Next To The Bed


Ever take a serious look at your nightstand? You may never have given it much thought, but since it is the last space you look at each night (and the first you see each morning), it is worthy of attention. If you have been wanting to tackle clutter in your home, this little project might be a great place to start.

To improve this area’s functionality and appeal:

  1. Clear everything off the surface, empty any drawers, remove any items that are piled nearby on the floor, and wipe everything clean.
  2. Sort out the contents and put similar items together (e.g. books, change, pencils, paper, clothing, personal supplies, etc.)
  3. Be thoughtful about what you want to put back! The key to a soothing bedroom is to keep it as simplified as possible. A nightstand can easily become a dumping ground, so remove anything that doesn’t need to be here:
    • Throw away trash (empty bottles, broken items, etc.)
    • Remove books you’ve read or have given up reading
    • Recycle old magazines
    • File any paperwork you’ve let pile up
    • Fold or launder clothing
    • Return jewelry or cuff links to a storage container on a dresser

In addition, relocate any items that can possibly live in another space in your home. For example, instead of piling change on your nightstand, designate a collection jar near your main entry door. Be aggressive in clearing away anything extraneous.

  1. Reload the space. The goal is to return only the items that suit your needs while in bed. A well stocked nightstand should have:
    • A pleasing visual, such as a small painting, photo, plant/vase of flowers, or a favorite verse or thought.
    • Task lighting, in the form of a low-wattage table lamp or wall-mounted swivel lamp.
    • A clock that you can easily read. Large displays are nice if you have impaired vision, as is this one that projects the time onto the ceiling. Try and have one with a battery back-up so you won’t be late if the power should fail.
    • “Hidden” storage for personal items such as eye drops, medication, and intimacy supplies. Drawers work well, but if you have a table with no drawers, you can use a basket or bin, or a bedside organizer that hooks under your mattress. Another option is to gather small necessities on a tray.
    • A box of tissues, especially if you suffer from allergies or are fighting a cold.
    • A notepad and pen. If you get a call in the middle of the night, you want to be able to record the pertinent details you might not remember in the morning.
    • A phone. If you use your cell phone, it is handy to have an extra charger that you can leave plugged in next to your bed.
    • A designated space for your glasses. This can be an eyeglass holder like this one, or just a space on the nightstand where you put your glasses when you take them off. Always put your glasses in the same spot so you can find them quickly.
    • Book, kindle or reading material, if you enjoy reading in bed.

For a bit of inspiration, here are a few visuals of soothing bedside layouts.

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The place where you lie your head at night should be tranquil and refreshing. What ideas do you have for making this space work well?

Seana's Signature

49 thoughts on “Next To The Bed”

    1. So good to have a soothing space before you go to sleep. I find a lot of people “stash” items in the bedroom to make the public spaces look better, but it can backfire in the end when your bedroom feels like the family clutter collector.

    1. Thanks, Kathy! As they say, a picture says a thousand words… I know YOU understand the power of the visual since you always have such terrific images to show your amazing transformations!

    1. I see the same thing, Jill. And this is a “bite sized” project that almost anyone can tackle, see an immediate result, and have a good chance of maintaining!

    1. Sounds like this is a convenient place for you, so if you are content with it, I say leave it be. That said, I typically suggest a designated place near the entry where you can safely secure your purse when you first walk in, such as a pot on the floor near an entry table, a cubby, or even hanging from a hook on the wall.

  1. We don’t even have nightstands! We always wanted them but our last bed was really high up and we had trouble finding tall nightstands. And now that we have our new bed (for almost two years..gulp), it’s time to get one and organize it!
    Tamara recently posted…I’m a Tough Grader.My Profile

  2. This is a perfect list Seana! Mine and hubby’s nightstands are on the fall to do list! One think I also don’t like is our bedroom set is 10 years old but still beautiful it’s just to matchy-matchy for me. So I may split up the furniture and use it in different rooms. It’s also a dark and heavy wood. I just need a change in the drawers as well as outside the drawers ya know!
    Autumn Leopold recently posted…2 Fabulous Inexpensive DIY Art Ideas For Your HomeMy Profile

    1. We all bought the “matchy, matchy” sets back in the day:) Just switching out nightstands can be a perfect solution. Either move them to another room, or just let them go and get a couple of new ones. I’m also always amazed with new hardware or even a coat of paint can accomplish!

