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How Tall Should a Nightstand Be?

How Tall Should a Nightstand Be?

You just bought a brand-new king-size bed and are laying on your new mattress, enjoying the increased amount of space. You reach over to your bedside table to turn off the light and realize that you are now reaching down instead of out or up. Getting your glass of water is now a precarious experience as your hand drops, and you hope your aim is good and the glass hits the tabletop and not the floor. Unfortunately, your bedside tables are now too short for your new bed frame.

Learn about proper nightstand height before you buy your next pair of nightstands so that you can buy the right furniture for your new bed.

How Tall Should a Nightstand Be?

The short answer is that the top of the nightstand should be level with the top of your mattress. It could also be two to four inches taller than the mattress and still look nice and be comfortable to use.

The average height of a mattress in a bed frame is about 25 inches from the floor. This means that most commercially produced nightstands are 24 to 28 inches in table height.


How to Measure for Your Nightstand

If you are ready to buy a new nightstand or two for your bedroom, the first step is to take some measurements. This will help you narrow down the interior design ideas that you like to the ones that will actually work in your room.


Stand next to your bed and measure the height of your mattress as it sits on the bed frame. Low platform beds tend to have shorter measurements than canopy beds that tend to be some of the tallest. For example, the lowest platform beds can be around 18 inches in height. In contrast, some canopy beds are as high as 36 inches.

Depth and Width

It is not enough to just know the right height to look for. You also need to think about the depth and width of your new nightstand. If you want to have more than just a nightstand lamp on the tabletop, then you will need a larger nightstand. It is also smart to scale the size of the nightstand to the size of the bed. For example, a large California king mattress in a stately master bedroom might look strange with a small and minimalist designed nightstand table. However, be careful not to choose a nightstand that is too deep. If it is more than 24 inches deep, you risk bumping into it every time you get in and out of bed.

A common trend is to choose mismatched nightstands for the left and right sides of the bed. To make this trend work, you need to choose nightstands of a similar size and scale. You want them to be mismatched but still visually balanced.


Why Choose a Taller Nightstand?

It is easier for someone to reach out and up when lying in bed than it is to reach out and down. So if you fall in love with a tall nightstand, you may still be able to use it with your bedroom furniture. You also have to bend over less when standing at a tall nightstand, making it more convenient and comfortable to use when not in bed.

Can Nightstands Be Taller Than the Windowsill?

Some bedroom layouts may require you to place your nightstand in front of a window. For the best look, choose a nightstand that sits just below the window or at the windowsill height. This is not always possible, though.

At a minimum, you do not want the nightstand to block the window so much that it creates a hazard if someone needs to escape through the window in an emergency.

Choosing a nightstand that physically blocks the window can also have a negative impact on the amount of natural light coming into the room.

When placing your nightstand, think about the curtains you plan to hang on the window. It helps if the bottom of the curtains sits below the top of the nightstand. This keeps the curtains tucked behind the nightstand.


Types of Nightstands

While it may seem like there are countless designs, the majority of nightstands can be placed into three main categories, table, cabinet, and chest. The type you choose will depend on the space available, your budget, storage needs, and interior design theme.

If you decide that you want to have mismatched nightstands, try to stick with one type. This will help them to look coordinated yet different. The key to pulling off an eclectic design is having some similarities between the pieces.

1. Bedside Table

These are the simplest and smallest of the nightstand types. They are similar to end tables with legs that support a tabletop. They are best used with a double and twin beds because of their small size. They may have one or two lower open shelves but no drawers or cabinets.

The table you choose should be big enough to at least hold a table lamp. Otherwise, you will need to have a floor lamp next to it. If you are looking for a modern nightstand, this type is your best option.

The Quintero Nightstand has a statement design with a wood frame wrapped in natural twisted abaca. It has plenty of texture, making it perfect for a coastal, bohemian, or even modern farmhouse bedroom. While its small tabletop and lack of storage make it less functional, it more than makes up for it in design.

This modern Mayville End Table has an open design that makes it perfect for smaller bedrooms. It features a wood tabletop and two mesh shelves that are supported by slim legs. The black frame gives it an industrial or urban feel.

2. Bedside Chest

These nightstands feature drawers that provide you with extra storage space. Typically, they come with either two or three drawers. In addition, they can range in width, making the type versatile for both small and large mattresses. If you choose a wider style, you can have room for more than just a bedside lamp on the tabletop.

The Her Majesty Two-Drawer Blue Nightstand is an elegant blue with hints of grey. The two large drawers and open shelf give you plenty of storage space. The design features subtle detailing, making this nightstand perfect for a contemporary design.

3. Bedside Cabinet

These nightstands are similar to the chest, but they have doors instead of drawers. Although, some do have a combination of drawers and doors. The cabinet style is nice if you need a larger amount of storage space or need to store items that do not fit well into drawers. Similar to the chest, they come in a range of sizes from narrow to wide, making them adaptable to the size of your bed and bedroom.

This small Eduardt One-Drawer Nightstand in Rustic Oak is a perfect example of a cabinet nightstand. It features a small drawer with a cabinet underneath. The rustic design makes it the perfect accent for a farmhouse bedroom.