21 Nightstand Ideas When You Have No Room

Nightstand Ideas When You Have No Room

You may not realize it but having a nightstand is essential to your room, both for functionality and aesthetics. But this can be difficult when you have a small room or have little space to put a nightstand.

Although you can use a traditional small nightstand, there are many unique and useful options that you can use if the traditional route doesn’t fit. You will find that these creative ideas will only add to the aesthetic of your personality while being functional.

Drawer Built Into The Bedframe

A simple solution is to buy a bed frame with drawers or cubbies built into the bed frame. The cubbies can be at the head of the bed so that you can set any of your essentials within arm’s reach. You can also add extra decor that you may not have gotten with a traditional nightstand.

There are many ways you can organize these drawers and cubbies on your bed frame. You can use drawer organizers, bins, containers, baskets, and so much more. You may even find that you have more storage than you would have if you used a traditional nightstand.

Nightstand With Trash Can

If you need a trashcan in your room, consider getting a nightstand with a trashcan built under it. This utilizes your space and gives your nightstand two purposes instead of just one. You will be making the most of your room!

You can find some awesome nightstands with trashcans built-in them online that come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. Some even include a lamp already installed. Your options are endless with only as an option.

Find A Narrow Nightstand

Find yourself a narrow nightstand that has drawers and shelves within it. You can try to slide this between your bed and the wall or put it where you think it fits. You will find that you will have more storage space even with a narrow, small nightstand than if you didn’t have it.

With a narrow nightstand, you may also want to consider getting them a little taller. This will provide more shelving space that you may have gotten with a larger, wider nightstand. For taller ones, they may be labeled as shelves rather than a nightstand. Keep on the lookout for that.

Install Floating Shelves

Floating shelves are a wonderful alternative to having a nightstand, especially when you have little floor space. You can put as many floating shelves as you want, and it can still give you the necessary space to store items you would put on your nightstand.

There are many types of floating shelves you can choose from, including:

  • Normal floating shelves.
  • Boxed floating shelves
  • Wooden floating shelves
  • Ledged floating shelves
  • Metal shelves
  • Galvanized pipes with shelves.
  • Honeycomb shelves

You can find so many styles to fit into your tastes and only add to the aesthetics of your room. You don’t have to choose whether to have the functionality of floating shelves or style. Now you can have both!

Hang A Floating Shelf With Drawers

Floating shelves have become increasingly sought out because of their simple style. It adds more space for decoration and is easy to install. You can also add a floating shelf with drawers. 

Add one of these shelves above your bed or near it. You can put your nightstand items in there and make it easy for you to get whatever you need. You have your nightstand, and there isn’t as much space taken.

Use A Small Side Table

If you can’t find any small scaled nightstands, look for small side tables that may fit. By searching under this name, you will often find a swath of furniture that may fit within the area you are looking at.

You will find that a small side table can give you enough storage for your essential items. You can even add a basket beneath it or add a shelf. The choice is yours. You may realize that this fits your style better than going with a traditional nightstand.

Go With Something More Simple

Sometimes getting a simpler nightstand may be the answer. You only need a nightstand for essential items like your cellphone, remotes, and maybe a few other items. Look for smaller and simple nightstands that can serve this purpose. You don’t need something too complex.

Utilize Storage With Drawers

When buying a nightstand or a table, try to pick out something with drawers. When you have drawers or extra shelves, it gives you more space to store items that you use for your bedtime routine.

Find nightstands, bed frames, shelves, or other pieces of furniture that have drawers. These types of furniture will give you more space to stow away the important things so that they are at your hand’s reach. You can find so many pieces that will only help you and not hinder you.

Recycle A Drawer For A Shelf

If you have an old run-down dresser, take the drawers out. You can use these to make floating shelves in your room. It is only a quick little process, and then you have yourself something unique to your room and quite crafty.

Here are the steps to making that drawer into a shelf:

  • Remove the parts that help it slide into the dresser (you won’t need those anymore).
  • Remove the handle of the drawer.
  • Stowaway the handle so you can put it back on at the end.
  • Sand down the surface of the drawer.
  • Paint or stain the surface of your style.
  • Let paint or stain dry.
  • Measure and install anchors into your wall.
  • Hang the newly refurbished shelf on the wall.

You can install the drawer so that the bottom of it is against the wall and hanging vertically. If it is a smaller drawer in length, you can hang the drawer so that it is horizontally. It makes for a great ledge, floating shelf, and you can put quite a few things in there.

Install Baskets

You can use baskets as a nightstand. Be creative with these. You can attach them to your bed frame if you want the close, or you can hang them on your wall. You have quite the variety to choose from, whether they are woven or mesh baskets. 

The great thing about baskets is that you can style them in several different ways. You can hang them vertically or horizontally. You can mix and match styles. You can stagger them. You can mix and match sizes. You are free to do whatever you want with them and still get the storage space of a nightstand.

