Our new nightstands are complete, and I just LOVE them! (but, like, the appropriate amount for inanimate objects, obviously)
Aside from the style they add to the room, they are the perfect scale for maximizing our space. It’s not a big room, and our bed frame is pretty visually heavy, so we had to find pieces that wouldn’t feel shrimpy next to the substantial bed, but would also allow the space to feel more open. The Rast is a pretty petite piece, but by staining it dark, and adding a little height with some amazing hairpin legs, I think we struck just the right balance.
Since it’s always fun to see a before and after, we’ll start with that, and then go through how we got there:
We didn’t make a dramatic change, but we took something solid and simple and made it suit our style. After figuring out what that style was.
First, a few structural adjustments:
1. We didn’t love the look of the recessed toe-kick. So we moved this piece forward to sit flush with the faces of the drawers, and used our doweling kit to reattach it. (You could definitely do this differently: with pocket holes, counter-suck screws, or a nail gun. We just used dowels since that’s how the rest of the piece is constructed. And we wanted more experience with the doweling kit). In the photo you can see the original holes, about 1 1/2″ inches further back from the face of the dresser.
2. Since we wanted to add feet, we needed to have a solid base to attach them to. We cut a spare piece of 1/2″ plywood and used the nail gun to attach it on the inside of the existing frame. This piece is so lightweight, and we weren’t planning on filling it with anything heavy, so that’s why we felt comfortable adding the base in this way, so it wasn’t visible. If you had other plans in mind, you may want to create a full base below the existing frame, so that the weight in the dresser would be applied uniformly across that base.
And then came style!
While we looked over lots (and lots) of drawer hardware options, I’ve really been crushing on simple long drawer pulls lately after using one on the barn door at Project Lake Claire (side note: I can’t wait to share that whole project with you! We just need time for a photoshoot) Unexpected bonus: when you’re
being lazy laying (lying? I never know which it is..) in bed, the long pull makes it super easy to pull the drawers open from the side.
We made a simple paper jig to determine where we’d need to drill holes for the new pulls, and then we used wood putty to fill the old holes. When you’re installing hardware on anything that has multiple doors/drawers, it is SUPER important to create a jig to make sure that you’ll be putting the hardware in the exact same place on each drawer. If one pull ended up a little shifted in comparison to the other pulls on that dresser, it instantly has the look of a bad DIY job.
The simple pulls (similar) we liked came in ORB and nickel, but we wanted to go with something different. The agate table we’ve got in the corner has a lovely brass base, so we decided to balance that across the room on the nightstands. The feet which I LOVE, came in an unpolished steel, so we used spray paint to get a similar finish on both the feet and the pulls. This also coordinates with the slightly rougher bronze finish on our lamps, which is great because everything is in the same family, but it doesn’t feel too matchy, like we used one color on every single accessory. Having the varied tones of brass lets it feel nicely layered.
There was some wavering on the finish as you saw but we decided to keep it pretty simple. By using a medium grey tone it isn’t so light as to blend into the walls, but it’s dark enough to give the pieces some presence. We used stain to keep a little of that rustic wood vibe. We’re not super polished folks, so a crisply painted dresser might not fit us (or our weathered-white bed finish) so well. We hit a couple spots with some extra sandpaper to bring out the natural wood as well. To make everything feel like a truly finished piece of furniture, we also stained the interior of the frame, and painted the insides of the drawers. This is an easy step that keeps a project like this from looking super hodge-podged.
And then to add that little bit of Jenjamin flair, I wanted to hand paint a graphic pattern to draw in some of the other elements of the room. There’s something so satisfying about doing pretty little detail work that is simple, but makes a big impact. We left the dressers pattern-free for about 2 weeks to make sure we wanted to take that extra step, and while the grey and bronze was lovely, we just knew it needed something special.
To create the pattern, I altered a few styles I had found online until I got just what I wanted. Then I printed 6 copies (for 6 drawers) at full scale. My favorite method for painting in this style is using a ballpoint pen to trace over your pattern. Pushing down through the pattern leaves light ridges in the soft wood, then when you remove the paper, you have a subtle little template to follow with your paint pen. It really could not have been easier, and it was definitely cheaper (only $6 for 3 paint pens, and I only ended up needing one!) than using a store-bought stencil. Of course if you trust yourself, you can always freehand it, and then pat yourself on the back while the rest of us glare jealously. I personally love the perfectly imperfect style that this gave us.
So, with all these special additions, what did our ridiculously well priced dressers actually end up costing us?
(no affiliate links here, we’re just making our favorite finds easier for you to see)
TOTAL: about $211 for two fully customized dressers, or just over $100 each. Dare I say it, I think we ended up with exactly what we wanted, for a price we just couldn’t beat with something in a store.
And while we really love building things from scratch, it was hard to argue against $35 for our wood and construction, and the challenge of working within the parameters of the existing piece was pretty exciting. We definitely loved joining the legions of Rast Hackers!
Have you hacked a Rast? We’d love to see it!