Bedside Table Progress (and How To Make Your Own Decorator Table)

Last Updated on December 28, 2015 by Kristi Linauer

Do you know what a decorator table is? Oh, I’m sure you’ve seen them. They’re just plain ‘ole tables made of plywood or MDF, and made specifically to put a tablecloth over. This is probably the most common style:

This style is generally not too expensive. I think I’ve seen them for around $20 at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Pottery Barn is a little more proud of theirs, which has a price tag of around $70.

But the more updated versions of decorator tables actually offer storage underneath, like this one from Ready to Cover:

And the price for this decorator table with storage? $185.00. (!!)

Well, I needed two for John & Alice’s bedroom, and there was no way I was going to pay $370 plus shipping for tables that still needed to be covered. Plus, I wanted rectangular tops, not round tops. So I decided to make my own.

With one sheet of 1/2″ MDF, a bit of glue, and a few nails, I got two bedside tables that measure 30″ wide x 15″ deep x 34″ high…and all for the sum total of $25. Quite a savings, huh?! And the best thing…I had Home Depot cut all of my MDF for me, so all I had to do was glue and nail.


I started with two pieces of MDF each measuring 13″ x 33″ for the side support pieces for the shelves. To mark where the shelves needed to go, I measured down from the top 14 inches and drew a line. Then I measures down another 14 inches and drew another line. I did this on both sides of the MDF.

Next, I placed a bead of wood glue just under each pencil line on one side.

I stood the piece on its side edge, and lined up the shelf piece (measures approx 26″ x 13″) just under the pencil line on the bead of glue. Using my brad nailer, I nailed the shelf in place.

After both shelf pieces were glued and nailed to the one side support piece, this is what it looked like. Yep…a bit uneven at this point, but that’s okay! I repeated the same with the other side support piece: mark lines, bead of glue just under the lines, line up with shelf pieces, and nail.

Then on the back, I added two support pieces which were nailed to the shelf AND to the side support pieces. This serves to keep the shelf unit straight and sturdy, and also to keep things from being pushed off of the back of the shelves. You can cover the entire back, but like I said, I wanted to use no more than one piece of MDF for both tables, so I used the strips that were left over after the side supports, shelves, and top were cut out.

And here’s what it looked like standing upright at this point.

Next I worked on the top. I didn’t attach the top because I need to attach the fabric panels first. So I just rested it on the base to finish it out.

Using 1″ x 2″ MDF boards, I finished out the edges of the MDF top, mitering the corners with my miter saw.

With the front and side pieces glued and nailed, I filled in the cracks and nail holes with wood filler. When it was really good and dry, I sanded it smooth, primed the top, and then painted the tops.

Ahhh…there’s a twist, huh? Yep, my decorator tables have painted tops.

The fabric panels that I made will be attached from underneath. Sure, it’s a little bit different, but I like different!!

So I’ll show you the finished tables as soon as they’re ready!! Just a bit more work to do.

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 4, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Great job! These take up less space than the big round tops, better if space is an issue. What are the dimensions of the finished top? 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    August 4, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks, Janet! The top is approximately 30" x 15".

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Rug restorer
    August 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    You did a great job. I wish I can do it too. But I am very untalented.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kim - A Creative Spirit
    August 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I love that you share your how to's with all of us in blogland. Thanks for a GREAT idea and SO much nicer than the cheapy ones out there…. and yes, nicer than the more expensive offerings.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 5, 2010 at 12:52 am

    I just found this site and thought the pictures and description for the project were pretty cool. I'm going to bookmark this site.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    rug cleaning
    August 31, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Hmmm, i wish i was that handy with tools.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    rug cleaning
    April 10, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Hmmm, i wish i was that handy with tools.