How to Style your Nightstand

After years of designing residences, I’ve learned the importance of styling. Most people want that “wow” moment when they walk into a finished space, and sometimes even a room full of new furniture isn’t enough to elicit the response I want my clients to have. The little details like flowers, artwork, picture frames, and lamps pull a room together making it truly feel like a new and finished space.

One of the most neglected areas in a home, when it comes to styling, is the nightstand. It’s a place to set a glass of water, a lamp, and an alarm clock, but it can serve a much greater purpose, a space filled with personality. Think about it. You wake up with it staring you in the face every morning and go to bed next to it every night. The nightstand can exude an atmosphere of clutter and unattractiveness or organization and beauty. A well-styled nightstand can set a positive mood that starts and ends your day.

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There are no steadfast rules for styling a nightstand, but there are certainly design elements that will make a nightstand stand out. The most important thing to remember is that your bedside table is your personal space and, as such, it should reflect your style and needs. For example, a bedside table in a master suite will look different than one in a child’s room because they serve distinct purposes; however, you can apply the same design approach to each.

When styling a chic, functional bedside vignette, I use lighting, accessories, personal items and finishing touches to make it work. Some of my favorite “go to” items include:

1. Lighting. Lamps, sconces, and pendants not only fill the vertical space above the nightstand, but also provide functional light for reading and ambient light for relaxation. After all, it is a bedroom right? Who wants to get out of bed and turn a harsh overhead light on and off? Not me.

2. A tray, decorative bowl or box provides the perfect space to store jewelry, remote controls, eye glasses, or other items that need a hiding place. A solid, horizontal item will ground the collection on the night stand. A stack a books is another idea if you don’t need the tabletop storage.

3. A sculptural item, whether it be a figurine, natural element, or a artsy alarm clock will soften the difference between the vertical and horizontal items as well as add interest and a playfulness to the space.

4. Accessories, such as a candle, flowers, or plant are the final touches needed to complete the space. A bit of nature and a nice aroma provide just the right finishing touch.

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A few additional tips:

1. Consider hanging or leaning one or two framed pieces of art, photography, or wall decor, as seen in the photos above. These items fill the vertical space as well as add pattern, color, and shape.

2. If you have open nightstands, place a stack of your favorite books or magazines or a basket with a throw on the bottom shelf.

3. If you need additional storage (as is typically the case with one-drawer or open nightstands), use a box or basket placed under the nightstand or on the bottom shelf to conceal lose items.

I’ve pulled together selections from for styling a nightstand two different ways. The first is a fun, eclectic mix with natural elements and a pop of color. A perfect combination for a west coast beachside bungalow. The second has a modern, glamour appeal that would fit nicely in a luxurious master bedroom. You’ll notice the same design elements in both: a lamp to fill the vertical space, a tray to ground the collection, a sculptural item to add interest, and a natural element to complete the look.

Items found on to create an eclectic mix with a west coast vibe:



Items found on to create a modern, glamour look in a chic master bedroom:



Click on the images above to start shopping! Happy styling!