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Should Nightstands Be Higher, the Same Height, or Lower Than Beds?

A photo collage of bedroom nightstands.

Your bedroom is the place where you go to be calm after working all day, and it should be your safe place. Every part of your room needs to be focused on your comfort, and that’s why I firmly believe your nightstands must be the same height as the top of your mattress. 

It can be a little bit taller, but not much, or you won’t be able to pick up and put down things as easily. Like Vera Wang said:  “My bedroom is my sanctuary. It’s like a refuge…”

Your nightstands can make your life a lot less comfortable if they’re too low or too high, so I encourage you to make sure you have yours at the perfect height.

What Is the Proper Nightstand Height?

Close-up of bed and dark wood nightstand topped with table lamp, clock, vase, and picture frame.

Naturally, the height of your bedstand depends on your bed and mattress, and how high they are. Generally, you want a nightstand that is about two to four inches taller than your bed. This way, it is a lot easier to reach for things like water during the night.

Reaching for something lower than your bed is actually very uncomfortable, I’ve found, so it’s best to avoid such a situation. Grabbing something from a nightstand that is at the same height as your mattress, or just a little bit higher, isn’t uncomfortable, especially when you’re lying down.

You’ll find that most commercial nightstands are somewhere between 24” and 28” tall, which I think is a good height.

Does It Matter What Type of Nightstand You Have?

Bedroom with a wooden platform bed paired with a round nightstand.

Your bedroom should be a space where you can be calm and peaceful, and every piece of furniture should promote that calm and peace. 

Actress, entrepreneur, and cookbook author, Ayesha Curry knows the value of a bedroom where you can step away from the world and be yourself without judgment. She says: “My happy place is my bedroom. I love it”

If you don’t feel that way, it may be time to update your bedroom, and one of the first places to start is your nightstand.

Nightstands come in different shapes and sizes, but there are three main types that you’ll find most commonly in shops and online. 

There are bedside chests that are great for folks who need a little extra drawer space to keep things they like close at hand, like socks. They’re like cute little miniature dressers!

Then there are bedside cabinets, which are like mini cabinets. If you’ve got something chunky like a big alarm clock you want to keep out of sight, these are awesome.

Finally, there are bedside tables. Although they can look really nice, these pieces of furniture aren’t very functional. If you like a minimalistic look, they’re perfect.

So, does it matter which one of these you choose? Does the same height rule apply?

I think so, yes. Regardless of your choice of type of nightstand, it is important that you’re comfortable when using it. This is especially true if you are older, have some kind of disability or injury, or have arthritis. 

An act as simple as reaching over for something on your nightstand can become a most painful move. This can not only keep you up but leave you in pain for a long time after.

As you can see, the height of your nightstand is about more than just comfort. It can make the difference between reaching over with ease and having a terrible night of pain after one small wrong move.

Things to Keep In Mind When Choosing Your Nightstand

There are several things you must remember when choosing your level nightstand. I won’t bore you with too many technicalities. I’m just going to give you a brief look at the most important considerations.

Proper Measurements

Top view of a gray tufted bed and a wood-top nightstand.

It is easy to look at a nightstand and measure with the naked eye, thinking it’s about the same height as your bed. Then you get home with your new furniture and…it’s not the perfect height.

To avoid this frustration, measure your mattress’s height on its frame before you go shopping. If you have an adjustable bed, you can adjust it to whatever height is best for you. Remember that when you note down the ideal height of your new nightstand.

Your nightstand should be the same height as the top of your mattress, but you can allow an inch or two higher if necessary. Don’t settle for a height that isn’t exactly what you measured it should be, you will regret it later!

Storage Space

You should consider the height of your nightstand as well as the storage space. Does extra storage matter to you?  Do you have precious items you want to keep close to your bed? Perhaps somewhere to store your phone charger? If so, choose a nightstand with good storage space and the perfect height.

Surface Area

A round nightstand topped with a flower vase, clock, and blank artwork complements the metal bed.

Do you have a big bedside lamp you want to keep close at hand? Do you love reading and want to keep your books close? Then look at the height as well as the surface area.

If you can’t find a nightstand at the best height with a good surface area, I recommend you buy additional furniture to keep your books, glasses, etc.


Okay, the style of your nightstand is entirely up to you. Just don’t forget to stick to your measurements!

Choose a Level Nightstand for the Most Comfort

Pink bed paired with a white nesting nightstand.

I think you have to stick to a nightstand that is as high as the top of your mattress. If it has to be taller, then only a little leeway should be allowed. If you use a nightstand that is too low or too high, you’ll ruin the comfort you’re supposed to feel in your bedroom — your private sanctuary.