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Design

Power Couples: Bed And Nightstand Combos For Every Style (+ How To Pick The Right Size)

It’s been a while since I’ve contemplated bed and nightstand options. In fact, the last time I really thought about this particular combination of furniture, I divulged to the entire internet that I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor and did not have a nightstand to speak of. Charmed, I’m sure. I’ve leveled up since then, don’t worry, but still haven’t invested in a forever bed frame with a beautiful headboard. A metal IKEA bedframe has been a placeholder since I graduated from my mattress on the floor days. But now that I am a married woman, it does feel like time to give my husband and my bedroom some real attention. Wouldn’t it be nice to be proud of the way my bedroom looks instead of apologizing for it every time a person walks through our front door?? I think so. So, with some selfish interest in mind, I offered to put together some bed and nightstand options to share with you all. Sound good??

Before we begin, I want to share a few rules we find helpful for picking a nightstand. As always, once you understand the “rules” we believe that can empower you to bend or break them if you so desire 🙂

  1. 24”-27” is the ideal height for a nightstand but a good rule of thumb is to make sure the height is within the range of 5″ higher or lower than the top of your mattress.
  2. Keep your nightstand to scale with your bed. The average nightstand is 20″x20″ which will work for most beds. However, for larger beds (a king) you can use a larger nightstand (up to 40″) and smaller beds (like twins) maybe go a little smaller.
  3. Space permitting, you ideally want at least 36″ around all walkways to comfortably get around your space. If your room is tight and doesn’t allow for a good amount of space to walk then you could consider pushing the bed up against one wall or downsizing your bed to fit with the scale of the room. 
  4. Have fun with style/shape! (and mix-matching nightstands is totally doable:)).

Now that you are armed with some guidelines, let’s get into it starting with your standard-size nightstands.

Standard Size With Storage

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house primary bedroom

In Emily’s mountain house primary bedroom, the nightstands are so structural and cool AND meet all the above guidelines. The bed frame is low to the ground so the nightstands are also shorter, but together they make so much sense. If she had a bed with a very tall headboard or opted for a four-poster bed, a smaller nightstand would look off. Truly when it comes to beds and nightstands, size IS everything.

In the above bedroom makeover by Jess, she paired two different vintage dark wood nightstands with this tufted green velvet bed. The headboard extends past the mattress so she found nightstands that fit to scale in that space, making the bed and nightstands feel cohesive. The nightstand also stands as tall as the top of the mattress, which follows the above 5″ higher or lower “rule” and is pleasing to the eye. Oh, can we please note the raised scalloped detail on the right?? It’s such a sweet detail.

If you are in the market, here are some standard-size nightstand and bed combinations we love:

1. Garvey Side Table + Shinola Runwell Upholstered Bed | 2. Kono 2-Drawer Nightstand + Carson Ebonized Wood Spindle Bed | 3. Side Table + Clementine Platform Bed | 4. Postmodern Pink Lacquer Laminate Waterfall Nightstand +  Jaiden Upholstered Bed | 5. Cortez Natural Floating Nightstand + Valen Platform Bed | 6. Black Wood Cottage Nightstand + Hargrove Canopy Bed

You might recognize the nightstand from #5 from Suzanne’s bedroom makeover, OR maybe you remember seeing it in a certain celebrity home tour? That’s right, we spotted this nightstand in Kasey Musgraves’ AD home tour. It’s such a minimal yet fresh piece and the curved shape gives it a softness that’s perfect for a light and airy bedroom. By the way, I’d be lying if I said the bedroom you saw above didn’t heavily inspire the #3 pairing 🙂 Deep greens and dark wood are a perfect match IMHO.

Oversized With Storage

photo by tessa neustadt | design by ginny macdonald and melanie burstin for ehd | from: griffith park primary bedroom

If you are looking to go big and go home, you can replace a standard nightstand with a larger one or even a small dresser if you have the space. Remember, if you are going to go oversized, we suggest doing so only if you have the square footage and as long as you are pairing with at least a king-size bed. If you opt for a small chest of drawers you really want to be careful with that the height of your mattress isn’t too low. A great way to give you some height (if you don’t already have one) is to put a box string under your mattress.

design by sara ruffin costello | styled by velinda hellen & erik kenneth staalberg |  photo by sara ligorria-tramp for “the new design rules”

In this bold Airbnb bedroom designed by Sara Ruffin Costello, she used a small chest of drawers in lieu of a traditional nightstand. It is oversized, but notice that it doesn’t look out of place because of the scale of the bed. The bed and dresser are both larger than average (note how the ornate headboard almost touches the ceiling!) so the scale doesn’t feel off.

