How to Decorate & Style Your Nightstand

bedside table with minimal decor

The Spruce / Erica Lang 

Your nightstand should be more than just a dumping ground for eyeglasses, loose change, and lip balms. As one of the main pieces of furniture in your bedroom, it deserves to shine. While such a piece of furniture should certainly be a workhorse to some extent, by no means do you need to sacrifice style. We’ve rounded up seven tips on how to create the nightstand setup of your dreams.

Light It Up

One nightstand must: a great table lamp. Make sure that the style you choose is the correct size so as not to appear too small or overwhelm your space. “Be sure the shade fits the stand, so it doesn't feel too big,” designer Katie Davis explains. “In terms of height, we shoot for lamps that are 28 to 32 inches tall overall on a 28 to 30 inch nightstand.” And don't be afraid to pick something with a bit of flair. "Remember, the right lamp can easily act as a sculptural piece of art," designer Suzan Wemlinger notes. "It does not need to only be functional!"

Feeling like your setup will be too cramped? Installing a wall sconce above the nightstand is also an option, Davis says. If you do this, you may be left wondering how to decorate your bedside table’s surface. It’s easy, designer Teri Clar notes. “You can just stack the books you're reading, and maybe a little bud vase on top right in the center.”

Suzan Wemlinger lamp

Photographic Design, Ltd for Suzan Wemlinger

Stash Your Tech

Keep those cords elsewhere, away from your bedside, that is! “We try to urge clients to keep electronics away from their nightstand—plug in those cellphones and alarm clocks somewhere else,” Davis notes. “The bedside should be peaceful.” Not being able to reach your phone without getting out of bed may feel like a negative at first, but you’ll thank yourself later when you aren’t checking for notifications at all hours of the night. 

Get Natural

You want your sleep space to feel zen, and nature can play a key role in helping achieve that goal. “Fresh flowers or potted plants are a must for bringing in a natural element,” designer Holly Hickey Moore says. You may wish to choose something that won’t require too much attention if you lead an extra busy lifestyle but still want to add a touch of green to your bedroom. "There are so many tiny succulents at your local greenhouse; they’re easy to take care of and will always look great," Wemlinger adds.

A candle or diffuser is an excellent addition to a bit of plant life, according to designer Arianne Bellizaire. “These simple and inexpensive items can add so much style and elegance to your space,” she says.

Suzan Wemlinger succulents

Photographic Design, Ltd for Suzan Wemlinger

Corral Accessories in a Bowl

You’re allowed to display the essentials on your nightstand, we promise. The key is just doing so in an orderly fashion. “Accessorize with a small catch-all bowl or tray to contain items that you take off at the very end of the night such as jewelry, hair ties, earbuds, and eyeglasses,” Moore adds. And think about you can incorporate other favorite items into this display. Explains Wemlinger, "A small stack of your favorite books (that happen to have beautifully colored spines!) sitting right next to the bowl gives you a pretty yet functional nightstand vignette."

A stylish box with a lid is also an excellent option and can store a TV remote, designer Eneia White comments. Why not make a style statement while keeping things functional?

Katie Davis nightstand

Kerry Kirk for Katie Davis Design

Add Art

Prop a framed piece of art atop your nightstand, print out a favorite photo to display, or even just frame a favorite greeting card or postcard that will bring you joy. Artwork is an important component of styling any vignette and will add instant color and personality to even the smallest of corners. Select an image that will lift your spirits, as it may be the first thing you see before you drift off at night or open your eyes in the morning.

Suzan Wemlinger

Photographic Design, Ltd for Suzan Wemlinger

Choose a Coaster

Placing a coaster atop your nightstand will help protect its surface for years to come while still allowing you to sip all of the water, wine, or coffee your heart desires while lounging in bed. If you do happen to leave a glass on your nightstand for a bit, it will look less like clutter and more intentional.

Keep it in Check

It can be so easy to style a beautiful setup but then witness clutter slowly start to accumulate as the days and weeks go by. It’s therefore important to make an effort to tidy your nightstand the way you would any other part of the house. Throw away candy wrappers, place loose hair ties in a small jar, and return empty mugs to the kitchen. You’ll appreciate having had the foresight to make these small improvements when you return to your bedroom at the end of a long day and are greeted with a peaceful sight. Our surroundings can so significantly impact our moods, so why not make a little extra effort to boost yours?

Suzan Wemlinger

Photographic Design, Ltd for Suzan Wemlinger