Night Stand Buying Guide

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Published April 28, 2010 | Updated April 29, 2015

To create a balanced atmosphere in your bedroom, the right nightstands are essential. All night stands are built with your basic bedside requirements in mind, but there are important distinctions in utility and style. This guide has the information you need to buy a nightstand that will bring you closer to the bedroom of your dreams.

Buying a Nightstand:

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  • Height

    Match your nightstand height to your mattress' height. A low-profile platform bed needs a low nightstand whereas a tall sleigh bed would do better with tall nightstand. In any case, your nightstand height should ideally fall within a few inches of the level you sleep at.

  • Surface Area

    Generally, you'll want to have enough room for a table lamp, an alarm clock, and a glass of water. What else do you like to keep next to your bed? You may want to choose a nightstand with more surface area if you also need room for a charging cell phone, a book, a box of tissues, or a pair of glasses. If you're interested in the sleek look of a small nightstand, but you're wondering how to make best use of its diminutive size, move lighting and framed photographs to the walls to keep your nightstand uncluttered.

  • Materials

    Whether your nightstand matches your bedroom set or makes an interesting accent piece, the material is important. A wooden nightstand's species, finish, and color have a big impact on the feel of your bedroom's dimensions and space. Contemporary nightstands are often accented with modern metals, like polished chrome or brushed stainless steel. Traditional nightstands and antique nightstands are distinguished by brass and antiqued iron hardware.

  • Color

    As you consider one piece or another, keep in mind this color palette rule of thumb: Dark colors absorb light while light colors reflect it. That means that a black nightstand or walnut nightstand will tastefully anchor a bright room with a lot of light while a white nightstand, oak nightstand, maple nightstand, or cherry nightstand will add brightness to an otherwise dark room. Metal nightstands with a polished, reflective metal surface can fulfill the same space-enhancing principles of a white nightstand. That goes for mirror-top nightstands as well.

  • Storage Space

    If the idea of tucking everything from your wristwatch to your television remote control into the bedside table at night appeals to you, then make sure your nightstand has plenty of drawers. Some even have enough storage for spare linens.

  • Part of a Set

    It's a smart move to get nightstands that are part of a bedroom set. A cohesive furniture set lets you take full advantage of your other decorating items. If you prefer to mix and match your bedroom furniture, then it's a good idea to at least purchase a matching pair of nightstands, no matter how far they stray from your other bedroom furniture.