If you are feeling like going big, here are some great options:

1. Wes 3-Drawer Wood Dresser + Arden Navy Upholstered Queen Bed | 2. Baskin 3 Drawer Accent TableRosalie Classic Velvet Platform Bed | 3. Kids Hampshire 4-Drawer Olive Green Dresser + Annabella Upholstered Bed | 4. Bedford Reclaimed Wood 3-Drawer Dresser + Alder Bed | 5. Jenny Lind Spindle 3-Drawer Dresser + Alexa Reclaimed Wood Bed | 6. Cayman 3-Drawer Dresser + Calistoga Canopy Bed

With each of these pairings, the headboard is taller or wider than average, so the oversized nightstands don’t look out of place. When in doubt, if you adhere to the 5″ higher or lower rule, the scale will make sense and feel intentional. Just remember, with smaller size beds, a too-big nightstand might look like a mistake instead of a cool design moment.

Decorative (No Storage)

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: our guest room/office basement suite reveal

Sometimes a nightstand doesn’t need to have storage, and can just be a place to set your water down at night. If you already have enough closet space and storage (bless your heart) and you want your nightstand to take up the least amount of visual space, a stool like the one above is a great option. For smaller bedrooms, stools and pedestal end tables are ideal so the room doesn’t become overcrowded.

photo by tessa neustadt | from: 1 bedroom 4 ways with the citizenry

I love this black pedestal table coupled with a simple, upholstered headboard. The height and scale are on point, and the traditional shape creates some movement but doesn’t take up a lot of physical space. Oh and if you are worried about not having a place to store some books, I personally believe books stacked lazily on the floor is always a cool look. 🙂

For all you storage-savvy people out there, here are some fun and decorative nightstand options:

1. Oline Side Table + Drommen Acacia Wood Bed | 2. Wendall Side Table + Maeve Platform Bed | 3. Zayden Side Table + Cyrus Platform Bed | 4. Geometric Side Table + Dean Jean Eastern Upholstered Panel Bed | 5. Halden Nightstand + Colestin Bed | 6. Delilah Nightstand + Brooke Platform Bed

Alright my friends, that is all for today. I hope this post helped whoever needs it, and please let us know what other power couples you’d like to see from us. xx

Opener Image Credit: Design by Julie rose for EHD | Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Suzanne’s Bedroom Reveal

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Charity
2 months ago

Do you have thoughts on how to pair two different nightstands? Do they need to be the same height? Color? General size? I have mismatched night stands now and something about the combo is driving me crazy, but I don’t know what it is.

Mary Evers
2 months ago
Reply to  Charity

I personally love mismatched nightstands. But I do think having the the same height & similar color works best. I love the layered collected feel it can bring to the bedroom.
If everything is symmetrical it feels contrived & stiff to me. But that’s just me.

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Mary Evers

Me too!

mouseface
2 months ago
Reply to  Charity

Having just gone through this I the key is choosing affinity or contrast, as Bruce Block would say.. so mostly same-ish hight and color family for both, but the shape, period, and style should either be either very matchy as in the example styled by Jess or very high contrast.
My guest room has a small black 1980’s Chinese lacquer chest on one side and I was looking for a matching one. Threw a rickety 60’s Regency 3 legged black table on the other side as a placeholder and I was very surprised to find that it looked perfect. I think the tension between the shapes and styles made it chic. Now I have a fake Saarinen metal bottom rosewood top coffee table there and it looks highly intentional. The rest of the room is pretty light so the dark colors in the tables also add to the sculptural tension. Hope this helps.

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Charity

I’m team mis-matched all the way!
In fact, I didlike matchy-matchy things, like coffee table nests, nightstands, etc.

As long as they’re a similar height and have something the same about them – whether that’s the period they’re ftom, wood colour, handles, little details, etc. then they ‘nod to each other’ and connect.

mouseface
2 months ago

Cute round up although I strongly prefer my nightstand level flush with the mattress. And oh boy, in my experience curved edges on a nightstand and/or small round tables as a night stand lead to so many spilled glasses of water….

Adam
2 months ago

There are so many styles of nightstands that I love, but the one thing I cannot get past is being able to see the bedside lamp cord hanging down from the back of the nightstand. I always chuckle when I see “styled” photos online and in magazines and the lamp cords are suspiciously “missing” from the lamp.

1 month ago
Reply to  Adam

YES! Me, too! 😄Cord clutter magically vanishes in the design world!

Mkk
2 months ago

On a practical note, it is much easier to access a drawer (while in bed) when it is lower than the mattress. It is easier to reach down or directly horizontal to access from the top of a nightstand vs. a taller larger chest above mattress.
I recently purchased nightstands from C&Barrel Kids- same look but cheaper.

2 months ago

I just updated my bedroom with an updated traditional feel. I only painted my existing nightstands, but am not all that happy with them. I’m going to do some hunting and see what I can find…

StephanieZ
2 months ago

I use a vintage 2 tier MCM teak side table as my bedside table. Love it so much.

