Style is not bounded. A personal aesthetic will not be cordoned off or compartmentalized. Rather, it is pervasive, organically informing and directing every decision about oneself and one's environment, even when the environment includes that most quotidian of home furnishings: the bedside table.
While today's bedside tables can still be functional, utilitarian pieces, they are all but exalted artworks compared with their humble medieval ancestors. In the days of straw beds, wall torches, and wolves in the gloomy offing, our euro-forebears answered the midnight call of nature with the aid not of a flushing toilet, but of a chamber pot. Chamber pots being what they are, the more modest and tasteful m'lords and m'ladies desired some means of concealing these necessary receptacles. Thus, the first bedside tables were less tables, and more cabinets with a solid door, preferably one that shut tightly. The point was to hide the pot, not to have the remote close at hand.
That said, brushes and perfumes, linens, and perhaps a candle or two have usefully graced bedsides from Elizabethan, to Victorian, to contemporary times. At each stage, the platform on which they sat reflected the prevailing design ideas of the era.
... To Innovative Advances
No longer in need of chamber pots (or ways to conceal them), modern bedside tables must be responsive to modern problems and challenges, not the least of which is where to put a bedside table when there's barely a bedside at all. In any number of dorms, urban lofts, and basement apartments, beds may be shoved against walls or tucked into alcoves. Yet the need to have tissues, a glass of water, or medication within reach during the night persists. What's a frat guy or metrosexual to do?
If he's enterprising enough, he might try rigging up a floating beside table. The idea behind these ingenious improvisations is to make use of the space you've got by attaching the arm from a gooseneck or architect's lamp (or any other jointed or bendable arm) to a mounting bracket, and attaching the bracket to a wall, or to the bed frame itself. Fit a flat surface to the end of the arm and you've got a "table" that you can push up and away from the bed when you're ready to sleep.
... To Tasteful Accents
For the more discerning (and less spatially challenged) of us, the bedside table is an important piece of the aesthetic whole that is our home. To meet our needs, designers have created tables in every possible style, size, and color. Shaker styles with drawers and bookshelves integrate well with a home heavy on wood accents, while spacey chrome and glass cubes can finish off a gleaming, modernist space. Options, of course, abound, and ultimately whatever you can imagine for your home, you can bring to your bedside.