We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
– Prospero, The Tempest
Sleep is sacred, and the bedroom, the domain of dreams. While the bed is a playground of desire and respite, it is the bed’s companion piece, the nightstand — that low-slung sentinel set squat next to the frame, quiet, unobtrusive, infinitely handy — that holds our most sacred items. It keeps the life of repose within an arm’s reach: literature, technology, hydration. And, it remains a gallery of the sacred heirlooms: the nautical compass from Nantucket, the Brahma statuette from Cambodia. The nightstand has room for all, and with proper curation, it keeps on balance the utilitarian, the lofty, the memorable.
For our ultimate example, we picked a Mid-Century Modern-inspired, handcrafted, one-drawer walnut version. The matte finish brings out the grain of the wood, and the smaller size — 18 x 18 x 24 inches — allows it to pair with a low bed and a New York-sized apartment. It’s also small enough to limit a stockpiling of goods; above all, the nightstand isn’t a catchall — it’s a curated place. Equip it properly, and the sacred items of the bedroom will be respected, preserved, and when the time comes, at your service.
And tucked in the nook.
The outer nightstand is for the finer things, the superego on display. A lamp — the anchor point. Never underestimate the power of your lumens; the proper light offers ambiance for the room, and illuminates the items of the nightstand. Literature keeps something more close at hand; sleep next to the greatest minds. Candle, cologne, water, feathers, not flowers.
Geo F. Trumper Cologne: $51
David Kind ‘Clover’ Glasses, in Granite: 295
Heath Ceramics Bud Vase: $25
Baxter of California Soy Candle: $55
Lufthansa D-Aqui Model Airplane: $70
Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow: $8
In the Drawer
Room for surprises.
Safety, utility, pleasure, and the means to escape (the passport stays near), they’re all contained within. During the day, the drawer stays closed; at night, it’s an opportune opening to the jotted note of inspiration — pencil, never pen (spilled ink?) — a nip of sleep-aid, an uncovered thrill.
It’s all about the extra 10%.
The nightstand is your own — the things you read, the comfort of your favorite slippers, a scent that’s distinct. Cash, hidden but not forgotten, is there when needed. Slippers welcome in the morning. A stack of printed inspiration — something to slow down with. Wind the watch, light the candle, grab a magazine, find repose.
Then he groans, prone on the bed, holding to the
covers, holding to the turning earth,
and he sleeps.
– Sharon Olds, Sheffield Mountain Ode