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No, Your Nightstands Don’t Have to Match (& Here’s How to Do It Like a Designer)

styled by simone haag & sarah shinners | photo by dylan james

In our heartfelt pursuit to teach you how to bring personality and eclectic-ness to your homes, we are diving into pairing non-matching nightstands. We have spoken about nightstand styling and the rules of designing a bedroom but we haven’t really ever touched on the art of mixing and matching those ever-important tables on either side of your precious bed. Now don’t get us wrong, we love a matching set. Actually most of the bedrooms Em has designed feature nightstand twins. Buuuut if your bedroom is needing a bit more visual interest then this is a super easy and fun way to do just that. Shall we talk rules??

Emily Henderson Funk It Up Nightstands Inspo 1
design by peter benson miller | photo by simon upton | via the new york times style magazine

Like in most decor pairings, there are the standard rules that might sound familiar to you because well, we have said them a lot. Here they are as a refresher:

1. Vary shapes: Ahh yes, our favorite and maybe most important rule. Mix it up with round, oval, square, rectangle, or live edge shapes. It is the quickest and probably easiest way to instantly create visual interest and breakthrough “samesies” syndrome.

2. Mix up materials: Make sure that unless the shapes are different, you have different materials at play. When you vary, it gives your room texture. Texture is your BEST friend. But if you are dying to use, say, all wood, then consider varying the stains and/or yes, also shapes.

3. Look for interesting details: The whole point of mixing and matching is to give your bedroom a unique feel, right? So make sure there is something special and interesting about at least one of them. It could be a shape, color, material or fun accent. Anything really that makes it extra special to you.

4. Visual weight is important: I know we have said it before but balancing the visual weight of your pieces is crucial to making your room look put together and interesting. For example, if one nightstand is bulkier, consider a more delicate one for the other side. Or if one piece has legs, the other piece could be “legless” and attached to the wall for something airier.

5. Make sure they speak to each other: Okay, so I’ve spent four other points talking about all the ways these tables should be different, but this is where I talk about where they still need to relate somehow. Something about the pieces should talk to each other. This could be the shape if the materials are different, the era they are from, a common detail, or color palette. Think cousins, not siblings.

6. Storage: One nightstand (unless you 100% don’t need it) should have some kind of storage or drawer. It will make your life happier knowing you have a little place for your bedtime nicknacks.

7. Consider your bed: Make sure you think about your bed’s style and shape. The last thing you want is for all three to be competing visually or not making any sense together. If your bed is more on the simple/neutral side then have more fun with the “loudness” of your nightstands. “What if I have a loud and unique bed?” Then maybe cool it a little and find nightstands that are special but on the visually quieter side if you catch my drift.

Emily Henderson Funk It Up Nightstands Inspo 2
photo by tessa neustadt | from: scott’s bedroom makeover with leesa + get the look

We decided to break these roundups into two categories: nightstands with similar heights (0-4 inch difference) and nightstands with a bit more height differences (over 4 inches). Why? Well, it’s good to know if you want to make the decision to have your tables be on a similar visual plane or if you want the visual drama of an asymmetrical look. Plus once you’ve decided, it’s much easier to shop since you know your desired height range. (There’s also the talking point exemplified by the above photo from an old project where mismatched tables help to solve a layout issue with inconvenient window placement.) But naturally, to make things a bit easier for you, I shopped and put together 30 combos. Let’s start out with the pairs that are similar in height (and loaded with uniqueness).

Emily Henderson Funk It Up Nightstands Same Heights Roundup

1. Big Daddy’s Antiques Metal Nightstand + Parallel Wood Nightstand | 2. Peek Nightstand + Cliff Side Table | 3. Wrentham Beadboard Farmhouse Nightstand + Sift Gold 2 Story Tower | 4. Metalwork Nightstand with Handle + Metalwork Grand Nightstand | 5. Simple Bedside Table + Stump Stool | 6. Nati Tati Nightstand + Stitch Leather Round Storage Side Table | 7. Lap Nightstand + Burl Olive Wood Side Table | 8. Siegel Nightstand Walnut + Marble Table (set of 2) | 9. Horseshoe Ivory Lacquered Linen Side Table + Hera Side Table | 10. Pomona 3 Nightstand + Rochester Parquet Nightstand | 11. Fairmont Metal Nightstand + Southwick Farmhouse Nightstand | 12. Dexter Concrete Top End TableModrest Bryan Modern White Nightstand | 13. BJÖRKSNÄS + Hafley Three Drawer End Table | 14. 1970s Scandinavian Modern Teak Oversized Side Table + Isla Charging Side Table | 15. Contemporary Noir Sculptural Distressed Wood Side Table + Morrison Leather Nightstand | 16. Duxbury Nightstand + Duxbury Oval Nightstand

See how they all talk to each other but are fun and different? Well almost all of them. #4 and sort of #16 (they are different shapes but are from the same line) are great examples that you can still pull from the same furniture line if you want a more uniform look but have the twist of different sizes. Actually, for our Target Threshold Fall Collection shoot (pictured below) the design team did just that. They paired a nightstand and a small dresser from the same line and it looks streamlined but interesting.

