Here are a few ideas we came across in our internet travels (and from past Apartment Therapy posts):
• 1 and 2 - Bar carts. Something about a bar cart, with its cute oversized wheels and festive air, is just more exciting next to a bed than a nightstand, and yet it still has the double-tier structure than can be so practical for storing books, kleenex, and the like. These two bar cart nightstands come from Better Homes and Gardens and designer Cara McBroom.
• 3 and 4 - Desks. While I'm not necessarily a fan of having a workspace in the bedroom, sometimes a small space demands it. This parsons desk as a bedside table, from The Estate of Things, is a pretty choice in a yellow bedroom. And I love the use of this old schoolhouse desk turned to the side, from a reader's home on Colorado Creative Decor; the chair can hold discarded pillow and bathrobe while the desk itself works as a table.
• 5 - Chairs. A chair as a bedside table can be a lovely, homey look. Check out several examples like this one in a post from Apartment Therapy: Chicago.
• 6 - File Cabinet. In practical use, a file cabinet might again invoke the workplace a bit too much for my taste, but this particular one, designed by Mauricio Alejo and featured on Treehugger, is just so cute! I love the time-clock as well.
• 7 - Pet House. The Hunde Hus bedside table is also a pet house, complete with a little porch. As Gregory points out in his post, this is a fun DIY idea too.
• 8 - Ladder. For a loft or another open-plan, minimalist or industrial space, this would be gorgeous, and if you used a ladder with flat rungs, you'd have space for a water glass too. The clip-on reading lamp is a great touch. From Livingetc.
For more alternative bedside table inspiration, check out this post's list of non-furniture objects that make great nightstands:
(Images: Better Homes and Gardens/Kaelin Zawilinski; Cara McBroom; The Estate of Things/Paul Costello Photography; Colorado Creative Decor; Domino, via This is Glamorous; Mauricio Alejo/Treehugger; Modern Cat; Livingetc)