No Nightstand, No Problem: 12 Unusual Things to Use Instead

published Feb 14, 2014
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(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

What is a nightstand, anyway? Of course we all know what the pieces identified as nightstands at the furniture store look like: little tables, usually with a drawer or shelf. But all a nightstand really is, at its most basic, is a place to put the stuff you may want immediately before you go to bed or right after you get up, so you don’t have to lean over awkwardly and pick up your iPhone from the floor. Realizing this, lots of clever folks have repurposed all kinds of non-nightstandy things as nightstands. Here are 12 of our favorite examples.

A Stack of Vintage Suitcases

Above: The home of actress Constance Zimmer via My Domaine shows just how fun it can look to play with furnishings and shake things up. She was lacking a nightstand on one side of her bed, and thought it might be a good idea to cozy up the place by bringing in a handful of the vintage suitcases she’s been collecting for years.

(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)

A Trunk

A old trunk used as a nightstand has a cool, old-world vibe — and think of all the stuff you could stash in there! Seen here in a bedroom from Lily, via SF Girl by Bay.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

A Chair

If you think about it (and I hope this doesn’t make your head hurt too much), a chair already is a nightstand anyway: every chair is essentially a short little table with a back on it. So the chair-as-nightstand isn’t too much of a stretch, although it might be advisable to mount bedside lamps on the wall (as seen here), owing to the fact that some chair seats aren’t perfectly flat (and to save on chair seat real estate). Image from Bo Bedre, via SF Girl by Bay.

A Drum

Drum as nightstand: funny, cheeky, and, if you can find one at a thrift store, cheaper than buying traditional furniture. Spotted on Design*Sponge.

(Image credit: Sandra Rojo)

A Ladder

Ladders seem to be endlessly useful around the home (we particularly love it in the living room to catch blankets and throws), but we’re also diggin’ the use in this bedroom from Twelve on Main.

A Bar Cart

Not just for booze anymore. Spotted on Coco + Kelley.

A Barrel

Bonus points if it’s a Chanel No. 5 barrel (which we suspect is a DIY, from Casa, via Planete Deco).

(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

A Componibili

It’s hard for us to hide our love for these hardworking little classics of modern design. They’re small, unobtrusive, and provide plenty of places for stashing stuff to avoid visual clutter. Image from Nuevo Estilo, via Apartment Therapy.

A Basket

The basket-as-nightstand (seen here in a bedroom from BHG) may seem a little unusual, but it would be a fun, quirky choice in a guest room (or anywhere coralling books is the main concern). This is another situation where a wall-mounted lamp would be a good idea, since a lamp in a basket might be a bit odd.

(Image credit: Chinasa Cooper)

A Stack of Books or Magazines

Since most people’s nightstands are stacked with books anyway — why not cut out the middleman and make a nightstand out of books? (Or magazines, as is the case in this bedroom from Elle Interior, via the House and Hold blog.) I’ll admit: I’ve seen this in more than one place, and I’m still not convinced it’s a thing real people would do and not just a styling trick. But I’m intrigued by the ingenuity and simplicity of it all. Have you seen anyone do this? Tried it yourself? Did it actually work? Or did you always find yourself wanting to read the book on the bottom of the stack?

(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

A Desk

The desk-as-nightstand setup, seen here in a bedroom from Lonny, is a great way to make furniture do double duty in small apartments.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

A Shelf

And if you’re really short on space, a shelf might be all you need. In this super-narrow bedroom, spotted on La Maison d’Anna G, a shelf mounted on the wall beside the bed serves all the necessary nightstandy functions (with a little help from the windowsill). A wall-mounted lamp is easy to switch off right before you fall asleep.

Re-edited from a post originally published 2.14.14-NT