6 DIY upgrades to make your bedside table more functional

Simple ways to spruce up your bedside table that will make life that bit more convenient

DIY hacks to make your bedside table more functional
(Image credit: Paul Dyer/Dimitra Anderson / Lulu & Georgia / Arteriors)

There's no feeling more satisfying than having everything you need on hand, and while a bedside table is a great storage option, they often become cluttered and disorganized due to a lack of structure in their design. 

The solution? Customizing your bedside table to make it super organized and functional. Personalizing your bedside table with easy DIY tricks means you can transform it into something practical while complementing your bedroom aesthetic.

Consider your bedroom storage needs to assess how you might like to upgrade your bedside table. Our experts have explained their favorite ways to do so. 

DIY hacks to make your bedside table more functional

'Start by identifying what you need your bedside table to do for you. It could be storage, a place for work, or a spot for your nightly reading,' says Ira Njoroge, DIY enthusiast, general contractor, and owner of My Space Affair.

1. Install a charging station

Bedside table

(Image credit: Photos: Paul Dyer / Interior design: Dimitra Anderson)

Create a dedicated area on your bedside table for charging your devices by retrofitting your existing table with a discreet charging station. This eliminates the need for bulky chargers and keeps your devices within reach.

'Use adhesive cord clips or a small charging dock to keep your cords organized and prevent them from tangling,' advises Shlomo Cherniak, owner of Cherniak Handyman Services. You can attach these to the back of the table or to the legs to prevent cables from tangling. This can be done with adhesive strips, such as this magnetic tape, from Amazon.

'If you prefer to keep your charging cables hidden, you can create a charging drawer in your bedside table,' suggests Shlomo Cherniak. 'Drill a hole in the back of the drawer for the cables to pass through and install a power strip inside the drawer for easy access to outlets.'

Alternatively, consider a bedside table with built-in charging ports, from Wayfair.

3 Pack Cable Organizer Clips | $6.99 from Amazon

3 Pack Cable Organizer Clips | $6.99 from Amazon

2. Install drawer dividers

lulu & georgia bedroom bed with cozy throws and a table at the end

(Image credit: Lulu & Georgia)

Customize the interior of your bedside table drawer with compartments or dividers designed for the specific dimensions of your drawer and the items you will be storing. 

These can be made from made from wood, cardboard, or even repurposed small containers. You can also find size-adjustable ones online to adapt to your changing storage needs.

If you are creating your own drawer dividers from card, you can interlock dividers by cutting slits along divider intersections. Consider covering dividers with decorative paper for a customized and more polished look. 

You can also label sections so the drawers remain organized. You can use this Phomemo label maker, from Amazon. This can help to keep items organized and easily accessible.

3. Incorporate multi-level shelving

bedside table with tray

(Image credit: McGee & Co.)

'Additionally, incorporating multi-level shelving within a compact footprint can make the most of vertical space for storage and organization,' says David Birkes, general contractor and owner of Birkes Builders. This provides additional storage for books, accessories, or gadgets to keep the tabletop clutter-free without taking up floor space.

You can create extra space by adding a small shelf or tiered shelving unit to the side or back of your bedside table. The open shelves provide convenient storage.

This can be made from wood, such as these Brighton wood shelves, from Pottery Barn, or even repurposed items like old crates or boxes. To do this you can install shelves or crates, securing them with wall anchors and screws. You can paint or stain them to match your bedroom decor.

Alternatively, you can attach a wire or plastic basket, such as this hanging storage box, from Amazon, underneath the bedside table to make use of the often-unused space. These can be attached with adhesive hooks or strips to avoid damaging the bedside table.

4. Install an under-table light

Green textured wallpaper in bedroom with floral artwork on walls, cane bedhead and red bedside table and white bedding

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

Install lights underneath the bedside table to provide ambient lighting or to serve as a night light. This can be especially useful if you like to read in bed.

'Attach LED strip lights or battery-operated puck lights underneath the bedside table for a subtle and practical illumination,' recommends Jessica Wilson, co-founder of InYouths LED Mirrors. 'This not only adds a touch of sophistication but also serves a functional purpose, aiding visibility without the need for a harsh overhead light.'

You can choose one with adjustable light and color settings to customize it to the time of day and your usage needs. Opt for rechargeable options if there are no plug sockets nearby.

5. Add a removeable table

Plaster pink bedroom

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

'I always recommend opting for furniture that can do more than one thing – trust me, you'll be so glad you did, because it makes daily life that bit more convenient,' says Millie Hurst, section editor at Homes & Gardens. 'An L-shaped couch with built-in storage, a coffee table with adjustable legs that can become a desk, or a bedside table with a fold-out surface for your laptop.'

Incorporating a tray or a small foldable table to the top of your bedside table can be a great way to create an adaptable extra surface area. 

'If you're into DIY, you can add a panel and hinges to make a bedside table that becomes a mini workstation, or just somewhere to rest your laptop with a YouTube video on while tidying,' recommends Millie Hurst. 'There are some clever bedside table designs these days that you can copy, incorporating a fold-out panel and wheels to give you extra surface area to put your stuff.'

You can check out this Ademaro side table from Wayfair for inspiration. 

millie hurst news writer
Millie Hurst

Millie Hurst is Section Editor at Homes & Gardens, overseeing the Solved section, which provides readers with practical advice for their homes. Millie has written about and tried out countless cleaning and DIY hacks in the six years since she became a journalist, and has worked in both London and New York. 

6. Install hooks

nightstand design mistakes

(Image credit: Arteriors)

Install hooks or knobs on the side of the table to hang items like headphones, jewelry, or keys, keeping them easily reachable. 

These can also be used to hang small organizers, such as these organizers, from Amazon.


What can you add to a bedframe to add storage?

When making modifications, make sure the bedside table is stable and look for options that tie in with your bedroom's style – as one of the first and last things you see every day, it needs to deliver on practicality and style.

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.