How to make mid-century modern bedside tables from an old chest of drawers

My minimalist bedside tables started life as a chest of drawers and a vintage planter. But with a bit of careful re-jigging, I managed to turn them into a matching pair of mid-century style bedside cabinets…The idea for the bedside tables came about when I found a vintage planter at a car boot sale. The ugly trough had four sleek mid-century style legs and, on closer inspection of the underside, could be unscrewed and used elsewhere. If you’re buying a piece of furniture just for the legs, it’s important that the screw-in mount can be removed and reattached to your new project. I’ve seen pieces with lovely legs in the past, but they were ones that screwed directly into the wood of the unit, so couldn’t be reused. Anyway, those legs were a little too long to add to a sideboard or storage unit, but they seemed like the perfect height for a bedside table. And for £3, I couldn’t exactly leave the planter behind – I wanted those legs for something! I considered just adding a table top to create a little shelf beside my bed. It would be just right for a cup of tea and a lamp, but wouldn’t provide me with any extra storage.It wasn’t long before I stumbled upon the ideal chest of drawers. A narrow set of four drawers were sitting in the yard of my local salvage store. Looking at the mid-century-esque shape of the drawers, I knew they would work well with those long, screw-in legs. But how can I turn four drawers into two cabinets?Well, it was actually pretty simple. I’ve shared the full step-by-step guide in Reloved magazine this month so pick up a copy of Issue 51 in WH Smith, Tesco, Sainburys or your local newsagent – or buy a copy of Issue 51 online. Alternatively, you can download the digital issue here and start reading the magazine on your tablet straight away!I wanted to keep the cabinets looking sleek and minimalist so, after toying with the idea of bright yellow or blue, I decided to go for white. I kept the legs black, and just freshened them up with a coat of matt black spray paint to cover any scuffs.What do you think of my bedside cabinet project? The total cost of making both tables was probably about £15, so it was loads cheaper than any other option I’d considered. And, even better than the money-saving aspect, I managed to get exactly what I wanted. If I’d seen the same design in a shop, I would have found it difficult to walk away no matter what the price was, because they suit my bedroom so well. As you can probably tell, I’m rather chuffed with this upcycling project!



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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

4 thoughts on “How to make mid-century modern bedside tables from an old chest of drawers

  1. Thanks so much Lynn! Ah yes, I’m always turning furniture over at the car boot sale to see the leg fixings 😉

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