365 Objects Of Design

Five Best Bedside Tables And A Newsletter

7th June 2018

This is a subject I return to again and again.  Most of the ones I see are just awful and it seems you agree with me. It’s a question I am asked almost more than any other.  Sometimes there just isn’t room for furniture on either side of the bed and, it seems to me, that the overwhelming majority of bedside tables fall into the twee, shabby chic painted furniture variety or the modern, boxy characterless mass-produced variety. And we do not want either of those. Not at all.

who needs a bedside table when you use a chair image by Ruth Crilly, @amodelrecommends

who needs a bedside table when you can use a chair image by Ruth Crilly, @amodelrecommends

So let’s try and address that with my current pick of some of the best around at the moment . The first thing I would say is you do need to be disciplined. The reason many of us want storage is because it’s just a handy place to stuff rubbish and keep it off the floor. Last year I changed our bedside drawers after finding four tubes of half-used handcream, three notebooks, a few chargers belonging to indeterminate objects, several pens, and a lipsalve.

So do bear that advice in mind and in the meantime, here are some of my favourite options around at the moment. Or you can just use a chair, as the model Ruth Crilly has done above ( after reading the chapter in my book on this very subject). We have a couple of vintage stools by the bed as well as wall lights for reading, which frees up more space.

styling by KWS bedside table from joined + jointed

styling by KWS bedside table from joined + jointed

So pictured above is a not terribly good picture of one I put into a show flat I have designed in Wembley (more on that to come and rest assured the bed linen will have been ironed by that stage!) It’s the box beside table by joined + jointed. It’s such a simple design and yet there’s a drawer for the things that don’t look pretty – all those scrunched up tissues and lip salves and an open space to tuck your pile of books into.

box bedside cabinet by joined + jointed

box bedside cabinet by joined + jointed

And just check those dovetail joints…. It costs £280 and comes in either walnut or oak. Trend tip? Walnut is the way to go at the moment.

asayo bedside cabinet from la redoute

asayo bedside cabinet from la redoute

Coming in at exactly half the price but more than half as nice is this stool with magazine holder underneath. It’s not leather, although these days we don’t need to apologise for that as veganism is becoming a proper choice for interiors design as well as diets.  I rather like this one which costs £140 from La Redoute. It’s simple, holds quite a lot of books and means you will have to be tidy since there is no drawer.

wooden bedside locker from design vintage

wooden bedside locker from design vintage

Now for those of you who do want something with more storage, although I defy you to actually open the door and put things in and take things out on a nightly basis. I reckon this is a junk store waiting to happen but then maybe you are less slatternly than me. The white one isn’t in stock yet but there is a grey one if you can’t wait and it costs £165 from Design Vintage. I like the fact that it’s old school locker in shape but made from wood. There is a single shelf across the middle.

pink ombre bedside table from made.com

pink ombre bedside table from made.com

Pretty and practical and before you start it comes in grey too so should work for everyone. This is a series of three trays that you can stack to the height you want. Each one is topped with two wooden semi circles which means you need only remove the front half to gain access to the things below – there’s a video if that’s not clear. I think it’s rather clever and this would definitely be on my shopping list if I was shopping for bedside tables which despite the epidemic levels of DDE (decorating domino effect) in this house appears to be literally the only thing I’m not shopping for. It’s £199 from made.com.

black ash perfectly imperfect stool by the Galvin brothers

black ash perfectly imperfect stool by the Galvin brothers

Finally, this simple black stool. Because it sums up what we were talking about the start  – an end to clutter and storing of rubbish. And because it’s a beautiful piece of work that will last for ever – move it from the bedside to sofaside. Or sit on it when an extra person turns up and needs a place to rest their wine or their bottom. On balance I’d probably buy this one too – it’s by Galvin Brothers and it’s £220.

So that’s my current top five. No doubt we’ll be back again in a year to see more. Do you like any of these?

I have decided to start a monthly newsletter with a little more lifestyle rather than just the interiors. I will be sending an email to existing subscribers directly after this update so you can update your preferences if you would like to receive it or not. Or you can update here right now. I will be including a little more behind the scenes stuff from shoots and press launches – things that don’t always make the blog but are still interiors-related. In addition to that there will be stuff about where I went (this month it’s LA, Lisbon and Leeds (!) as well as book updates, what I ate, where I went, shoes I bought, books I read – that sort of thing. It will be sent out on the first of the month and, of course, you can opt in and out any time you like. Let me know in the comments if you fancy and if there is anything you would particularly like to read about.


