6 Easy Tips for Styling Gorgeous, Functional Nightstands

We love just about every aspect of home decorating, but our absolute favorite step in the process is the styling. There’s just something about putting on some music, gathering lots of gorgeous accessories, and going to town tweaking every surface with pretty objects. Anyone else love this step as much as we do?!

Today let’s chat about our tried and true tricks to style a nightstand. A tricky surface that deserves some TLC in the bedroom.

Identify What You Actually Need On Your Nightstand

Like any styling or organizing type project, we think it’s important to start from scratch. Go ahead and clear off both nightstands (this one is from West Elm…such a gorgeous piece!) and start with a blank slate. Look at the pile you removed from the nightstands and set aside everything you absolutely NEED when it comes to a functional nightstand. This may be your glasses, cellphone charger, coaster for your nightly water, all the essentials. Then make a pile of items that you could “style” with but are not necessary for day-to-day operation. Keep those piles right there, we’ll be back to them in a minute.

Add Symmetrical Lights

Instead of fully accessorizing these nightstands right from the start, we are going to break down the process into small steps. The first step is to find symmetrical lighting, one lamp on each nightstand OR one sconce on each side of the bed. Β We got these 2 white lamps for the bedroom we’re styling, and they were such a steal for the pair! The symmetry of 2 matching lamps will be visual anchors while also making your nightstands a bit more functional… especially for our late night readers in the crowd!

Choose Secret Storage

Now we can finally get into the fun part — the accessorizing! We want to accessorize these small spaces with intention because we want them to by stylish, but also very functional. The first “trick” we use is to try and add some secret storage onto the nightstand. A stylish box? A cute mini basket with a top? Anything that can conceal your bedside treasures that are not as stylish (i.e. your retainer, eye glasses, phone charger, etc.) will be secretly stashed in these storage pieces. That way you still have the option to store the essentials, but they don’t have to be an eye sore.

Consider Simple, Meaningful Accessories

We also want to be intentional on what items we use for decoration purpose. This surface is one of the first things you see when you wake up, so we want you to LOVE or feel inspired by everything on it. Do you have a favorite photo of you and your spouse? A trinket from your travels (like the sculpture above)? Or maybe a favorite quote or meaningful accessory that symbolizes something special to you? Walk around your house and see if you can corral a few mini accessories that will not only add a pop of style to this table top, but also some much needed inspiration in the morning.

Here’s an example from Casey’s bedroom. She actually framed a letter from her great grandmother that she cherishes. Not only is it a stylish piece of art, but it’s meaningful to her so it’s even more special in this space!

Add a Pop of Greenery

We love the idea of having a pop of “life” on your bedside. Although we wish we could always have a bundle of fresh flower on our nightstands everyday, we realize this is not always the reality. Instead of fresh blooms, try a pop of greenery in the form of a succulent garden or even a fake piece of greenery. No one will ever know it’s fake, yet it will make your whole room feel fresher!

Vary the Height

Last but certainly not least, we think it’s important to vary the heights of all of the items on your nightstand. This is pretty true for just about any shelf decor and it most definitely applies on the nightstands too. You don’t want all of your decor at the same height visually. The lamps will add height ,but make sure you also add varying heights below the lamp. You can do this with your secret storage boxes, decorative (or functional) books, tall vases, or even plopping the plant on something taller. As long as there is some differentiating height, we think your nightstand will look effortlessly styled and so on-trend!

We find a lot of our accessories for nightstands at HomeGoods. They have quite the selection and it’s always fun to pop in and search for a unique pieces to use throughout our homes. To get you in on the nightstand styling action, we’re giving away a $100 gift card to HomeGoods! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and tell us…what is currently on your nightstand?

Enter to Win $100 to HomeGoods

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  • adina

    On my nightstand, all I keep is a lamp and a framed picture from my wedding. I usually have a bottle of water and my phone at night so I like to keep things clutter free as a feel around form my drink. Great post!!

    • Wow… it sounds like your nightstand is functional, sentimental and clutter free — love that! Thanks for sharing Adina.

  • Kara D

    I’m curious – would you (directed at anyone who is reading this!) place a bed over a heating vent? Currently my bed is placed at a spot in my room where it doesn’t block the hearing vent, but this forces an awkward balance of space on either side of the bed – and therefore I can’t entertain the idea of symmetry unless my nightstands are no more than 15″ wide each!

    I just recently came into possession of my childhood dresser, which is a white campaign style one (just like the one Casey’s bedroom) that I really want to use as my nightstand, however this would force me to move the bed over that vent.

    • Hmmmm great question Kara! If there are other vents in the room it could possibly work. Also, if the bed isn’t completely on the floor (there are a few inches open under the bed), then that would help too! Maybe try it and then if it’s really screwing up air flow you can change it back?

  • H Buchanan

    Currently I don’t have anything on my nightstand! I’m on a hunt for lamps before I try and add anything else.

  • Reva

    Good morning! On my nightstand I have a big pile of books… and 7 empty glasses of water haha. Definitely could use some clearing off and some pretty styling πŸ™‚

    • hahaha that is hilarious! My roommate was like that in college and whenever we ran out of cups we would all go up to her room to gather them up. hahaha

  • Kaitlin M.

