Here’s Why You Should Use a Nightstand in Your Living Room

updated Apr 29, 2020
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If you’re struggling to find the perfect accent table for your living room, you might want to head to your bedroom (or to the bedroom section of your favorite online retailer, if you’re in the market for an upgrade). That’s where you’ll find nightstands—and really a whole new world of living room side and end table possibilities.

Nightstands and bedside tables are a great option for your living room. They’re similar to accent tables in shape and size, so this is an easy swap to make, even if you want to use pieces you already have on hand. Whereas many end and side tables are just legs attached to a tabletop, nightstands typically have some built-in storage—and at best, a mixture of both open and closed varieties. More storage in the living room is always great, but closed storage that lets you hide a mess? You can’t beat that.

Plus, with so many high-tech nightstands out there now, it’s easy to find one with a built-in charger, which means you could be adding even more functionality to your space without imposing on its footprint. The seven homes below show just how well nightstands work in living rooms, both in terms of style and function, so consider taking a page out of their decorating playbooks.

Add a touch of storage to your living room with a mid-century modern, open shelf nightstand. This kind of nightstand is nice for a really small space, like this San Francisco studio, because the hairpin legs keep the piece feeling visually light. That said, you still get a spot to stash things like books, magazines, and remotes. 

Credit: Ben Sandall

One benefit of shopping the nightstand section for your living room: There are so many options available. This is especially true when you widen your search parameters to include the vintage market. This vintage dealer found a gorgeous nightstand to anchor her Seattle living room. It’s a bit larger than most traditional end tables, so it fills out the space between her couch and the wall nicely.  In addition, this piece provides both closed drawer storage and a roomy open shelf for all her current reads.

Credit: Jill Ruzicka

You can also bring a modern touch into your space with any number of the contemporary style nightstands out there. This Chicago renter paired her sofa with a marble-patterned stand that complements the rest of her light, bright space. With three drawers, this piece will help keep a room feeling airy and clutter-free.

I wasn’t lying when I said modern nightstand options are just about endless. The open, boxy nightstands used in this LA condo add just as much storage to the living room as they do style. They also echo the shape and style of the coffee table perfectly, which creates a nice eye path around the room.

Credit: Minette Hand

Small living areas can really benefit from tiny end tables like the vintage one in this Chicago living room. It fits snugly beside the couch and adds a touch of character without stealing the spotlight. The small drawer is the perfect spot to store the remote, so you never have to tear the living room apart searching for it.  

Credit: Wendy Lau

The nightstand hack isn’t only for sofa setups. Stick one between a set of armchairs, as these Toronto homeowners did, and you’ve got a cute, functional centerpiece—and focal point—for a little seating area.  

Mix and match your styles with a modern-meets-retro stand like the one in this Seattle living room. It’s boxy but open, so it fits perfectly in the corner while adding two shelves of storage to the room.

So are you ready to swap your nightstand in for your current living room side table? I’m definitely thinking about it. If you can pare down your beside essentials, this $0 decorating idea can work wonders for you and make your living room feel just a little bit fresher and more functional.