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Upcycled Desk into Nightstands ~ DIY Fun

Ooh…do I have a fun makeover for you today. This one is not your typical dress-up-a-piece project, but really a complete metamorphosis. I’m a sucker for the worn down and beaten, and this beauty below is no exception. Hang with me as I turn this upcycled desk into nightstands. {{enter in dramatic music}}

Antique Desk Before Being Made into Nightstands |

A few weeks ago, I told you the story about a lady named Donna, who had recently passed. Her daughters were working through finding homes for her estate items, and I purchased an antique dressing table and this desk. You can see the antique dressing table in this post. (It’s a good one!)

Damaged Antique Desk Top |

Today, it’s all about this desk. I will be completely honest and say that I didn’t want it. I went to look at both pieces and instantly said a “NO” in my head when it came time to purchase it. The desk is beaten up and looks like more work than I felt like messing with. However, the softie that I am felt compassion for the ladies who were grieving, so I brought it home with me.


I figured I could do something with it and didn’t realize how bad of shape it really was until I pulled it out and looked closer. It’s not a high-end desk, but a desk nonetheless. The silly thing is even held together by those boards in the back. The drawers were all but falling to pieces and I had my work cut out for me. It was then I decided to make this an upcycled desk in to nightstands project. In all honesty, this is probably where I should have stopped. haha!

First, I take out all the hardware and supports that were holding the top of the desk on. Those removed pieces go into my scrap pile for a higher purpose in the future. Nothing goes to waste around here. I’ve created a video demo of this below just because I wanted this fun on tape.

Removing Desk Top for DIY Nightstands |

Prying Parts off of Desk for Makeover |

Now the top is off and I just have that one adjoining board at the back.

Antique Desk Top Removed to Make Nightstands |

I just love finding these kinds of notes and marks like these chalk numbers. Some kiddo crawled up under the desk and practiced their numbers. So fun!

Chalk Numbers Written on Underside of Antique Desk |

*post sponsored by Zibra and contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)


Next, I pounded the board out and cut it into 3 pieces on my miter saw. The two shorter pieces are replace the empty spot at the back of the nightstands. Meanwhile, the 3rd longer piece heads to my stash.

You can see in the video how I used my circular saw and Rip Cut Jig to cut off the end of the desk top to make new tops for the nightstands. Here they are resting on the dry fit upcycled desk into nightstands. If you were to touch these at this point, the would crumble to the ground. eep!

Dry Fit of DIY Nightstands from Antique Desk |

It’s at this point I took them inside to assemble them and get the ready for the next steps. My nailer is my best friend when doing this job.

Ryobi Nailer to Assemble Upcycled Nightstands |


Enter in the “what did you get yourself into” train. This is definitely not the first time I’ve had this joyride, but I am hoping this is the last. ahem. Tons of wood filler and repairs are in order since most of the drawer faces are falling off or have nails protruding EVERYWHERE.

Hot Mess of a Desk by Prodigal Pieces |

Now, my desk drawers are assembled, but still needing some lovin’. One particular drawer had a missing corner. I remedied that by cutting trim to cover ALL THE DRAWER FACES. ugh. Lots of hand miters and gluing and nailing. BUT…I’m gettin’ er done.

Damaged Drawer Face Repaired with Trim |

After the drawer faces, I created a scalloped skirt for the front of the nightstands. I made a pattern using the existing skirt, then cut out with my jigsaw.

Tracing Desk Skirt Pattern |

Then, I created pocket hole joints to the skirt pieces using my drill and my Kreg Jig.

Adding Pocket Joints with Kreg Jig |

My awesome teammate, JC, jumped in to help me while I fiddled with the rest. He used our router to make all the edges of the top cohesive.

Routing Nightstand Top Made from Upcycled Desk |

Alas, here are my upcycled desk into nightstands ready for a new lease on life.

Staining Nightstands to Prep for Paint |


See the awesome routed edges and all the new details? I’m excited!! Can you blame me?

Beveled Nightstand Top |

This is where my favorite Zibra brushes come out to play. I’ve started to stain the new additions of wood just to deepen the color a bit to prep it for paint.

Staining Nightstand Top with Zibra Paint Brush | Brushes available at

Next, the stain has cured and it’s time to make these beauties shine again. I’ve chosen to use a flat black paint and my Stubby Brush to apply two coats of paint. (letting cure in between, of course)

Painting Upcycled Nightstands with Zibra Stubby Brush and Flat Black Paint | Brushes available for purchase at

Then, I use my Triangle Brush to tackle the drawers. Believe me, they need some pep! The Triangle Brush works wonders in corners and filling in where a standard brush doesn’t.

