Do You Want An Antique Bedside Table

Do You Want An Antique Bedside Table

Dec 02, 2023

So what exactly is the bedside table, and why did we have them?

Most people have a bedside table next to their beds.

But have you ever wondered how this came to be, and are you leaning toward the style of an antique bedside table for your bedroom?

The Antique Bedside Table Beginnings

It was found that the first recorded use of the word “nightstand” or you could also call it a bedside table was in 1852, though the word “night table” goes as far back as 1772.

As far as it is known of course…

The nightstand as they called it because this design had draws where many bedside tables did not.


The primary function of the bedside table was to contain the home’s chamber pot.

Now, for people who do not know what a chamber pot is. It is a portable toilet that people used when they had to relieve themselves during the night.

Getting caught in the middle of the night is nothing new, and most houses in those days did not have plumbing or running water as we do now, because electricity was also not invented then. This is for the younger generation if they did not know.

They are also known as the:

  • bedside table
  • night table
  • day stand
  • bedside cabinet

So the invention of a chamber pot or another word that you can call it the Peo, was the best way a person could go to the toilet without braving the journey to go outside to the toilet near the house.

Let’s face it…

The last thing you want to do is get up in the middle of the night especially if it was cold in your night clothes and take that journey to the outside toilet right?


Getting back to the main subject here, the nightstand or bedside table is a small table or cabinet designed to stand beside a bed or somewhere else in the bedroom.

The modern nightstands of today are usually small bedside tables, they can often be with one or sometimes more drawers and shelves if you so choose.

Some might have a small door to them as well, but this is less common. Especially with the bedside tables of today.

But with the antique bedside table, you most probably will find them.

These antique bedside tables were used to keep items that someone would often use when in bed when they were wanting to read.

For instance, a book is very often placed on the top of the bedside table, and one of the most important things in the old days was the candle.

A source of light that you could go to bed with and put out directly without getting up out of bed when you wanted to go to sleep.

However, today as we have progressed with electricity and so much more.
They are often used to support items that are and also might be useful during the night.

You need to be prepared, don’t you?

Items like bedside table lamp, tissues, the telephone, glasses, and we can not forget the night drink, and also medication, is normally put away in a drawer at the bottom of the bedside table if it has one.

Really, the main function of the nightstand years ago was to keep the chamber pot near.

And as things progressed as they normally do.

These early nightstands often became small cabinets as people saw them as more than a place to hold their chamber pot and wanted the bedside table to hold other things as well.

See also "Small Bedroom, Big Style: The Best Chair Options for Your Space"

I can understand that…

So, they were sometimes fitted with a drawer or two or three even…

And they usually contained an enclosed storage space as well below, covered by one or more doors as time went on.

You could say they evolved to our needs.

There is another term for these new cabinet designs, and they were also given such as the commode.

  • Italian antique nightstands
  • Spanish antique nightstands
  • French antique nightstands

These nightstands usually have one drawer and enclosed storage space with just one door.

Much like the antique bedside table, they could also be embellished with such things as a gold leaf finish.

And they did not stop there, especially with societies like the French, whose furniture at the time was elaborate and also could be seen in bronze or parquetry inlaid for instance.

But these elaborate designs were mainly for the higher class that had the money to spend on such extravagancies.

A nightstand itself is typically defined in meaning as a small, low bedside table that usually has drawers for you to put your belonging in.

Whereas a bedside table is defined as just a small table beside a bed without draws.

Both are still used today, it just depends on what you are looking for yourself that will make that decision.

If you do just want a bedside table, to can make up for the draws by having an antique bedside table where the design itself will bring a sense of style and classic elegance to your bedroom.

Sometimes when it comes to furniture, less is more and gives off an impact that a bulky piece of furniture does not.

Can I Use A Side Table As A Nightstand?

That’s an interesting question...

The two pieces of bed stands are very similar to each other anyway…

They could really be used interchangeably if you like, but only if their designs are simple and versatile in design.

Actually, nightstands and bedside tables typically have comparable dimensions to them.

The standard height for both the nightstand and the bedside table is about 25 inches.

The antique bedside table is an alternative if you are looking for an older style and more elegance.

I for one prefer the older look to the modern look of the furniture. I think it is the elaborate design that does it for me.

I am however not so fond of the modern minimalistic design.
But that is me, and there are a lot of people that do favor the modern design of bedside tables.

The antique bedside table does not have to be expensive, if you want the originals you will have to pay for them. But there are many antique bedside tables that are made today as replicas.

So not only can you find them in the shops, but you will also find them online.
If you still want a fairly old bedside table, you can sometimes find them at second-hand shops.

But rarely will you find the original antiques as they are snapped up by the antique dealers who are always looking at garage sales, for instance, to build up their inventory.

The best you can usually do is find antique bedside table replicas at these places, and to me they are fine.

They look the part and do not have that expensive price tag on them either.