How to make a floating bedside table

Written by michael straessle
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How to make a floating bedside table
Floating bedside table. (wood bedroom detail image by Dumitrescu Ciprian from

Floating bedside tables give the illusion of space. For the best result, build with solid lumber as much as possible. However, plywood works well too. When considering solid lumber, take note that the actual size of 1-by-12-inch lumber is ¾-by-11½ inches. This makes a difference because it affects the measurements for the project. Oak lumber stains easily and sands smoothly, making it the most popular choice for projects such as this one.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2 pieces of 1-by-12-by-20-inch oak lumber
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Framing square
  • 2 pieces of 1-by-12-by-15-inch oak lumber
  • Variable speed drill
  • 1/16-inch drill bit
  • Electric mitre saw
  • Table saw
  • ¾-inch plywood
  • Wood glue
  • 8-penny finish nails
  • Hammer
  • Damp cloth
  • Stud finder
  • Philips head screw tip
  • 3-inch drywall screws

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  1. 1

    Set the 1-by-12-by-20-inch piece of oak lumber on a worktable. Measure from one long edge and make several marks at ¾ and 1½ inches. Also, make several marks ¾-inch from the ends.

  2. 2

    Put the 1-by-12-by-15-inch pieces of oak lumber on the worktable. Measure from one end of each piece and make several marks at ¾-inch. Make marks at ¾ and 1½ inches from one of the long edges.

  3. 3

    Connect the marks with the framing square. Drill pilot holes with a 1/16-inch drill bit between the lines of the length of the oak lumber and between the ends and the line. Keep the pilot holes at least 3/8-inch from the edges of the ends.

  4. 4

    Cut the remaining piece of 1-by-12-by 20-inch oak lumber to 18½ inches long with an electric mitre saw. Set the fence of the table saw at 10 inches. Place the 18½-inch piece of oak flat on the table saw and butt it against the fence. Run the lumber through the blade to produce a 1-by-10-by-18½-inch piece of oak lumber. This is the back to the floating bedside table.

  5. 5

    Set the fence of the table saw at 18 inches. Cut the ¾-inch plywood across the grain. Next, move the fence of the table saw to 15 inches and run the piece of plywood through the saw in the same direction as the grain. This is the top of the floating bedside table and measures 18-by-15-by-¾ inches.

  1. 1

    Apply glue to the ends opposite the lines of the 1-by-12-by-15-inch oak lumber. Stand the 20-inch piece of oak on the long edge without the lines. Stand the 15-inch pieces of oak on its long edge opposite the lines drawn on it.

  2. 2

    Put the ends with glue on them between the line and the ends of the 20-inch piece. Secure them with the 8-penny finish nails through the pilot holes. Clean up excess glue with a damp cloth. You should have a ‘U’ shaped frame with the remaining lines on the inside of it.

  3. 3

    Next, apply glue to the 10-inch edges of the 1-by-10-by-18½-inch oak lumber. Set it between the two 15-inch pieces and secure it with 8-penny finish nails. Clean up the excess glue with a damp cloth.

  4. 4

    Stand the box created by the previous steps so the 10-inch back is facing up. Apply glue to three of the four edges of the top and place it on the lines drawn on the lumber. Secure it to the box with 8-penny finish nails. Clean up the excess glue with a damp cloth.

  5. 5

    Make a mark on the wall representing the desired height of the floating bedside table. Place the carpenter’s level on the mark horizontally and draw a faint line. Locate two studs with the stud finder and mark them just above the horizontal line. Hold the table on the line on the wall. Secure it to the wall from the bottom side with the variable speed drill, a Philips head screw tip and 3-inch drywall screws.

Tips and warnings

  • Set all the nail holes with a nail set and fill the holes with wood putty.
  • Do not leave power tools unattended in the presence of children.
  • Do not apply stain or paint without proper ventilation.

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