Rest Assured: A Guide to Finding the Perfect Bedside Table

While a bed is probably the most important component of your bedroom’s design, nightstands are a close second in crucial bedroom furniture. They add an element of both style and practicality to your space. But they definitely aren’t one-size-fits. Nightstands and bed frames come in all sizes, shapes, and styles, which makes finding the perfect pairing a bit difficult—not to mention time-consuming!

But don’t worry. We’re here to help! With Modsy 3D online design, you can try on different nightstands of all shapes, sizes, and styles. And our designers are pros at guiding you on the best options for your space and needs, so you can feel confident in what you choose.

But there are also some great considerations and rules of thumb to keep in mind which can help you in the process. Read on for our complete nightstand guide to help you choose the right bedside table for your space.

nightstand guideEarly Considerations

One of the first things to consider on your quest for the right nightstand is deciding how many you want—one or two. Most bedrooms have two, especially if two people share the bed, so each person has a surface for a light and anything they want to keep nearby. But remember—they don’t have to be a matching set. For couples with different styles or different needs from a nightstand, you can go for mismatched nightstands.

The size of your room will help dictate how many nightstands to include. While you want your nightstands to work for your needs, you won’t want to go for a pair only to have it overwhelm the space and make the room feel nonfunctional.

If one side of your bed is flush against the wall (common in kids rooms or smaller spaces) or if it’s just you in your room, you can definitely get by with just one nightstand.

campaign style nightstnadTypes of Nightstands

The next thing to consider is what type of nightstand you’d like. There are many different sizes and styles—from a traditional nightstand to a simple side table, a bedside chest, or even small dressers or a wall-mounted bookshelf for a 2-in-1 piece of furniture! It all depends on what you need from your nightstand. For a deep dive on styles and what you need, check out our full guide on different types of nightstands.

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nightstand size guideNightstand Sizes

Nightstand dimensions are another important consideration. You want one whose scale fits within your bedroom and that’s proportionate to your bed frame. This means thinking through the height and the overall size of any given bedside table. An easy rule of thumb when choosing nightstand height? Find one that’s around the same height as the top of your mattress.

Keep reading for a brief nightstand size guide, with a few specifics on how to choose a nightstand that suits different bed heights.

If you have a low bed…

The top of your mattress will usually measure around 18-22 inches off the ground. You’ll want to look for a nightstand that’s similarly low-profile, at around 16-18 inches tall.

Stylist Tip: If you can’t find a low nightstand that you love, you could try a bedside table alternative, like a stool, a short side table, or even a mini ottoman.

bedside table

If you have a medium-height bed…

It’s probably about 22.5-25.5 inches from the ground to the top of the mattress (25 inches is typical for most standard beds). Choose a nightstand that’s approximately 23.5 inches high for the perfect fit.

Stylist Tip: Choosing a nightstand style with an open base is a great way to help keep the bedside feeling open and spacious.

bedside table

If you have a tall bed…

You’re looking at a bed where the top of the mattress is 30-33.5 inches off the ground. This means you’ll want a tall nightstand, too—one that’s at least 28 inches tall, or even taller to ensure that it’s easy to reach to grab something from your nightstand.

Stylist Tip: Tall beds, as well as king-size beds, are pretty substantial in scale, so you can even pair them with a small dresser, instead of a typical bedside table, for added storage.

wood nightstandNightstand Materials

Once you’ve landed on how many nightstands to include in your room, what type of table you’re looking for, and what size suits your bed frame, you can move onto more stylistic choices—the first of which is the material. There are a ton of nightstand materials out there, and this goes hand-in-hand with the style of your nightstand (which we’ll cover next) and the overall style of your bedroom.

Wood is the most common material used in bedside tables. While they require a bit of care (you’ll want to make sure you use coasters!) they can add rich texture and color to your space.

Other popular nightstand materials include metal (for a more industrial look), glass (for something more contemporary or glam), stone (like concrete or marble), wood laminate, or even acrylic.

