3 Elements to a Perfect Bedside Table

“If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.”

—William McCraven, U.S. Navy

I like the idea that you should start every day with something productive you can check off your to-do list, like making your bed. Change your habits, change the world! So what happens when you want to end your day perfectly as well? That brings to the forefront the importance of “setting” your bedside table. Ensuring every element is in place to have a stress-free slumber, and everything is at hand for any middle of the night or morning needs as well!
Top deck with beautiful seating and Chaise lounge chairs designed by Fort Lauderdale yacht designer Patrick Knowles
Photographer Dana Jinkins

There are 3 elements to the perfect bedside table – height, storage and tabletop accents.

The height of a bedside table is important as everything from the snooze button to a glass of water in the middle of the night should be at an arm’s reach. The table should measure as high as your combined mattress, boxspring and bedframe, give or take an inch at most.

Sleek chic gray side table in bedroom with books and a lamp on the top covered with a red and white lampshade
Photographer Christina Strobel

If you are placing a lamp on the table, you will want the bottom of the lampshade to be at roughly the same height as your chin when sitting up in bed, in order to give you the best light. Another rule of thumb is to line the top of the lamp with the headboard (typically approximately 24” – 27” for a table lamp).

Storage in a bedside table is extremely important. On projects we have worked on at Patrick Knowles Designs we have included hidden storage compartments, lighting features and USB and power outlets built-in directly. While in a land-based home I love seeing eclectic and sometimes whimsical bedside accents like a beautiful tree stump turned into a table or a chair stacked with books and reading glasses for a minimalist vibe, however, on a yacht – EVERY inch of storage counts.

Bamboo and vintage marine patterns are featured in a twin berth on a superyacht designed by Patrick Knowles with carved metal fronting a nightstand between two twin beds and a coconut shell tiled wall

Photographer Scott Pearson

When we work with clients at PKD we always ensure their bedside table cabinets or drawers include some reading material, a notepad and pen for easy late night notes and to-do lists for the next day, their tv and smart home remotes and extra bottles of water.

However, in my opinion, there is nothing more important in terms of the bedside table than the accents that reside upon it.


I find four items overall to be of the utmost important when a good night sleep is the goal. 

  1. A tray or bowl in which to place any jewelry one may have forgotten to remove before bed, along with glasses or any other smaller items that you do not want to fall asleep with. 
  2. Fresh flowers which are known to reduce stress, purify the air and overall promote more positive energy in the room. 
  3. A stylish clock. Yes, I know most people use their cell phones as an alarm these days, but I am a big believer in fully disconnecting in order to get the most beneficial night of sleep possible. Place your cell phone in a bedside table drawer and use an analog alarm clock or a blue light blocking digital clock instead!
  4. Finally, to avoid having to get out of bed in the middle of the night, I like to keep a carafe or bottle of water and a water glass next to the bed, and provide the same for all my guests as well.