By LISA HENSLEY
We are in the midst of a major reorganization of spaces in our home, and one of the unfortunate results is that our boys’ room is getting a little smaller. As in, losing an 8-foot closet space. Which means that things like dressers don’t really fit into their bedroom anymore. But there was a whole lot of space under their beds. So my devious little mind decided to make use of that space. Oh and get rid of the ugly, garage-sale dressers we still had from my husband’s bachelor days.
OK, not get rid of. I repurposed them of course! I turned the drawers from one dresser and a nightstand into two underbed storage sets.
I don’t normally like to read about projects that “just happen” to turn out exactly right for the DIYer because they “just happened” to have materials on hand that “just happened” to exactly fit the dimensions of what they were doing. But I’m sorry to say, that’s exactly what “just happened” here. Believe me, I was shocked when I put two dresser drawers and one nightstand drawer under a bed and they “just happened” to fit perfectly.
Anyway, I knew I wanted the drawers to glide out, not just slide across the carpet. For one thing, it would be too hard to pull them easily across the carpet. For another, I wanted to force the drawers into a certain path, so they wouldn’t knock into each other or the legs of the bed. So I ordered undermount drawer slides online (sorry Ace Hardware…I tried to buy them locally but you didn’t have the right ones in stock) and set to work.
First, build a frame for the whole project to sit on. I used 2x3s, because my husband had a whole bunch of scraps in the shed, and I only had to buy a couple more pieces. You could use 2x4s or 2x2s or whatever you want, as long as it will fit where you need it to.
Next, mount the tops of drawer slides on the bottoms of the drawers; I had to add pieces of lath/lattice to the bottoms of the drawers to bring the slides even with the sides of the drawer bottoms. Then attach the bottom pieces of the slides on the corresponding support piece of the frame. With the big, rectangular outer frame on the floor, flip over each of your drawers, slide the support bars with drawer slides into the ones on the bottom of your drawer, then turn your drawer back over and fit the whole thing into the outer frame. Repeat with all your drawers, then come back and screw the supporting bars into the frame from the sides. (Totally a cheater way to do it, but hey. ..whatever works, right? I’m no architect. Obviously.) Now shove the whole mess under the bed.
Et voila! Underbed dressers!
And then I realized that because of the drawers needing to pull out, we had no way to put nightstands next to the beds. Even kiddos need nightstands—especially when they are packrats like mine.
Wooden crates to the rescue. I fastened the crates to the wall at table height, and they work perfectly to hold books, tissue, water bottles, super heroes and cars. The crates can be found on sale quite often at Michael’s or Joann’s, or for free at your mom’s daycare when they don’t use them for cubbies anymore. J
You could also use…
Don’t have drawers or a dresser to disassemble? This dresser project would work equally well with wooden crates and castor wheels. Just keep in mind that free-rolling objects may wind up in all sorts of places.
If you don’t like the look of crates on the wall, you could easily use shelves instead. But I had several of these sturdy crates on hand, and needed to get something up pronto so we could put away all the stuff and actually get the kids into bed.
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Lisa Hensley is a mostly-native Montanan, living in Missoula with her husband, two young boys, and various pets. She spent more than 10 years in the marketing and creative field, but is now Director of Household Operations for the Hensley group. When she’s not herding kids or doing laundry, she’s shooting photos, gardening, baking, reading, or taking classes—sometimes all at once. She also volunteers for Home ReSource, which fits in nicely with her tendency to repurpose pretty much anything.