How to Choose a Nightstand

Nightstands, or bedside tables as they are commonly known, are an essential part of bedroom furniture. From providing the perfect place for lamps that can affect the ambience of your entire room to offering additional storage space and the perfect location for your alarm clock and personal belongings, these multifunctional items of furniture can serve a range of important purposes. That’s why choosing the correct nightstands for your bedroom is so important. 

When selecting the ideal bedside table(s) for your bedroom, there are a number of things you must consider. These include; the size and height of the item of furniture and whether or not it will fit in the space designated for it, the potential storage space it could offer, the materials it is made from, and, of course, the colour, design and overall style of the item.

From how to correctly measure a nightstand to knowing how to find a bedside table that is the correct height for your bed, this handy guide will tell you everything you need to know when it comes to purchasing the perfect nightstand for your bedroom.

What is a nightstand?

A nightstand is a small table or chest that is meant to be placed next to a bed - hence its alternative name, bedside table. Depending on design, nightstands can be simplistic tables that provide nothing more than an extra surface to hold a lamp, alarm clock and any personal items you want to keep close to you while you’re in bed, or they can involve more complex designs than incorporate drawers and shelves, offering you additional storage space in your bedroom.

What is a nightstand used for?

Simply put, they provide an extra surface to support any items you would like to keep close at hand when you’re in bed. From lamps, books, drinks, remote controls and alarm clocks to medications, mobile phones and even intercoms linked to other areas of your home, nightstands provide an incredibly useful place to keep items that you may want easy access to when in bed.

A modern nightstand supporting bedside lamp and flowers.

How to measure a nightstand

If you're looking to buy a new nightstand, it's important that you make sure it's the right size and fit for your space and your needs. After all, if your table is too tall, you will find yourself having to reach upwards to retrieve anything from it when in bed, while a nightstand that is too short may affect the lighting in your bedroom when paired with your existing bedside lamps. For these reasons, one of the most important steps when choosing the right nightstand for your bedroom is finding one that works practically with other items of furniture such as your bed and is the correct size to best fill the space you have available to you.

Before purchasing a new nightstand, you should first measure the space in your bedroom where you intend to put it using a tape measure. Measure both the width and length of the space, as well as the height of your bed. Once you have noted down all of these measurements, remember to add at least two or three inches to the width and length to allow for a reasonable gap between the bed and the nightstand, as well as space behind for any plugs or chargers. This extra ‘breathing room’ will also ensure you will be able to easily move around your chosen table and access any inbuilt drawers/shelves with ease.

When it comes to measuring the nightstand itself, the first thing you need to do is ensure its dimensions fit comfortably  within the measurements of the space it is intended to fill. As well as making sure the bedside table is not too large, it is also worth remembering that if the item is more than six or seven inches smaller than its intended space, it might be dwarfed by empty space on both sides - it’s all about finding a nightstand that is both not too small or too large.

How to pair nightstands with your bed

Once you have identified a bedside table of suitable width and length, next you have to make sure it is the correct height - this will ensure it pairs correctly with your bed. As a rule, to ensure you can easily reach items on your nightstand while lying down, its surface should be no more than three inches higher or lower than the top of your mattress. Whether you opt for a table that is slightly taller or shorter than the height of your mattress comes down to personal preference.

Do nightstands have to match your dresser?

To put it simply, not necessarily! When it comes to the interior design and decor of your home, there are no concrete rules. Deciding whether or not you would like your nightstands to match the dresser in your bedroom, for example, simply comes down to personal preference and the overall aesthetic you are trying to achieve. If, for example, you have a traditional country style bedroom, sticking to a theme and choosing nightstands that match other furniture in your room may help complete the look you are going for. On the other hand, if you want an industrial look, or simply an eclectic mismatched vintage style, choosing items that deliberately don’t match may be the way to go.

The only commonly accepted rule of thumb in this area of interior design is to at least have two items in a room that have something in common. This could be the type of wood they are made from, the same design style, the same colour, or even an exact match. The rest is up to you!

Fern xx

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