• Modern Asian Nightstands

    by  • August 21, 2014 • Crafts & DIY Decor, Uncategorized • 24 Comments

    I’ve had these old storage cubes for a long time now.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    They were actually floating nightstands from my childhood bedroom. My parents let me pick out those nightstands on a trip to IKEA when I was redoing my bedroom in middle school and I thought they were the coolest.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    Aww, my old room.
    So yes, they’ve been around for quite awhile! Now, they’re not really my style anymore, and the cheap IKEA finish has seen better days.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters
    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    I’ve been using them just as extra storage in closets, but they’re not all that useful that way and I wanted to see if I could give them a second life. I had this idea to add legs, trim, and different hardware to transform them into nightstands for our guest room. I tried to come up with a design that was sort of had a modern/Asian look, because I’ve recently discovered that Phil prefers that style, and I can definitely agree with that! (Wohoo!!! A style we both like! This is like a major marital breakthrough, haha.) So my new house mission is to start to blend what we already have with some more modern pieces and some Asian influences to start to move more towards that vibe.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    I won’t get too detailed on the tutorial since I made the dimensions to fit those IKEA cubes, but I will give a basic rundown in case anyone wants to build something similar (the cubes are just a simple box construction with a hinged door, and the rest would be the same). It’s still a mega-post though, sorry!
    To get started, I bought some 1/2″ plywood at Lowe’s and had them cut it down to the basic sizes for me there (ya know, since we don’t have a table saw).

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    Then I drew out my design for the legs and cut each one out with a jigsaw.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    Two of the legs on each nightstand were a 1/2″ shorter on each side, so that the four pieces could fit together with simple butt joints and still form a perfect square once built. I used wood glue and nails to assemble them.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    It took a lot of spackle and sanding to make them look decently smooth (especially the leg cut-outs), but that made it look so much nicer once it came to painting.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    The cube doors had these inset grooved panels made of plastic, which wouldn’t work for the hardware that I wanted to attach right in the center of the door faces. So I cut down some scrap wood and used Liquid Nails to glue the pieces on top of both sides of the door. I also spackled over the old hardware holes and any other imperfections on the cubes’ finish.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters
    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    Then I applied two coats of primer (I used some Kilz primer that I already had) and gave it another quick sanding to make sure the paint finish would be smooth.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    The trim pieces I got were the teeniest ones I could find at Lowe’s. I ended up needing 9 of these 8′ pieces and I pre-primed these too.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    Then I cut down and attached trim on the doors and on the front and sides of the cubes. This was my idea to sort of disguise where the seams are and also just to give them more dimension and interest.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters
    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    Adding trim around the leg shapes was definitely more time consuming with all the little cuts, but you can see here how much of a difference it made in making them look way more legit. And it definitely worked to hide where all the plywood joints/seams were, so I was very happy that worked out!

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    To attach them, I just used some more Liquid Nails. I hoped it would be alright to avoid using any brad nails or whatnot, but it definitely feels like they’re on there for good.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    In my original design plan, I had two of these little squares of trim that were supposed to go on each leg, which I wanted to mimic the square of trim on the door. But I ended up nixing that idea once I got to the trim stage because I thought it looked too crowded. I think that was the right call, but I wish I would’ve realized it sooner because I might’ve made the leg shape proportions a little different – but oh well, I still love them!

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    With all the trim done, I caulked the seams and was ready for paint!

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    I was having trouble deciding what color to paint the nightstands. When I originally came up with the design, I had pictured them being a medium to dark gray-blue-green or gray-blue-violet. But after bringing in the faux leather armchairs, it seemed like it would be too dark with the dark rug and bed too. I couldn’t think of what would look right with the colors already going on in the room, and I wasn’t really feeling white for some reason. I asked my sister Alyssa to ask her opinion, and she suggested a light pink like the curtains – as a tone-on-tone effect. BRILLIANT.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    I grabbed some paint chips from my stash and texted her this picture. I had to laugh when one of my favorite shades was named “Alyssa,” so obviously I had to choose that one! Thanks, sista 🙂

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    I used another oil-based enamel for this project (like with the dresser I did last) and the hard, durable finish is totally worth the extra dry time.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    While that was drying, I turned my attention to my hardware! I bought this pair of antique Chinese brass pulls on ebay for about $12 total. I really liked the aged look, but the tarnish was so bad that you couldn’t really see the cool engraved designs (They actually look much cooler in this photo than in person – the next shots are more accurate).

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    I saw a post on Centsational Girl about polishing brass hardware, so I tried out her tip to use a natural mixture of lemon juice and salt. You just mix 1/4 cup of salt with the juice of 1/2 a lemon or so and use that paste to scrub away the tarnish. I used cheesecloth for this but I don’t know if that made a difference or not.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    The concoction definitely worked though!

