Nightstand alternatives that are so cute and functional, you won't go back

Apologies to the OG, but these nightstand alternatives are making us seriously reconsider our bedroom options

a variety of nightstand alternatives including a storage bench, floating shelf, and stool
(Image credit: Amazon + Urban Outfitters + Wayfair)

A good night's rest doesn't require a nightstand. Alternatives, in fact, are growing in popularity and turning tried and true rule-followers into converts. Think you're willing to give something new a shot?

Though you have permission to put whatever you want next to your sleep sanctuary, design experts are in favor of a few finds that have been making the rounds on FYPs and beyond. Now's the time to take note. 

If you're interested in exploring the best nightstands out there that'll revamp your small space, we have you covered. Cheers to some shut-eye — and whatever you end up deciding to use next to your bed. (Those trunks!)

6 trendy nightstand alternatives we love

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We all know the importance of a good bedside table, but if the traditional options out there aren't appealing to your design senses, don't sweat. There are a number of different swaps you can make that will still hold all your nightstand essentials but aren't your run-of-the-mill tables. 

1. Floating nightstands

floating bedside drawer in a pastel colored room

(Image credit: Etsy)

Can't scrounge up enough floorspace to plop a nightstand? Well, have you checked the wall? (No jokes here, friends!) 

"Use vertical spaces wisely," advises Artem Kropovinsky, an interior design expert and founder of Arsight. "Wall-mounted shelving can elevate a room's design while providing necessary storage without crowding the floor." And we'll admit: a floating bedside table does look awfully chic, don't you think?

2. Bedside shelf or caddy

bedside caddy from natural life

(Image credit: Natural Life)

When it comes time to set up shop in a dorm, there are some non-negotiable items: a comfy bed, a sturdy desk, and, of course, a mini fridge. Nightstands typically go unnoticed on college campuses, so it's important to have a bedside caddy of some sort to keep your cell and other important trinkets in check. And heck, even if your graduation day was — well... let's not say when — you'll still appreciate this little extra support next to your pillow.

3. Ladder shelves

Ladder shelf in bedroom by Oliver Bonas

(Image credit: Oliver Bonas)

A nightstand is a valuable piece of real estate, especially when you have a lot of trinkets. Of course, your phone/alarm needs to be close by, but you don't want to forget about that adorable picture with your partner, that mushroom lamp, that new book you're reading, that cute planter and succulent, your moisturizer, or... you see where we're going with this.

"Opt for tall dressers or stackable organizers to utilize the often overlooked vertical space in your bedroom," suggests Mark Buskuhl, founder & CEO of Ninebird Properties

If your goodies start to pile up, you're going to be forced to look up. Everyone is emphasizing the importance of vertical space, yet somehow it seems to be discounted. Taylor Swift isn't wasting any blank spaces, and neither should you.

4. Stools

stool as a nightstand

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

While stools make for fun accent pieces, why not give them a bit more of a serious responsibility in your room? Substitute your nightstand for one and have fun creating a personalized zen space that keeps your necessities in place. 

5. Storage trunks or ottomans

pink room from pottery barn dorm with a white trunk as a nightstand

(Image credit: Pottery Barn Dorm)

The beautiful thing about a storage ottoman is that it's a fun piece to jazz up with quilts, throws, and pillows. Even better? It holds everything you need in one place. Storage trunks take the organizational bliss up a notch when they're stackable. Cute, practical, and space-saving? Do go on...

6. Vanities

a purple vanity next to a bed

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

Think of vanities as an extended version of your nightstand — but with extra beauty finds. By swapping out a nightstand for a vanity, you can get a place to prep and a bedside staple all in one. Needless to say, handheld mirrors are a must.

Meet the experts

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York

Mark Buskuhl
Mark Buskuhl

Mark Buskuhl is the founder & CEO of Ninebird Properties, which specializes in buying, renovating, and selling dozens of houses every year. Ninebird Properties takes on the most challenging projects, including fire-damaged homes and transforming them back to a beautiful space.

In search of more inspo for your sleeping quarters? We'll help you make the room cozier than ever. Check out our article on how to give your bedroom a refreshfor free!

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.