10 Double-Duty Nightstands

Storage in a small bedroom can be tricky so we asked designers to share their tips for choosing a nightstand that's stylish, offers plenty of storage and makes the most of the space you have.
By: Amanda Lecky

Photo By: Photography by Brandon Barre

Photo By: Photography by Killy Scheer

Photo By: Photography by Joshua Drake

Photo By: Photography by David Phelps

Photo By: Photography by Elaine Mark

Photo By: Photography by Lily Dong

Hard-Working Desk

"In a small space it's critical to maximize every square inch," says designer Frances Herrera. "To make a space feel grand and luxurious, we love using multipurpose furniture. For example, a beautiful desk can become a nightstand that offers storage, a chic place to put on your makeup and a cozy work area."

Put Built-Ins to Work

In this basement family room, a storage wall transforms into a welcoming guest room in a snap thanks to a built-in Murphy bed. "We designed the room to accommodate the family and their guests," says designer Laura Stein. "Night-table trays pull out of the custom built-ins to hold a lamp and small essentials, like a glass of water, leaving plenty of floor space."

Opt for Form and Function

In tight quarters, everything should be useful and beautiful — even the bedside table. "This nightstand is actually an accordion case sitting on top of a stool," says designer Killy Scheer. "We lived in a tiny apartment, so storage was limited. We needed to keep my husband's accordion safe but accessible. The case was handsome, so rather than purchase a nightstand, I plopped the case on the stool and dressed it up with the lamp, tray and fresh flowers, which were easy to remove when we needed to access the accordion."

Shelf Life

When the bed commands the only wall available for storage, you have to make careful decisions. "I designed these nightstands and had them custom-made for my client," says designer Lana Lounsbury. "The upper sections hold books, and the lower cabinets have drawers and cupboards — a great way to add storage in a room with limited closet space."

Spice Things Up With a Skirt

A beautiful table skirt can hide a multitude of style sins, such as camouflaging a practical file-cabinet, or dressing up a perfectly sized — but perfectly ugly — flea market find. Plus, the right fabric will add visual interest, says designer Margaret Donaldson. "In this bedroom, we chose skirted bedside tables to soften the richness of the headboard and to add some color and pattern to the room."

Elevate Everyday Objects

Unexpected items can add personality and a playful energy to the bedroom, not to mention plenty of practical storage. For his own first house, designer Tommy Chambers adapted a classic Craftsman tool chest, building a simple alderwood base himself to raise it to a more convenient bedside level. "The splash of color is great," he says, "and I love the nostalgic element of this common item from my childhood."

Size Matters

A small dresser or chest is easy to adapt as a bedside table. When selecting one, remember proportion, say designers Curtis Elmy and Trevor Ciona. "Keep the scale of the lamp you'll use in mind. We really love bold lamps, and if you use one you'll need a chest or table large enough to hold it." Also, consider personalizing the furniture piece. "We'll replace the hardware with something really unique. There are so many sources where you can find great 'jewelry' for your drawers and doors."

Feminine + Functional

"I love to use pieces of furniture that have other uses, such as desks and dressing tables, as bedside tables," says designer Nicole Benveniste. "Here we matched a small desk with a luxurious mirror, vintage lamp and upholstered stool to give it a very feminine and chic look that fits my client's personality perfectly. She can put on her jewelry here before going out for the evening, write a thank you note and keep a stack of favorite books for nighttime reading."

Big Can Be Beautiful

Even in a light, feminine space, it can be a mistake to go too delicate beside the bed. "Choose a nightstand that has some weight, like a chest of drawers," says designer Cortney Bishop. "That way, cords from lamps, phones and clocks stay hidden behind the piece — and you'll have room inside the drawers for overflow and necessities like chargers."

Mirror Image

A pair of sleek nightstands can update your existing, traditional bed. A mirrored finish reflects light into a dark space and lends a modern edge, while repeating the composition on both sides creates a classic framework for the bed. "The mirrored nightstands and matching table lamps add symmetry to this room," notes designer Ammie Kim.