Tips For Choosing Bedside Tables & How to Decorate Them
From the moment you choose not to purchase a bedroom set - complete with matching nightstands and a dresser, it's time to start thinking about how you intend to round out your bedroom retreat in an interesting and stylish way.
There are literally thousands and thousands of options out there, but navigating the aisles of design stores, the displays of showrooms, and local neighborhood yard sales doesn't have to leave you drowning in options. Here are a few pointers that will help you find that perfect piece that speaks to your own personal sense of style.
Creating A Cohesive Look
When choosing furniture for a space it is important to aim for connectivity between pieces. Some of the most beautiful and intriguing spaces contain a collection of pieces that meet with some form of common ground, whether it be lines, design, style, or hardware, without directly matching each other. Creating a great bedroom aesthetic is about building layers to create depth in the design of a space.
Notice how in the photo to the left the curves in the night stand mirror the curves in the headboard? This same curvy design is also mirrored in the pattern on the bedspread and shams. Likewise the colors in the bedding are reflected in the colors of both the nightstand, as well as the contents of its tabletop. Without being literal these pieces work beautifully together because they share similar lines and colors. This has created a cohesive look that is interesting and well thought out, without being 'matchy-matchy'.
Choosing the Right Scale for Your New Bedside Furnishings
Scale is all relative. So when it comes to choosing a new piece of furniture it's important to take into consideration the space you have to place the piece. This means that you should be able to move around the piece freely without it getting in the way of your movement, you should be able to open all its drawers, doors, and compartments without issue, and the general mass of the piece shouldn't overwhelm the space in such a way that it takes away from the overall aesthetic of the room as a whole. Likewise, choosing a piece that is too small for the scale of the room and the other furniture within the space can also create an underwhelming design aesthetic. Think in terms of visual balance.
You want to create visual balance throughout the space, which included choosing a bedside table with a height that is appropriate based on your needs. Take into consideration the height of your top mattress, other furnishings around the piece, and how you intend to use it within the space. Do you need to store things inside of this piece of furniture or purely to set things on its tabletop? Do you intend for it to make a major statement or softly fade into the aesthetic of the room without take up too much visual space? The choice is yours, though the average height for most standard bedside tables is 24"-28" inches. If you have an especially low or high bed adjust the height you choose for your nightstand to be approximately the same height of the top of your mattress or up to 6" inches taller.
A Touch of Color Goes A Long Way
If you've been following my blog for a while, you should know by now that I'm a big fan of color. I even wrote a post about the meanings we associate with color, and how color can effect the feeling of a room and our mood. In regard to bedside tables and color... it depends. It depends on the space, it depends on what you are going for, it depends on your own person style, and your likes and dislikes. Color is a very person thing. A color that soothes one person, may drive another crazy. I generally love all color, though it is possible to misuse it.
When is comes to choosing color you have to take into consideration two things, the color scheme of the over all room and whether or not you want the piece to be a focal point in your space or for it to fade into the aesthetic of the room. Notice how the nightstand in the yellow room is neutral and quite minimalist? Because the walls and bedding are so bright and lively, choosing a minimalist nightstand like this doesn't take open visual space and allows the walls to be the center piece. A bedside table painted in neutral colors or in a color that is a lighter hue of the paint color of your room's walls, will allow the piece to fade into the general aesthetic of the room. Conversely, choosing bold or bright colors for your bedside table (perhaps in a complementary color) will create a statement piece, that will become a bold focal point that could add a lot of character to a space.
Bonus Tips: If you're going to go bold with the color of your bedside table, add smaller doses of the same or a similar color within other aspects of the space (in pillows, blankets, artwork, decor, etc), this can tie your 'statement piece' into the aesthetic of the rest of the room without overwhelming the space. Also for bold colored furniture, choose your scale wisely so that you do not overwhelm the design of the room with a large bold piece or your fun and lively accent, may become a 'loud' and garish eyesore.
What's Your Style?
Are you simple and slick, rustic and charming, sexy and sophisticated, classic, modern, country chic, shabby chic, or bohemian? There are so many styles out there, but which best reflects you and your space? Check out the slideshow and the captions below each picture for a few style examples that may give you a bit of inspiration for your own bedside tables. It may help you to pinpoint your own personal style.
