Table talk: find your perfect bedside furniture

It’s a key bedroom item, but is your bedside table really doing its job or is it time to upgrade? Let the experts help.

Whether it’s just used for your alarm clock and a bedtime glass of water, or is home to a teetering pile of reading matter and cherished mementos, a bedside table is an important piece of furniture. It’s also an underrated one, often chosen with less care than it might be – sometimes any small table that happens to be lying around is co-opted for the purpose.

The result can be that not only is it a mismatch for the decor of the bedroom, it’s irritatingly just too low or high for comfort when reaching for your morning cup of tea.

That’s where the experts can help. We asked an interior designer and a furniture supplier for their top tips on finding your perfect bedside table.

wooden 2 drawer bedside table with flowers books and cup next to bed with beige bed linen and brown cushionCredit: Shutterstock/TabitaZn
Choosing a bedside table is about function and form

What an interior designer looks for

Practicalities are just as important as style

Lauren Gilberthorpe, interior designer and creator of some beautiful bedrooms, knows a thing or two about choosing furniture. When it comes to bedside tables, she’s keen to point out that, while the style is important, it’s a piece of furniture with a function to fulfil. Ignore the practical needs and you might find yourself making a purchase you regret.

“It’s essential you consider the balance and proportion of the table,” says Gilberthorpe. “Its height and scale should be in line with your bed. A good rule of thumb is that the table should be roughly the same height as your mattress, give or take a few inches.”

It’s also likely you’ll want your bedside table to keep a few items in. So be clear on what these are.

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“Consider your storage needs carefully,” says Gilberthorpe. “Do you need a drawer to stow away bedtime reading or an open shelf to display your favourite trinkets? Choose a bedside table that caters to your requirements.”

Choosing a style

The options are endless

Once you’ve settled on the practicalities, it’s time to consider how your bedside table will fit the look of your home. From coastal to neutral bedroom designs; maximalist to quiet luxury, the options for interiors are endless. While personal choice will finally dictate your choice of table, we asked our experts for their design tips.

Minimal

If you’re after a more minimal look, Gilberthorpe suggests: “A floating shelf or wall-mounted drawer can serve as a stylish, space-saving bedside table.”

It also has extra benefits if you’re designing for a smaller bedroom, as it will open up the floorspace, thus extending the visual boundaries of the room.

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Oak Floating Bedside Table with Drawer and Shelf

RRP: £180

Oak Floating Bedside Table with Drawer and Shelf
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Traditional

If you’re a fan of a traditional bedroom, the design and range manager at Jysk, Rikke Blaeside, offers some insight.

“Bedside tables made from oiled solid oak and real oak veneer can offer a beautiful, timeless finishing touch while creating a cosy feel,” he says. “Wood-style furnishings team well with dark rugs for a contrast of colours and materials, and a light-coloured duvet cover set will help to complete the look.”

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Manderup One Drawer Bedside Table Wild Oak

RRP: Reduced from £89.99 to £70

Manderup One Drawer Bedside Table Wild Oak

Glamorous

If you’d like to add a more glamorous feel, Gilberthorpe says: “Metallic finishes such as brass or copper can bring a touch of elegance and shine to your bedside, especially when paired with muted, neutral tones.

“A mirrored surface,” she adds, “will also help to bounce light around the room, making it appear larger and more open.”

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Delphi 2 Drawer Bedside Table, Mirrored

RRP: £99

Delphi 2 Drawer Bedside Table, Mirrored

Scandi

Recent years have seen a growth in popularity of pared-back Scandi chic. If this appeals to you, Blaeside says there are simple rules to follow.

“Consider a mix of light woods and white furniture,” he advises. “Team with geometric prints and a shabby-chic rug for an authentic Scandinavian feel. You could match all your furniture pieces, or just one or two for a more homely finish.”

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Bedside Table Nordby One Drawer One Shelf White

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Bedside Table Nordby One Drawer One Shelf White

Should my bedside tables match?

There are no set rules

Although traditional designs favour matching bedroom items, if this isn’t your preferred look, then the experts say bedroom tables are a good opportunity to break the mould.

“Don’t shy away from making your bedside table a statement piece,” says Gilberthorpe. She adds that, as long as it’s meeting your needs, “An antique table, a colourful or patterned cabinet, or a unique sculptural table can add personality to your bedroom.”

As an example, she suggests using the natural world as your inspiration: “A piece of driftwood or a tree stump can make a beautiful, organic bedside table that adds texture and brings a sense of nature indoors.”

Thinking of choosing two different bedside table designs? Gilberthorpe says this is fine, “as long as they’re roughly the same height and share some common design elements”.

Featured product

Tropicana Solid Teak Wood Side Table

RRP: £163

Tropicana Solid Teak Wood Side Table

Need your bedside table to do more?

Think outside the box

If lack of space dictates that your bedside table has an even bigger role to fulfil, Gilberthorpe and Blaeside agree that multifunctional design is your friend.

“Choose a small desk, a chest of drawers or even a vintage steamer trunk,” suggests Gilberthorpe, adding that elements such as integrated lighting can save space and offer an interesting design element.

Blaeside advises considering other pieces of furniture such as a stool. “You can use it for more than just seating,” he reminds us. “It can also make an attractive, rustic bedside table while still providing functionality.”

His final tip?  “If opting for something like a stool, it is a good idea to mount your bedside lamp on the wall, so that you don’t have to move it every time you want to use the stool.”

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Sarah Harley

Written by Sarah Harley she/her

Published:

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.

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