Combination Nightstand Desks – Space Saving Home Office Ideas

Working from home is hard, for more reasons than one. No space, no privacy, no routine, no work-life boundary? Getting to work in your PJs probably sounds a whole lot less glamorous than it did a few years ago. Parents of young kids are often first in line to head back to the office, hoping for a little quiet, uninterrupted time to work. But if you still have to work remotely on a semi-regular basis and don’t have a dedicated home office with a door that closes, it might be time to move your setup into your master suite.

A Home Office By My Bed?!

Animage of a traditional bedroom with a long antique desk in place of the nightstand, with a large dressing mirror behind it.
Exchanging your nightstand for a desk lets you make better use of the space beside your bed, while keeping blue light out of your eyes at bedtime (by Jarrett Design, LLC)

It might sound crazy at first. After all, two of the cardinal rules of remote work (and good sleep hygiene) are: don’t work where you sleep, and keep blue light out of your bedroom. But if you’re at your wits’ end and need a quiet, private place to get some work done? There’s none better than your bedroom. More importantly, tossing out your nightstand and replacing it with a nice desk is actually one of the least invasive ways to put a home office in your bedroom.

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Why In Place of the Nightstand?

An image of an industrial style bedroom with a machine-shop style metal desk in place of the nightstand.
The biggest advantage of a nightstand desk is that it puts your workspace – and computer screen – out of view while you’re in bed (Photo by Daniel Green)

Putting your computer perpendicular to your bed means the screen will never shine in your eyes while you’re laying down. Ditto for working early or late while your partner is trying to sleep. Almost anywhere else in a bedroom, the lights from the computer, monitor, mouse, or screen can disturb your sleep. Putting your computer kitty-corner from your bed or across the far wall all end up with your monitor pointing right at your bed – and visible when you lay down. But the close, sharp angle of a nightstand desk re-orients you 180 degrees from the way you face while you’re sleeping. That spares you from looking at it while you’re trying to sleep and tricks your brain with a different view while you’re working.

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Surface Space

A simple modern bedroom with a minimalist wood desk in place of the nightstand
Depending on how cluttered or clear your nightstand is, your laptop might be competing for limited space (by Interior Marketing Group)

The big sacrifice you’ll make by replacing your nightstand with a desk is simple: you’ll have less nightstand space. Even if the desk is bigger than your nightstand (which it should and likely will be), your bedside clutter and work clutter will probably end up competing. This is a big concern for people who heavily use the tops of their nightstands for storage (and/or tend to keep messy desks). But if you mostly use yours for a glass of water and a lamp, the swap is one you’ll hardly notice – either in bed or while you’re working.

A Home Office With A Small Footprint

A simple teen or guest bedroom with a ladder-style desk in place of the nightstand.
Putting a desk in place of your nightstand means consolidating two pieces of furniture into the space of one – leaving you more room to put other furniture elsewhere (by Brighton Homes)

Having a desk in your bedroom is far from a new idea. It’s common, in fact, for most people who have a bedroom to themselves; from kids in school to college grads in their first apartment. But master bedrooms are furnished for a couple. That doesn’t leave much room to shoehorn in a spare desk – let alone two. If you have enough space to replace one or both of your nightstands with a desk, though, not only will you add utility to the room, but you’ll do it without overcrowding the space. That’s particularly important if you’d like to add other furniture – like a chair or two for a private reading corner – in the space you’d otherwise dedicate to a home office.

No Cubicle In Your Bedroom!

An image of a contemporary bedroom with a small antique writing desk in place of the nightstand.
As much as possible, choose nightstand desks that have the feel of quality furniture rather than cubicle-gray throwaways (by Frances Herrera Interior Design)

One of the harder parts of maintaining a good work-life balance when you work from home is simply that you can see all your work equipment even when you aren’t on the clock. If you put a desk in your bedroom, it’s doubly important to try to counteract this. So no generic office furniture, if you can help it! You should, of course, have a chair that’s rated for the amount of time you’ll spend in it. But envision your desk as something closer to a dressing table – somewhere you could sit down, relax, and do a little self care – not just a place for paperwork!

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Modern Desks for a Flexible Design

An image of a modern bedroom with a simple two-tier extendable desk in place of one nightstand.
An adjustable modern desk will help you make the most of limited space, while drawing a soft line between nightstand and desk surfaces (by Will Wick)

Vintage dressing table look doesn’t quite fit your aesthetic? Look for desks that will let you disguise your home office in other ways. Lots of modern desks are multi-function. I particularly like ones with adjustable or extendable tabletops. In a bedroom, this would let you pull the desk out to its full length, but also tuck it away out of sight either when you want it out of the way, or you simply don’t need it anymore. Also, while modern desks have simple, minimalist designs at a glance, they also often have hidden storage that allow you to easily stow away your laptop or paperwork if you want to keep the surface clear and clutter free.

There’s no one perfect way to build a home office. But if you’re running into the problems of needing more privacy and quiet, or if a desk elsewhere in your bedroom is disturbing your sleep, it might be worth swapping out your nightstand and giving this new layout a try.