Dresser or chest. Rather than restricting your night-table furniture to the small or low profile you might go bold with a relatively large piece of furniture like a dresser or chest of drawers. This can provide much-needed extra storage particularly in a narrow bedroom. The key with a larger piece is to create balance. When the bed is placed in the middle of the wall add another large piece of furniture to the other side; a second dresser or a desk typically will work. Be sure both pieces are similar in height and width to create a more symmetrical look. Adding lamps of the same height on either side of the bed can add to the harmonious effect when your night tables don't match. Tip: If you opt for two different lamps and they are not exactly the same height place one or two books beneath the shorter lamp to give it the extra height.
Hang wall-mounted reading lights close to the sides of the bed or above it (about 6 inches from the edge of the mattress or headboard). Place them at a point that makes sense for the position in which you read: sitting straight up stretched out on your stomach etc. You want the beam to shine directly on the page not at an oblique angle. For maximum flexibility choose articulated reading lights that you can adjust to suit your height and your reading position. Go for a style that focuses light in a narrow beam rather than diffusing it over the surrounding space.
Trunk or suitcases. To add a vintage look to your bedroom go for those old and weathered suitcases you've had your eye on in the thrift store. Stack them together and place a sturdy tray on top for a fun DIY night table. Opt for a variety of colors to create a design feature in the room or get crafty and paint your suitcases the same color for a more Shabby Chic look as in this photo. Similarly pull that old trunk out of your attic. The large surface area can easily accommodate a lamp and other decorative items. Carry the vintage style of the trunk into the rest of the room by scattering around small accessories like old photo frames or an antique mirror. Tip: The storage space inside a trunk is a perfect place to stow extra blankets.
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Fresh romantic. Pure linen sheets or pillow shams flowing white curtains and fresh flowers are musts for this look. Practicing a bit of restraint will keep it from veering into froufrou territory — a bit of a ruffle perhaps but skip the floral prints. Walls painted a pale minty green provide a soothing backdrop.
Tool chests are not just for the handy. They can be a solid piece of furniture with ample storage. Their typical sizes — 18 to 48 inches wide and in a variety of heights and depths — can easily fit the space next to a bed. Most tool chests come in a glossy color — red and black being the most common — and can be purchased for less than $100. Or perhaps you have one in your garage just waiting to be repurposed. Either way a tool chest is a multifunctional storage piece that can add character and quirk to your bedroom. Tip: Try a tool chest as a nightstand in a kid's room. The bright colors multiple drawers and small scale can add useful storage and a pop of color to your child or teen's room.
Step stool. A repurposed step stool is a smart budget-friendly and space-saving substitute for a night table. Whether designed for a child's room the kitchen or the garage stools often have small proportions that are good for small spaces. A typical step stool measures 15 to 18 inches wide and about 21 inches high making it a good fit for many beds. Tip: Since a table lamp might take over much of the surface area of your step stool consider installing a wall sconce above it instead. That way you'll have room on the stool to place books reading glasses or a vase. If your bedroom allows space pair the stool with a similar-size furniture piece on the other side of the bed.