Remember: when it comes to style, take into consideration the design aesthetic of the existing furnishings and decor of the rest of your space; try to carry that same feeling throughout the pieces your bring into your room to create that cohesive look we talking about earlier. Also know that your nightstand don't have to match as long as they are similar in size, height and tone (mixed-matched bedside tables can actually be quite a dynamic way to go).
Dressing Your Bedside Table (or Dresser)
You've chosen the perfect bedside pieces to flank your bed, now it's time to elevate the look of your space by adding in some style with an arrangement of a few bedside accessories! Where to start? Start with symmetry in mind. Symmetry is always pleasing to the eye, so when styling your bedsides aim to create a visually balanced look through your design choices. Start with two bedside basic must-haves, which are of course a set of shaded table lamps. Even if you are not a big bedtime reader, bedside table lamps [or wall sconces] are a must have; they provide visual balance, task lighting, mood lighting, and depth to any space.
Fun Fact: your table lamps don't even have to match. As long as you choose lamps of similar height and side, your table lamps don't need to be the exact same on both sides of your bed. This style choice can especially be fun for "his' and hers" bedside styling. Though also note that if you have a very small room, it's just fine to only have one nightstand.
Another way to create balance on your nightstands is through choosing visually similar sized bedside accessories on both sides of your bed. Some nightstand basics include: framed photographs, catch-all trays, alarm clocks, candles, a stack of your favorite hardcover books, and fresh flowers. Fresh flowers and live greenery are a great way to inject life and freshen into a space. The general rule of thumb is to group accessories in odd numbers for the most dynamic look, and in a variety of heights (tall, medium, and short). However, don't go overboard with the number of accessories you use. Keep things simple and not overly cluttered with too many nick-knacks and accessories.
Like we discussed before in the section Creating a Cohesive Look, be consistent and carry similar lines, styles, and colors into your bedside accessories from other aspects of the space (headboard, bedspread, etc) for the best look. Lastly, add something fun or interesting, like a playful piece of art, to inject a little more of your personality into the space.
Pricing & Materials: What to Expect When You're Expecting... New Furniture That Is.
The pricing for nightstands vary greatly from about $90-$199 per side table at the lower end, to $200-$499 for the mid-ranged, and $500 to well into the thousands for higher end products. Your options are vast and are made out of a variety of materials and with a variety of finishes.
Low-End: The cheapest of these pieces are usually made out of cheap materials and wood composites (aka particle board) - which are boards created from wood chips and other bi-products of production compressed together to create a "wood-like" material. These boards are then finished off with wood veneer or vinyl to make it "look" like actual wood. Just be careful with anything you find under $50. You may find great "deals" in this price-range, but don't expect these products to last more than a few years tops, and watch out for swelling, warping, and cracking.
Don't count out all wood composite side tables just yet though, lower med-ranged wood composite furniture has actually come a long way and are a lot sturdier and forgiving than in the past. Do your research. Though you can also get a nightstand in the lower price range with a little ingenuity by going the less literal route and choose to repurpose items for your bedside table. Things such as: trays, file cabinets, trunks, vintage suitcases, concrete blocks, wooden crates, small bookcases, etc., are all interesting options to go with and these nightstands can add a lot of character to any space.
Med-Range: On the med-range we have (the higher quality) wood-composite, acrylic, hardwood, mirror sided, and metal constructed pieces. These generally cost between $299-$599 each, and are generally a lot stronger and have a higher quality of craftsmanship. One particularly beneficial quality of hardwood is it's ability to be restored or refurbished. It's sand-ability, paint-ability, and stain-ability make it very versatile. Though metal framed nightstands and modern acrylic nightstands can be quite nice too.
There really isn't much of a substitute for quality furnishings and there are tons of options in this piece range.
High-End: The high-end range can be $600-$2000+. But these pieces also will have a higher quality of craftsmanship and thus longer product life. These are generally the types of products that are handmade and meant to last for decades. They come in all types of materials and finishes. You'll also find antiques and reproductions in this range, and some beautiful options.
Besides design and decor stores and showrooms, don't underestimate what you could find at estate and yard sales (which can have some of the best deals). Just remember to do your homework, if you're purchasing online always read other customers' reviews, and take your time. Work within your budget, though remember you get what you pay for.