10 bedside table ideas that are more than just a supporting act

From DIY to designer, these bedside tables make stylish and practical sidekicks

The humble bedside table is an essential feature in most people’s bedrooms. Whether you prefer a matching pair, individual items or something altogether quirkier, they serve as important resting places for those bedtime essentials we can’t do without.

According to Kirsty Roper-Hall, beds and bedroom furniture expert at John Lewis, it’s also an item we still love to buy.

“Bedside tables continue to prove popular with customers and remain a bedroom staple,” she told Saga Exceptional, sharing her top tips when it comes to choosing one. “Whether it’s for storing your book or somewhere to place your morning tea, we encourage customers to consider their use for the product. For customers prioritising storage, we’d suggest a two-drawer option, whereas we’d recommend something more open for those looking for a decorative piece.”

green painted bedside table with scalloped designCredit: John Lewis & Partners

But if your bedside table has seen better days and is looking decidedly more snoozy than stylish, it could be time for a new one.

From space-saving to upcycling, a stylish new purchase or a quick and easy DIY project, here are 10 bedside table ideas to boost your bedroom décor.

1. Paint a bedside dresser to match your bedlinen

Choose bright colours and a floral theme

painted sideboard as bedside table with pink and blue floral themeCredit: Janice Issitt/Annie Sloan Painters in Residence
Choose bright colours and florals for a fresh start each morning

Love shabby chic style but also after a burst of dopamine décor? Pick a boldly patterned bed set and upcycle an existing cabinet to match.

If you’re not sure your artistic skills are up to the job, you don’t even have to replicate the design entirely. Simply use the same colours and a similar motif – in this case floral – to tie the scheme together.

Those who have the space can pick a larger sideboard for extra storage and dress it with some fresh flowers from your garden. It’s guaranteed to make you smile as soon as you open your eyes.

Opting for painted furniture will put you right on trend, according to Roper-Hall, who told Saga Exceptional: “Sales of our painted bedside tables are up +48% on last year and sales of our rattan range are up +18%, showing that customers want to experiment more with textures and colours when it comes to their bedroom furnishings.”

If you prefer to buy new products rather than upcycling, we love this green painted table from John Lewis. As well as boasting a slick painted finish, it’s green, ticking two another current interior design trend.

Featured product

Hem 1 drawer bedside table, green, John Lewis

RRP: £169

Hem 1 drawer bedside table, green, John Lewis

2. Splash out on an integrated solution

Free up floor space with a headboard-and-table combo

wooden slatted headboard with integrated shelvesCredit: Tikamoon
Combine headboard and bedside tables to save space

For a bright and airy bedside table that won’t hog precious floor space in a small bedroom, purchase a new headboard that includes shelves.

Pick a design with more than one shelf included so that there’s ample space to store glasses, books, a drink and even a decorative item such as an oxygen-producing plant.

It’s also a design you could try replicating if you are looking for a pallet furniture project.

Featured product

Urbain Solid teak headboard with shelves 270 cm, Tikamoon

RRP: £699

Urbain Solid teak headboard with shelves 270 cm, Tikamoon

3. Select a suitable side table

Bedside tables don’t always need to have drawers or cupboards

black circular bedside table next to bed with pink linenCredit: Jysk
Simple in design but perfect in size

Perfect for a guest room, or even as an extra addition to your own bedroom, a simple side or end table can be a quick and easy bedside table solution.

Providing a large enough flat surface for storing your nighttime essentials, you can also free up the tabletop by hanging a pendant light above, instead of using a more traditional table lamp. It’s a great small bedroom lighting idea.

We asked Rikke Blaeside, design and range manager at JYSK to share his thoughts on what customers should consider when choosing a bedside table. “The right bedside table can serve as a beautiful piece of furniture that adds personality to your bedroom, whilst having a great function at the same time,” explains Blaeside. “A modern bedside table is not a traditional bedside table with four legs and drawers.   It can be dynamic in shape, colour, and material so that when it comes to what you can use as a bedside table, the sky’s the limit.

“A round side table, a small coffee table or a bench can easily be used as a bedside table,” he adds. “Don’t be afraid of choosing a table that mixes materials such as steel, wood, laminate, and marble.”

If opting for a side table, choose a pendant fitting with the same colouring or materials and it will be a great example of considered interior design.

