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7 Designer Tips on How to Style Mismatched Nightstands the Right Way

When it comes to the interior design of your bedroom, a bed is, of course, one of the most important aspects. It’s what anchors your space and—on a very practical level—it’s the most-needed piece of furniture in the space. But coming in second in the realm of bedroom essentials are good nightstands. It’s necessary to have a surface on which to set your phone and a glass of water, place a table lamp, and stash other essentials. We’ve touched on nightstand styling ideas in the past—but what about the nightstands themselves?

When sifting through bedroom design ideas and choosing a pair of bedside tables to sit on either side of your bed, there are a few things to consider. First, think about the scale and height of nightstands in relation to the bed. First and foremost, a nightstand is meant to partner with your bed—so its direct relationship with the bed, size-wise, is crucial in the use of the space. If a nightstand is too tall for a bed it will be uncomfortable to use and will make reaching for objects when in bed difficult. Too low and it will seem like an afterthought.

The next thing to think about is style. You’ll want to choose nightstands that jive with the overall style of your space and look good next to your bed. (Check out our full guide to nightstand styles here.) And, while many people opt for matching nightstands, that’s not absolutely necessary. That’s the traditional approach, yes—but as with all design traditions, rules are meant to be broken! So you can definitely have two nightstands of differing sizes, shapes, finishes and even heights.

However, there is an art to mismatched nightstands. You want to make sure your bedroom’s composition still feels balanced and considered—which can be easier said than done. So, we’re breaking down our best mismatched nightstand tips, plus unpacking some nightstand alternatives that you can mix and match with a nightstand.

1. Vary Shapes, But Find a Common Thread

If you want to try mismatched nightstands without veering too eclectic, consider playing with bedside tables of different shapes but that have a common thread that ties them together. Choosing two nightstands of the same material is a great option, and wood is an especially great material to play with for this approach. Just make sure you keep both in a similar finish or color family—so a pair of tables in either lighter wood or darker wood, rather than one of each. This helps keep your space looking polished and intentional!

Here, we went for two tables with light wood finishes. They’re also about the same height and visual weight, which gives this mismatched pair a more cohesive look.

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mismatched nightstands

2. Mix Up Materials

For something a bit more playful, you can also completely mix materials (and shapes). Your space doesn’t have to be completely boho eclectic to achieve this look, either. You can keep it refined while still mixing different materials together.

Here, the natural materials of wood and seagrass play off of one another. While they’re different shapes, sizes and textures, they still feel like a natural pair. They’re neither too similar or too different. And since they’re similar colors, despite their different finishes, the look is more refined than eclectic. They also offer lovely contrast to the sleek, dark metal bed frame.

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mismatched nightstands

3. Focus on Interesting Details

If you like a more eclectic look, consider mixing shapes, materials, and styles when choosing your two nightstands. Here, both nightstands are quite different—one being a more petite pedestal side table with a glam vibe, the other being a substantial chest with four drawers in a raffia finish, which has more of a coastal vibe. Both finishes bring something special to the space—the textural consideration of the raffia and the gilded finish and faceted edges of the pedestal table. These details make the stark differences between the two tables feel quite intentional.

Stylist Tip: In an eclectic space, you can be more bold and daring when mixing materials, shapes, and table styles. While there isn’t that visual balance between the two that we mentioned earlier, this works due to the eclectic nature of this space.

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mismatched nightstands

4. Go Asymmetrical, But Prioritize Storage

Sometimes mismatched nightstands are less of an aesthetic choice, and more done out of necessity. Here, the primary reason for mismatched nightstands is space. Because the bed is tucked into a corner, we needed a table that would be smaller for that area—something that a lot of Modsy customers encounter.

With this approach, we went for a more traditional bedside table on the left, but on the right we went for a nightstand that pops a bit. It has a sculptural shape and dark finish—making that small corner into more of a “moment.” Choosing a smaller nightstand that pops makes sure this smaller piece of furniture doesn’t feel out of place or under-thought. However, smaller nightstands tend to lack storage. So, make sure to balance a smaller, more artistic nightstand with something that offers the practicality of enough bedside storage.

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5. Skip the Second Nightstand

Another option? Utilizing only one nightstand on one side of the bed, and skipping the second one! This is great if it’s just you and you don’t need two nightstands, or if you want a more minimalist approach to your bedroom. In this room, the emphasis is on the negative space, and a single nightstand supports this approach. However, to balance the composition of the space and keep it from feeling empty, we placed a large floor mirror on the other side of the bed, along with a bulb lamp on the floor, which acts as a small floor lamp.

Stylist Tip: Only take the single nightstand approach with low-profile bed frames—otherwise you may have a space that feels really unbalanced or unintentional.

