Bedside Table Buying Guide - All Styles Explained
Settling into the comfort of your cosy bedroom would be less than ideal without the practical accompaniment of a bedside table. Designed to hold all of the ephemera of life, bedside tables might seem totally utilitarian – but putting some time and thought into their style will pay dividends if you’re looking to create a cohesive look.
If you’re new to home styling, or perhaps just want to learn more, you might have any number of questions about selecting, purchasing, and styling bedside tables. Should they match? Shelves or drawers? Open or closed storage? Can you style a bedside table so it’s still functional? Well, we’ve got a team of expert stylists at Brosa that are here to help.
Discover our go-to bedside table buying guide, and delve into all of the practicalities, plus some of the most popular and beloved styles around.
What is a bedside table?
In its essence, a bedside table is a small surface placed next to your bed designed to house all of those essential items you need within reach. There’s no right or wrong way to do a bedside table, but they are traditionally square or rectangular, and most people have one on either side of their bed (although, depending on your sleeping arrangements, that’s not always crucial). Bedside tables provide ample storage for common items like a table lamp, your ‘currently reading’ book pile, your phone, your cup of tea… the list really does go on, and what you store on and in there is entirely up to you.
Do I need two bedside tables?
Whether you really need two bedside tables is a curly question for the ages – but, put simply, the answer is no. If you share your bed with someone, then it’s likely they’ll want their own bedside table on their side, so they can curate their favourite items and use it from a functional standpoint. It gives everyone who regularly uses the room enough space to live their life with ease.
But, if you’ve got the bed all to yourself (lucky you!) then one will probably suffice. Design-wise, many people prefer the symmetry even if they’re sleeping alone. But, you could always configure the space so the asymmetry is a little less obvious, if it’s a concern – push one side of your bed up against the wall, place a bedside on the other, and enjoy the cosy and functional nook you’ve created.
Do bedside tables need to match?
Another frequently asked question about bedside tables and bedroom styling is ‘are they supposed to match?’ Well, that depends on your style. There are absolutely no rules to design (both in the bedroom and absolutely anywhere else), but once again, symmetry and uniformity are quite important to some. If your aesthetic is a little more traditional, you’ll probably prefer the look of matching bedside tables to tie the room together in a harmonious and clean way.
On the other hand, if you’re all about boho chic, or even mid century or coastal style, then it might not be as crucial to match your bedside tables. The key to creating a balance with mismatched pieces is to channel some of the same elements – for instance, if they’re different colours, can you link them together with the same drawer handles or knobs? Likewise, bedside tables in a similar tone like light wood will look less at odds with one another, and as a result, will feel cohesive in the space despite not matching.
Shelves, drawers or cupboards?
Once you’ve begun the hunt for your perfect bedside tables (or table, singular) it’s likely you’ll come across a range of storage options. While the traditional bedside table with drawers is perhaps the most popular, there are other possibilities, so use this opportunity to work out what you’ll benefit from the most.
A typical 3 drawer bedside table is super practical, as you can compartmentalise your items into like-minded groups. Alternatively, shelves provide the same functional approach, but aren’t enclosed on all four sides like a drawer, nor are they able to be closed to hide your items from sight. But, shelves can look gorgeous stylistically, especially if you want to display objects like your favourite books, candles, or baskets. Finally, there’s the option of a cupboard that may or may not be divided with a shelf. The cupboard style means you can stand up taller items, but you won’t have the same organisational capabilities as a drawer. There’s no right or wrong answer here – rather, just what will work for you on a daily basis.
How big should my bedside table be?
Finally, before we dive right into the fun stuff, let’s talk size. Bedside tables don’t have a huge amount of variation in size, but there’s still room to make a difference with your choice.
A small bedside table will be narrower in width and might only have two drawers compared to the three seen on a larger piece. Sleek and skinny, a smaller piece is a good choice for anyone with limited room, or who prefers to utilise the excess floor space for other furniture pieces. There’s always the option of going for something taller if square footage is an issue, too – depending on the height of your bed, there’ll be a comfortable height range that you can play within. By increasing the height and opting for a tall bedside table, you’ll make up the ground you lost in terms of width and depth.
If you have the space, however, you might like to opt for a large bedside table to provide you with ample surface area on either side. Not only does this give you more room for both styling and to house those important day-to-day items, but it means it’s easier for the furniture piece itself to make a statement aesthetically. However big or small you decide your bedside table should be, ensure that it fits comfortably in your space, can easily store all of those important items you like having to hand, and is accessible both from bed and when navigating the room.
Not sure how big your bedside table should be? Here are a few quick tips. In terms of width, you can measure out your ideal size by placing the bed in the centre of the room and measuring outward. You might like to sit on the bed to see how far you can reach comfortably. Most people will place their bedside table right up against the bed for ease of access. Do the same thing with height, evaluating how easy or difficult it is to reach things on your prospective bedside table by sitting on the bed and simulating your new furniture piece.
