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06/18/2012 03:06 pm ET | Updated Oct 11, 2012

Buying Guide: Why Your Bedroom Needs Nightstands

We spend at least one-third of our lives in our bedrooms, so creating a restful (yet functional) environment is pretty high on our list. We've got the bed and comfy covers -- check. And plenty of storage for our clothes -- check. What's missing? An essential piece in the bedroom, but sometimes overlooked, is the bedside table. Convenient for everything from that can't-put-it-down book to a glass of water, a nightstand provides a comforting finishing touch. But will all the options out there, how do you know what's a good buy? Check out our guide, below, to find out!

Choose Your Style. While some people prefer to match their nightstands to the style and finish of the other pieces of furniture in their bedroom, others may choose bedside tables in a contrasting material as an eye-catching accent to the space. When choosing a finish that's best for you, make sure to consider its maintenance. If you keep a water glasses or a carafe close to you throught the night, a solid wood piece may not be the best choice, as liquids can ruin the surface. Also to be noted, a shiny finish like lacquer or mirror will need to be wiped down for fingerprints and smudges more regularly that a matte table. When shopping, keep your lifestyle in mind, so your new table will continue to look great.

Consider The Height. You may not think to take a measurement of your bed height before you shop for a new nightstand, but you will be happy you did. The current trend of low platform style beds calls for low profile nightstands, and if you have a raised bed it will make a lot more sense to have a table at a similar height. As a rule of thumb, it is best if the height of your table is within six inches of the bed height, so your personal items and bedside lamps are at a comfortable reach.

Consider Size and Storage. While some nightstands are just small tables with legs, others have ample storage inside for books, your remote control, reading glasses, and other essential items you may want at bedtime. It is best to consider which items you will be keeping inside your nightstand before you shop, and if you prefer to have closed cabinet doors, a series of drawers, or open shelving. Although a large bedside table will fit all of your things, remember to find one that won't extend more than 24 inches from the wall, because anything deeper will get in the way of hopping in and out of bed.

Flip through our slideshow of our favorite bedside tables that are on sale now in a variety of styles, finishes and heights. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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