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6. Pair a Nightstand With a Bookcase

Whether you’re short on space and want to make sure to include a bookcase in your bedroom, or you simply like the look, a bookcase is a great option for a second nightstand. It offers additional storage and is a nice place to show off some of your special or collected objects. It can also serve as a home for baskets to house (and hide) clutter!

Bookcases add height to a space, so balancing them within the rest of the composition of your space is key. Consider the other side of the bed and the “weight” on that side. You may want to choose a bulkier nightstand, or hang a piece of wall art to supplement the height given by the bookcase on the opposite side.

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7. Use a Dresser as a Nightstand Alternative

If you don’t need a second nightstand, a dresser is a great alternative. Even if you go for a taller style, they lend themselves to storing surface items like a clock, vase of flowers, or books. But you do have to be conscious of balance when going this route. So, if your dresser is on the “heavier” side, consider “weighing down” the other side with bedside table decorations like a larger lamp, mirror, or sculptural object to make the space feel balanced.

Other fun nightstand alternatives? Stools, chairs, or even a giant stack of books for the look of a second nightstand. What you choose simply depends on your style and how you want to use your nightstands.

Stylist Tip: If you go for a taller dresser next to your bed, opt for a slightly taller bed as well. Lower profile beds would pair better with a lower dresser.

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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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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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nightstand alternatives

Bedroom Design Ideas: 8 Unique Nightstand Alternatives To Try Now

nightstand alternatives

Your nightstand might be one of the most personal pieces of furniture. Not only do you spend a third of your life sleeping next to it, most of us also use our nightstands as a home for an intimate collection of our most personal objects.

A typical nightstand might display everything from a pile of books you’re reading (or intend to read, or want people to think you’re reading), a collection of half-finished beverages, photos of your travels and loved ones, or simply your nighttime essentials like reading glasses or the retainer you never wear.

But aside from being a highly personal piece of furniture, your nightstand should also be functional. And sometimes, the most functional nightstand is actually no nightstand at all.

This may sound crazy, but this simple swap can instantly pack your space with multi-purpose power. Read on to see some of our favorite nightstand alternatives that add extra function without skimping on style.

8 Nightstand Alternatives for the Multi-Purpose Bedroom

nightstand alternatives1. Go Vertical With a Bookcase

Why not save space with a bookcase that doubles as your nightstand? Just clear off a shelf that’s easy to reach and stash all your bedside essentials there. You can use the other shelves for extra storage, which is great if you’re tight on space. It’s a win win if you ask us!

nightstand alternatives2. Pull Up a Chair

If all you need is a place to set down a bedtime book, an alarm clock, or your phone to charge overnight, a lightweight chair is an easy nightstand alternative.

Want to get multipurpose? Try pulling in an extra dining chair. This works well if you don’t use all your dining chairs daily, but like having them on-call for when guests come over.

nightstand alternatives3. Consider a Console

Is your big, bulky nightstand making your bedroom feel cramped and cluttered? Try a console with an open base instead.

Console tables are designed to be used in (often narrow) entryways, making them one of the best nightstand alternatives for small spaces. Their long and slender shape won’t clutter up floor space, but you still get a decent amount of surface area to prop bedside essentials, art, and decor.

Looking to optimize a small entryway? Here are 5 ideas.

nightstand alternatives4. Work It With a Desk

Need to fit in a mini office in your bedroom? Skip the nightstand and go for a desk instead. Not only are these stylish nightstand alternatives, a desk also gives you both lots of surface space and storage if you pick one with a drawer.

nightstand alternatives5. Do Double-Duty With a Dresser

When it comes to making the most of a storage piece, try using a dresser as your nightstand. This 2-for-1 approach helps you save space in the room (let’s face it: dressers are big!) but gives you tons of extra storage. Not to mention, they’re sure to bring bold style to your bedside.

nightstand alternatives6. Float a Shelf

This is both a clever and cost-effective option for super small spaces. You can count on a floating shelf to hold all your nighttime essentials, all the while saving you lots of floor space.

If one is not enough, we suggest stacking two floating shelves.

nightstand alternatives7. Move a Stool Over

For another low-cost alternative to a nightstand, try a small stool, bench, or ottoman. This is an easy, portable option that also doubles as a convenient spot to put your shoes on in the morning.

Plus, you can easily pull the stool into your living room when you need an extra seats.

nightstand alternatives8. Trunk It!

Looking to add a little vintage style or rustic charm to your bedroom? Try an industrial trunk. It provides great storage and it’s got style to boot, making it one of our favorite nightstand alternatives.

If you get a trunk as a hand-me-down piece that you don’t quite know what to do with, swap it in for your nightstand.

Or check out 5 more ideas how to mix vintage pieces in to modern interiors.

 

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8 Unique Nightstand Alternatives To Try Now