Get A Bedframe With Storage

When you have no room, you will want to add more storage to spaces. You may not have thought of it before. This being said, you will want to find a bed frame that offers maximum storage and functionality while also being stylish.

Many simple bed frames have space beneath them. You should utilize that space by getting a bed frame with drawers beneath them. This way you can store more things there and get rid of other bulky furniture like extra dressers. When you are rid of other furniture, you can add small pieces like a nightstand.

You can also find bed frames that have shelving and storage at the head of the bed. These are great because you can store some of your more essential items in these areas, so you don’t even have to get a nightstand. Some even have built-in charging stations, so you don’t have to buy long chords.

Add A Corner Shelf

If your bed is close to the wall or in the corner of the room, a corner shelf may be a great addition. You can use this as a nightstand instead. You can choose from floating shelves or other styles to fit your taste.

Corner shelves are wonderful to choose from because often, we don’t recognize the space the corners of a room have to offer. You can utilize this space to provide the necessary functions that a nightstand has to offer.

Make Your Own Nightstand

If you can’t find anything that fits your imagination, maybe styling and creating yourself is what you need to do. You can make your nightstand two ways: refurbish a recycled piece or build it yourself.

Refurbish A Recycled Piece

You can always refurbish an old piece of furniture and make it into a nightstand. You can reuse old side tables, drawers, and so much more. If you are crafty, this may be the route for you. You can paint and style the piece however you want and hang it on your wall or install it on your bed frame.

Here are some items you can upcycle for a shelf or nightstand:

  • Old suitcase
  • Window shutters
  • Cheese box shelf
  • Pallet shelves
  • Crates
  • Cheese grater as a wall mount holder
  • A vintage gas can cabinet
  • Guitar shelf
  • Vintage radio wall shelf
  • Ladder shelf unit
  • Reclaimed wood
  • Record ledge shelves
  • Paper organizer shelf
  • Jewelry boxes

You can refurbish just about anything and make it into a shelf as long as you have a little creativity. You can find many ideas online to help if you ever feel like you need a new idea.

Build It Yourself

You don’t have to be extremely skilled in woodworking to make your own nightstand. It can be a simple blueprint of a nightstand that you can build. You just need access to a few woodworking tools, fit you, and you can have it built in no time.

Building the nightstand yourself means you have an original piece, and you can fit it into any area by measuring that area. Sometimes you can’t find the right nightstand or furniture to fit into small spaces, and this route can be quite useful for this purpose.

Recycle An Old Chair Or Stool

If you have an old chair or stool, you can transform these into nightstands. You can paint them, upcycle any of the materials and have yourself a nightstand in no time. You can also add shelves below the seats for more space.

You can add a basket or even an organizer to utilize more storage. If you need something smaller, just look into toddler chairs and stools. You will find that these are much smaller and fit better in your room. Work with what space you have.

Choosing to upcycle a chair or stool is not only environmentally friendly but will give your bedroom a retro or cottage type of style. It is also a great way to start a conversation!

Install A Drop Down Shelf

Drop-down shelves are great when you need more space during the day but want a nightstand at night. You can make these yourself, or you can buy them online. It is useful because you can fold them down and won’t be in the way when you don’t need it.

The only downfall to this type of shelving is that you can’t leave things on your drop-down shelf when it is stowed away. You won’t be able to leave a book on it or other items when you go to bed. This can be exhausting if you like to have a set of supplies by your bed.

If you are handy, you can install a dropdown desk with a mirror. There are only a few steps to make it, and you have a mirror that also acts as a desk. This is great for storage space and if you need a desk only for certain times of the day.

Make A Hanging Book Shelf

If you have a book at the end of the night, you may want to invest in a hanging bookshelf. This is a do-it-yourself project, but you can buy some from some online stores. This style doesn’t make your room too crowded and gives you a simple yet classic aesthetic.

You only need a piece of wood, some string or yarn, and something at the end of the string to keep your books from sliding down. All you do is insert the string inside the book like a bookmark, and you have a hanging bookshelf. These are so beautiful, and you can keep track of what books you have read and what page you are on.

Use A Bedside Tray

Hanging up shelves may not be what you are looking for. It may take up too much space, or your walls are already decorated. Or maybe a shelf is just not the way to go in your room. Don’t fret. You can always go with a bedside tray.

These bedside trays hang from the bed frame, and you can store them away when you are done with it. Having the capability of putting away the tray or folding it down, so it is out of the way can make your room seem larger. You then only need to pull it out when needed.

You can also use a TV tray that folds and is stored under your bed when you don’t need it. There are a variety of TV trays, and you will find them available at many general stores and furniture stores. You can also move it to another room if you need it elsewhere with no issues!

Add A Bed Caddy

Of course, with all the available organizational products, there would be a bed caddy to help you in your small space. You can buy a bed caddy that drapes from the side of your bed and allows you to store the essentials.

