How to choose the perfect nightstand…
I have a personal design dilemma. I am looking for bedside tables for my bedroom at my beach house. The problem is, there is not much space on either side of our king size bed for regular-sized pedestals (We had originally planned for a queen size bed), so I am going to have to be creative in terms of what to use. For my beach house I have a very casual laid-back, industrial aesthetic going on, so I need something to compliment this as well…. This got me thinking about bedside pedestals/tables/nightstands – they are a very interesting piece of furniture as they need to excel in both the form and function stakes. There is no point having a stunning nightstand if you can’t reach your bedside lamp, and equally you don’t want the careful design of your bedroom decor to be ruined by an out-of-place, purely practical piece.
So here are some tips on how to choose the perfect nightstand/bedside table
The ideal height for a nightstand or bedside table is roughly even with the top of the mattress, i.e.; the sleeping surface (see pic below). Give or take a few centimeters, you want the top of the table to be level with the mattress, making it easy for you to reach and creating a clean sight line across the bed. If you can’t exactly match the height of your mattress, go for something slightly higher rather than lower as this looks better.
Lighting is another practical element you need to consider, as you want to be able to reach your light fitting easily. If you are going for table lamps, you need to make sure your nightstand table top is large enough. The ideal size of lamp for a bedside table is around 1/3 of the table size. Keep lamps in proportion with your nightstands, and make sure you have room for your other bits and pieces. If you are tight for space, or prefer a minimal look, wall-mounted lights or pendant lights on either side of the bed are brilliant. These leave the nightstand free for a few small items, and can add drama and focus to a bedroom. This is a favourite feature of mine to really make a bedroom special, especially a main bedroom.
*I have pendants on either side of my bed so I don’t need a large surface area for my nightstands.
Nightstands with drawers are great for hiding away things like glasses, medicines and other bedroom clutter. You need to consider whether you want something with a door, or an open shelf, or just a simple table top. A combination of all of the above works really well too. You also need to think about who will be using the nightstand….. In guest bedrooms it is perhaps not always necessary to provide storage and this opens up options to do more interesting pieces as bedside tables; whereas in a main bedroom or a kids bedroom you probably need a lot more storage and surface area.
*Because our beach house is not our primary residence, I don’t need lots of storage. I must have surface space tho for some good books and the baby monitor!
Keep your bedroom furniture in proportion. A large bed requires larger nightstands, and vice versa. If you have a small room and a large bed consider not using bedside tables at all, rather than squeezing too-small ones in and making the room feel cramped. If you have a bed with a headboard, three-drawer chests of drawers work beautifully as the headboard allows for a higher surface next to the bed.
Think about whether you want two matching nightstands, or contrasting ones. The benefit of a matching pair is that it makes a bedroom look really pulled together and intentional. But having different bedside tables can look great too, giving a room a less formal, more eclectic vibe. If you go for different styles make sure there is one continuous element (colour, material or size) to ensure they work together and don’t look too random. In terms of materials and colour you can be pretty free here: go for a pop of colour or keep things muted. If you don’t have the budget for a nightstand or want something different, you could use reclaimed timber crates, floating shelves, suitcases or even stools and tree trunk cut-offs. Be creative and have fun, but just don’t forget the functional aspects too!
If you want to stay tuned to my search for the perfect nightstands for my beach house bedroom, follow Styleast on Instragram as I will be sharing this experience there.