If you have come to our house in the past few months, you might have noticed a strange arrangement in our family room. When we got our new couch, we donated our old one, along with our coffee table. We wanted to start fresh. However, time slipped away from us, and we still haven’t gotten a matching coffee table. To improvise, we’ve brought in the nesting tables that previously served as guest bedroom nightstands.

With a guest visiting this weekend, I have to find a solution. I don’t want to rush a furniture purchase, but I also don’t want to give up the function of our makeshift coffee table. Instead, I’m looking into alternative nightstands:

Shelf it

Wall-mounted shelves are perfect for smaller areas. They don’t take up any floor space, and they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Try spray painting a plain shelf to add a pop of color to your room.


Do work


You can pull double-duty by moving your desk into your guest bedroom. The surface is large enough to store a lamp, clock, and even a vase on one side, while leaving the remaining space open for writing or using a laptop. Simply pull it close enough to the bed so that it’s within reach while the bed is in use.

Pretty up

A vanity, like a desk, can serve double-duty. Not only can it hold the night-stand essentials, but with a mirror and an upholstered stool, you’ll also give your guests their own special spot to get ready (that’s not the bathroom).

Bring the outdoors in

Borrow from your garden and use a planter stool. I found a great metallic one at a local wholesale club for less than $30. You can also use wooden logs or colorful inverted planters. What I like most about these is that they are an unexpected way to boost indoor style, and they also serve as a subtle reminder of the natural beauty of the outdoors.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.