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  • Susan 7th June 2018 at 4:11 pm

    I recently discovered Surdico Design, which made me matching bedside tables for some awkward spaces on either side of our bed. Minimal, beautifully made, just the thing.

  • Fiona Wyatt 7th June 2018 at 10:48 am

    Another big fan of Swoon Editions here (Love the Henkel, Beck, Douglas and several others listed on a quick Swoon search for bedside tables). I’m also considering the idea of using tall, slim open shelving next to the bed (combined with a dose of self discipline to favour minimalism over overloading) when bedroom space is a premium – as in my compact Barratt house. Again Swoon come up trumps for me, with the beautiful mango wood of the Houdini or the elegant black iron of the corner Erin. Wish I had space for them all!

    Looking forward very much to the monthly newsletter, Kate – thanks in anticipation! x

  • Noreen 7th June 2018 at 9:52 am

    My favourite is the La Redoute, its just perfect, enough space on top and the rack underneath for books and magazines. Its all you need. I currently have a TK Max black wooden table on my side which looks a lot like the one from the Galvin Brothers, but has just one spindled leg in the middle and a larger top. It has room for a lamp, ipad x 2, phone, water, alarm fob, odd packet of cashews etc… And if its on show you’ll keep it tidy. I read my magazines at night, throw them on the floor and in the morning pick them up, lol. On my husband’s side as of course he needs less space than me is a vintage latticed leather stool. I agree with Kate, if you dont have the drawers you cant use them to stuff stuff in there that you dont use a lot. I take my HBP meds in the bathroom now before i go to bed. Sorted.

    Defo will sign up for the newsletter, isnt Lisbon amazing, and also wondered, is there a way we can add photos to our comments?

  • Emily Mathieson 7th June 2018 at 9:32 am

    The nicest bedside table I’ve seen recently is in the house of Sandra Baker (the_idle_hands on Insta). It’s from Swoon and goes really well with her William Morris wallpaper (not endorsing Swoon BTW, just like the way Sandra styles her home). And big YES to the newsletter. I always like behind the scenes stuff, and knowing about the origins/process of projects and collabs.

  • Jane 7th June 2018 at 9:22 am

    I have an old chest of drawers on one side for pure practicality, and a marble topped rococo hall table on the other for pure swank. Of course the bed has to be high, but I’m channelling the princess and the pea.

  • Gill 7th June 2018 at 8:57 am

    Ooh, I love the sound of the newsletter Kate. I’d be interested in all those things and I don’t mind a bit of fashion thrown in. If you’re visiting different cities it would be lovely to have restaurant or shop recommendations from you. I’ve already signed up and looking forward to it!! Love your work, makes the bus trip to work every morning fly by but then of course I’m hitting the shops at lunchtime!!!

  • Stevie 7th June 2018 at 8:49 am

    I thought the pink table looked great – but I would go mad whenever I had to access the second or third drawer. I loved the La Redoute table, alas I could never pare my nightstand down to such a minimalist state……and yet..

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 7th June 2018 at 8:53 am

      yes I think that might be an issue – on the other hand, when I had drawers they were mostly full of stuff I didn’t need and all the stuff I did need was on the top or on the floor next to it!

  • Leslie Diamond 7th June 2018 at 8:32 am

    I like spending time in bed reading and writing. Therefore I need night tables that have enough storage for my books and magazines, as well as my computer and/or iPad, a mug (for tea) and a glass of water as well as hand cream, foot cream, etc. As matching night tables, I have 2 children’s’ wooden desks from the 30s. They are the perfect size with a drawer for storage.

  • Arati 2nd February 2017 at 8:18 am

    I’d love a minimal bedside table with just enough space for books, a lamp and my phone but the sad reality is that I have to use it to store a minimum of three months supply of medications. I have these really ugly mdf ones right now that were left in our flat when we moved in. Haven’t yet found something. I like enough with adequate storage 🙁

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