Many of the bed caddies come with multiple pockets and in a variety of different colors. You don’t have to settle for one that you only sort of like. You can use the bed caddy to store the following items:

  • Tissue paper
  • Remotes
  • Books
  • E-readers
  • Magazines
  • Snacks
  • Phone
  • Other technological devices
  • Entertainment products

You won’t need to buy a nightstand when you get this, and you will still have the functionality of a nightstand. It is the best of both worlds when working with a small space!

Utilize A Phone Holder

With technology today, the only things we need a nightstand for are a lamp and somewhere to set our phone. If you are simple like this, you may want to utilize a phone holder. You can stick a phone holder onto your wall or your bed to store it at night while you sleep. 

Make sure to find the perfect placement for this holder. It needs to be close enough for your charger to reach but not too close to your head. You can then put your phone in it at the end of the night. You don’t want to store your phone under your pillow or on your bed because this can be dangerous in the long run. 

Maximize Your Window Space

Frequently your bed will be next to a window. If this is the case for you, utilize that window space. You can use the windowsill as your nightstand and set the essentials there. 

If the windowsill is too low or not enough space for you, try installing shelves. You can add small shelves in the window so that you can store more items that would normally go into your nightstand. 

A wonderful thing about installing shelves in your window is that you can use them for decorations as well. You can put decorative pieces that shine brighter with light here. You can also add some plants to add a little green to your room. You can do many things when installing shelves in your window besides using it as a nightstand.

Use Other Furniture As A Nightstand

If you can’t fit a nightstand but do have room for storage, try to arrange the furniture in the room so that you can use it as both storage and a nightstand. You can do this not only with a dresser but a desk or vanity as well.

You can set your important items on top of the furniture, and then you won’t need a nightstand. A dresser is great but sometimes can be too tall. If you have a desk, you can set it next to your bed and implement it as a nightstand. A desk with drawers can be utilized as extra storage as well.

If you need extra storage, consider getting small organizers so that you can store more items that would normally go in or on your nightstand. You can put all sorts of items when you have an organizer. Here are some popular items to put on your nightstand:

  • Lamp
  • Phone
  • Books
  • E-Readers
  • Charging station
  • Alarm clock

You aren’t limited to just these objects to put on your nightstand. If you need something like a snack or drink for the night, you can do that too. It’s all up to you!

The Best Placement For Shelves

If you choose to replace a nightstand with shelves, it is important to put them. You have to consider first where your bed will be or is. This can be the difference of whether the shelves hang over the head of the bed or if they should be off to the side.

The most common placements of your bed are in the corning of your room against a wall and centered at a wall. The way you place your shelves will defer for each.

Corner Of The Room

If your bed resides in the corner of the room, you may want to invest in corner shelves. Make sure you put them high enough, so you don’t hit them as you roll over but still within arm’s reach for you to set whatever you need there.

If you would rather choose floating shelves instead of corner shelves, you can hang them horizontally above the side of the bed that is against the wall. You can do this where each shelf is level with each others. This is a simple style and the go-to style.

With a small room, though, adding height can help make your room feel much larger. There are two ways you can do this: stair-step stagger the shelves upward or hand the shelves vertically. Vertically may not be the best if you are trying to replace a nightstand, but stair-stepping is perfect for small rooms and as a nightstand.

Centered Against The Wall

When your bed is centered against the wall, the best placement for shelves is on either side of the head of the bed or above it. When placing shelves on either side of the bed, you can choose what height would work for you. I suggest at shoulder level or lower when you are sitting up in the bed. You don’t want it too high unless there is no other option.

You can also center the shelves above your bed. Focus on a long shelf that is a little bit smaller than the width of the bed. You don’t want a shelf that is longer than your bed.  This awkward size difference can take away from the bed and make your wall seem smaller.

Make sure the shelf is high enough to not hit your head on it when you wake up. The last thing you want is to wake up and bonk your head. Try not to make it too high that you can’t reach for whatever you are storing up there.

Does Your Bedroom Need A Nightstand?

You don’t always have to have a nightstand to help organize your things by your bed. You can always transform how you store the everyday objects that would be in or on your nightstand. You can store these things elsewhere or figure out a creative way to find a spot in your room.

For example, instead of getting a lamp for your nightstand, install one on the wall near your bed. You won’t be taking space on a nightstand, and you can have a light to turn on if you get up in the middle of the night.

You can decorate your wall with a clock. If you need any makeup or cleaning supplies within arms to reach, add storage beneath your bed so you can just reach underneath to get what you need. There are many types of storage containers you can buy that will fit in that space.

You can use other pieces of furniture for a nightstand (detailed previously). You don’t always have to use a traditional nightstand. Sometimes utilizing furniture already in your room is better than having a nightstand, especially when you have a small space.


There are so many options out there instead of using a traditional nightstand. You can find something that will fit your room and utilize as much storage as possible. Many people have become quite creative with their spaces, and so can you.

You can use many of these ideas to help you style your room. Play with the placement of the shelves and see what you think will look best in your room. Remember, you are the only one who needs to love it!


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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