Featured product

End table RANDERUP D47 black, Jysk

RRP: £12.50

End table RANDERUP D47 black, Jysk

4. Paint a shelf to match your wall

Blend your bedside shelf into your surroundings

wall and shelf painted green with black cuckoo clock on wallCredit: Interiorr.com
Colour block walls and shelves for a seamless finish

Take a tip from the interior design world and adopt a colour-blocking approach to your green bedroom décor.

Painting a simple wooden shelf and brackets the same colour as your walls will make the accessories and décor the main focus of the room, rather than the furniture. Add a simple bedside light, reading material and decorative items such as colour co-ordinated candlesticks.

When choosing items such as clocks, opt for ones that can be wall hung to free up shelf space for items you need closer to hand.

Using the walls for shelving is also ideal for smaller rooms says Blaeside.

“There are plenty of possibilities if you have a large bedroom and need ideas for decorating. However, in a small bedroom it can be difficult to make room for a bedside table,” he says. “Many of us don’t have that big master bedroom with a bed in the centre and space around it. One idea is to think of vertical space instead and hang narrow shelves on the wall for both storage and décor.”

Colour blocking is a technique which sees one colour applied throughout a room to give a sense of space – it even works with darker colours. By removing any definition between different colours and spaces, the eye is tricked into seeing the area as larger than it is in reality. So rather than painting your walls in one colour and the ceiling and woodwork in white, try colour blocking every surface in one shade.

5. Use the same design but in different sizes

Maximise storage by replacing bedside tables with drawer units

bed with different size drawer units as bedside tablesCredit: Emilie Fournet Interiors
Double on on design but use separate sizes

If you’re keen to increase storage but simply don’t have the space to add extra furniture, switch your bedside tables for drawer units in varying sizes. To create unity, pick the same design for each unit.

Handle-free versions will help to create a streamlined finish and remove any risk of bumping your leg on handles if you need to pop out for a comfort break in the middle of the night.

How to organise your bedside table storage

If you’re anything like me, a bedside table can often become a dumping ground for everything from random receipts to jewellery to charging cables to notebooks and pens for jotting down jobs on my to-do list.

I’m sure it could be better organised, so we asked Simon Glanville, managing director of A Place for Everything for his top tips for keeping bedroom drawers in order.

“Tidying feels good,” says Glanville. “It’s deeply satisfying to transform everything from a mess into being organised and easy to find. Order is restored, chaos becomes calmness, stress is soothed and tempers are tamed.” Feelings which we agree are essential to getting healthy sleeping habits in place.

When it comes to bedroom drawers his advice is clear – they are no different to any other storage solution.

“Like most storage projects, we recommend a proven three-stage formula: clear out, clean out and sort out. Then use clever storage to keep it tidier for longer.” Here’s what Granville recommends.

Top tips for a tidy bedside table

Remove everything from your drawer, clean both the drawer or cupboard and its contents and make sure you declutter properly. Donate to a charity shop or recycle anything you’re not going to use anymore.

These are great for helping protect drawers from scratches, dents and marks as well as being easier to wipe clean dust and spills. Go for liners you can easily cut to size or go for thick brown parcel paper or even wallpaper. Make sure you measure the height, width and depth of your drawer.

Consider your needs and pick a solution that suits you best. Versatile dividers that link together can be a great way of creating sections for different sized items. Transparent dividers usually contain different size boxes and can be useful for items like stationery and jewellery that you need to easily see.

Modular storage with multiple layers of trays and boxes is ideal for stacking all your jewellery. Look at different sizes for rings, earrings, cufflinks, brooches and bangles, necklaces and watches. Put everyday items on the top layer so they’re close to hand. Or use fibreboard boxes.

If you don’t have a drawer or cupboard, you can still give items a home by using boxes, trays or dishes that have been designed with aesthetics in mind. Watch stands and cufflink trays are a good option, or a jewellery box to keep your go-to-items to hand but hidden out of sight.

Featured product

Solid oak watch stand & cufflink tray, A Place for Everything

RRP: £48.00

 Solid oak watch stand & cufflink tray, A Place for Everything

Featured product

Set of drawer organiser dividers, A Place for Everything

RRP: £8.00

Set of drawer organiser dividers, A Place for Everything

6. Use a bird box

Trust us – it has the perfect nesting place for your book

bird box on pole used as bedside table with book resting on the roofCredit: Siebring & Zoetmulder Design Products
Who knew a bird box could become a bedside table?

If you’re an avid bookworm and like us, believe that you’re never too old for a good bedtime story, then use your imagination and think outside the box for your bedside table.

Ditch the bookmark and never lose your place again by selecting the perfectly shaped bedside table – a bird box with a roof.

