I've been married for a little over 12 years now and we have NEVER had a bed frame or side tables. I had never built anything on my own (without the hubbies input) and I have to say that it was extremely empowering! I'm so proud of how it turned out! It took me a while to cut the pieces out because I used a handsaw and guide....ugg, we need a saw and once I get one I'm moving on to a bed frame!
Minwax stain in Dark Walnut
Minwax Polyurethane spray clear semi-gloss.
I started by distressing my wood (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=werjbXUQf28&feature=player_embedded#at=13), I then painted with Baby Blue (2 light coats), sanded the edges to give it a warn/weathered look, applied stain and wiped down soon after application being sure to soak any crevice before wiping down (this takes a little practice to get the exact look you want). Finally after it dried I sprayed with the Polyurethane spray. I think this is by far my FAVORITE finish!