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Easy DIY Nightstand from a Thrift Store Stool

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How to make an easy DIY nightstand from a grungy, old thrift store stool.

I’ve slowly been working on a guest bedroom makeover and one of the last things I needed to do was to make a cheap DIY nightstand that I could put next to the bed.  

completed picture of easy DIY nightstand in corner of guest bedroom with plant on book and blue lamp

Like the rest of our house this bedroom is tiny, and has an awkward layout, so I couldn’t just stick a regular sized nightstand in there. We only have a sliver of space to use so I needed to get creative.

Don’t forget to check out my printable How-To card at the end of the post.

What can I use instead of a nightstand? 

I knew that with a little imagination I could create the piece that I needed.

My first thought was to use an old crate. It’s an easy solution but knew that I could do better.

When I found a cool old metal stool at a thrift store, that’s adjustable, I knew it would make the perfect nightstand for our newly remodeled guest bedroom.

Supplies to make a DIY nightstand from a stool:


I loved the patina of the metal legs but the dirty fabric and funky fringe had to go.

Making an easy DIY Nightstand

My plan for this old shop stool was to give the legs a good cleaning and remove the fabric and fringe in the hopes that the wood underneath was usable. 

old thrifted metal stool with black fringe on seat

I removed the screws for the seat and started to pull out the old, rusty staples that held the fabric on.

Once I got far enough to see the wood seat it was obvious that I couldn’t reuse it.

It turned out to be a thin piece of particle board.

Instead of working to get the fabric off, I just abandoned the seat.

seat removed from old metal stool

Because I couldn’t use the seat like I had hoped, I had to formulate a new plan.

I scrounged around the basement looking for a suitable top and found a piece of oak in the scrap wood. It wasn’t round like I had planned, but I thought I could make it work. 

I made a few measurements and trimmed it up on my chop saw.

Once I had the wood to the size I needed, I went to work on the finish.

The idea was to use some paint to make it look old and then I would stain it.  

So, to get started I pulled some of my favorite old paints from the paint cabinet to begin.

I knew I wanted to use colors from the room, so I found the navy blue that I used on the dresser and the gray from the walls.

White and turquoise paint, as well as black and yellow, were also added to the mix. 

4 open cans of paint and a piece of oak wood with a paintbrush on top

To begin, I took a small amount of one of my paints, the navy blue, and lightly dry brushed it randomly on the wood.

I did that with each color, only adding a small amount and putting it in random spots.

I stepped back several times to check my work and added where I thought I needed more.

dry brushing paint on piece of oak with paintbrush

When I was satisfied with the look, I let the paint dry.

Once the paint was dry, I took the wood outside so I could sand it down using my palm sander.

palm sander on top of painted piece of oak wood

You can sand as little or as much as you want. I was only looking for a hint of color so I ended up sanding a lot of the color away.

I used a tack cloth to remove all of the dust. 

The next step was to apply stain. I wanted a dark wood tone so I applied a dark walnut stain on the top and four sides.

I just rubbed it on with a soft cloth and quickly wiped it off. 

applying wood stain to piece of oak wood

After the stain had dried I realized that it wasn’t quite the color I was going for. I wanted the wood to have a darker tone, less golden brown.

piece of oak wood after stain is applied

To fix the golden hue, I took some very watered down black paint and quickly wiped it on the wood over the stain.

The black paint was the perfect solution. 

piece of oak wood after black paint is applied over stain

To finish off the antique look of the wood I applied two coats of a dark colored wax with a soft cloth.

Not only does it look great (and adds depth to the piece) but it also adds an extra layer of protection.

jar of wood wax and soft cloth on a stained piece of oak

With the wood top complete, I attached it to the freshly scrubbed stool.

First, I drilled pilot holes for my screws and then used the old screws and washers to secure the wood top.

top view of DIY nightstand with a blue lamp and potted plant next to platform bed

It’s the perfect size for the small corner in the guest bedroom with enough space for a lamp and a small plant.

I also love that the top is adjustable, so I can put it at the right height for our DIY platform bed, and it’s very sturdy.


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Easy DIY Nightstand from a Thrift Store Stool

Easy DIY Nightstand from a Thrift Store Stool

An easy DIY nightstand made from an old, thrifted stool with a scrap piece of wood. It's the perfect addition for a small guest bedroom corner.

Active Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Difficulty Easy/beginner
Estimated Cost $20




  1. Remove screws under seat with screwdriver
  2. Remove seat and discard
  3. Clean stool
  4. Find piece of scrap wood (cut to desired size)
  5. Sand piece of wood
  6. Use tack cloth to clean dust off of wood
  7. Gather several old paint samples
  8. With a paint brush, dry brush different colors on piece of wood (using light strokes)
  9. Once you are satisfied, let paint dry
  10. After paint is dry, use palm sander to remove some of the paint (this is a personal preference)
  11. Use tack cloth to clean all dust from wood
  12. Use a cloth or brush and wood stain to stain wood
  13. Wax stained wood with a soft cloth, buff and let dry
  14. Secure wood top with screws from old seat


I ended up using a bit of watered down black paint after the stain to tone down the golden hue of the wood.

Did you make this project?

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