Nightstand Buying Guide

There are many great reasons to have bedside tables, chief among them being convenience and practicality. Whether you’re setting up your bedroom for the first time, or you’ve been using a milk crate as a night table for years, we will guide you through the different types of bedroom side tables and their functionality and aesthetics.

The uses for a nightstand are endless, but the most obvious ones are: a place to put your bedside lamp, alarm clock, box of tissues, decorative nick nacks or photographs, to store the items you use most at bedtime or need to grab in the morning, or to keep a bottle of water for when you get thirsty in middle of the night. Night stands vary in height, design, storage capacity, material and style.

First, let’s talk about height.

Nightstand Dimensions

The height of a nightstand is important for your convenience and ease of access. To easily be able to reach things on the surface, the standard nightstand height should reach even with the height of your bed, so be sure to measure your bed from the top of your mattress to the floor. Keep in mind that the standard height for beds is around 25”. If needed, be sure to get a nightstand that is slightly higher than your mattress, not lower. The rule of thumb is to go between 2”-6” higher than the top of the mattress.

It is easier to raise your arms while you’re in bed than to lower them, and you do not want to be bending over too much when trying to reach something from the nightstand while standing. The average bed height ranges from 18’’ for  platform bed to 36’’ on a canopy bed. There are lots of options for tall nightstands that will fit perfectly for that height.

The average nightstand size measures around 20’’ wide and 20’’ deep. The benefits of getting extra wide nightstands if you have a lot of space on one or both sides of the bed, is that you have a lot more surface area and more room to put stuff. But you have to consider how it will fit into the space you have.

Since the average width of a nightstand is 20’’ wide, consider that a narrow nightstand might fit best in your small space. There should be a gap of a few inches between the nightstand and the bed, to allow for the blanket to hang over, and to avoid bumping into it when you move around at night. There are some great compact nightstands when space is an issue.

In really small bedrooms, don’t think you have to compromise on space, or get a huge nightstand that takes up the whole room. There are lots of options for small bedside tables, and some are not even tables at all. Some of the smallest bedside tables can actually be drawers or shelves mounted to the wall, to truly save on space.

But whatever size nightstand you choose, make sure the storage and layout works for you, and be sure to choose one that fits in perfectly with the rest of your bedroom furniture.

Drawer Nightstands

The benefits of having drawers in your nightstand is obvious: nightstands with drawers hide the things you want hidden, and also keep the clutter out of view.

If you don’t require so much space, a one drawer nightstand can be a great fit. There are also nightstands with a combination of shelves and drawers, and some with pullout shelves that can be used for snacks or drinks when you need it, then tucked away when you’re done.


If you’re an avid reader and love to catch up on a good book before bed, a 2 drawer nightstand might be your best bet. With added storage, you can store books, the tv remote, your medicine, reading glasses, or even an extra pair of socks or a sweater if you get cold.


There’s a great advantage of having a 3 drawer nightstand. You can keep your journal or a notebook and pen for when you have a thought you want to quickly jot down. You can store your body lotions, essential oils and eye masks, everything you need for a calming sleep.


There are many different storage options for nightstands and bedside tables, and you can spend the time you need to find the perfect fit for your room.


Nightstands With USB Ports


You will surely be happy to know that there are plenty of modern nightstand options that combine beauty with practicality. For the savvy shopper who’s looking for a nightstand with usb charging ports, they do exist. And if you want a bedside table with usb ports that also looks really nice, you will have many options to choose from.


Charging nightstands are pretty standard these days, since most everyone has multiple electronic devices that they keep near their beds. Smartphones, tablets, and kindles are all things people want near them, so they can access it in a panic when they wake up in the middle of the night and remember about that report they forgot to submit. A lot of nightstands come with a built-in usb outlet or two, and power cords included.


Mirrored Nightstands


Add a little luxury to your life with a mirrored bedside table. You can choose a nightstand that has a complete mirrored surface, or that has only mirrored drawers. Some of the great benefits of having a mirrored nightstand set is that it reflects light to add more sparkle to your room, plus it is super easy to clean. A mirror night table adds extra shine and doubles as a statement piece all at once. Besides for its practical functions, it will bump your bedroom up from functional to glamorous.


Another great option is to have mirrors behind nightstands. If you think one mirror in your bedroom is enough, think again. Mirrors are not just to check your reflection and apply your makeup. They add elegance and grace, and make the room look bigger and more open. Mirrors above nightstands are a great addition to the ensemble of the room, and can serve as decor on its own. Whether you go big or small depends on the space you have, but considering a mirror above your nightstand is something you will be able to enjoy and admire.


Whichever night stand you choose for its functionality, there are a lot of different styles to choose from. You can go modern, with lots of sharp angles, colors that come in stark blacks and whites with chrome trim, or you can go warm with a mid-century wood grain or stained look. You can choose a farmhouse style nightstand, with a weathered, textured look, lots of X designs and a cozy homey feel, or you can go completely boho chic, and opt for bright lines, shapes and colors, and even choose mismatched nightstands. Anything goes.


But whatever style you do choose, and whichever storage options you go with, color and material, charging ports or none, this is a bedside table that will last you a long time, so make sure it works for you, and make sure you love it, as it is the first thing you’ll see when you turn over in the morning.


Sweet dreams and happy shopping!