How to design a bedside table, according to interior experts

by Francesca

Bedside tables aren’t just for putting your lamp on and placing a glass of water on. With the right design, you can reinvent this multipurpose piece of furniture as a stylish storage solution for accessories, books, cosmetics, or even valuable possessions. The design not only defines the style of the bedroom interior but also had to meet these practical uses. Here, interior design experts reveal their top tips for choosing the right one.

1. Remove the clutter

Your bedroom should be a sanctuary — your sanctuary from the outside world and your refuge at the end of a long day. Your bedside table should have everything right where you need it but hidden away where you don’t have to look at it. This way, only your stylish favourites are on display, and you have an organised setting. Vanessa Arbuthnott shares her stylish storage solutions:

“When you put your hand out for your water glass, you don’t want to be knocking things over in the dark! Choose a bedside table with a shelf under the tabletop for books and magazines, as this will provide extra storage space and keep your reading choices close to hand. If you don’t have this, mount a small shelf that you can easily reach above or beside your headboard to keep your phone, books or a glass of water. To save space on your bedside table, you also have an option to wall mount a lamp or clip it to your headboard. I find lamps give more directional light, and a switch is easier to use than having to track down to find the switch.”

2. Choose the right table lamp

Bedside lamps are your room’s finishing touch. They come in a range of styles to suit every room, from traditional to mid-century modern and everything in between. With a range of materials, such as ceramic table lamps, marble table lamps, metal table lamps, and wood bedside lights, you will always find the right one for your space. Interior designer, Kane Hughes from MyJobQuote, outlines what to consider when choosing your table lamp:

“Finding the perfect lamp to light your bedside table is like finding the perfect shoe to match your outfit. A modern, classic, antique, or retro look? There are many different table lamps available in all these choices to suit your style. A swivel arm lamp can position light where it is needed while reading a book in bed, whereas a table lamp can set the perfect mood for relaxing evenings in your bedroom. Opt for touch settings, for easy switch off when you are starting to doze off and for various lighting settings.”

3. Get the height right

Achieving the perfect bedside table is a balancing act. It’s essential to get both scale and proportion right as a bedside table that’s too cramped can be visually displeasing, whereas

something too large can awkwardly stand out in the room. To create an orderly feel to the room, we spoke to Studio Manager at Rigby&Rigby, James Ashfield, who explains the right proportions for your bedside table:

The ideal height for a bedside table should marry up with the height of the mattress or slightly higher. We like to avoid a client overstretching or reaching excessively down or up during the night. Ergonomics are a critical aspect of our design, and this is why we complete so many customised furniture pieces.

When designing a custom bedside table, we take into consideration more than just height. For example, does the client require maximum storage in the form of drawers or cupboards? Or would they rather have an element of open display for ease of reaching items such as tissues, books etc. Equally, an element of cable management may be useful to keep bedside lamp and phone charger cables tidy.”

4. Play with texture

Texture is a brilliant way of adding depth to your bedside table. From the cool, smooth feel of metal lamp shades to the rich warmth of wood, the texture you choose plays a vital part in setting your table. Similar to the way varying heights add interest, a mix of textures promises effective visual impact. We spoke to Interior Designer at Helen Green Design, Joanna Benton, who shares her style ideas:

“Layering different materials together tonally can add subtle, thoughtful, calm interest to your bedside table. For example, a natural linen-wrapped bedside table with a smooth timber bead can provide a soft base for some beautiful translucent glass lamps. 

Equally combining contrasting materials together can have a powerful impact and make the bedside tables more of a statement. Textured organic ceramics can look fantastic against a highly polished timber or lacquer bedside.

For a more modern twist, using semi-matt paint finish with textured inset drawers or tops, such as a faux shagreen or faux leather, can really set off playful accessories, pleated fabric shades, Perspex frames, wrapped tissue boxes, on a more neutral base and highlight the juxtaposition of different materials.”

5. Display fresh flowers

A little colour and fragrance is a great way to make your bedroom more welcoming. But how to keep them looking as fresh as possible when they’re crammed in between a lamp, some perfume bottles, and a half-read book of crosswords? Whether it’s a small bouquet or a dainty lily, gardening expert, Harry Bodell at PriceYourJob, reveals how to display fresh flowers on a bedside table:

“Fresh flowers can make your bedroom more welcoming, simply by adding a little colour on your bedside table. They brighten up your space, make the room smell good, and put a smile on your face. Place them in vases around the house or a crystal glass vase. Within three days, they should be opening nicely and will last about five to seven days. To keep the flowers fresher for longer, a little trick I like to use is adding 3 drops of bleach and 1 teaspoon of sugar per litre of water in the vase. This will also keep the water from getting cloudy and inhibit the growth of bacteria.”

6. Add a personal touch

with the right storage solutions. There’s no need to compromise on style when choosing useful additions such as an alarm clock, accent bowl to keep your jewellery or cable organiser. Anything else can be stored out of sight in convenient drawers or double-duty designs. Sylvia James, interior designer at HomeHow shares how to add a personal touch to your nightstand:

“No matter what client requirements are, we work to provide them with the perfect bedside table to meet their individual requirements. Bedside tables do not have to be completely minimalist. In fact, a few items of décor such as candles, photo frames or flowers can bring a personal and homely touch to the bedroom. If you prefer a minimal aesthetic, you can still add accessories while keeping things simple with a small trinket box. Statement pieces can include your favourite book or a personalised marble coaster to rest your night-time tea on.”

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