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Bedroom Decorating Rules – Bedside Tables

How to Choose and Use Bedside Tables


Bedside Tables Image

A simple bedroom with matching bedside tables.

While the bed is always the most important piece in any bedroom, the room just isn't complete without at least one bedside table.

Bedside tables serve two functions. They provide a surface to place necessary items like a lamp, book, glass of water or whatever else you may want to keep close by the bed (many also have storage), and they also help anchor the bed so it doesn't look like it's just floating in the room. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for or accessorizing bedside tables.


People use everything from small chests, to desks, to side chairs and even small stools as bedside tables. If they look good and work for the space, go for it – but try to remember these important size rules.

  • Bedside tables should always be about the same height as the mattress. Anything much higher or lower just doesn't look quite right.
  • When it comes to depth you don't want anything much deeper than about 24". Anything bigger than that can make it a bit awkward to get in and out of bed. It's ok to go as small as you want when it comes to depth, as long as it's still practical and suits your needs.


Many people choose bedside tables that contain storage. These types of tables are great because you can store books, slippers, or anything else, but if you prefer a minimalist look feel free to choose something without extra storage space. For a really clean and spare look you can even install a shelf or wall bracket around the height of the mattress instead of using a traditional table.


When it comes to accessorizing bedside tables keep it simple. A lamp, a clock and maybe a small vase of flowers or a photo frame is all you need. Remember that bedside tables are meant to be practical. Find somewhere else to display knickknacks. You don't want to accidentally reach over in the night and knock over a ton of accessories.

To Match or Not to Match?

The most common look is to have two matching tables on either side of a large bed, but this isn't necessary. If you find two separate tables you really love, use them! If you want the room to look coordinated put matching lamps on each of the tables and it will help tie the two looks together. Of course, for a uniform look feel free to use traditional pairs.

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