The material you choose all depends on the look you want to achieve. It’s important to ask yourself if you want it to match your other furniture or create some contrast in your space. It’s also worth considering how easy it is to clean. For example, glass is easy to wipe down, but it also shows smudges and dust really easily. And if you like to rearrange or are a renter and move every year, it’s worth considering how heavy it is.

nightstand stylesNightstand Style

As we mentioned, nightstand styles go hand-in-hand with the materials. And there are a lot of styles out there! And don’t worry—there’s a nightstand out there for every interior design style. So, whether you’re a mid-century modern lover, gravitate toward glam, or can’t get enough of industrial style, there’s a nightstand to suit the look! Do a deep dive into nightstands that go with every style by reading our guide to nightstand styles.

earth tone bedroom with woven baskets above upholstered bedOther Considerations

Here are a few final important things to consider for your new nightstand or bedside table!

carved wood bedside table next to cloth headboard bedStorage Space

Other things to consider? Your storage and surface area needs. If you want to use your nightstand as another piece of storage in your bedroom, look for a nightstand with drawers or cabinets. This not only gives you the space you need—but it also allows you to close a drawer or door to hide any clutter! You could even opt for a small dresser instead of a nightstand for more storage, or if you have a small room and don’t have room for both.

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nightstand guideSurface Area

When it comes to surface area, consider what you’ll place on top of your nightstand. If you like to keep a collection of objects and necessities on your nightstand—from a table lamp and alarm clock to a pile of books, a glass of water, fresh flowers, and framed photos—you’ll want to opt for a larger table. But if your room is smaller, you’d rather have more floor space, or you prefer a clean and minimal tabletop, go for a smaller nightstand.

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victorian bedroom with black spindle canopy bedNightstand Alternatives

Finally, ask yourself: Do you even want a nightstand? There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to bedroom design ideas! While you probably want some sort of surface at your bedside, there are plenty of nontraditional routes you can take. You can find some of our favorite nightstand alternatives, full of ideas on what to try instead!

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The Ultimate Guide to Different Nightstand Styles

Nightstands are right up there with your bed when it comes to bedroom essentials. Think of them as the workhorses in your bedroom, give you a convenient place to set down a glass of water and your phone at night.

With so many styles of nightstands to choose from, finding the right bedside table for your bedroom can feel daunting. There are Mid-Century-style designs, more traditional chest of drawers or glamorous burlwood pieces to name a few. Where do you even begin?

For some inspiration and guidance, we’re breaking down the most popular and common nightstand styles and what sets them apart. Find out more below!

The Ultimate Guide to Nightstand StylesTransitional Style

If simple and sleek is what you’re after in your bedroom, transitional-style nightstands offer that and more. Transitional nightstands are the most versatile, so they make for great foundation pieces in any style room. That also means they’re easy to accessorize with home decor in an array of styles, be it a traditional ceramic table lamp and or a modern vase.

The Perks: They’re usually made with wood, metal or lacquer so they always look polished.

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Traditional Style

These nightstands have an “antique” look that brings a more formal air into your bedroom. The ornate details make them perfect for classic interiors, but they’re also great in eclectic spaces, where they can balance out brighter colors and patterns. Traditional-style nightstands also often reflect the new traditional look.

The Perks: They’re often made of wood and have elegant details like brass pulls and turned legs, which give them Old World charm.

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The Ultimate Guide to Nightstand StylesFarmhouse Style

Similar to traditional nightstands, farmhouse-style nightstands lean formal but have a more rustic appeal. It’s in keeping with farmhouse style home decor and emphasizes natural materials and textures. Which means they always bring a touch of rustic elegance to farmhouse and country-style bedrooms.

The Perks: They’re usually made with treated woods that have a weathered look, which gives them a beautiful patina and a bit of vintage flair.

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The Ultimate Guide to Nightstand StylesDistressed Vintage Style

For those who want a softer farmhouse look, country-style nightstands gives you rustic with a bit of romance. It’s also known as the shabby chic look, which is all about the aged aesthetic and vintage appeal. Because of their flea market vibe, they go well with other vintage art and objects. Find out how to mix accents thoughtfully with our surface styling tips.

The Perks: Country-style nightstands usually have a painted distressed look, so scratches and scuffs only add to its worn beauty.

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The Ultimate Guide to Nightstand StylesModern Glam Style

These styles of nightstands, in keeping with their umbrella style hollywood glam design, are statement-maker and want to be seen. They work best in bold bedrooms, although glam nightstands can also add drama in a contemporary space. What’s great is that this style of nightstand is can be a focal point in a bedroom, but they also complement other equally eye-catching home decor as well.

The Perks: They’re often made with luxe materials, such as burlwood and brass. Some glam nightstands also feature lacquered and mirrored surfaces, which add a glossy high-style look.

