For a long time, nightstands have provided an essential function in the bedroom. These small items of furniture have always served their purpose to hold items that people might need overnight.
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Modern nightstands are designed to complement the contemporary décor of your bedroom and help create a calming space. Modern bedrooms in general use clean lines and a lot of white, grey or black colors, creating a minimalistic and fresh environment that feels both soothing and revitalizing.
Let’s take a look at the nightstand’s place in contemporary bedroom design, including some of the best modern nightstands you can buy.
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What is the history of the nightstand?
Nightstands have been used for a long time, with the first nightstands being designed as a simple small cupboard.
The purpose of these first nightstands isn’t very pleasant to consider. Remember that indoor plumbing is still a relatively recent invention, and many of our older relatives will have been alive when the toilet was still outdoors.
Rather sensibly, people didn’t want to have to go outside in the middle of the night if they needed to relieve themselves, so the bedpan became widely used. Although once it had been used, there was the smell to contend with – it wasn’t exactly a pleasant aroma.
Hence, the nightstand – a small cupboard that could hide the bedpan and therefore dull the smell until the morning when it could be emptied out.
Over time, a drawer was added to nightstand designs to add extra storage (away from the bedpan) and then as indoor plumbing became common the nightstand just remained – instead being useful as a surface for people to store a drink or a book, and then later for alarm clocks and extra design touches such as flowers.
Nowadays people are more likely to use a nightstand to hold their phone overnight, especially if it’s charging from a nearby outlet. But they are still a great way of accessorizing your room as well as being functional. Some have extra features, like cord management, but many are still just simple and attractive bedside tables that complement your bed frame and linen.
Best from Ikea
This attractive nightstand option from Ikea is crisp and white, with simple straight edges across the main unit and the legs. It has a storage cavity for books or any other personal accessories you need to keep close-by, along with a deep storage drawer that can hold a variety of items, including make up or bottles.
There’s nothing too fancy here – a timelessly simple contemporary white unit that would look great decorated with a vase or lamp, although something as simple as a clean modern glass of water placed on top would finish the look just as effectively.
If your room is themed a little darker or you want to show some contrast, this black nightstand might be the better option. The box frame is very modern, and if left clear will add a wonderful touch to the modern design of your home – although you may be tempted to use the space for a little extra storage.
Up top you’ve an open storage space that looks great with a few stacked magazines, and a soft-close drawer, so you won’t disturb anyone if you need to store something away late at night. The wider design fits nicely next to tall beds and means you can easily add a number of accessories if you want to, without it looking overcrowded.
Best from Target
If your room is a little more luxurious and you want a bold nightstand to go with it, this black and gray faux shagreen option from Target could be ideal. It’s a solid and robust unit that will last years, with a metallic frame and four smooth chrome legs. The main body and drawer use the rough texture of the imitation shagreen to stylish effect, working well in a room that is dominated by either white or black shades.
It’s quite a large nightstand too, so again you’ll have no lack of storage space and plenty of room on top to add a vase or other accessories when you’re finding the perfect final touches.
Finley Solid Wood – Gray
Target doesn’t just stock high value luxury items, but also solid and more affordable nightstand options that are simple and contemporary. This 3 drawer Finley option uses a simple block design, and is ideal if you want a functional and clean nightstand with ample storage space.
It’s also available in white and black, and in turquoise too if you’re looking for a more striking addition to your bedroom. If you choose one of the more neutral shades then the classic silhouette and simple metal knobs ensure it will fit into any modern décor.
Best from Amazon
This nightstand is not the most striking of designs but if you want that modern feel and you’re working to a tight budget, this can certainly do the job. The wooden frame is clean and contemporary, while the gray fabric drawers offer useful storage and have a reinforced base. They aren’t the most solid items of furniture, but in a minimalistic room design they will fit in.
You can also choose from a wide range of colors, although many of them are unlikely to fit into a simplistic modern room design, and could instead be useful accessories for the kids’ rooms. These won’t last forever but if you’re starting out with your first home, these can help you create a simple modern style without breaking the bank.
This durable black metal nightstand combines effective storage with a pleasant modern design. The door has a perforated design that helps to hide items you’re storing but adds a unique touch too, while the metal frame is solid and adds to the contemporary look of the unit.
The top of the unit isn’t huge, with most of the storage in the cubbyhole or behind the door, but you’ve got ample room for one good-sized accessory to complement the look, or a tall thin lamp with your favorite book alongside it.
Best Mid Century:
Mid-century nightstands are designed to be compact and minimal with slender legs. They aren’t great if you want a lot of storage space, but in terms of a modern design they are excellent, and will complement many décor choices in your bedroom.
This beautiful wooden mid century nightstand has slim metal legs in a deep black, and a slightly more rustic shelf area that is nice and deep should you need to place a few items inside. The combination of the fir wood and the black metal ensure that this handmade item can definitely work in a minimalistic or contemporary setting, although it is versatile enough for more cozy themed rooms too.
The white-plus-wood look is a staple of many modern furniture pieces, especially those with a Scandinavian influence like this unit. The deep white box is simple, clean and has rounded corners for that modern touch, while the slender West Elm legs are robust and stained to contrasts the bright white shelf.
Best unique modern nightstand
The vast majority of modern nightstands are squared off, just because it provides a simple design choice that is easy to manufacture. So this Jessen option is quite bold in contrast, with a stunning grey shelf and drawer area that is circular, with a sunken top that comfortably holds any accessory.
Again, the classic use of wooden legs and colored shelf ensure this looks clean and contemporary, and while they aren’t the biggest nightstands available they work great as the base for a lamp or floral vase.
This cute, fun twisted nightstand has three shelves and is made from painted wood in either a gray or white distressed finish. The gray option is clean and modern, and perfect if you want a simple space that draws the eye.
You won’t get a lot of storage space here – even with three shelves they are limited in size – but add a book or potted plant to the bottom shelf, a fruit or pot pourri bowl to the middle shelf and a lamp on top and you’ve got a classic modern bedroom accessory.
This Safavieh nightstand combines the best contemporary design with a ton of storage, and while not completely black it does work as a goegeous design piece in a black-themed room. Three large drawers can easily hide a number of items, while the metal frame and faux shagreen texture will contrast stunningly against simple light walls.
It’s the same range as the one-drawer option above but with a black frame it is much darker and bolder, and a real statement piece.
If you don’t want a nightstand that’s too showy, this simple black unit from South Shore Vito is unassuming but still attractive, beautifully complementing lighter colors or dark greys in the room. It is sturdy and has small metallic drawer knobs that just ensure the unit is never flashy, but always pretty.
It’s also clever too – the top of the unit slides apart, perfect for concealing your cables. Leave enough room for the cable to fit through the gap and you can charge your phone and have it to hand without wires dangling all down the back or sides of the unit.
If you want a matching set of nightstands that are effortless and modern, you won’t find many better options that this charming pair. The wooden a-frame and black gloss shelf and main unit are very effective in a sophisticated, contemporary setting, and offer ample storage too.
Grabbing a matching set of nightstands helps to make the bed the focal point of the centre of the room, and with matching accessories will look simply stunning.
If you’re looking for a modern nightstand then you’ve some wonderful choices available in a wide range of budgets. Even if you don’t have much at all to spend, you can be clever with accessories to really take a simple nightstand and make it work against a clean and refreshing backdrop of light walls and dark linens.
And if you do have budget to play with, then you’ll be able to find some incredible furniture pieces that are both extremely functional and absolutely beautiful, either blending into your focal bedframe or taking the attention themselves. Have fun browsing and finding the best nightstand for your contemporary room, and don’t forget to add a few classic books or candles for that finishing touch.