Story2 Ehd Fall19 Lores14
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: target’s new threshold collection is hitting the “elevated prairie” trend hard and good

Now let’s talk drama for your eyeballs…asymmetrical nightstands. All the rules from above apply but definitely really pay attention to the balance of visual weight since the heights are more drastic. You don’t want the shorter nightstand to get lost if it’s too simple and small. I think there is a ton of opportunity for the smaller pieces to get a bit design crazy. Vintage is always the way for those really unique pieces. There were a bunch that I found on Chairish, so that is a great place to start/my favorite. But of course Etsy, Craigslist and your local flea markets are also awesome places to search, too. So with all that said let’s get into these final combos…

Emily Henderson Funk It Up Nightstands Diff Heights Roundup

1. Mitzi Nightstand + Agnes Side Table | 2. Nomi Oak Nightstand + Li’l Something Side Table | 3. Wood Seat Bistro Chair + 20th Century Rustic Country French Side Table | 4. Gemini Nightstand + Curve Gold Side Table | 5. Modernist Wood Lacquer Nightstand + Gold Hammered Metal Drum Cala Accent Table | 6. Spindle Nightstand + Kartell Chocolate Brown Nesting Tables | 7. Montrose Midcentury Modern 2 Drawer Nightstand + Wood Stacking Side Table | 8. Kayan Nightstand + LAX Stool | 9. Freedom Nightstand with USB Ports + Good Thing 6063 Stool with Flange | 10. Galerie Nightstand With USB + Ventana Display End Table | 11. Archdale Nightstand + Nyla Table | 12. Gia Cream Ash Nightstand + Spoke Marble Graphite Metal End Table | 13. Shale Bedside Table + Tapered Wood Sable Accent Table | 14. Ridge Nightstand + Baby Rocket Stool

Alright, it’s that time again to say goodbye for now/we’ll see you in a few short hours for today’s afternoon snack which is a killer gift guide (all under $50). But hopefully, we are a little bit inspired to design outside the box and mix and match the heck out of your nightstands. Why not?! Make where you rest your head as unique as you. 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions in the comments or any suggestions for future combo posts.

Love you, mean it.

More useful combos:

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4 years ago

I have a viscerally negative response to this: like, it literally makes my stomach hurt a little! Who knew I had such strong feelings about nightstand symmetry?

4 years ago
Reply to  Hannah

OMG SAME. I was surprised by how much it made me cringe.

4 years ago

I love this so much! In the process of looking for nightstands and really wanted to play with the look a bit. This is SO helpful!

4 years ago

I love plants and flowers! I’m obsessed with

Dolres T
4 years ago

This was a great post! Now can you do another one that talks about how dressers and nightstands don’t have to match? My husband, who really cares nothing about design, is insisting that all the pieces of our bedroom furniture match! I told him matchy-matchy stuff went out in the 90s, but he’s a hard guy to convince. Any thoughts?

4 years ago
Reply to  Dolres T

Preach it, sister. Nothing makes me crazier than matching bedroom furniture.

4 years ago
Reply to  Dolres T

it’s better to ask forgiveness than for permission. go buy what you like and show him how nice it looks!

4 years ago
Reply to  priscilla

I love that!

4 years ago

Where is that “L” shaped night stand in the first picture from?? Love it!

4 years ago
Reply to  AL

YESSS PLEASE!! EMILY AND TEAM PLEASE TELL US… sorry for the caps but been searching the internet past 2 hours and can’t seem to find it!!!

4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

It’s custom. And GORGEOUS!

“Assemble studio is a great example of how one can customise an off the plan space to suit – and that small changes can have beautifully bold impact. The Simone Haag team loved working with Harbro and Glen Cross Furniture on the built in curved sofa and bedroom shelving unit.”

4 years ago

Curious for you CA people, how do you navigate the Prop 65 warnings? I noticed a nightstand on the list had one and I’m not used to seeing them as a Minneapolis resident! Do you ignore, research and then decide or just avoid at all costs??

4 years ago
Reply to  Paige

lol California girl here. There are prop 65 warnings on just about everything.
I ignore it.

4 years ago
Reply to  Paige

Paige: Prop 65 is an example of extreme litigation run amok. The purpose of the law had real and very good intentions, to warn users of possible cancer causing agents. But literally ONE lawyer decided he could mount a lawsuit against almost any company or gov’t agency with the claim that any product could “potentially” cause cancer. How can any company fight that? Today companies have paid over $280 million dollars in settlement cases and fees with no proof that their product even causes cancer. So to protect themselves, you will find Prop 65 warnings on almost everything from tin cans to parking structures. So yes…we ignore them.

4 years ago

Even if you don’t like mismatched nightstands, this is a listing of SO MANY nightstands – you can do two of the same! So awesome! Thank you!!

4 years ago

Really loving combo 3 in the second round. I have never thought of using a chair as a night stand, but I’m loving the idea. This combo goes great with the “Modern Monastery” style covered last year.

4 years ago
Reply to  Bre

Oh yes! Good idea, you’re so right. And I think a chair is a good idea especially if you’re in a small space, and perhaps not your forever home. Just get a beautiful chair you like…why not use it as a place to set your phone or water/book at night?

4 years ago

I cringe when I see matching night stands, or anything too matchy matchy. So this post speaks to me in all sorts of tingly ways.

4 years ago

You know what I would love would be a post on if two accent chairs (think chairs opposite of a sofa) need to match or can they be mismatched. And if they can mismatch, how to do it correctly?

4 years ago
Reply to  Alex

Yes! I desperately need help with this since I have a vintage arm chair that needs a “friend” but I don’t know what to look for.

4 years ago

I will forever be opposed to mismatched nightstands and mismatched nightstand lamps. You’ll never convince me.

4 years ago

I love the wall mounted nightstands in the cover photo. Do you have any suggestions for those? And would it be too much to do a wall mounted nightstand with a sconce? Thinking of space saving options for a very small bedroom.

4 years ago
Reply to  Stephanie

I would love to see ideas for this too!!

4 years ago
Reply to  Stephanie

Yes, i love the wall mounted nightstands on the left in the first photo too. Would you tell us where we can find those? thank you!

4 years ago

I’ve wanted that Horne stool (#5) in the first roundup forever but I just can’t imagine spending $350 for a little stool. It’s not in the budget by any means. Does anyone know where I can find a possible similar stool?