Top Designer Tips to Style Your Nightstand

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Nightstands have a way of attracting clutter with everyday use. Is there really a way to organize the items we keep close at hand every night? We spoke with top interior designers to find out their favorite ways of maximizing this small surface while making it a stylish focal point in the bedroom. Instead of using your nightstand as a catch-all, you can style it to be functional and attractive with these simple ideas:

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Get creative with personal touches


Interior designer Lisa Gilmore, known for her colorful and glamorous design, shares her out-of-the-box tips to style your nightstand in unique ways:



    • Books: Choose some pretty books — it can be color, font or subject that attracts you — and make a neat little stack.


    • Table lamp: Have fun with your table lamp. It can be an artistic piece or something that complements the whole room nicely. Make sure that the scale is appropriate for the space you have.


    • Personal touches: Add something a little whimsical or sentimental. Those little pieces make a nightstand go from boring to perfectly styled!


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Style with technology in mind


Los Angeles-based interior designer Mark Cutler offers practical tips for incorporating your tech needs while styling a beautiful nightstand: “I think the first rule of thumb is to start with what you need. Are you a tech person with a bunch of remotes? Then find a beautiful box to store them in.” 


How we use our nightstands should also determine how we style them. “Another thing to consider is: What do you want to see first thing in the morning?” Cutler says. “A framed picture of your family? An alarm clock? Or maybe just glorious open space? Try to make the nightstand a reflection of you. As a general rule, my nightstand always has a decanter of water, a cool retro alarm clock, a book or two, a vase with fresh flowers from my garden and a tall table lamp.”

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Consider functionality


Margaret Ash, a leading San Francisco-based interior designer, offers a formula for styling your nightstand to create the bedroom of your dreams:



    • Design: It’s important to start with a good foundation — the nightstand itself! Choose a nightstand with a drawer and/or lower shelf so you can hide the clutter and stack your books, magazines and iPad underneath.


    • Lighting: Lighting in a bedroom is key, as you want to create a warm and gentle ambiance to set a calm environment for bedtime. Choose a lamp that doesn’t take up the entire nightstand. If your nightstands are small, opt for a sconce mounted on the wall above the nightstand so you have more surface area for styling and storing the essentials.


    • Mirrors: If your room is small, a mirror mounted on the wall behind the nightstand can make the room feel bigger.


    • Ring holder or jewelry box: A box or small plate to hold your ring, watch and trinkets is important to help keep your bedside table organized.


    • Family photos: Having one professional photograph of a special milestone like a wedding or newborn photo is a nice way to remember the important people in your life. Make sure the frame doesn’t overpower the picture. Sterling silver frames or gold leaf frames are always best.

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Incorporate feng shui


Feng shui principals promote balance and positive energy in any bedroom. Feng shui expert Patricia Lohan claims that “the bedroom needs to represent rest, romance and relaxation.” When it comes to a nightstand, she says that equilibrium and balance is key. “For relationships, we want harmony and balance, so both sides of the bed need to be treated equally.”

To create a peaceful sleeping space, Patricia recommends incorporating solid wooden nightstands, soft-toned lamps and uplifting books. If you want to go even further, try placing a picture frame or object with inspirational quotes on your nightstand.

Above all, Patricia suggests keeping your nightstand uncluttered. Having too many items beside your bed may affect your sleep.

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Avoid clutter


For some bedrooms, the best approach to a nightstand is simplicity. This helps keep the space relaxing. The Ida York Design Group agrees — here are their five simple tips for the perfect bedside space:



  • Keep it simple: Clutter has a way of stressing us out. Make sure your nightstand has built-in storage for all of your bedside accessories. Leave the top for essential accessories like a clock, lamp, phone, etc.


  • Add a plant: Plants are continuously evolving accessories that you can customize over time. Not only do they look great, but they also create better air quality.


  • Be consistent: Bed frames and nightstands are an investment. Make sure they all match in style and color so your space feels visually consistent.


  • Refresh your look: A quick and inexpensive way to style an outdated nightstand is to add contact paper to the top. Contact paper comes in many colors and textures, allowing for endless possibilities.


  • Mix and match: Use the same color while mixing different shades, patterns and textures throughout your nightstand accessories.


A nightstand doesn’t have to be an afterthought in your bedroom; with careful planning and a few intimate touches, it is a great instrument for bringing serenity to your sleeping quarters. Which items are must-haves on your nightstand?