Because I am always asked about this and because it’s a really hard piece of furniture to find. For some reason manufacturers seem to think that if we are the type of person who wants a bedside table we will want something boxy and ugly or ornate and French. Every single client I have visited over the last eight years has thrown bedside tables in to the mix and they are hard to find. So, periodically I think it’s worth doing a round-up of what’s out there as everyone has different requirements.
We have a couple of vintage stools with no storage. That works for me as it forces me to be tidy. There’s no shoving things in drawers and forgetting about them. That said there’s a wicker basket in the bathroom that’s a horror show so it’s really just about moving it from one place to another. But for me the bathroom is out of sight out of mind and I like a decluttered bedroom as, psychologically, I think it helps me sleep better. And that may be just a placebo effect but I’m for that too. If I believe it works then it can work.
That is why I have chosen this table above. Not least because it is quite sculptural and pretty but also because you could tuck a pile of books below it between the legs and they would look like they were meant to be there rather than messily on the floor because there was no storage. You could also hide a glass of water or a box of tissues so this is a particularly hard-working table. It also doesn’t look too “bedroom” so you could happily put it in another room if you wanted and it would work just as well.
That said, I know that some of you will always want storage and this is a rather good little number. Made from black metal it has two drawers, you can see the floor which makes the whole thing look lighter and will make the room look less cluttered and it has leather handles for a really nice textural feel. This too could move into a home office and might actually be good in a guest room that doubles up as an office as it’s has an industrial feel to it.
But don’t be put off by the industrial look. Sometimes that juxtaposition between hard iron and soft bedlinen and a luxurious throw can be just want you want.
Shelves are always good in bedrooms and this is a shelf and drawer combination so you can have two – as pictured here and put books in the middle with a lamp and a glass of water on top. Or just one. If you were being really organised you could install a plug in the back of the drawer/wall so you could charge your phone at night and shut it in the drawer to stop the evil blue light escaping. You could also have a clock radio plugged in too – as well as the lamp – and it would keep all the wires hidden. If you were using it for a lamp you would have to drill a hole in the top for the cable to go through but that’s doable and tidy. So suddenly what looked like a simple shelf turns into quite a useful idea with a little more investment. You could also get a builder to make you one out of cheap wood and then paint it to match the wall or stand out, whatever takes your fancy.
Talking of painting this can be a really good idea for cheap or generic furniture. These cabinets cost £159 for the pair. They are made from solid wood – no chipboard – and there’s lots of storage. They’re just a bit… well… orange. So why not paint them in a really fabulous colour – and I don’t mean white. Or, if you do want white then paint the feet black or something. How about cobalt blue with orange feet? Or soft blush pink with red handles? Have fun and turn this fairly ordinary piece of fiurniture, which is, nonetheless, well made from quality materials into something fun and bespoke. And still have room to hide all your tissues and lipsalve from view.
These have now been sold but you get the idea. If you don’t want to customise yourself then Etsy is a treasure trove of people doing it for you. This was a pair of 1940s cabinets that have been wallpapered. If you can’t find anything modern or high street that suits your needs go and have a rummage round here or in local junk shops and see if there’s something not too expensive that you can customise to suit your needs.
This is another great floating drawer idea and it looks vintage as well. This is £114.99 with free delivery (at the time of writing). I could be very tempted.
I hope that has been helpful. In short, try the high street, then look at antiques, realise you can’t afford it and go to vintage and handmade that you might be able to customise to suit your purposes.
A couple of years ago I wanted to change our bedroom furniture, including bedside tables, but found nothing that was anywhere near as good quality (or that I liked) as the G plan we had owned for 35 years. So I painted it all instead. Using the method Anna just described. Far better then chalk paint, which I think gets far more praise and hype than it deserves.
Pine bedside cabinets…..oh so 90’s, ugly but useful, so my adored daughter in law will find them and ask me to paint them for her! Doing this is where I learnt Chalk Paint is useless, the pine’s yellow will stain right through and destroy your work. The pine must be sealed. I suggest water- soluble Bulls Eye 123. This gives a white undercoat so them you are ready to use any paint you choose.
I am currently revamping our guest room (on an almost-zero budget) and read your article with interest as I have been researching bedside tables for about a year. I’ve not found anything that I like that is in my budget (typical!).
I have come to the conclusion that, as I have very little cash after renovating our house, that I will have to make my own! I’m going to used sanded and waxed scaffold boards with hairpin legs. We will have wall mounted wall lights so the table just needs to be big enough for a phone, glass of water and possibly a book/pair of glasses etc.
I’ll then look at buying some new tables when funds allow.
So true that bedside tables are difficult to find! I need storage for hand cream, Kleenex, pills, a pen, etc. I love the idea of drilling discreet holes for wires in the bedside shelves from La Redoute (I have these in our chalet without the holes but they are still perfect). I am actually fantasizing that one day I will come across two mini-chests of drawers that will be wider than
conventional bedside tables to accommodate the large lamps in our bedroom because I don’t have built-in wall lamps, sigh…
And here I thought I was the only one struggling to find nightstands for our bedrooms. Thank you for this helpful post!
So happy to read it’s not just me that can’t find nice bedside drawers. Been on the hunt for a couple of years at least & I just can’t find the right combo of style, colour, practicality & size! A table is a simpler solution but I need the storage, unfortunately.
You are right, it is very difficult to find good bedside tables in the shops! I spent a long time looking and eventually found a great bedside table from the Futon Company. It’s a bit like the 2-shelf idea, but in the form of a zig-zag, so you get 5 shelves in total. It’s freestanding – you can put it in front of electrical sockets and access them from all the shelves, so really practical and made from oak so looks good too. Price is reasonable, I think, about £110.