It took me years to track down the exact vintage nightstand I wanted, so let’s discuss but, also, I want to share the secret to a well-styled bedside: having just the nightstand essentials. Your nightstand is often the first thing you see in the morning so if it’s not bringing you joy, as Marie Kondo would say, it’s going to set your day off on the wrong foot. That means you want your nightstand to be beautiful, well-styled, and, probably, minimalist in its accoutrements. Now, let’s get into it.
My Hunt for a Vintage Nightstand
I spent two solid years looking for vintage nightstand. Seriously. I had a random mirrored pedestal table in place that was functional enough, so I didn’t need to rush the process, and, for any of you who prefer vintage out there, you know that it can be a journey. You can’t conjure up the perfect piece out of nowhere (well, if your budget is unlimited you usually can).
Since our bedroom is actually deceptively small, size was my biggest constraint. I needed something 18″ width or less. There’s lots out there in the 20-26″ range, but 18″ is tough. I also wanted both an open shelf and a drawer. Those two pieces were non-negotiables. Ideally, I didn’t want to take on a DIY project, but I wanted it to be good quality, solid wood, and vintage. I was open to wood or painted black.
With all those requirements in place, I shouldn’t be surprised it took two years. Every time we popped in an antique store, I’d pull out my tape measure and search. I spent countless hours on Facebook Marketplace. Nothing.
Then, a few weeks ago in Frederick, MD, I was walking back to our car and passed by a vintage shop. The shop had a farmhouse feel, somewhere I probably wouldn’t have popped in. But, in the window, I saw two mid-century nightstands in black. Open shelf, check. Drawer, check. $140 for both. Omg, yes, check! I ran in, asked the shopkeeper to measure them and, 2 minutes later, was handing over my credit card.
I didn’t need two but, for the price, I couldn’t turn it down. I actually intended to immediately turn around and sell the second but…now I kind of like it in our study (yes, study is how I’m rebranding our guest room since that’s actually what it is…). You can’t beat how well-built these are and, someday, I’ll have room to have both of them. Maybe I’ll even paint them down the road as my decor changes. Who knows, but these guys are here to stay.
Note: for all the details on vintage/antique shopping in Frederick, check out this post.
Bonus: Don’t like the pulls? Swap them out!
You can see the original pulls this nightstand came with in an Instagram post from last month. They were blah. Random rose gold plastic. So, I swapped them out for an easy, inexpensive upgrade. I ordered these $5 resin pulls from CB2.
Note: the pulls have a low rating on the CB2 website but it’s solely due to the variation in color from brown to black. I ordered twice the number of pulls I needed and was able to get two cohesive sets that had more black than brown. They were pretty either way, but I preferred a darker look for these nightstands.
Just the Nightstand Essentials
Okay, now let’s talk nightstand essentials. I’ll throw my husband under the bus for a minute. I always think back to when Adam and I first started dating. His nightstand was covered in papers, random items, and just felt stressful. How can you end and begin your day on the right note when you have to move items in order just to set a glass of water or your phone down?
That’s why I’m always advocating for just the essentials on a nightstand. My stand-in nightstand didn’t even have a drawer and yet I managed to never have have clutter. Now, I do have an open shelf for a bit of styling, but I’ve still tried to keep it streamlined. So, here’s what you need.
If we’re talking purely the nightstand essentials, you (and by you, I mean I) need:
- Small tray for night creams
- Room for my phone and water bottle
- Small dish for rings or jewelry
I don’t need anything else on my nightstand. However, because I do love well-styled spaces, here’s what I bring in to make the space beautiful, while still keeping it minimal:
- Intentionally chosen books, including one that I’m presently reading
- Pretty objet or two — for me, that’s a sculptural candlestick and a lacquered wedding invite
And that’s it! Anything else feels cluttered. And cluttered is no way to start and end the day.
Where to Source Vintage Nightstands
You’re probably thinking, “it took you two years to find a nightstand, should I really ask you where to source vintage nightstands?”
But, yes, yes, you should. All of the furniture in our bedroom, except for the bed, is antique or vintage (are those one in the same? Perhaps). And, for my lingerie chest and Adam’s dresser, I was able to track those down quickly. There will always be those pieces that elude you. These were one of them. However, I do know where to look and what to look for.
Facebook Marketplace is always a great place to start from a convenience standpoint. You can search right on your phone and, as long as you’re patient with messaging and, yes, losing items on occasion, there are gems to be found, often with rock bottom prices. Antique and consignment stores are wonderful because you can actually touch and feel the items but you’re dealing with a smaller inventory — only what’s there that day.