It doesn’t matter how thirsty or sweaty one feels; very few of us enjoy having to get up after we have already tucked ourselves in for the night. Because of this, any properly outfitted bedroom must include a place to hold your glasses, smartphone, the A/C remote, and even a small reading light.
So now it’s time to take a good look at the kind of bedroom we want to have, and exactly what we can fit in it. Below, you will find some useful pointers about nightstands, the available sizes, and tips to buy the right kind from the start.
In This Article
What Exactly Is a Nightstand?
Few pieces of furniture come with their mini-dictionary of names as nightstands do. If you couldn’t immediately associate this word with a piece of furniture you need, then keep in mind that some parts of the U.S. refer to them as:
- Night tables
- Bedside tables
- Bedroom end tables
- Bedside drawer
Either way, we are talking about a small table, which may include a small drawer or shelf, which is usually placed to one or both sides of a bed. If you are fond of repurposing old furniture or of scouting for vintage pieces, keep in mind that some stool models, as well as most small cupboards and coffee tables, can all take the place of a nightstand.
Standard Nightstand Dimensions
The exact size of a nightstand varies greatly depending on the brand and the manufacturer. Unlike with beds, where standardization has gifted with a set of predetermined sizes (and all with easily recognizable names, too), there are no standard nightstand sizes.
That being said, the overwhelming majority of ready-to-use nightstands tend to follow the same guidelines.
Standard nightstands are between 24 and 28 inches in height, as this is meant to match most bed models. As for the table itself, expect most square nightstands to be close to 20 inches by 20 inches – give or take an inch or two.
If you are opting for a “stool-like” model rather than the more popular square table and drawer, you will probably get a round tabletop. Most models will then have a diameter between 17 and 20 inches.
How to Pick the Right Nightstand Dimension
There are three main factors to consider when choosing a nightstand. First (and probably the only hard limit you have) is that you want something that fits inside your room. However, you will also want to look at your comfort and at the overall esthetic impression they produce.
Nightstand dimensions according to room size
Often, when we are dealing with a very small apartment, or we are trying to make the most out of a small, spare bedroom, it is easy to fall into the “fear of the void” mistake. This means trying to fill almost every available inch of floor space with a piece of furniture, rug, or some other accent.
This is something that is best avoided, especially when it comes to sleeping spaces. Specifically, for nightstands, you will want to ensure you have some spare space around them:
- At the very least, ensure there is an inch of space between the back of the nightstand and the wall behind it. This will let you pass the cabling for any small lamps or your cellphone charger.
- While you want to be able to reach everything on your nightstand without leaving the bed, you should still leave at least two inches of space in between them.
- If your bed has a headboard, and it is the same color as the nightstand, then the end of the headboard can touch the nightstand
- If your room is not carpeted, but you have a rug under your bed, keep the end of the rug away from the front of the nightstand. Otherwise, it will be uneven, and any object on it may fall.
Nightstand dimensions according to ergonomics
Ergonomics, that is, your bodily comfort when using a specific object, is probably the most relevant factor when you are choosing the nightstand’s height.
What you really want to avoid here is having the top of your nightstand higher than the top of your bed. This may make it uncomfortable to reach any objects at night.
If you have a platform bed or a tall four-poster bed, then try to ensure your nightstand is between 3 to 5 inches shorter than the top of your bed. This will let you grab anything quickly, but it won’t be too low that you would have to bend over if you are standing up.
If you have a low bed model, such as a spring box, then aim to keep both your nightstand and bed at the same height.
Nightstand dimensions according to room décor
When we are judging the esthetic appeal of a bedroom, we want to make sure that the “set” created by the bed, the nightstand, and any nearby cabinets are pleasing and well-balanced.
If you have a Queen or King-sized bed, you will most likely want to have two nightstands, one on each side of the bed. In such cases, your best bet at a harmonious look will be to aim for symmetry. When attempting to do this, follow the rule of thirds: try to keep the total width of both nightstands to be about a third of the total width of the bed.
In the case of twin beds, you will probably only need one nightstand (and you may even have a wall or window on the other side of the bed). Here, the goal will be to ensure that the furniture doesn’t look too cramped.
Ideally, a wooden bed or headboard should be of the same style or color as the nightstand. This is easier to achieve if they came in as a set. If you have an end-of-bed storage bench, you can try to match the nightstand to it rather than the bed.
If the bed or nightstand is of dark-colored wood, then aim for a smaller nightstand. The extra space will help the room look bigger
When choosing a bedside table or nightstand, your main priority should be to ensure everything you need is at hand. Ultimately, when the light goes off, nobody wants to be left scrambling for their reading glasses!