Your bedside table is where you’ll place all of the essential items that you need just before going to sleep, and first thing when you wake up in the morning. It’s also a visual anchor for your bed. When choosing a nightstand, consider the four S’s: scale, style, storage and surface area. Here are 10 quick tips for picking the perfect nightstand, from how it looks next to your bed frame to how much it needs to hold.
1. Scale your nightstand to the size of your bed frame, and that of the bedroom. Nightstands that are too large can dwarf the bed and make the bedroom feel smaller than it really is. Skimpy nightstands aren’t as functional, and throw off the balance of the room. The larger your bed, the larger your nightstand should be.
2. Match the height of your nightstand with the height of the bed. The surface of the bedside table should be at least as high as the mattress, and no more than 6 inches higher. A tall bed frame combined with a thick, pillow-topped mattress will require a nightstand that’s considerably taller than average.
3. Choose a style that complements the rest of the furniture in the room. Perfectly matched sets are convenient, but your nightstand doesn’t have to match your dressers and bed frame outright.
4. Select a material that fits your lifestyle. A solid wood tabletop may not be ideal if you like to keep a glass of water beside you at night, and some finishes quickly lose their sheen when exposed to kids’ smudgy fingers.
5. Use your nightstand to balance other colors and textures in the room. For example, a sleek and simple nightstand can offer a nice visual counterpoint to an ornate four-poster bed frame, and a lacquered or metallic style contrasts with matte, solid-color furniture. A dark-colored nightstand can anchor a bright room with light-colored bedding while light colors and unfinished woods have the same effect in a dark room.
6. For small spaces, storage is often essential. Look for a nightstand that has enough drawers or other storage space to hold remote controls, jewelry, tissues or any other items you like to keep tucked away near the bed.
7. Consider a simple round party table that can be covered with a tablecloth if you like to change the look of your bedroom often and don’t need additional storage. These tables offer enough surface area for a lamp and a few accessories.
8. Make sure that the surface area of the nightstand is both in scale with your bed and large enough for your needs. Larger rooms typically require larger bedside lamps, which need heavier-looking nightstands to make them feel grounded. Avoid bedside tables with a surface that extends further than two feet from the wall to keep from obstructing the bed.
9. If your bed is in a corner, but sleeps two, be sure to choose a nightstand that’s wide enough to accommodate the needs of both people.
10. Think outside the bedroom. Your bedside table doesn’t have to be an actual nightstand. If you need more storage than nightstands typically offer, you could go with a small three-drawer dresser instead. Accent tables meant for other areas of the house can also work.