In the master bedroom, we’ve been using on each side of the bed the IKEA LACK coffee tables as nightstands. This was supposed to be a temporary situation as it was an effortless and inexpensive solution, but we ended up having them for over five years. I quickly got used to their fairly large surface that could easily accommodate more than what one needs to have on hand over the course of a night, but their height has always been a problem. Coffee tables are meant to be shorter than bedside tables and with an 11 inch difference from the top part of the mattress to the table, reaching for something was more of a plunge than anything else. Not to mention that reading in bed was out of the question as even the tallest table lamps were too short to distribute adequate reading light. As for their style, it was definitely not my first choice.
I managed to extend their height and turn them into functional and elegant bedside tables! All I had to do was to add one more shelf and four legs of top of my existing IKEA LACK coffee table!
To make one bedside table, I used two IKEA LACK coffee tables – an assembled one (which I already had) plus a new one that I purchased. From the new table package, I only used the upper thick tabletop and two legs.
And I also bought two wooden corbels that would serve as front legs to hold my new shelf.
This is the result.
And here is how to make one: I took the new parts to a carpenter and for a low cost, I had him (1) cut 2.5 inches off each corbel (2) make the new top shelf 12.5 inches long and (3) cut the two new legs to 7 ¼ inches high. Even though I had read that the legs of the IKEA LACK tables are hollow, to my surprise, I found out that only about half the leg is hollow. The other half is filled with particle wood, and that is the part I used, as it had two filled flat surfaces to apply glue onto. Here are the parts after they were cut to the above mentioned dimensions.
To glue all the parts together, I used a 5-minute Epoxy, a very strong glue that sets in just a few minutes. I worked very fast and with help and I applied generous quantities of glue on all the parts that needed to be connected. I first positioned the corbels on the old coffee table, then the back feet and last the thick shelf on top. This glue is so strong that there is no way that this new addition will ever fall apart. I had previously sanded the parts that I wanted to glue together to create a rougher surface, but I don’t think this was necessary. I used almost more than half of the 50 ml container on one nightstand.
I immediately added lots of weight on the top shelf and let the glue settle for 24 hours. At that point, I already knew that this would turn into an awesome piece of furniture, even though I still had a little work ahead.
wood filler to fill the openings on the back of the corbels that were showing,
and I also applied wood filler on all the joints of the connected parts and on some of the old ones (legs connecting to the old tabletop).
I sanded off the excess dried wood filler and ended up with a smooth surface, ready for paint.
I started with a generous coat of primer and continued with black satin paint, all applied with a roller. To camouflage the parts that were not perfectly well glued together, I thought of giving my bedside table a weathered look. I tried to mimic this finish that I had seen on the Pottery Barn Dawson Pedestal Table, so I painted strokes of orange paint with a thick brush between the second and third coat of black paint.
I could’t be more pleased with the result! The moment it was finished,
I started working on a second one for the other side of the bed.
The addition of this top shelf makes the nightstand much more functional than I expected. The table lamp sits a lot higher, giving enough reading light, while the items that are needed during the night (i.e. a bottle of water, glasses etc.) are now easily reachable.
As for their overall look, I think they turned out from plain modern to elegant, a good match for our classic bed.
On some of the joints, like this one, I did an absolute perfect job. The surface turned out smooth and it seems as the new shelf addition and the new legs is actually one solid piece of wood.
On some other parts I did less of a good job
and that’s why I’m glad I added the orange strokes of paint that give a slightly weathered look; they’re vaguely visible, here and there, but they do hide some of my carpentry imperfections.
The new addition makes it seem as if the nightstand doesn’t extend as far out from the back wall as it used to. Plus, the dimensions of the table compared to the bed seem now much less disproportionate.
What I like most about these new bedside tables are the curved front legs
and the detail on the end of the corbel. It’s only a little touch but it adds character and style to this new piece of furniture.
To save money, I could have purchased only one new table and used it for both nightstands (have the tabletop cut in the middle and use each half on each table). But in that case, the length of the new addition would’ve been a lot smaller and the corbels would not be sitting on the front border of the table. I would have saved $20 but I would have lost some of their beauty and functionality.
Every creation starts with some kind of inspiration. My new stylish bedside tables have been inspired by the Ballard Designs Sidney Open Side Table. The dimensions are almost identical, the various levels are similar in looks and functionality, and even though I don’t have the drawers, my baskets provide almost closed storage and they can be pulled out (a little project of the past).
The IKEA LACK coffee tables are $19.99 each, the corbels are $9.98 each, the glue was about $12 and the rest of the expenses is distributed between the carpenter, the primer & paint and other. So, the cost of one finished bedside table came out to about $85, but I only spent about $65/table since I already owned the two assembled tables.
The most difficult part of the project was deciding what color to paint them. The house is a rental and the master bedroom comes with heavy beige drapes that cannot be removed and the room has beige walls that I can’t paint. So, coming up with a color that would match our bed and the rest of the room was not an easy task. I decided on this rich black because it seemed that it would tie all the elements of the room in harmony, but I might decide to paint them again someday soon in another color.
I’m still in the process of styling the new bedside tables, moving things around, bringing in decorative items from other parts of the house, and making them look as if I just bought them out of a catalog!
Materials for one bedside table
- 2 LACK coffee table – IKEA
- 2 Waddell Solid Basswood corbels – The Home Depot
- System Three Quick Cure 5 glue – Woodcraft
- Zinsser Bull’s Eye1-2-3 / 1qt. White Water Based Interior/Exterior Primer – The Home Depot
- Black paint – Spade Black in satin finish by Behr Ultra
- Orange paint – 6671 Curry by Sherwin Williams
- wood filler
- paint roller
- sand paper