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    One of the backplates revealed these random pink/purple streaks. I have no idea what that is or what it’s from!

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    I failed to notice before that the screws that came with the hardware were way too long and would’ve poked out the other side of the door, so instead I just hammered in some brass tacks and it actually worked out great. Plus I think it’s a nice touch!

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    Here’s the finished product! I’m so happy with how they turned out!

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters
    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    I’m kind of in love with these legs.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters
    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    After I finished the nightstands, I suddenly noticed that their shape kind of reminds me of little robots! Phil said he thought that before too, but didn’t want to say anything. Haha, smart man. Furniture that looks like robots sounds like a horrible thing to me but surprisingly, I think it makes these nightstands cute.

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters
    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters
    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    This room is almost complete! It just needs a few finishing touches and tweaks but that’s it. But that makes this room the most finished part of the house!… Which is kind of sad, since we’ve been here awhile now, and I feel like the guest room should be the last on your project list, but you gotta take inspiration (and motivation) when it strikes, I guess!

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters
    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters
    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters
    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    If you’re curious about the cost breakdown for a project like this – I spent roughly $18 on the plywood, $28 on the trim, $12 on the paint, and $12 on the pair of antique drawer pulls – which comes to about $70 for the two nightstands. The trim was really the budget buster here, which I could’ve skipped, but it was worth it to me because that’s what I think really takes it up a notch and makes it look more professional and less DIY (at least I hope). And $70 is still not bad for two totally unique pieces that I hope to keep for a long time!

    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters
    Modern Asian Nightstands | Beautiful Matters

    What do you think?

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    24 Responses to Modern Asian Nightstands

    1. August 21, 2014 at 9:21 am

      This might be my most favorite Ikea hack ever! So clever and it totally completes the room. Nice work!

    2. August 21, 2014 at 10:31 am

      HOLY WOW! you had such amazing vision on these!!!!!!

    3. August 21, 2014 at 10:33 am

      holy wow! these are amazing- my mind is blown! (if a comment from me shows up twice- sorry- had computer issue!)

    4. August 21, 2014 at 11:26 am

      I agree with Elizabeth above – best Ikea Hack I’ve seen in so long!!! Seriously, great work!

      • August 21, 2014 at 2:36 pm

        Why thank you! Also, I’ve been following your blog for awhile now and love it 🙂

    5. August 21, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Lady – brilliant!! Those legs are just to die for. Just found you through a friend, think I’ll stick around awhile 🙂

      • August 21, 2014 at 2:38 pm

        Awesome! Please do! As long as you don’t mind massive blog posts and my inconsistent posting schedule, haha!

    6. Kelsy W
      August 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      I love them! They look amazing!! I also like the blue lamp shades 🙂 surprised?

      • August 21, 2014 at 2:43 pm

        Thanks, Kels! It’s definitely one of your colors 🙂 Hey, I need an update on your house?!

    7. holly
      August 21, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      this is incredible! so unique – they look so good

    8. Grammy
      August 21, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      Love the Asian inspiration! I am not surprised how great that room came together; the rug, the plant area, the head board, and the curtains. Great job!

    9. Alyssa
      August 22, 2014 at 7:49 am

      Love how these turned out! The shape of the base is just stunning. Seeing it by itself during the building process made me realize it would be a great design for a little tufted footstool, or make for a great looking bench. I love how the shape of the hardware mimics the round design found in the rug, too. It really all came together so nicely! And of course, I love the color 🙂

      • August 22, 2014 at 8:27 am

        Ooo you’re right, that would make a cool bench design!

        • Alyssa
          August 22, 2014 at 9:32 am

          yeah i’m seeing it lacquered in some punchy color. i’m thinking orange!

    10. August 22, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Ah! The old bedroom – I’m feeling so nostalgic! What a special place that was – your room was always awesome. And I LOVE the Asian look of the stands!

    11. Ruth
      August 22, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      That room is amazing! You’re super talented. I’m really glad I’ve found your blog (you did a brilliant job on your last home) and am excited to see what you come up with next. You’ve got yourself a new reader!
      I hardly ever leave comments on blogs so I’m finding hard to be genuinely enthusiastic (which I really am) without coming across as some crazy stalker fan girl. 🙂

      • August 22, 2014 at 6:23 pm

        Haha, I love it. Thanks for the compliments and for following along! 🙂

    12. September 15, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      What a transformation! And I have to say that the robot comment cracked me up. Do you picture them now as just standing by ready to wait on you?

    13. September 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      So happy I stopped by your blog today! These nightstands are awesome. Makes me start re-imaginging some of the furniture I’ve inherited from my parents and in-laws…..

    14. October 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      love this most recent project of yours! What a great Ikea hack!

    15. DeAndrea F.
      July 4, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Job well done. Your hard work looks very nice. Love the color too!

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