7 Tips for Determining What Nightstand Height You Need

Determining What Nightstand Height You Need

A nightstand is a piece of furniture you only realize you need after living without one. These small tables can complete a bedroom set while giving you extra space for your stuff. However, they only work if they are the right size for your bedroom. 

Determining the right height for your nightstand is easy if you consider the various factors that go into it. By reading this article, you will learn what 7 of those factors are and how to use them to get a nightstand that fits your style and bedroom. 

What Is The Correct Height For A Nightstand?

The bed is the centerpiece of any bedroom, but it requires other furniture to make room. While most people consider all sorts of drawers, shelving, and other vanity furniture, they tend to overlook the nightstand. However, the right nightstand plays an important practical role while it enhances the décor. 

Also called bedside tables, nightstands provide a place to store bedside lamps, your phone, and other accessories you always want close to you. These accessories can include books for reading in bed, television remotes, and anything else you can imagine. Although, they only work when you can safely reach these items. 

As such, you generally want a nightstand that is as tall as your bed. Matching the height of your nightstand to your bed allows you to grab things easily when you are half asleep in the middle of the night. It will also help keep you pain-free if you have arthritis or another disability. 

However, finding the right-sized nightstand is not that simple, as numerous factors go into the decision. We provided 7 of the most common factors below, along with some tips on dealing with them. In the end, you should be able to know precisely the right-sized bedside table for your bedroom. 

There are No Standards for Nightstand Height

 Before we go on, we must mention that there are no standard nightstand sizes. This is because nightstand size is linked to the height of the bed, or more specifically, the mattress. As such, you want to pick the right mattress before you select a nightstand. Doing so will make your room aesthetically pleasing while maintaining a level of safety.

However, you do not need a nightstand with the exact height of your mattress. While matching heights make a nice view line, such a setup might not be possible with the style of furniture you have and your accessibility needs. 

Even then, you want your nightstand to err on the tall side. It is much easier to raise your arms to reach an extra-tall table than to lower them. However, you never want a height difference that exceeds six inches. Any higher, and you risk bumping into it when you wake up half asleep. 

That does not mean you should never go lower. While not recommended for most people, a shorter stand makes it easier to see what’s on it. It might be awkward to reach, but it might be the height that meets your style and comfort. 

Know Your Height Options

While you want a nightstand close to your bed’s height, nightstands are not sold that way. Unless you get something custom-made, you are stuck with the commercially available sizes. These sizes are meant to fit the average bedroom. So, they should still fit most people.

 Generally, commercially made nightstands fall within two size ranges:

  • 24 to 26 inches
  • 28 to 30 inches

Corresponding to the average mattress height of 25 inches, the smaller range works best with thin mattresses. These mattresses are popular with platform or slab-support beds as well as some traditional bedroom designs.

The small nightstands also work well when your bed is just a mattress with little or no support underneath. Either way, they make it easier to reach your items without standing up if you find yourself in these irregular sleeping situations. 

The larger nightstand range works best in a more contemporary situation where your mattress is paired with box springs. Built for modern designs, these taller stands are also easier to match with other bedroom furniture such as desks, chests, tables, and anything else you may want in your room. 

If neither range fits your needs, you can forgo a nightstand and use a replacement. Desks and tables offer more height options, and you can adjust them accordingly. You can even use a chest or shelving if you need wider storage space. 

Your Décor Matters

Getting a nightstand that sits level with your bed is one thing. Getting one that fits into the rest of your bedroom décor is another. Doing so is easy if you get all your furniture as a set but can get challenging if you buy everything separately. 

It all comes down to your style. For instance, modern or contemporary styles emphasize a minimalistic approach. As such, you want clean lines that make the room seem bigger than it is. You may want a smaller nightstand for these designs as it will blend into the rest of the furniture and provide more open space.

On the other hand, traditional styles such as Victorian or French Provincial feature large ornate beds. As such, they can accommodate taller nightstands. The larger size will help match the nightstand’s trim and detailing with the rest of the room.

