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Before and After: 8 Easy Tips for Styling a Nightstand

by on Jun 26, 2014

Brittni Mehlhoff

Does your nightstand look anything like this one, almost completely bare except for a few remotes and a weird light? Guilty as charged, over here. Until, that is, I took the time to actually style it. Now it looks like a grown up’s nightstand, as opposed to a college kid’s. See how I styled this mid-century nightstand, along with 8 tips for styling a nightstand perfectly.   

What a difference a few new items and a couple of changes will make, huh?

"Bedroom with nightstand,wall hangings and books."Brittni Mehlhoff

Here are my top 8 tips for styling a great looking nightstand.

1. Good lighting: You want to find a light that will illuminate your side of the bed for reading, but is also a good size for the surface of your nightstand. This means you may have to test out a few different lights to find the one that works best for you.

2. Add something soft: This nightstand isn’t the greatest, but it’s not the worst either. It’s the right height and I love the way the legs cross into an X toward the bottom. The only problem is that because we have wood floors and our nightstand is also wood, everything kind of blends together and nothing really pops.

So I added a rug to separate the woods from one another, which creates enough distance for it to work. Bonus! When you have hardwood floors, a soft rug underneath your feet while getting in and out of bed is really nice. *Opt for a light rug if you are looking for a high contrast look between the woods and the rug you have selected.

A wooden table with a blue lamp with a white shade.Brittni Mehlhoff

3. Vary the height: Be sure that the items you add to your nightstand are at various heights – low, medium, high. This will help pull together the look. Books are a great way to prop up shorter candles and vases too, if all of the items you want to use are similar heights.

Another note on height: A good nightstand height is roughly the same height as the top of your mattress. Too much higher or lower than that and you may have a wonky looking bedside table. 

Side table that has books, a jewelry box, and a blue lamp.Brittni Mehlhoff

4. Mix it up: For a nicely styled look, make sure you place items at a variety of angles. For example, I’m creating vertical lines with the artwork and lighting, so I arranged the books horizontally to change things up and situated the jewelry box on a diagonal.

"Bedroom with nightstand,wall hanging and some books on the table."Brittni Mehlhoff

5. Hang artwork: If you’ve been following my previous before and after style posts here on Curbly, then you probably already knew that I would be mentioning artwork. I never style a room without it.

In this case, instead of resting artwork against the back of the nightstand, I hung it a few inches above the table top surface. This freed up a lot of room on the nightstand for other things and allowed me to cut down on the clutter.

A wooden night table that has books, a jewelry box, and a blue angular lamp.Brittni Mehlhoff

6. Add storage: If you have a nightstand with a drawer or bottom shelf you already have storage, but if not, you’ll need some. A small jewelry box on top of your nightstand is a great place to store any jewelry you take off before bed each night. And a flat tray for electronics and remotes will be helpful too, if you have the space.

A hot orange plant sits on books in front of a picture.Brittni Mehlhoff

7. Don’t forget about scents: Add a nice smelling candle or fragrant flowers in a vase to make your bedroom feel relaxing and peaceful.

8. Say no to clutter: When possible, try to group items in odd numbers and steer clear of clutter. More than 5 items (not counting books as separate items) on your nightstand at once is probably too much, unless you have a high nightstand.

Before and after pictures of a bland room transformed into a colorful room.Brittni Mehlhoff

A bedroom has colorful flowers and a lamp on a desk.Brittni Mehlhoff

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  1. Wow… what a change ! The mix of color, very spring time, is refreshing and looks trendy. I never thought a simple rug could change everything, ’cause I think it brings a lot of warmth. What’s the overall look of the room? What do you put behind the bed when there’s artwork behind the nightstand?

  2. Thanks Chris!

    And thank you Marie! You can add another larger piece of artwork over the bed and it would look great, as long as the colors in the piece over the nightsand and one over the bed worked well together. Additionally, if you have a headboard attached to your bedframe, then you’ve already filled a good portion of the above bed space. Then, when you add a long horizontal piece of artwork, the wall will feel filled (but not cluttered). Hope that helps.