This Simple Small-Space Nightstand Idea Is Budget-Friendly and Unexpected

published Apr 23, 2023
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Nightstands provide a handy storage spot for bedside essentials and a simple place to showcase your style. If you live in a small space or don’t want to buy bulky furniture, though, then traditional bedside tables might not feel like a feasible option. Luckily, a common piece of furniture you don’t typically see in bedrooms can fill in for nightstands when you’re in a decorating pinch and, as it turns out, this solution can be easy on the wallet and has a compact footprint, to boot. 

Serene lives in a 1216-square-foot apartment in Singapore with her husband, Jude, and their daughter, Sophie. They’ve owned their unit for about nine months and furnished it accordingly to make it work for their family and lifestyle. “Our home doesn’t really have a theme or concept,” Serene says. “Our guiding principle was to just make sure that our home feels like WE live in it. Hence the slight eclecticism.”

The couple was very intentional about their space not veering into an “overly decorated” territory. “It was important to us that this felt like home, and not some interior decorator’s fever dream,” Serene says in the house tour. Because she considers her design style to be layered and highly personal, with meaningful pieces of art and furniture placed in every corner, Serene had to be very deliberate about finding furnishings that resonated with her stylistically and fit the bill for living practically in a decently-sized (but not huge) home. One area where she struck that balance in particular? Her bedroom, where two vintage chairs stand in for traditional bedside tables to great success, both in terms of their form and function.

Credit: Serene Koh

“We have a couple of coffee-shop chairs that were a dime a dozen in many Singapore coffee shops in the ’70s and ’80s that were a gift from my husband’s mom,” Serene says of these pieces that now feel special and storied some 40 or 50 years later. We now use them as our bedside ‘tables’ just below the mid-century flower pot lamps.” 

Using these older wooden chairs as nightstands provides a perfect example of Serene styling her home with pieces that are equally useful and meaningful, and not just trendy or driven by interior designer best practices. Because they don’t have drawers or shelves for storage like typical nightstands, they aren’t as purely practical, but for Serene and her husband, they strike a minimalist tone in a room that’s meant to feel clean, simple, and restful.

If you’ve been on the hunt for nightstands but you’re short on square footage, chairs could be the solution you’ve been looking for all along — especially if you’d like to cut down on bedside clutter. The seat of a chair just gives you enough surface area for books, a glass of water, and maybe a tiny vase of fresh flowers, if you can manage to squeeze one in. You can thrift the chairs, buy them brand-new, or even mix and match two chairs that you love. “And don’t worry if things don’t match or if they feel old-fashioned or unstylish,” Serene says. “A lot of things in our home don’t look like they would ‘go together’ but they do to us, because they mean something to us.”