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.
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.
Types 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are a few final important things to consider for your new nightstand or bedside table!
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.
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.Shop This Room
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!