If your gadgets never leave your side, what better place to charge them then next to your bed? With some inexpensive parts and a few minutes of time, you can upgrade your nightstand into an all-in-one charging station for your gear.
Over the years, we’ve tried a variety of solutions to keep our gadgets close at hand while cutting down on clutter and cost. Short cables tend to fray easily, and longer cables were a bit of a hassle. The solution was clear: ditch the power strip full of individual chargers, ditch all the more expensive long cables, and integrate a multi-port USB charger right into the nightstand for right-at-hand charging where we could use any old short (and cheap!) cable because the USB port is right where the device is.
If you’ve got money to burn, you can actually buy nightstands with power stations built right into them. But considering that practically everyone already has a nightstand, and the premium markup on specialty charging station is ridiculous, there’s no reason not to cheaply (and safely!) roll your own DIY nightstand charging station.
If you poke around online, you’ll find plenty of tutorials on upgrading your nightstand to include a charging element, but almost every one of them involves drilling holes in your nightstand and sticking a power strip or other wall-current device inside it. Instead of doing something destructive that isn’t very good fire safety, we opted to upgrade both of our bedroom nightstands in a simple, safe, and easily reversible way, by affixing a multi-port USB charger in an out-of-sight location on the nightstand with removable adhesive.
We used an inexpensive but highly-rated ZILU 5-port charger we picked up for dirt cheap thanks to an Amazon Goldbox sale—if you want help picking out a perfect charging station for your devices, check out our detailed guide here.
To affix the charger to the nightstand, we recommend the 3M Command brand of removable adhesive strips. If you use the Command Picture Hanging Strips ($4), they separate from each other, like Velcro, so you can remove the charger to take with you while traveling if you wish. It’s easiest to apply them if you stick them together first and then remove the adhesive on one side, pressing them firmly onto the body of the charger, as seen below. Try to space them farther apart as it more evenly distributes the stress and keeps the charger from twisting as you plug and unplug cables.
Before you adhere the charger to your nightstand, there are a few small considerations to ensure you get perfect placement. First, where is the outlet the power cord will be plugged into? Ideally, you’d like to orient the charger body so that it minimizes stress on the cord and naturally aims it towards the outlet (if that’s impractical, consider a lightweight extension cord, if necessary, to provide slack). Second, you want the USB ports oriented in the position that best accommodates the direction of cable travel both while the devices are in use (e.g. you reading the news on your phone in bed) and where the device will be while charging (e.g. sitting on the top of the nightstand, on a lower shelf, or wherever).
Once you’ve experimented with positioning the charger in different places to see how the cables will lay, remove the second adhesive backing and press the charger firmly into place.
With the charger tucked on the backside of the nightstand, we now have access to 5 charging ports less than an arms length away and can easily charge all our devices at once.
While just adding an all-in-one charging spot to your nightstand is an improvement in and of itself, there are a few cheap and quick addition tweaks you can make to improve your setup. With your multi-port setup you’ll have multiple cables in play. Rather than waste time fishing around for the cables behind your nightstand you can keep them right at your fingertips with a simple cable organizer.
We used an old cable organizer we’ve had floating around our home office for ages, but you can pick up a nearly identical organizer for next to nothing, like this six pack of 5-channel organizers for only $8. At that price you can put one on both your nightstands, your desks, and even find other uses for them.
While you’re at it, we’d also recommend slapping a little dot of electrical tape over the indicator light on your charging station to cut down on light pollution in your bedroom—we’ve gone out of our way to dim the blinding glare of all our bedroom electronics, a process we detail here.
In addition, if want to keep your devices from sliding around (or want to dampen the harsh sound of vibration alerts on hard surfaces), you can easily keep things from sliding around or rattling the floor by using an inexpensive mousepad like this one—you can easily dress things up by getting a patterned or leather pad too.
Finally, if you’re charging a lot of bulky items like a tablet, ebook readers, and so on, you might want to take a cue from our guide to picking the best USB charging station and use a letter organizer to store your larger devices safely in their own slots. A simple leather letter sorter is perfect for stashing your devices, large and small, in an orderly fashion.
With a few cheap modifications you can convert your nightstand from a haphazard pile of charging cables and devices to a neatly organized charging station that totally justifies picking up your phone for just one more peek at Instagram before bed.