Bedside tables by style
With all the practicalities covered, style should be the other major consideration as you look to buy new bedside tables. With the help of our skilled team of stylists, we’ve broken it down into the top aesthetics and trends to consider.
Modern bedside tables
A modern bedside table will be sleek, chic, and clean, with very few embellishments if any. Instead, picture sharp, straight lines that make functionality look good, and prestige materials like glass, marble and brass. In terms of colour, you might opt for a black bedside table to achieve the modern look, or something achromatic with pops of metal like silver or gold. The Slim Bedside Table is modern minimalism at its best, in stark metallic black with no visible accents. If you like modern with a hint of flair, the Hertz Bedside Table mixes that contemporary aesthetic with subtle yet striking drawer pulls and contrasting legs.
Scandi bedside tables
Scandinavian (AKA Scandi) style is all about a minimal, understated approach that relies heavily on light wood, thin frames and a practical approach to styling. A Scandi bedside table won’t be fussy or frilly, but instead, will simply do the trick whilst looking warm and inviting. If you like to display your trinkets, like coffee table books or cosy ‘hygge’ blankets and baskets, opt for the Cato Bedside Table with one drawer, which has an open shelf on top and a closed drawer on the bottom to blend practical and pretty. The light California oak wood is perfectly Scandi, as is the sleek and sturdy construction. If you prefer two drawers, there’s also a more traditional version of Cato.
Boho bedside tables
Boho can be a tricky style to nail down, but ultimately, it’s natural, free-flowing, artistic and often quite rustic. There’s no right or wrong in terms of colour, shape or size – instead, look for an overall feel that’s laid-back and casual whilst still being beautiful. The Thomas Bedside Table is a great boho choice, as it mixes a variety of wooden tones with a unique geometric pattern and unusual splayed legs. Another pick that wouldn’t be out of place in a boho bedroom is the Carroll Side Table, which blends wood and white to create a reliable yet still funky look.
Coastal bedside tables
Oh, coastal – perhaps the style of the moment, this beachy look is super fun, and gives a very relaxing, earthy and on-trend feel to any space. Natural materials are very central to the coastal aesthetic, so you’ll see a variety of textures at play. A rattan bedside table would be a perfect addition to a dreamy coastal-inspired room – the Caledonia Bedside Table is the ultimate pick if rattan is up your alley. Still quite traditional and versatile in its design, all of the flair of this piece comes out through the beautiful rattan drawer fronts. If you like to juxtapose coastal vibes with something a little more modern, opt for the same piece in the black version rather than the neutral wood.
Hamptons bedside tables
For those of us who’re dreaming of a beachside holiday somewhere ultra-chic and elegant, look no further than Hamptons style. While it may not be a plane ticket, it’s definitely a way to transport yourself to upscale America’s favourite holiday destination, and to bring some of this beachy opulence into your home. Hamptons pieces rely on a whitewashed exterior and simple, clean lines to establish a relaxed look that’s still elevated and luxurious. The Monterey Wide Hamptons Style Bedside Table is a beautiful white bedside table with simple silver accents and additional space for all of your favourite bits and pieces.
Mid century bedside tables
Finally, a style that will always be en vogue is mid century modern. It’s typified by mid-toned wood (think chestnut), gold and brass elements, geometric shapes, deep yet bold jewel-tone colours, and thoughtful accents. There are lots of mid century bedside tables on the market, and for good reason – this style translates beautifully into such pieces, manifesting in deep, rich wood and eye-catching accents. The Frank Bedside Table is a gorgeous example of mid century style done simply, and features gold drawer knobs that contrast against the grain of the wood. Another favourite is the Marlon Bedside Table with its stunning carved front and unique slanted legs.
Styling your bedside table
Feeling ready to go out there and find the perfect bedside tables? Before you leave, here are a few tips to help you style your new piece in your bedroom once you’ve locked it down.
- Put practicality first, and pretty second: While it’s important that your bedside table look good, it should always be functional as a number one. So, don’t waste too much time styling the top of the bedside table if it’ll impede your ease of use. Instead, keep a few key objects on the surface and store the rest away in a drawer.
- Layering is key: If you do have ample room to style trinkets and so forth on the top of your bedside table, use layering and a variety of heights to create visual interest. For instance, you might like to pair a tall table lamp with a medium-sized stack of books topped with a small candle. Et voila!
- Don’t get bogged down by style: When you’re styling the surface of your bedside table, almost anything goes – let your imagination run wild! These small items won’t have a huge impact on the overall aesthetic of the room, so instead of being restricted by style, let your instincts guide you when deciding which items get that place of pride.
Shop bedside tables across a range of stunning styles today with Brosa. Still not sure what will suit your bedroom? Access our range of virtual styling services today, including consults with the experts, and virtual tours of our Studio showroom spaces.