    2. You have no idea how happy I am to learn that matchy-matchy is no longer in style. 🙂 We have two nightstands which match each other, but nothing else. I have my mom’s old dresser, my husband has a chest of drawers from another old set, and we bought our headboard a few years before the nightstands. It’s eclectic, to say the least!
      Janet Barclay recently posted…Selecting the Typography for Your WebsiteMy Profile

    1. I think it is worth the effort to clear out this place. Waking up to a pile of paper can be sort of discouraging. If you clear it out, I’d love to see the photos:)

  3. My husband built our nightstands so I keep them clear to show off his craftsmanship. And I love the fact that we have wall-mounted, swivel lights so there are two less things on our bedside surfaces.

    1. How lucky are you to have a handy, “builder” husband? He sounds like a keeper:) I agree on the lights… very nice to have the functionality without having to take up the surface area.

    1. This is a great little project that you can do in an hour or so and make a BIG difference in your bedroom. I’d love to see photos if you go ahead and tackle it!

    1. Yes, the internet definitely steals time…hours just evaporate. But careful what you wish for… I might end up reading a post from you about how the internet went down in some crazy catastrophe and then I’ll feel guilty:) Have a great Labor Day weekend, Marcia!

  4. This post has inspired me to finally get a nightstand for my side of the bed. We just have one on my husband’s side. There is no lamp. On the stand there is only our alarm clock, a valentine bear my husband got me years ago, and a Father’s Day picture frame with our son’s picture in it. The drawer holds some of my things, including a notebook and pen for those midnight thoughts I don’t want to forget, but I have to reach over hubby to get to it. Thank you, Seana, for the inspiration! 🙂

    1. Power strip – great addition to my list, Hazel. I’ve got one of those, but forgot to mention it. If you use a lot of devices, that can really help things look better.

  5. Hi there,
    Love the conversation. My room is probably a little too matchy matchy lol and also my furniture is really too big for the room. I will think about how I can work on that. My bedside table is full of books so this post has motivated me to either put away the books or donate the ones that really am I ever going to read?? Books are hard to let go of though. Thank you all 🙂
    Kim recently posted…Feel the Fear and Do It AnywayMy Profile

    1. Books can be hard to let go of, but knowing someone else will get to use them helps. They are a wonderful “reusable” item. It’s been fun watching this conversation unfold about the bedside space!

    1. Well, have to admit the clock radio isn’t pictured, although there are some shots with clocks. I guess the electronic versions aren’t quite as pretty! If you regularly use Kleenex at night, an attractive holder is the way to go. Tends to be a seasonal item for me, so I just tuck a few into the top drawer for emergencies and leave the box in the bathroom the rest of the time. Thanks for the comment!

  6. I love the photos – especially the pop of yellow in the tray. I just tackled my nightstand in one of my mini decluttering missions. It is very soothing. Makes me think the next thing is to paint it (and to tackle my husband’s nightstand!) Thanks for your great tips!
    Angela @ Setting My Intention recently posted…The “F” WordMy Profile

    1. I love that pop of yellow as well, Angela. You don’t want so much color that you can’t sleep, but a bit of brightness makes the space feel “finished.” Sounds like you’ve got a beautiful space in the making for sure!

  7. First of all, I just love the photos you included on the peaceful, clutter-free nightstands. They exude relaxation and calm. I also appreciate the idea of taking off the books on your nightstand that you aren’t going to read. I admit to having a lot of books on my nightstand. And while I do read them and take some away occasionally, I think it’s time to take another quick pass to remove some. I agree that the less clutter next to the bed (or in the bedroom in general) the more restful and relaxing of an environment it is. Thanks for the great reminders.
    Linda Samuels recently posted…How to Change Your Life With More Love and CompassionMy Profile

    1. Since the nightstand is the thing we see last before we sleep and first when we wake, it is worth a bit of effort to create a pleasant visual. Of course, my husband is so blind without his glasses that he never notices, so I have to admit that I do periodically go over to his side and do a bit of decluttering. Nothing he would want, but a little tidying can put a fresh face on the whole room!

  8. I also appreciated the lovely photos you included with this post!! My bedside table is actually a reproduction of a library card catalog with drawers that are the size to hold CD’s. I also keep a variety of office supplies in the drawers. On top I have a charming old glass lamp that seems to compliment my white iron frame bed. Beside that is a glass dish with my lip balm and a small flash light. Just enough! Thanks for sharing this with POBC readers.
    Olive Wagar recently posted…RECLAIM AN EMPTY WALL FOR FABULOUS STORAGE SPACEMy Profile

    1. I have a client who has one of those library card catalog pieces… they are so cute and very functional. She has CDs in many of her drawers as well because they are the perfect size. Sounds like a charming set up to see each morning when you wake!

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