Painting Drawer Interior with Zibra Triangle Brush | Zibra Brushes available at

Last, but not least, I added paper liner to the drawers, and also black wax to protect paint. I use an older Square Brush to apply the wax, and then buff to a low lustre.

Waxing Nightstands with Zibra Square Brush |


Meet my upcycled desk turned nightstands COMPLETE and ready for a new life. WOOT!

Modern Farmhouse Style Nightstands Made from Upcycled Desk | Video Tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #furniture #home #videos #tutorial #homedecor #homedecorideas #farmhouse

Modern Farmhouse Nightstand in Black | Made from Upcycled Desk by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #handmade #farmhouse #furniture #home #shopping #homedecor #homedecorideas

With this set done, I can now say that I would do it again, but with a better project piece condition in the first place. What a challenging set to build.

Vintage Farmhouse Style Nightstands in Black Created from an Upcycled Desk by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Video tutorial at #prodigalpieces #diy #farmhouse #furniture #home #homedecor #homedecorideas #vintage

Peek-a-Book Drawers for Nightstands by Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #farmhouse #furniture #home #homedecor #homedecorideas

Subscribe to Prodigal Pieces on YouTube for DIY video tutorials and a whole lotta fun |

The drawers got that fun peek-a-boo effect and the filigree knobs really made a difference in the feel of this set. No worries as the old ones will be getting new life too.

Black Filigree Knob for Vintage Nightstands by Prodigal Pieces |

Paper Lined Drawer of Vintage Nightstands Made from Upcycled Desk | Prodigal Pieces |


Oh, and in case you had forgot… While most of the remnants of the desk are awaiting new life, I did make good on my promise to recreate the middle drawer. This is, again, to honor the prairie style I felt would emulate Donna’s life.

Prairie Farmhouse Vignette Created with an Antique Desk Drawer Shadow Box with Hand-Stitched Quilt, Vintage Hankie, and Doilies | DIY at Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #handmade #farmhouse #diy #home #homedecor #vintage #homedecorideas

Antique Drawer Repurposed into Vintage Vignette by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #handmade #farmhouse #home #homedecor #shopping #vintage

It’s filled with a remnant of a tattered quilt I found at a garage sale and made use of HERE. Also, I used a vintage hankie to put a few of the words of wisdom by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The little crochet doilies are the icing on the cake, as well as the scrap of chalk-written numbers from the desk. Did you notice I even salvaged the tiny corbels for the upper corners too?

Upcycled Vintage Hankie with Quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

Vintage Drawer Used for Mixed Media Wall Art by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

Hand-Stitched Tattered Quilt and Doilies for Mixed Media Art by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

Are you inspired yet? I sure hope so! If you like either the nightstand (end table) set or drawer wallΒ art, they are now available in MY ONLINE SHOP. (SOLD)

Shop Prodigal Pieces |

Set of Vintage Farmhouse Nightstands Created by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Full Video Tutorial at #prodigalpieces #diy #home #farmhouse #furniture #homedecor #videos #homedecorideas #vintage


Now for some giveaway fun for YOU. Zibra and I are all about inspiring you to get into the DIY spirit. We are giving away a set of my favorite brushes!

4 Piece Detail Brush Kit by Zibra | Giveaway by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

Easy entry – just fill out as many entries as you like in the widget below. You can do it daily if you like for more entries. Open to U.S. and Canada residents 18 years of age and older. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond. Be sure to check your spam!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do pin and share this upcycled desk into nightstands fun. I’m sure there’s another desk out there somewhere waiting for a rescue! πŸ™‚

Fantastic save!! This old antique had seen better days, but now it has new life as an upcycled desk turned into a pair of nightstands. Full video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces at #prodigalpieces #diy #home #furniture #handmade #homedecor #farmhouse #vintage #homedecorideas #shopping

Up next, I’m going to tackle this pile of drawer fronts to give them a whole new life. SEE THEIR NEW PURPOSE HERE.

