What are Nightstands Used For? (Explained for Beginners!)

What is a nightstand? It is a piece of furniture that is seen in most bedrooms. Nightstands have many names such as bedside table, day stand, bedside cabinet, and night table.

This is because it has so many uses. They are usually placed beside a bed. You don’t necessarily need one but let’s talk about why they’re so popular.46

What are nightstands used for?

Nightstands have several uses. They can be used to support items such as a lamp or an alarm clock, used as storage to keep items, and are also used as a decorative element. Often they come with drawers and cabinets used to keep essential items such as reading glasses and lotion.

7 number of things nightstands are used for:


Many people use nightstands to decorate and add style to their bedroom. They serve an aesthetic purpose. You can match it with the colors of your bed and room. 

Endless options and variety:

Traditional to modern, it’s endless. Some come with built-in charging ports. 


Since it’s a small piece of furniture, it can be one of the cheapest types of furniture to buy comparing the other furniture in your room. Nightstands can be expensive as well but it’s up to you which one you prefer.


If your nightstand comes with a drawer or cabinet, you can keep almost anything. Starting from lotion, accessories, books, and flashlights. 

Don’t take up much space:

They are small in size and won’t make your bedroom look gaudy. Nowadays, a nightstand is considered essential so it’s okay to keep one even if your bedroom is small. 

Can put things on it:

You can easily keep a night-lamp on it for your benefit including reading glasses, a glass of water, an alarm clock, and your phone. You can keep anything at reach in case of emergencies. 

Can be placed anywhere:

People often use nightstands as other types of tables to redecorate. Sometimes in the living room or other places.

The purpose of nightstands is to keep necessary items at reach both during the night and day.

This is a home improvement feature that can enhance your life in terms of accessibility.

A survey states that 71% of Americans sleep with their phone in bed or keep it on their nightstand. By keeping it on your nightstand, you don’t have to panic when you can’t find your phone in the morning. 

Your phone might get jumbled in between the sheets if you sleep with it. Keeping it away from your hand and bed when you sleep also makes you sleep faster because you won’t be disturbed by the vibrations your phone makes. 

What do you put in nightstands?

You can almost put anything! But not accessories because you don’t want to knock them over in the middle of the night. If you want to keep accessories, put them on a tray to avoid knocking them over. Only put necessary items. Keeping proper things on your nightstand can help you sleep better and live better. 

  • Lamp. A night-lamp is used by many. You don’t have to get out of bed to turn the lights off..
  • Eyeglasses.
  • Medication. All your vitamins can be sorted in one of the drawers so you don’t forget to take them. 
  • Mobile phone.
  • Alarm clock. That’s a must-have if you don’t set alarms on your phone. 
  • Laptop.
  • Books. A good book before bed can make it easier to sleep.
  • Keys.
  • Photo frames. Photos of your loved ones would be nice to look at.
  • Documents.
  • Electronics. You can keep all your electronics in one drawer for ease of access.

The list is endless but make sure it doesn’t look tacky. 

However, keep in mind that burglars check nightstands for lucrative items. So you don’t want to keep things like credit cards because the nightstand will probably be the first thing they search for.

What is an end table? 

End tables are tables that are placed beside the end of another piece of furniture. Often it is placed at the end of a sofa and beside the wall. It is mostly the same height as the arm of a chair.

They are small in size, about 12 to 18 inches in diameter/squares. They can fit into small areas. They are typically seen in living rooms. Things such as teacups and flowers are usually placed on top of them. 

Can nightstands be used as end tables? 

Yes. Nightstands can be used anywhere as long as it fits. Plenty of people do it. Just make sure the height is comfortable to reach from the sofa or chair. If it’s too tall, it might be uncomfortable to reach. Not all nightstands are suitable to be used as end tables. 

They are different when it comes to storage and the space they occupy. Nightstands tend to be much larger and have a lot of storage to put things. If the nightstand is too big, it will look odd compared to other furniture in the room.

To truly see if it works well, place your nightstand where you would have placed your end table and see if it fits the setting of the room.

What is a side table? 

Sides tables are tables that are placed beside furniture. For example, a chair or sofa. They are typically placed against the wall or full out open. They have a larger surface area than end tables and are more eye-catching. Side tables can also be used in exchange for a nightstand. 

Can I use a nightstand as a side table? 

Yes, you can! They allow more storage than side tables because they have drawers and cabinets. You get to keep magazines, books, and the remote. 

They are similar in many ways as well. But a nightstand is usually more space-friendly compared to a side table. Side tables are also cheaper than nightstands.

If your nightstand has built-in charging ports, you can charge your phone while sitting in your living room. 

You don’t necessarily have to place it beside a sofa. You can keep it between armchairs and use it as a centerpiece for your living room. 

How to decorate the top of a nightstand?

Decorating your nightstand is very important. A messy nightstand can ruin the entire setting of your room. So let’s talk about how to style it! 

First, keep 1 or 2 essential items. For example, a lamp and a book. 

The second item to place will be a decorative item. This could be a vase, a piece of art, or a plant. Anything organic to add a nice touch. 

The third item you can keep is something personal or something meaningful to you. It could be a framed photograph of someone you love or a drawing. 

Other than that you can keep other small items such as a box to put your keys. 

Another thing you could do to make your nightstand look more appealing is by hanging a picture on top of it or a mirror. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is not to clutter it with too many items. For a new refreshed look, you can change its color completely. Go for lighter colors to suit the background of the room such as beige and white.

What to put in your nightstand drawer?

Most people keep emergency items that might be needed during the night. This includes car keys, flashlight, reading glasses, tissue paper, pen and notepad, medication, and first aid kit. 

But you can keep other things such as magazines, books, laptops, documents, and many more. Don’t clutter it too much and only keep essential items to ensure it remains practical. 

How to organize your nightstand?

Keeping your nightstand neat and tidy can be a tough job as you might often jumble it with items. Instead of randomly putting items, you can make them look chic and smart.

Once again, don’t put too many things on top. Keep it clean and simple. Planning is extremely important when organizing anything. Follow the following steps to organize your nightstand perfectly.

  • Step 1: Take out everything from your nightstand.
  • Step 2: Make a list of all the items you want to keep on your nightstand. 
  • Step 3: Put together similar items. For example, your books, notepads, and pens should be sorted in the same place. 
  • Step 4: Draw out your drawers on a piece of paper. If you have 3 drawers, figure out what to put in which drawer and write it down. Important stuff should be placed in the first drawer and then the other things accordingly. 
  • Step 5: Figure out what to place on top of the nightstand. If there are small items on the top of your nightstand, make sure it is on a decorative tray or box.
  • Step 6: Place the items as you planned out. (Give it a clean too!)

The last drawer should be used to keep the least important things such as magazines and books. If you want to keep toiletries inside your nightstand, then don’t put the large-sized ones. You can find a travel-size lotion or just keep it in a small box then store it to make more use of your space.

You might need some additional items to make the top more organized such as a tray and a bowl. The bowl can be used to keep jewelry and keys, whereas the tray can be used to place your books.

Now you know why you might need a nightstand and how to style it. Figure out what kind of nightstand is suitable for your room and buy it accordingly. If you can’t find the one you like, you can have it custom-made! 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why are Nightstands so Expensive?

Are Nightstands Necessary?

How to Hang a Floating Nightstand?

How Deep Can a Nightstand be?

How Many Nightstands Should You Have in Bedroom?