What can I use instead of a bedside table?

When the bedside table isn’t serving you.

Space, taste, money – there are many reasons why you might not have a bedside table, but what can you use instead?

Despite the above, we can’t ignore how useful they are so this list should help you with alternative bedside table ideas.

Read more: tall black bedside tables.

17 things you can use instead of a bedside table:

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If you’re a bit strapped for space then your desk can double up as your bedside table; position it next to your bed-head with a lamp you’re able to reach when you’ve jumped in.


A bench can double up as a cute design feature and a nightstand, especially if it’s decorated with plants and books.


The ultimate bedroom is a cosy bedroom (surely) and a pouffe can help with that since it’s a soft, padded piece of furniture, rather than a cold, hard nightstand.

What can I use instead of a bedside table?

Boucle Louise storage ottoman – Anthropologie £398

Colourful crates

Stacked HAY design crates look great next to a bed and they have lots of storage; you can mix and match the colours for a fun and playful design feature.

What can I use instead of a bedside table? Stacked crates

HAY stackable crate – Selfridges from £6

Storage boxes

Of course, this all depends on the storage box, but you can get some good-looking ones.

Pink large pretty storage box

Arreglo storage box – La Redoute £85

Coffee Table Books

Make use of the books you have by stacking them to make the perfect (one-of-a-kind) nightstand.

Floating shelf

Of course, the floating shelf is a well-tried and tested bedside table alternative. Why not try a few hung next to your bed to create a cool ladder effect or a long one directly above the headboard?

What can I use instead of a bedside table?

Maura wall shelf – Urban Outfitters £149


Similarly to a desk, a console is a good bedside table alternative.

Built-in shelf

This might not be the easiest one on the list, but if you’re in the planning and building stage then a shelf built into the wall can look very smart.


A simple stool or footstool can make a very cute and quirky bedside table. They’re usually quite small, too – great if you need to save space.

round top Lilac stool as a nightstand alternative

Round-top stool – H&M £34.99

A windowsill

A windowsill can be a great solution, as long as your bed is next to one, obviously.

Trunk or suitcase

Upcycling an old trunk or suitcase is a very stylish bedside table alternative.


Why save a pedestal for works of art when it could make a great nightstand? Again, they’re usually skinny so they’re great for small spaces.


Tailor-making a headboard with a built-in shelf is a very sleek way of creating storage around your bed.

A reclaimed fruit crate

Sand it, paint it, stand it on its side – you’ve got yourself a budget and environmentally-friendly table.


Lockers now come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours so they make great bedside tables. Great for storing valuables, too!

What can I use instead of a bedside table? Mustard Made Olive Green Locker - Shorty

Mustard Made shorty olive green storage locker – Oliver Bonas £139

Ladder shelf

You can shop around for a ladder shelf, like this one from Oliver Bonas, or make one yourself from an old ladder, depending on how creative you’re feeling.

Iggy four-tier freestanding shelving unit – Oliver Bonas £225

What can replace a bedside table?

There are so many things you can use to replace a bedside table, from footstools to desks to old crates. There are limitless possibilities to suit your space and how you like to decorate it.

What can I use if I don’t have space for a nightstand?

If you don’t have space for a bedside table then a floating wall shelf above your bed could be the best option, however, you could try a small stool, some stacked books or a pedestal – they’re all quite skinny, space-saving options.

Are bedside tables necessary?

Bedside tables aren’t always necessary, but they’re useful and stop you from leaving things on the floor at night.

How do you make a cheap nightstand?

Upcycling is the best way to make a cheap nightstand. You could use an old stool, crate or even an old ladder. Think outside the box with this one – keep an eye on Facebook marketplace or friends having a clear out.

What is the difference between a bedside table and a nightstand?

Officially, unlike a nightstand, a bedside table has no drawers. However, in the UK, we tend to use the term bedside table regardless.

How much space do you need between your bed and desk?

Unless you’re doubling up your desk as your bedside cabinet then there should be a two-foot circumference around the edges of the bed.

Where should I place my desk in my bedroom?

This varies greatly from room to room, but as your desk is somewhere you’re going to be working from you should aim to have it somewhere you’re going to feel inspired or focused.

How tall should a lamp be in a bedroom?

As a rule of thumb, your lamp should be about one-third the width of your nightstand.

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