5 Unique Bedroom Nightstands

These designer rooms say nighty-night to predictable matching nightstands, and hello to creative bedside alternatives. Follow their lead to get the look for your bedroom.
Antique Desk with Distressed Paint as a Nightstand

Antique Desk as a Nightstand

Instead of traditional bedside tables, consider using a piece of furniture that can serve dual-pupose like this antique desk.

By: Susan Kleinman

The bedside desk in this summer house on the New Jersey shore has bounced from country to country for almost a century and been painted at least half a dozen times — and it couldn't possibly look better.

"This was a gut renovation of a 30-year-old house," interior designer Brad Ford says, "but we wanted to keep a bit of a cottage feel, so we brought back some of the details, like the plank walls."

When Brad found this piece in a Tribeca antiques shop, he loved how — like the house itself — the desk offered the best of modernity and vintage style. "The antiques dealer in New York found this at the Paris flea market," he says. "It dates back to the Bauhaus industrial movement, and it looked like it had been painted a hundred times and scraped down. We didn't want to do anything to the finish."

And so, needing a night table in a guest bedroom — and wanting to provide his clients with a useful desk — Brad placed this piece right next to the guest bed on one side, with a more traditional nightstand on the other. "I always like to mix it up," he says, who has used chests of drawers or a single, pretty chair as bedside tables in other settings. "I think that gives a room a little bit more character."

Photo by Simon Upton
Designer: Brad Ford, www.bradfordid.com

Carved, Teak Table Used as a Nightstand

Unique Carved Nightstand

The carved teak table in this guest bedroom was made in the Philippines more than 100 years ago.

"We wanted to do something a little bit crazy here," interior designer Brian McCarthy says of the guest bedroom in this weekend home in the Berkshire Mountains. But looking at the carved teak table that he chose to place bedside, one can't help thinking he would have been nuts not to use the piece, which is as beautiful as it is original.

Sourced at Tucker Robbins, New York designers' go-to guy for unusual pieces from Africa and Indonesia, the table was made in the Philippines in the 19th century. "It lends a sculptural quality to the room," says Brian, who chose an equally arresting but entirely different piece — a rustic French shoemaker's table — for the bed's far side. "I love the note of humor it brings to the room."

Photo by John Crum
Designer: Brian McCarthy, www.bjminc.com
Source: Tucker Robbins, www.tuckerrobbins.com

Louis XV Nightstand

Nightstand With a Floral Flourish

For this master bedroom, interior designer Brian McCarthy chose a Louis XV piece from the south of France, dating back to the 18th century and painted in soft, soothing colors that coordinate with the rest of the room.

For this master bedroom in a northern suburb of New York City, interior design Brian McCarthy created a fantasy of flowers, from the bedskirt and the carpet to the tromp l'oeil trim. "And because the room is a beautiful Louis XVI boiserie, the intention was to use furniture with a painted sensibility, as well," he says.

While the room's two nightstands are similar in sensibility, they are anything but standard. Picture above is a Louis XV piece from the south of France, dating back to the 18th century and painted in soft, soothing colors that coordinate with the rest of the room. The other is a painted French table in a more neoclassical shape.

Brian gave the pretty detailwork more prominence (it's the first thing you notice upon entering the room) by placing this table along the bed, instead of perpendicular to its long side. This gave his client a more generous surface within reach, too. "By placing the table this way, you gain more access to the table for anything you might want or need when you get in bed," he says.

Photo courtesy of Brian J. McCarthy, Inc.
Designer: Brian McCarthy, www.bjminc.com

Long table as nightstand

Long Table as Nightstand

To offset this bedroom's focal point, designer Shawn Henderson slid the bed over and balanced the look visually with a long table to serve as a nightstand.

When Shawn Henderson was first planning the bedroom of this New York City loft, he sketched a long table in next to the bed instead of a traditional nightstand.

"I didn't want you to walk in and be staring at the mattress," explains the designer, "so I moved the bed over to create a sense of privacy."

Before he could begin shopping for just the right long table, his clients — who spend most of the week at their other home in Connecticut — found an old farm table in their suburban garage and showed it to Shawn. "It was exactly the right size and shape: 6 feet long, with plenty of room to stack books and pictures. It was a bit too tall for the bedside, though, so I just had the legs cut down," he says.

On the other side of the bed, he faced the opposite challenge. The woven hemp trunk he wanted to use as a nightstand was too low. He had a wrought-iron base fabricated for it, and now both tables are the same height and exactly the right distance from the floor. "It's important for night tables to be the same height," Shawn says, "especially if you are using matching lamps."

Photo by Steve Freihon, www.stevefreihon.com
Designer: Shawn Henderson, www.shawnhenderson.com

Antique Sugar Presses as Nightstands

Sweet, Salvaged Nightstands

The night tables in this guest bedroom are actually not tables at all, but sugar presses, used in 19th-century, Spanish Colonial Philippines, and salvaged and repurposed by furniture designer/importer Tucker Robbins, who discovered them 20 years ago.

The night tables in this guest bedroom are actually not tables at all, but sugar presses, used in 19th-century, Spanish Colonial Philippines, and salvaged and repurposed by furniture designer/importer Tucker Robbins, who discovered them 20 years ago.

"These were originally used as a mechanical tool, in pairs, to crush sugar cane," explains designer Clodagh, author of Total Design. "They are made from precious satinwood, sanded and waxed for a beautiful patina."

Large enough to hold a lamp or book, these tables don't get in the way, says the designer. Because they are for a guest room and not a bedroom used all the time, the fact that they have no drawers is not a problem.

"I especially love the fact that the round presses have no sharp edges to bump hips and foreheads on," says Clodagh, who, in addition to hunting down unusual pieces, also frequently designs nightstands for her clients to provide all of the comfort and convenience she wants them to enjoy. "Whatever you select as a side table in your bedroom, be sure that it is easily accessible, with close proximity to the bed so that your book and lamp are within arm's reach."

Photo by Daniel Aubry
Designer: Clodagh, www.clodagh.com
Source: Tucker Robbins, www.tuckerrobbins.com

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