Nightstand Styling and Decorating Tips

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How to decorate a nightstand like a pro

Bedside table decor can be a little different for everyone. No matter the size or style of your furniture, these nightstand styling ideas will work for you. This simple guide will help you create the perfect blend of style and functionality you’ve been looking for!

nightstand styling and decorating ideas, white bedside table with lamp, family photo, faux flowers, candle, tray, trinket dish

What should I put on my nightstand?

Before I talk about styling, let’s review some common nightstand decor items. We all need a light source in the bedroom. Skip the overhead lights and use lamps for a soft glow. Unless wall sconces are nearby, a lamp will provide just the right amount of light needed for reading, etc.

nightstand styling with a lamp, photo frame and plant, neutral bedroom with cane bed, white nightstand and nuvolette wallpaper, hand knotted rug, nightstand decor

SOURCES: Bed | Nightstand | Lamp | Rug

A bedside table is a great place to keep a coffee table book or two. They’re pretty, can be used to layer other decor, and have interesting content. I use fashion or home interior books as nightstand decor and can flip through them when I need a little inspiration. Coffee table books are so versatile!

In the image below, you can see how I used books as nightstand decor but flipped them around and lined them up with the page side out.

masculine and neutral bedroom with large bedside table lamp, nightstand shelves decorated with books, vertical shiplap

SOURCES: Lamp | Console table

Another dual-purpose option for your nightstand is a small tray or trinket dish. Did you forget to remove your earrings before bed? Now you’ll know exactly where to find them. A tray is used to keep similar objects together – like candles and accessories.

nightstand decor ideas, tray, trinket dish, candle, faux florals, photo frame, lamp

SOURCES: Trinket dish | Marble tray | Candle snuffer

Decorative boxes provide the opportunity for storage and add vertical height to your nightstand decor. Keep some moisturizer or lip balm in them for those dry winter months so you don’t have to get out of bed to get some relief.

nightstand without a lamp, sconce on the wall above the bedside table, scalloped rattan side table, block print wallpaper

SOURCES: Bedside table | Sconce | Velvet bed | Decorative luggage

Nightstand Decor Ideas

  • A lamp or other light source
  • Trinket dish, bowl, or tray
  • Decorative storage boxes
  • Candle
  • Family photo or artwork
  • Real or faux flowers

Nightstand styling isn’t complete without some decorative accessories. This is where you can use things that may not necessarily be functional, but they add something extra to decorate your nightstand.

nightstand decor ideas, small vase with dried flowers, gold frame with photo, textured neutral lamp

A photo, artwork, flowers, or small decorative object will do the trick. If decorating a nightstand in a guest room, focus on things your guests may need during their stay. Most everyone uses their phone to keep track of time, but a small decorative clock would be a nice touch.

Nightstand styling

Now that you have some decor ideas you may be left wondering how to put it all together. Here are a few key elements to keep in mind when styling a nightstand.

The statement piece on a nightstand is usually the bedside lamp. In my primary bedroom, I selected a tall lamp with texture, but in a neutral color. It stands out but doesn’t contrast with its surroundings enough to catch the eye at first glance.

white nightstand with tall neutral lamp, photo frame and trinket dish, cane headboard

As you can see in the image below, a darker lamp against a light background stands out! It blends with the style of the space but adds the contrast I was looking for.

Read my 10 Things That Make Your Home Look Cheap post to see why I mix and match furniture in my home.

small nightstand decorating ideas, black lamp base with white shade on white nightstand, white walls,  white upholstered bed, neutral cozy bedding

SOURCES: Upholstered bed | Lamps | Knit throw

Now you can add in the other bedside decor pieces. To ensure a visually pleasing scene, use a variety of shapes, colors, and heights. Mixing materials and textures is one of the top tips from the pros for a designer look.

For those of you with a minimalist style, a lamp is all you need, especially if your nightstand has drawers or other storage options.

minimalist nightstand decor ideas, black nightstand styled with only a lamp, bedroom has gray and white wallpaper, white upholstered bed, neutral cozy bedding

SOURCES: Nightstand | Lamp | Upholstered bed

Nightstand organization ideas

If your nightstand is a cluttered mess, start by removing everything and starting from scratch. Bedside tables can be a dumping ground, but having a place for everything will keep it organized.

I mentioned above that most of us use our phones for alarms these days. One thing that makes a nightstand look cluttered is the power cords from electronics. My nightstands didn’t come with a built-in charging station so I made my own. Read my easy DIY charging drawer tutorial to give it a try!

DIY nightstand charging drawer, how to convert any nightstand into a charging station, how to hide power cords on a nightstand, clutter free nightstand styling

The top drawer in my nightstand is used to organize jewelry. I don’t have a big collection so this is the perfect spot to store it all. These velvet organizers have a low profile and keep everything separate and secure.

nightstand organization ideas, drawer inserts to organize jewelry

The top drawer in my nightstand is used to organize jewelry. I don’t have a big collection so this is the perfect spot to store it all. These velvet organizers have a low profile and keep everything separate and secure.

velvet drawer inserts for organizing jewelry

You can use drawer organizers to store all kinds of things in your nightstand drawer. Keep some moisturizer or lip balm handy for the dry winter months so you don’t have to get out of bed for relief.

The decorative storage boxes I mentioned earlier are great for storing all those things you need to keep nearby if you don’t have drawers.

Nightstand height

Don’t skip measuring when it comes to finding the right nightstand. Generally speaking, your nightstand should be about the same height as your mattress. In my experience, it’s fine for the nightstand to be a little taller than your mattress, but it looks out of place if it’s drastically lower.

nightstand height recommendations, bedroom with nightstand at same height as mattress, plaid wallpaper, upholstered bed

SOURCES: Nightstand | Lamp | Upholstered bed

If your nightstand is a little low, make up for the difference with a taller lamp. The light should be cast downward if it’s being used for reading.

Nightstand sources

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