Upcycled Drawer Fronts Before Makeover by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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More projects like this upcycled desk into nightstands:

A Child's Chest of Drawers Becomes Faux Card Catalog by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comSay whaat?! This upcycled bookcase was turned into an adorable pretend play farmer's market stand. Larissa of Prodigal Pieces shared the DIY details on her blog | #prodigalpieces #kids #toys #handmade #home #homedecor #furniture #diy

68 replies on “Upcycled Desk into Nightstands ~ DIY Fun”

Night stands are cool and what a clever idea turning desk into night stands. Love them.
I do have a few items that are in need of a new / updated paint job but right now the weather is just a bit too cold to do any painting being I have no heat in my shed.
Dang, I wish now I had bought a desk very much like yours the other day that I passed up. πŸ™ I never even thought about turning a desk into night stands. What a Great idea.
Thank you for this giveaway opportunity. (I got my fingers crossed)

Soooo creative and they are beautiful! Well done!!!!! I love seeing your vision and transformation of things. 😊. Such good ideas!

What a Beautiful transformation Larissa! I so enjoy following along & watching you bring new life
To these furniture pieces. You do amazing work!

The nightstands look amazing! And I love your wall art piece. I’m hoping to win the brushes to paint a few pieces I own. Thanks for the inspiration!

So wonderful that you have the vision to repurpose something in such bad shape into something so beautiful! The brushes could help me revive an old nightstand that I have.

Hi Larissa! Love your creativeness. I learn so much from following you. You have a sweet soul, sister! Cannot wait to use my Zibra brushes i bought from you and i hope to win all of them so i can have an entire set and i can give my new 3 to my daughter in law. God Bless you

Great idea! Perfect nightstands or end tables for those areas with limited space and taller furniture! Like my bed with the 18″ mattress! Love this!

Love this project! But my favorite part is the drawer. I collect buttons, so I would add a couple to this. Keep up the great work!

Your patience is outrageous! What a job!!! Those night stands will be perfect for someone in tight quarters!
I need to paint a basket with a ho-hum top, and my boys closet shelves… I’ve putting that one off.

I love everything that you have posted! The nightstands are fabulous…great for space-saving in smaller bedrooms. ~To win the Zibra brushes would be such a blessing. I have countless furniture projects to work on. 😊

Larissa, I actually liked it as a desk, since it reminds me of the one I had as a schoolgirl. But I do love the makeover! They are great slim drawers and perfect for that awkward spot in the bathroom or some place else you can’t put full size furniture. You put so much thought and love into these!! And the middle drawer is great as a wall hanging for memories! I would love having the brushes! Even though I have a lot to do, I was thinking yesterday I need to paint the small table and chairs which I would like to go to an organization I learned about recently. It’s called Vet Strong and they get homeless veterans off the streets and into homes. Because they are usually small spaces, they need small furniture. Thank you for the opportunity to win these!

Alot of hard work but you were up for the challenge. Love these black beauties and also the arch window hanging behind them!! I have a table and chairs that I need to paint so I’d start with that. Thanks for the inspiration and the giveaway Larissa.

Whew! A lot of work, right? But isn’t that what we are here for? To take a lost and broken vessel, give some love, and create a whole new piece. β€œHe heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”.
Beautiful job, Larissa!

You make me want to learn woodworking. Would love to win the brushes so I can paing the old cedar chest i bought when i got engaged in 1965. it needs refinishing!

I love how you have staged the middle drawer with the quilt piece, hankie and doilies; its given me inspiration for displaying some vintage items that I have. Thanks!

Oh my goodness… I have been on that “what did I get myself into?” train waaaay too often! Lol!
This transformation came out beautifully! The trim makes the drawers look so much better. (Happy accident!) And I love the drawer color with the liner!
Thanks so much for your blog. I really enjoy it!

You never cease to amaze me! You can take something so ‘meh’ and make it awesome. I would love to have just a small percent of your talent. Maybe if I win the brushes I can at least fake it πŸ™‚

That is an amazing transformation! I would love these Zibra paint brushes and the frist thing I will paint is my twins’ bedroom set that were hand me downs from a relative. I don’t have the heart to donate them because they were given with love and they are solid wood.

Hi Larissa, You createdsuch great looking nightstands out of Donna’s desk. I also love the sweet wall art you created with that adorable little desk piece!

Wow your tenacity for saving pieces is extraordinary! I could tell from the first photo that this desk was all out of aliment! Your ability to us all of your different tools and gadgets to recreate is truly inspiring, you have great talent. I also love the use of the drawer (looking at it on the wall proved that I was right about the alignment lol!) Such a beautiful ending to such a sad start Larissa!

Nice save, Larissa! A heck of a lot of work but you did that desk proud. I’m sure Donna would have loved what you did with her desk too. Love how you salvaged the middle drawer, especially displaying the chalked-scribbled numbers which were probably written by one of the daughters you met.

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