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traditional coastal bedroom with blue nightstand

Coastal Style

These nightstands capture the beach-house look and are perfect alongside natural materials and woven textures in a relaxed bedroom. Coastal-style bedside tables have a way of evoking the ease and elegance of oceanside homes in a space. There’s no shortage of inspiring nightstand styling ideas, but you can never go wrong with beachy accents on a coastal-style nightstand, like a jar table lamp and nautical art.

The Perks: They’re usually made with painted or weathered woods, and they sometimes have seagrass and jute details that give them an extra sophisticated coastal look.

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Mid-Century Style

For fans of the Mad Men Mid-Century look, it’s all about nightstands that boast a simple modernist form, clean lines, and functional design details. Mid-Century-style nightstands are super versatile, so they’ll work in a wide range of interiors. That also means they’re great investment pieces and have staying power even if your bedroom taste changes over time.

The Perks: Very often they’re made with warm natural woods, such as acorn or walnut, and are designed with clean lines and tapered legs. It’s what makes Mid-Century nightstands iconic and they won’t ever go out of style.

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Modern Style

In most cases, modern nightstands can be identified by their sleek form and slight Danish appeal. They have simple silhouettes that work seamlessly in a contemporary or minimalist bedroom. They’re also easy to style it up with smooth white ceramics and a modern table lamp for an organic touch.

The Perks: Modern nightstands are often made with brass and acorn wood, which lend warmth.

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Scandinavian Style

Minimalist and functional without sacrificing beauty, these bedside table designs stay true to Scandinavian design style. Their simple form and slender, tapered legs give them a contemporary touch, making them gorgeous accent pieces in any modern bedroom.

The Perks: True to Scandinavian aesthetic, this style of nightstand is made with simple but beautiful natural wood that gives them their chic and cool look.

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The Ultimate Guide to Nightstand StylesRustic Style

With rustic style nightstands, the emphasis is on bold natural materials and deep earthy hues. The result is a refined-rustic look that’s well-suited for any contemporary bedroom. Given their practical form and natural tones, rustic nightstands are not your typical statement pieces but they won’t go unnoticed.

The Perks: Many rustic nightstands have unique design details, such as a scalloped wood facade or black-steel hardware. It adds visual intrigue and makes them instantly eye-catching pieces.

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The Ultimate Guide to Nightstand StylesCraftsman Style

The detailed woodwork, tongue and groove joints, and no frills design make Craftsman-style nightstands easy anchor pieces for in any bedroom. The focus on craftsmanship means that you can rest assured that these practical beauties will not wear and will stay well intact for years to come. Craftsman-style nightstands are very versatile, so they can easily be worked in interiors, ranging from rustic and industrial to Americana traditional.

The Perks: Carefully crafted using the best woods with an attention to detail and function, these are timeless investment pieces.

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Minimalist Style

Minimalist design is characterized by function, geometry and simple color palettes. These sleek minimalist nightstands check all those boxes but also manage to have a modern feel without appearing cold. They often mix beautifully with other rustic, modern, and Mid-Century style furnishings in a bedroom.

The Perks: They’re often made with solid woods, like sleek espresso-toned wood, which give minimalist-style nightstands a thoroughly modernist feel. Opt for simple styling to maintain a spare look. For example, skip table lamps for pendants!

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Classic Formal Style

Classic elegance defined. Not only do classic formal nightstands have an elegant form, they also often provide ample storage. When it comes to nightstand alternatives, a refined classic formal console or vanity table can do no wrong. Any classic formal-style nightstand is also bound to stand out in a traditional, modern, or eclectic interior.

The Perks: They’re usually painted wood and come with ornate details, like ring pulls, carved motifs, and an elegant curved form.

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Eclectic Style

For those who crave an eclectic bedroom design that’s layered with color, pattern, and unique designs, eclectic-style nightstands is the way to go. Eclectic style often gives off a bold boho look, so you can expect nightstands of this aesthetic to be one-of-a-kind pieces in every sense. Think of eclectic nightstands as your answer to a bold-on-bold bedroom look, where it’s all about home decor with bright colors, textures, and shapes.

The Perks: With eclectic nightstands, you’ll always find them made with unique materials and details, be it carved wood motifs or inlaid geometric patterns. Talk about unexpected, captivating designs.

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Industrial Style

When it comes to bedside table styles that have an edge, you can’t beat the industrial look—which brings to mind a modern city loft. Simple, sculptural, and utilitarian, an industrial bedside table can bring an urban vibe to your bedroom.

The Perks: You’ll find that industrial nightstands are often made with cutting-edge modern materials, such as cement, stone, and dark polished metals. These add up to designs that are at once sleek and refined.

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