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Nightstand vs. Bedside Table: What’s the Difference?

bedside table

Time to style your bedroom, and you have no idea if you need a nightstand or bedside table? You’re in luck because this article will help you understand both concepts, so you can choose which piece of furniture suits your style best.

When it comes to choosing a surface that’ll be positioned close to the bed, most people get confused. Sometimes, the words “nightstand” and “bedside table” are used interchangeably, but in reality, there are some unique differences between the two.

A bedside table and nightstand can both add functionality to the room, but they offer a different look to your overall room décor.Let’s look at some of the differences between a nightstand and a bedside; but before that, let’s give a brief introduction.

What’s a Nightstand?

A nightstand is a table with shelves or drawers placed close to the bedframe. They are called nightstands because they are positioned just within reach of the bed. 

It’s used to store items that you’ll frequently need in the middle of the night – medications, phones, or AirPods. 

What’s a Bedside Table?

A bedside table is smaller in size than a nightstand, and it’s always positioned next to the bed. Bedside tables don’t offer as much storage as you would get from a nightstand, some don’t even have a storage space, aside it’s surface.

Now that we’ve established what a nightstand and bedside table is, let’s go over their differences, benefits, and buying tips as well. 

What are the differences between them?

1. Size and Dimension

One of the most obvious differences between a bedside table and a nightstand is its size. Bedside tables are designed for smaller bedrooms, or if you want a table that doesn’t take up too much space. 

Not everyone loves the overwhelming look a table gives, and if that’s you, then a bedside table is your best bet. Bedside tables are minimalist in design and sometimes don’t even come with shelves or drawers. So, it just has enough surface space to hold your lamp, alarm clock, and maybe a bottle of water.

On the other hand, nightstands offer additional space in terms of drawers and shelves, plus it’s most times the focal point of a room. 

A unique nightstand will be impossible to ignore, especially when you design it with decorative accents or personal items like art frames, magazines, and picture frames. The beauty of a nightstand is that it can accommodate a lot of things.

So, if you are looking for an option that provides additional drawer storage, you can opt for a double or three-drawer nightstand, depending on how much space you need. 

2. Design and Style

The reason why nightstands and bedside tables are confused as the same furniture is because they both have similar designs. They both come in different designs to suit your preference; if you are looking for a vintage-themed table, best believe you can find one in both a nightstand and bedside table.

However, bedside tables are small have a streamlined design, and usually come with one or zero storage shelves. The major focus of bedside tables is their surface space for essential items. So, if you don’t want something too overwhelming, consider a bedside table instead. 

With nightstands, you have more chances of keeping your bedroom clutter-free, because of the additional drawers to keep items like electronic devices, stockings, and nightwear.

But, if you prefer the minimalistic design of a bedside table, but still want extra space, consider purchasing two similar bedside tables that have a drawer, and position them on both sides of the bed. 

We detailed How to Design a Bedside Table in our previous article which you can click to read.

3. Price Difference

As you may have already guessed, bedside tables are cheaper alternatives to nightstands. Bedside tables are affordable unless you go for the high-end options with luxury materials. Still, it’s cheaper compared to the nightstand variant. 

If you are looking for cheap bedroom furniture, you’ll have more luck finding a bedside table within your budget than a nightstand. 

Also, you can get affordable nightstands too, but don’t expect the whole glamor or “extra extra” drawers and shelves. So, it’s important to consider your budget size when making a choice. 

4. Placement and Functionality

The placement of a nightstand can be tweaked a little, but not a bedside table. Bedside tables are designed to be positioned directly close to the bed frame, giving a convenient surface to place essentials. With nightstands, you can place them against the wall, away from the bed frame, and it’ll still come out looking nice. 

For some people, nightstands are just decorative accents in a bedroom, and their storage space is just seen as an extra functionality. 

5. Durability

Bedside tables are slim and lightweight, and this sometimes affects their durability. If you frequently move your bedside table, there’s a chance that the legs will become weaker with time. Also, bedside tables are not designed to hold heavy items, so you might want to be careful in how you handle them. 

Putting a bedside table in the kid’s room is not ideal either, because it might not stand up to the abuse. That’s not to say that there aren’t quality bedside tables on the market, it might just cost you a few extra bucks.

With nightstands, you are certain of solid and sturdy furniture, especially if you opt for vintage or wooden designs. Even when the drawers of your nightstand get damaged, they can easily be replaced, thereby giving you extra years of use. 

Benefits of Nightstands & Bedside Tables

The interior décor of any bedroom is incomplete without a bedside table or nightstand. It’s an essential part of your bedroom setup that offers many functionalities, from giving you a surface for your décor accents to adding a touch of style to your room.

Regardless of how small your space is, having a bedside table improves the overall look instantly.Some of the benefits of both a bedside table and nightstand include.


This is probably the major reason why people consider bedside tables in the first instance. It provides a convenient surface for you to place your essentials within arm’s reach. Having a bedside table or nightstand means you don’t have to get up from your bed in the middle of the night to grab a bottle of water. 

Lamp Holders

Bedside tables are practical, because where exactly do you plan on placing your lamp? This is especially important if you love reading at night. It’s much easier to reach for a lamp that’s close to your bed, than one that’s across the room.


You’d be surprised at how a single piece of furniture can transform a plain space into something exciting. There are many styles of nightstands available on the market, so with just a little search, you should be able to find one that can match your existing décor. 

Some stores sell bed frames together with nightstands, and quite frankly, this is a better deal, because you won’t need to go through the stress of finding a nightstand that complements your bed frame. 


Nightstands come with drawers that provide extra space for your belongings. For instance, if you have a book you are currently reading, you can place it in the drawer. There’s a wide range of other things you can store in the drawer as well – flashlight, journal, mobile phone, and alarm clock. 


A bedside table can contribute to a sense of organization and calmness in your space. Having a designated spot for items will keep your room clutter-free, plus you can always personalize the items you place on the surface of your nightstand. 

Buying Tips for a Nightstand & Bedside Table

Of course, budget is the main factor to consider when buying a nightstand, but you need to keep in mind your bedroom size as well.

You can’t opt for a nightstand when you don’t have enough space in your bedroom to keep it. Other tips that’ll come in handy when buying a bedside table or nightstand include.

  • Ideally, the height of your nightstand should be on the same level as your sleeping surface. This way, you won’t have a hard time grabbing any item when you’re in bed.
  • Wooden nightstands are more durable and beautiful in any space. 
  • If you don’t find any style that matches your preference, be reminded that you can always ask for customized variants. Some stores provide personalized features like extra shelves and unique teak finishes.
  • Don’t get a bedside table that takes away all the attention from the bedframe; rather find one that complements it. 


A bedside table or nightstand is an essential piece of furniture in the bedroom that enhances the aesthetics of your bedroom. In addition to the convenience it offers, it’s a stylish way to add a touch of personality and uniqueness to your space. 

There are lots of different materials and designs for bedside tables and nightstands that’ll complement the overall décor of your room. 

The bottom line is that you can keep several things inside this type of furniture, and it saves your room from being cluttered. Still need an expert recommendation, contact George Intl.


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