Mounting a simple design on a pole and base will give you all the storage you need and create a great design talking point.

Choose a box with an open front and back for easier access and if the nesting box can open – even better. You can hide away personal items or even pop tissues inside and use the hole as a handy dispenser.

7. Decorate with a touch of gothic glamour

Pick opulent reds and golds for a romantic and sophisticated scheme

dark red bedside tables painted with gold sacred heart designCredit: 84 Square/Annie Sloan Artists in Residence
Bring romance to your bedroom with rich reds and golds

If your interior design style leans towards richer colours and darker tones, take a gold leaf out of the book of previous artist in residence for Annie Sloan, and winner of the most recent series of ‘Interior Design Masters’, 84 Square, Monika Charchula.

Upcycling has never looked so glamorous as this set of bedside cabinets that were revitalised with rich maroon-red paint and a gold leaf heart design motif and detailing to the legs.

The effect was created by combining two colours of chalk paint to make the rich one-off colour and then using a stencil to apply gold size (the glue used to apply gold leaf) before applying gold leaf. Following this method would allow you to create your own bespoke bedside table.

Featured product

Emperor's Silk chalk paint, 1 litre, Annie Sloan

RRP: £26.95

Emperor's Silk chalk paint, 1 litre, Annie Sloan

Featured product

Florence chalk paint, 1 litre, Annie Sloan

RRP: £26.95

Florence chalk paint, 1 litre, Annie Sloan

8. Choose a white Scandi-inspired bedside table

Create a light and airy feel with a simple white design

white wooden bedroom furniture rangeCredit: Jysk
Simple but stylish Scandi design works well in bedroom spaces

Nothing says light, bright, fresh and Scandi more than a simple white wooden bedside table. Its clean lines and understated elegance bring a sense of timeless design to a calming bedroom scheme.

Although it works exceptionally well when paired with items from the same range, it works equally as well with other schemes and colours, making it a great versatile bedside table idea.

Featured product

Bedside table Nordby 1 drawer white, Jysk

RRP: £69.99

Bedside table Nordby 1 drawer white, Jysk

9. Use an attachable shelf

The ultimate space saving bedside table solution

wooden bedside shelf attached to top and side of bedframeCredit: Amazon
The ultimate space-saver – a removable shelf

If your guest room is more bijoux than bountiful but you still want to provide them with somewhere for a glass of water and essentials, consider popping on an attachable shelf.

Although compact and smaller than most bedside tables, it will still provide enough space for anything your guests might need on an occasional overnight stay. With everything in sight, it’s also easier for them to make sure they’ve packed all their belongings when they leave.

We love this option which lets you attach it to the side of the bed frame or the headboard which is ideal if you need to place one side of the bed against the wall.

Featured product

Holly Home bedside shelf bamboo, Amazon

RRP: £34.99

Holly Home bedside shelf bamboo, Amazon

10. Hang a swingside table

Never worry about having to move the bedside table to vacuum underneath

wooden chopping board repurposed with rope and hole for flower to make a bedside tableCredit: Ikea UK
Add a hanging bedside table for easy cleaning access

Our final bedside table idea comes from Ikea, who transformed a simple wooden chopping board into a quirky swingside table.

As well as giving space for the all-essential morning cup of coffee, it also features an integrated test tube vase  – perfect for holding a single garden-picked bloom (or faux flower lookalike) to brighten your day. We can just imagine a pale pink billowy bloom, such as a peony or hydrangea, making the perfect addition to this simple design.

Sarah Harley

Written by Sarah Harley she/her


Since first picking up a paintbrush and experiencing the joy of re-decorating her bedroom in a questionable red, white and grey scheme as a young teenager, Sarah Harley was hooked on the world of interior design. This obsession even led to a real life ‘Grand Designs’ project in 2005 when she donned a pink hard hat and appeared on TV screens, project managing the renovation and extension of a Grade II listed 17th century Folly in South Wales.

Throughout her career, Sarah has gained an array of experience in several different roles, ranging from copywriting, PR, events management and photography to interior design and home staging. With her two passions being the written word and the joys of a beautifully designed home, Sarah’s mission is to open the door on the world of interiors, inviting readers in to help them work their way through the vast choice of products, ideas and trends so that their own homes can reach their full potential.

Away from work, Sarah fills her Pinterest boards with more ideas, dreams of where to travel, takes photographs and loves being by the sea. She has two sons and if she absorbed everything they said would also be a football expert. The fact is she is often more interested in the colour and design of the kit – but don’t tell them that.

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