Nine genius bedside table ideas

From personal experience, I can tell you furniture companies are charging extortionate amounts of money for night tables. The asking price for potentially the tiniest piece of furniture in your home can start at around $200 and, of course, you need to buy two of them.

If storage isn't a high priority for you and you simply need somewhere to rest your lamp, book and tea, then empty your West Elm and Freedom baskets and look for an alternative solution.

A vintage suitcase

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These are actually pretty easy to track down on eBay. To use one on its side like this, it will need to be in good shape (they tend to warp) and you'll need to weigh it down with something quite heavy like a brick or two. Alternatively, you can also try to stack one or two cases for something a little larger and more stable.

Old fruit crates

Vintage or new, a fruit crate is a pretty great option - it gives you a little bit of storage and looks industrial and cool. Giving one a coat of white paint is a good way to style it up with a very low degree of difficulty. Bunnings stock a pine option that is ideal for painting for just $36.

Magazine stack

Finally, a use for those dozens of magazines you can't throw out though will never read again. Works for books too, of course. Stability is key - no one wants to wake to the disorientating sound of a magazine landslide in the middle of the night. This designer has bound them using a hardware store tie-down that will set you back around $4.98.

Simple chair

These are genuinely inexpensive to pick up and are super practical; you can always drag it into your lounge room for additional seating when guests are over. There are plenty of distressed looking options on eBay starting from as little as $30. For a more industrial look, these Target Carlisle chairs are perfect and come in a range of colours.

Wood log

For the lumbersexuals, there's always the option of foraging in a nearby nature reserve or neighbour's firewood pile for the perfect stump of wood. Sanding it back until it's smooth and giving it a coat of polish will make it look chic and lessen the chances of splinters while reaching for your reading glasses.

Ladder

For the true minimalist, you can always get away with using a ladder. It holds books and blankets competently, and looks fancy enough - clip-on lighting fixtures like the Ginza from Target ($25) will solve your lighting issues. If that's all too impractical, there's a great K-Mart version with wider slats that will hold all of your bits and pieces for only $39.

Floating shelf

Cheap, effective and choose the right combination and it looks super sleek. There's an exhaustive range of options at Bunnings starting at around $25.

Stool

The humble stool is going to be cheapest and easiest option. Plus the IKEA Frosta version at $19.99 looks straight out of a designer Scandinavian home.

Storage cart

Another cheap and easy IKEA hack to round out the list. You'll find the humble Raskog cart all over Pinterest being used to store craft in kids' rooms, cocktail mixers in the kitchen and documents in the study. It's also super practical as a bedside table, and at $79 it offers lots of storage in a cute, statement colour.