DIY “fake” nightstand: How to trick your eye with a faked matching set-up

Our bedroom furniture is by far the nicest, most high-quality furniture we own … so it’s kind of a shame that guests hardly ever get to see it.

The trouble was that because it’s so nice (read: expensive) the set only came with a single nightstand. Getting a second one would have meant spending hundreds of bucks and that didn’t feel feasible at the time, so we’ve always had an unbalanced boudoir.

Although my dear husband didn’t mind charging his iPhone on the floor, it bothered me that we didn’t have the pleasing symmetry of a nightstand — and lamps — on either side of our bed. Of course, my nightstand was so huge we couldn’t fit a matching one even if we decided to shell out the $300 or so.

When I came across a matching set of (ugly, patterned) lamps at a yard sale for $10 over the summer, I decided we had to figure something out. I was going to be a real grown-up with two real nightstands and matching lamps, one way or another.

I toyed with the idea of hanging a floating shelf at exactly the same height as my nightstand, but that would mean we’d be stuck with the existing room layout — not to mention it would be annoying when we moved someday. So finally I decided that it didn’t matter what a new nightstand looked like: it just had to be exactly the same height as the other one, and fit into the skinny space between the bed and the wall. 

I sketched out the required height and width and told my handy husband to go crazy. As long as it was exactly that tall and wide, it was all good. So he built a simple nightstand out of 1x3s and a square of plywood, and I suggested adding a rectangle of MDF to the front to look like a drawer front. 

I realized the MDF was a mistake (again) when I stained everything nice and dark (Minwax’s “Dark Walnut”) because MDF doesn’t play very nicely with stain. Oh well, the nightstand would hardly be visible, I reasoned. It was just there to be a vehicle for the lamp! (And to hold a charging iPhone.) 

I applied three coats of polyurethane, sanding lightly between coats, and it was one of my nicest staining jobs to date (usually I get slack about the poly).

Then it was time for the matching lamps!

Except … not like this.

The yard sale lamps were sprayed oil-rubbed bronze in the summer and had been patiently waiting for their debut, so it felt great to finally get them set up on either side of the bed. 

From a distance, you’d think we had two identical nightstands to go along with our two identical lamps. But no, we actually have one expensive nightstand, one cobbled-together homemade version … and $10 secondhand spray-painted lamps that used to live at our neighbours’ house.

It’s funny how tricking your eye can make all the difference in a room!

So what do you think?

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