Do You Need Two Nightstands? [Design rules and suggestions]

Whether you have just moved or are redecorating your bedroom, you might find yourself debating whether to add a second nightstand. We researched this to see what the consensus is to help you decide how best to furnish your bedroom. 

No hard and fast rule requires you to have two nightstands. It depends on your personal style and your storage needs. Most people prefer to have two nightstands in the bedroom because they help achieve symmetry in the design and increases storage space.  

There are a few decorating principles that you need to take into consideration, as well. Keep reading for all the details!

No hard and fast rule requires you to have two nightstands. It depends on your personal style and your storage needs. Most people prefer to have two nightstands in the bedroom because they help achieve symmetry in the design and increases storage space.  

Determining Your Night Stand Needs

There are a few things that you need to take into consideration when you are deciding whether you need one, two, or no nightstands: 

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Room of the mahogany shade lamp. wall is bright. This expensive antique furniture is made in England. bright background soft focus image.

  • Achieving symmetry
  • Managing space
  • Maintaining scale

Adhering to these principles will give your bedroom a professionally decorated look. 

Do You Need a Nightstand?

Before we go any further, we should decide if you even need a nightstand. From a purely practical standpoint, they act as storage, but this oversimplifies their use. Nightstands are not a glorified closet. They can hold a lamp for late-night reading, water for a midnight drink, or a charger so your phone can stay by your bed. If you’re the kind of person who usually reads before bed, wakes up to get a drink, or sleeps with their phone, you should keep a nightstand by your bed.

How Many Nightstands Should Be in the Bedroom?

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Elegant lamp on table near color wall.

If you share your bed, it’s obvious why you could use a second nightstand. No one wants to wake up to their partner climbing over them for some water. But what if you sleep in your own bed? Well, this brings us back to our three decorating principles: achieving symmetry, managing space, and maintaining scale.


The human eye loves symmetry. That’s why the Taj Mahal looks so beautiful to us. If we can make our bedroom symmetrical, it will help our bedroom look beautiful as well. Draw a line down the middle of your bed and try to make both sides match. A second nightstand goes a long way toward achieving this symmetry.

Managing Space

But we shouldn’t sacrifice our other two principles. Managing space is essential because a cluttered bedroom will stress you out. If you find yourself tiptoeing around your furniture, you need to clear out some space, even if that means losing your second nightstand. On the other hand, nightstands can act as storage if you have a bunch of clutter lying around. Either way, if you create enough space for your room to breathe, you will feel less stress.

Maintaining Scale

You could try to create space by using smaller nightstands, but then you might not be maintaining scale. If your nightstand is too big or small compared to your bed, then your design will look off. In general, your nightstand should be about the same height as your mattress. Most nightstands measure about 20” wide and 20” deep, which works well for the popular Queen size beds. If your bed is larger or smaller, your nightstand should be too.

To summarize, adding a second nightstand will create symmetry, so it is recommended. However, if the second nightstand doesn’t leave enough space for your room to breathe, don’t buy it. Don’t try to cheat the system by using smaller nightstands unless they are already too big for your bed. If your bedroom décor follows these principles, you will have a pretty and relaxing environment to sleep in.

Click here to see these on Amazon.

Do Bedroom Sets Come With Only One Nightstand?

Vintage​ side bed​ lamp​ on​ the​ wooden​ bedside table.​ Retro bed​ room interior​ design.

If you usually buy your furniture in sets and want two nightstands, you will be able to find bedroom sets with those specifications. However, this is by no means universal, so always double-check before making your purchase. In the worst-case scenario, you can usually buy a second matching nightstand separately.

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Can End Tables Be Used as Nightstands?

Rather than buying a second nightstand, could you repurpose your end table as a second nightstand? Yes, but be careful. End tables are generally shorter than nightstands, so you should check the height to make sure it isn’t too short for your bed. They also offer less storage. If neither of these is a concern for you, you can use an end table as a makeshift nightstand.

The only other concern worth mentioning ties back to our principle of symmetry, but with some thought, you will have no problems. Mismatched nightstands are a thing, and they can look great! If your end table is the same color or has a similar style of design as your nightstand, you will probably be pleased with the result. If not, try to increase the illusion of symmetry with identical lamps or mirrors.

Click here to see this end table on Amazon. 

What Do You Do If You Don’t Have Room For a Nightstand?

chinese lamp style on table side in luxury bedroom

 If there is no room for a nightstand, then you should look for alternatives that fulfill your needs. As stated before, common functions include providing a light source, holding your glass of water, or storing your phone and charger. You could try a clamp lamp if you only need light, a lamp with shelves, a floating shelf by or above the bed, a small stool, a bookcase behind the bed, or even a stack of books. Keep your needs in mind and get creative!

A modern designed lamp placed on a nightstand beside a bed, Do You Need Two Nightstands? [Design rules and suggestions]

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