Objects of Desire: Our Nightstand Essentials

Nightly routines are an entirely personal (read: interesting) topic. While you can't judge a book by its cover, you can certainly judge a man by the contents of his bedside table. (Trust me on this one, gentlemen.)

Photograph by Victor Prado; Prop styling by Philip Shubin.

Nightly routines are an entirely personal (read: interesting) topic. While you can't judge a book by its cover, you can certainly judge a man by the contents of his bedside table. (Trust us on this one, gentlemen.) Which brings us to this month's Object of Desire topic. To find out what items get prime nightstand real estate, we asked a few tastemakers for their dos and don'ts of bunking down for the night.

Get comfy. You just might learn something before lights out.

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Photograph by Victor Prado; Prop styling by Philip Shubin.

By day, Hôtel Americano general manager Marco Celia runs a destination that prides itself on globe-trotting luxury with an eye to quirky perks (think bento-box breakfasts, oversize soaking tubs, and designer beanbag chairs). No surprise that, come vacation time, Celia's a self-confessed sucker for turndown services and special touches from high-end sheets to well-stocked minibars. Equally essential to setting (or resetting) the mood? A well-scented—and well-designed—candle. He keeps rooms stocked with Izola's sandalwood-scented variety ($35).

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Photograph by Victor Prado; Prop styling by Philip Shubin.

Steven Rojas manages social media for downtown Manhattan celebrity meccas The Soho Grand and Tribeca Grand. He also swaps a vintage Rolex for a Garmin running watch ($229) each morning and counts device docking stations and universal charging mats as a "huge plus" when it comes to bedside hospitality. "It's always a wow factor to find yourself within [immediate] reach of useful technology," Rojas notes.

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Photograph by Victor Prado; Prop styling by Philip Shubin.

And while we're on the subject, recharging yourself is equally key. Bunkhouse Group's Liz Lambert (the mastermind behind Texas go-tos Hotel San Jose and Hotel St. Cecelia) was the first—but certainly not the last—insider to note that a glass of water within arm's reach brightens a morning-after anything. (Lambert helped handpick the signature recycled-glass decanters at St. Cecilia, the Kartio Carafe, $75.)

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Photograph by Victor Prado; Prop styling by Philip Shubin.

According to Airbnb global hospitality director Chip Conley, the same rules of thought—and thoughtfulness—apply when it comes to expected guests, friends, and family. "I appreciate if the host knows a little about me and has some of my favorite junk food, newspapers, or magazines handy," says Conley, who prefers to keep things simple—at the moment, "Tom and David Kelley's Creative Confidence [$19] and a big glass of water"—when it's time to shut down for the night.

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Photograph by Victor Prado; Prop styling by Philip Shubin.

When it comes to leaving the lights on, Noa Santos, cofounder of the interior-design start-up Homepolish, suggests that swapping an Edison bulb for a traditional one keeps things dim enough to not disturb your bedmate.

"A nightstand is never complete without a proper light source. Beside the lamp, I keep a small leather Moleskine notebook. I usually work late into the night—I'm writing this at 4 A.M.—so I often fall asleep with ideas still whirling in my head. When they surface, I need a way to quickly jot them down."

Share your nightstand essentials with us on Instagram at @detailsmag #objectsofdesire.

Top photo credits:

  1. Vintage sunglasses case, $25; selimaoptique.com 2. Five-year diary, $25; canoeonline.net 3. iPad mini, starting at $399; apple.com 4. Prada iPad case, $295; prada.com 5. Sol Republic headphones, $40; solrepublic.com 6. Frette Rigoletto pitcher, $95; frette.com 7. Arne Jacobsen clock, $150; momastore.org 8. Santiago Gonzales money clip, $145; bergdorfgoodman.com 9. Jan Leslie shark cuff links, $395; janleslie.com 10. Paula Greif striped platter, $150; loveadorned.com 11. Harri Koskinen block lamp, $144; fjorn.com 12. Kingsley seven-day pill box, $15; smallflower.com 13. Montblanc pen, $555; montblanc.com 14. Eames Elephant miniature chair, $230; vertigohome.us 15. Tom Ford eye cream, $75; neimanmarcus.com 16. Cathay Pacific sleep mask; cathaypacific.com.

    —Tiffany J. Davis is a writer-editor living in Brooklyn. Say hi at tiffanyjdavis.com.

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