleaner than “boy standards.”

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