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For the American talk show parody, see Night Stand with Dick Dietrick.
Modern bedside table

A nightstand,[1] alternatively night table or bedside table, is a small table or cabinet designed to stand beside a bed or elsewhere in a bedroom. It serves the role of a coffee table[citation needed] during nighttime hours, at a person's bedside.

Before indoor flushing toilets became commonplace, the main function of a nightstand was to contain a chamber pot.[citation needed] As a result, early nightstands were often small cabinets, sometimes fitted with a drawer, and usually containing an enclosed storage space below covered by one or more doors. Another term sometimes given to such cabinets was commode.

Traditional nightstand 
Traditional nightstand showing space (lower) for a chamber pot 

Modern nightstands are usually small bedside tables, often with a drawer. They are often used to support items that might be useful during the night, such as a lamp, alarm clock, mobile phone, desktop intercom, reading matter, a glass of water, or medication.

French, Italian and Spanish antique nightstands usually have one drawer and an enclosed storage space with one door. They can be embellished with gold leaf finish, bronze or parquetry inlaid.


The first known use of the word nightstand was in 1892.[2]


  1. ^ "Night table". The Free Dictionary By Farlex. Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  2. ^ "Night stand". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2012-05-18.