Use a Matching Set When Possible

A straightforward way to ensure your nightstand height matches your bed height is to buy a matching bedroom set. Bedroom sets come with a unique look with fixtures designed to work together. Depending on the set, you get a bed, drawers, nightstands, and other pieces of furniture needed to fill a bedroom. 

As each piece is tailor-made for the set, you know everything is the right size compared to each other, including the nightstands. You can install everything at once or piece by piece. Either way, you will have a cohesive look without much effort. A complete bedroom set can get expensive, but the cost might be worth it if you do not want to match the pieces yourself. 

Consider Your Storage Needs

You are ultimately getting a nightstand for the extra storage. While the style and shape of the furniture matter, they are nothing if your bedside table cannot hold your phone, books, tablet, water glass, eyeglasses, pills, and any other items you need near your bed. Therefore, you may want a nightstand with built-in shelves or drawers.

As you need room for these features, they will add to the height of the table. Therefore, you might need to evaluate your storage needed before selecting a nightstand for your bed. You can settle with a bulky nightstand or a double-door cabinet if you have a king bed, but what about smaller ones?

Luckily, most bedroom layouts allow for more than one nightstand. The extra table should provide additional space without compromising the height of your main table. Even better, you don’t have to match them. You can make the extra table higher or lower depending on your needs. 

Even if you only have room for one nightstand, you may only need one or two drawers or shelves. Depending on the style, you can have this storage underneath the top of the table or fixed above if the top is wide enough.  

Consider All Nightstand Styles

We cannot reiterate enough that your bedroom furniture should fit well with each other. If you can achieve that, the heights will align to give you the best overall look, utility, and safety. Ideally, you will get them as a complete set, but if that is not the case, you want to ensure you get compatible styles and formats.

That said, nightstands do come in every style and preference. Some of these styles even offer adjustable heights, making them perfect for when you are still deciding the rest of your bedroom. Even those with static sizes may come in multiple sizes for different situations. 

Bedside Cabinets

Smaller versions of traditional cabinets, bedside cabinets offer a multifunctional design and storage options. They all have a large surface for your clock, lamp, and so forth, but also come with cabinet drawers or shelves. This extra storage is typically under the main surface, but some models have them above as well.  Either way, you only need to fit the main surface into your room. 

Bedside Chests

The most popular type of nightstand, the bedside chest, is just a smaller version of the drawer chest you have in your room. They even function like your other chest. They are just smaller and lower. With these nightstands, you must keep the tabletop at the same height as your bed or only a few inches off. 

Cube or Block Nightstands

Beautifully decorative, bedside cubes feature ornate designs etched in wood, acrylic, or stone. They come textured or plain in either a hollow or solid format. Lying flat to the ground, these nightstands stand slightly lower than your bed. The solid format only offers its top for storage, while the hollow one lets you place stuff inside. Some of them even have cutouts you can use. 

Like with chests, you measure them based on their tops. 

Multi-level or Tiered Nightstands

Larger, more ornate versions of the bedside chests, tiered nightstands offer multiple storage solutions in different styles and sizes, including cabinets, shelves, drawers, or any combination of them. However, this extra storage makes them stand taller than your bed. As such, you may want to use a lower tier as your primary storage level instead of the top. 

Floating Nightstands

Fabulously modern and minimalistic, floating nightstands are perfect for small or crowded bedrooms. These small and compact pieces of furniture rest securely to your wall to give the appearance that they float in mid-air. 

They come with various storage options, but their most prominent feature is the lack of stands or legs. You can ensure they match the level of your bed just by appropriately installing the wall mounts at any height you choose. 

Nesting Nightstands

Nesting nightstands let you adjust your available table space to your needs. They work similarly to the nest tables you see in sitting rooms with smaller tables stacked under the larger ones. You just pull out the small table if you need the extra space or put them back inside for more legroom. 