Megan
2 months ago

How would you pair nightstands with low platform beds? I find that most nightstands are too tall to work with my bed and its very hard to search for height

Christina
2 months ago
Reply to  Megan

Look outside of a traditional nightstand by thinking of using furniture/accessory pieces that have a flat surface on top with storage and lower in height. This could be anything from desktop, craft supply, kitchen counter organizers, letter trays, small shelving you can install at whatever height you prefer, remote control pockets or bedside caddies. It’s like what one beauty reviewer said about makeup, “anything can be anything.” A lipstick can be a blush, Vaseline can be a glossy lid, etc.

My real life example: I have a floor bed (full size) and I used two desk organizers, specifically two IKEA MOPPE wooden boxes with little drawers. It was one of those situations where I used what I had lying around and it works. They are low enough for the gradual light up clock to hit my face in the morning and the drawers contain what I need.

Karina
2 months ago
Reply to  Megan

Many vintage mid century pieces are very low.

Karina
2 months ago

I have a lacquered faux bamboo dresser and would like some ideas on nightstands that are not matchy but “go”.
Anyone? (My dresser is dark green.)

Jill S
2 months ago

I found another “visual rule” not mentioned in the article- that being how the selection of bedside lamps and tables ALTOGETHER balance out the bed.
Sometimes the side tables can matched exactly, sometimes the lamps, sometimes both. Sometimes none!

Two things have helped me in getting some overall balance to this type of situation. The first idea is, under the shorter bedside lamp, adding a stack of hardcover books, graduated In size. Second was having the lampshades be as similar as possible, possibly with some visual punch, such as a matching colour.

It is a bonus if some or all of the books are bound in a similar colour. They should never be too small or give the lamp an unsteady look. If the balance isn’t quite there yet, one could just add another wider book to the stack under the lamp. I have done variations on this idea, using stained or painted blocks of wood specific to the situation.

Suzanne
2 months ago

I’d love some small scale desks as nightstands. I can’t find what I’m looking for. Either they are cheaply made or too big. I’ve looked at some console tables to find less depth, but they are often still too wide. I’m thinking 18” deep by 36-42” wide and 29” high (table/desk height).

Kj
2 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne

We bought 2 Wilshire desks in 2014 from RH Child to use as our nightstands. They measure 44”Wx22”Dx30”H. In retrospect, I would prefer something closer to the measurements you mention.

Suzanne
2 months ago
Reply to  Kj

I think looking at kid sized desks is a good idea, but the one you mentioned would be a little big for my space. I’m also thinking that I should check the antique stores. I never think to look for them when I’m there, but I’m wondering if some vintage and antique desks are smaller scale.

Suzanne
2 months ago
Reply to  Kj

I just found this one. 39”Wx20”D. Not quite the style for my room, but very on trend for others, and it’d make a great nightstand desk.
https://www.pbteen.com/products/sarah-sherman-samuel-small-space-desk/?pkey=ccomputer-desks-for-teens

Suzanne
2 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne

This one is also a possibility. Now I’m going to need to decide if I really want to swap out my nightstands.
https://www.pbteen.com/products/wexpbt-mid-century-mini-desk/?pkey=ccomputer-desks-for-teens

Kj
1 month ago
Reply to  Suzanne

Absolutely love the Sarah Sherman Samuel desk, but it’s probably too hip for our current furniture (the PB Teen desk would work style wise). Keep in mind: you will need a chair of some sort (that looks good from the back) to pair with it. I don’t use the desk on my side daily, but it’s nice to have as an option. My husband never uses his side as a desk (probably a little small for him, and he uses the desk in our office when working from home). He tends to pile stuff on his desk/nightstand, and it is nice being able to move it to the chair seat and not having to look at it.

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Kj

All great points, Kj! My husband likes the West Elm/PB Teen one. He thinks he’d use it, although he prefers to work in the living room in a chair and ottoman most of the time. Something about the angle is less likely to both his shoulder. We’re going to see if any of the local stores have some to look at in person.

Sally
1 month ago

Interesting article. I struggle with the height of most bedside tables.
I prefer a much taller height so the light of the lamp shines down from above onto, and is not below, my book. Something I particularly dislike in hotels. I don’t know how people find the light functional when the table is lower than 85 cm (a bit over 33”). Hard to find.
I realise pendants or wall lamps fix this but then restrict room layout.

Magpie
1 month ago

I’d love to see some pairings of beds with wall-mounted nightstands/shelf ideas, I have a teeny little bedroom and need the floor real estate for under-bed drawers.

Jeffrey C
1 month ago

The reality for many of us is that we can’t downsize the bed much to fit the size of our bedroom or two people would be sleeping in a twin.

As such the bed becomes the bedroom design Alpha, and we take what we can get with adding a nightstand.

Wall-mounted nightstands, shelves, or a shelf with drawer are often good options when space is tight.

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