While only the topmost table must match the height of your bed, the smaller ones fit underneath. This should not be a problem in most cases, but it is something to consider when getting a nesting nightstand.

Round or Oval Nightstands

People love round nightstands because they break up the monotony of their bedrooms while creating a retro-sixties look to the place. These nightstands come in a circular shape instead of traditional rectangles, making them stand out as conversation starters. You can also get them in tiered nested, hollow, and solid formats to better match your storage needs. 

Besides their shape, oval nightstands work like traditional ones. You measure them based on their tabletops. 

Glass and Mirrored Nightstands

Stylish, ultra-modern, and very noticeable, glass nightstands consist of a single thick piece of transparent or mirrored glass molded into a three-sided box with curved or straight edges. You can find them as standalone furniture or incorporated into another nightstand type. Otherwise, they work like cube stands.  You can store items on top of them or in the open space below them. 

Industrial-Style Nightstands

Created from raw, aged wood and galvanized metal, industrial-style nightstands offer an understated chic aesthetic to your bedroom. They look like small, regular tables with a metal cage under a flat wooden top. Besides their look, there is nothing special about these nightstands. 

Smart Nightstands

Perfect for the modern information age, smart nightstands come equipped with USB and wireless power outlets. Some models even come with Bluetooth speakers and refrigerated compartments along with more traditional storage options. You can keep your water cool while you charge your phone, e-reader, and tablet while you sleep. 

All that technology comes at a price. Smart bedside tables are typically more expensive than their classic counterparts. You may also need to leave more space for them as they are usually much larger than standard tables. 

Cocktail Nightstands

Essentially a pedestal with legs, you can get cocktail bedside tables in several styles, from unique to contemporary. They also come with ornate designs or in simple textures. They might not fit more relaxed bedroom settings; they do stand slightly taller than similar nightstands, which lets them serve as fancy tables in other rooms. 

Drum-Style Nightstands

Drum nightstands are circular versions of the block stands. They are usually solid blocks of wood and iron and give the room a rustic feel. Because they are solid masses, they lack the storage options you see with other nightstand types. 

Built-In Nightstands

If matching your nightstands to your bed seems daunting, you can forgo the stress by getting a bed frame with built-in nightstands. These nightstands come premade to fit your bed and its height. As such, everything should be perfect right out of the box. However, you are limited to their style and décor and must change your bed if you want something different. 

Consider Alternatives to Nightstands

If you are having problems finding the right nightstand for your bedroom, you might feel relieved that you may not need one. You can use any other piece of furniture to fill the role. As such, your effective nightstands options are endless. We provided the most common alternatives here, but you can get creative and use anything that fits. 

Open Bookshelves

If you keep books piled around your bed just in case you get the urge to read, you may want to replace your nightstand with a bookshelf. You can also get them in any shape, design, or size to ensure they fit your needs. 

Stools, Ottomans, or Chairs

If you have extra chairs in your home, using one as a nightstand is an excellent idea in a pinch. You can get them in the same styles as nightstands, and they come pre-built with a flat surface that can double as a tabletop. 

Rolling Desks

If you routinely work in bed, you may find using a desk as a nightstand useful. They also work well in college dorms and small apartments where space is limited. However, you want one with an adjustable height to keep them level when you are not using them as a desk. Keeping them at table height may sound helpful, but that can become awkward and even dangerous when you try to reach for things on them from your bed. 

Simple Tables

If all else fails, you can just use a small table in place of a nightstand. You can take the table from anywhere in your home. You are never limited to bedroom furniture here. Any table small enough to fit next to your bed will do. You then use them as you would with any nightstand or table. You can even place crates under them for additional storage as needed. 


Nightstands add functionality and aesthetics to your bedroom décor. These small tables sit next to your bed and give your easy access to the items you always keep close. However, you need them to be the right size to provide that function. Luckily, you can use a few simple tips to find the right bedside table for your room. 


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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