    Great tips! I currently utilize lots of those ideas! I keep a vase with greenery and our wedding picture on my nightstand and my husband has a lamp (same height as the vase!) and another wedding picture on his side. I recently added a small ceramic dish that I picked up on our most recent vacation. It’s cute and sentimental but also functional as it holds my rings each night!

  • Jacki

    Book, journals, a small statue, and secret storage that holds hot pad, ear plugs, and other essentials.

  • Erin

    all i have is the light & my charging wires. I really should try to style it. But then that means i have to move stuff to dust!

  • Kathleen Czapla McSweeney

    Frames, kindle, meaningful knick knacks. Still looking for lamps.

    • It’s a tough purchase! So hard to find the perfect ones!

  • Anne Weber-Falk

    I have a light, some books, tissues, antiacids and some random papers. How you keep your night stands so nice looking is beyond me. I can only dream. Sighhh…

  • Right now, I just have a light and a stack of books. My nightstand could use some styling like this πŸ™‚

  • Lucy

    i have a simple jewelry stand, a picture of me and my besties, and a stack of books and journals collecting dust. πŸ™‚

  • Sara Kral

    Love the idea of hanging some meaningful artwork above your nightstands. I have windows behind the nightstands in my room, but I could add frames that stand up on the nightstands themselves. Thanks for the tips!

  • Agnes Glowik

    I have a lamp, picture frame, and and postcards that I’ve received. I should add some greenery though πŸ˜‰

  • Michelle Swingle

    Books, faux flowers, candle, phone charger, light on the wall.

  • AJ Marton

    My jewelry box, books, my phone charger, a box I got from Indonesia and a picture of me with one of my grandmas.

  • Lindsey Hammer

    Do you always recommend matching nightstands or can you do mismatched? If so what tips are important to keep in mind?

    • We think you can definitely do mismatched, but just make sure they’re proportionate. You wouldn’t want one to be tiny and the other to be huge. So make sure they’re similar height and size and you should be good to go!

  • Sarah

    No mention of alarm clocks anywhere?! How would you work these not-so-cute, but fairly essential items onto a stylized night stand?

    • You’re so right Sarah! We actually both use our phone alarms to wake up in the morning, so we don’t style with them. But there are some really cute alarm clocks out there these days that could double as decor!

  • Natalie Vye

    I’ve got a lamp, a small tray for my jewelry, a picture frame, and the coaster my son made in 2nd grade. Also, there’s always a book in there somewhere, but definitely not part of the day to day styling. πŸ™‚

  • Laura

    I don’t currently have a nightstand! But I’m moving soon and plan to buy one. I will decorate it with a lamp, photos, and books!

  • Holly Gordon

    This is a great post! My night stand is very bare at the moment. A lamp on top and whatever random crochet project tucked in the cubby. That would be a great to hide in a secret box! I’m looking forward to using these tips when I finally get around to REALLY decorating.

    • Bare is better than cluttered, right?! Love that you can keep your crochet project nearby.

  • We bought matching nightstands for our master bedroom about a year ago. My husband has a basket of sweaters under his right now (not sure why) and mine is actually still in the box because we had the bassinet on my side for our son’s first 5 months and then I’ve been too lazy to put the nightstand together.

    But putting it together is on my To Do list for tonight! These tips will come in handy as I organize it. πŸ™‚

    • Oh so exciting! And congrats on the new baby Jacquelyn!

  • Kat Hamilton

    We’re getting a new bed soon, and will need to re do my night stands! And what’s NOT on them currently are lamps. I really need lamps….

    • Oh good luck Kat! Once you get some lamps then the fun can begin!

  • Yes it comes in handy! I hide my retainer in mine haha.

  • Less is more! Especially for the first thing you see when you wake up for the day!

  • Kelly,
    Good question! Definitely agree with you on the matching furniture. We try to avoid it in most areas of the home, but matching is best for nightstands. You can do different nightstands, but just make sure they’re proportionate in height and size.
    As for the hubbies..haha great question! Honestly we don’t keep much stuff on their sides besides a cute box. My husband puts his watches and random items in there and it’s all hidden! Or have a nightstand where there is a top drawer and it can double as his junk drawer πŸ™‚

    Hope that helps!

  • Love that you have a his & hers look for your nightstands!

  • Sarah

    Our nightstands need a revamp ASAP! Our bedroom is so dark, as is our furniture and I can’t get rid of our lamps fast enough. These are such great tips!

    • Thanks Sarah! Hopefully you can brighten things up with some nightstand decor!

  • Will Griesmer

    A lamp and a wedding picture.

  • Amy Cheng

    Lamp, coaster, paper, 2 leaning pictures, my planner, a little bowl for my rings

  • Laura Sharp

    cookbooks and other books, and then too many pens and note cards, a lamp and of course our wedding picture! Definitely needs a bit of a revamp..

    • Oh, love the idea of having a pen/notepad nearby for all those late night ideas and reminders. Genius!!


    Too many books that I think I’m going to read and the darn cell phone charger. Not even a light to read all those books.

    • Awww, well we hope if you win you can find the best reading light ever!

  • Kim R.

    Lamp, books, hand cream, vaporizer w/ essential oils (a gift from one of my besties, great for de-stressing!!)

  • Sounds very functional!!

  • Miss Penny Avenue

    May I ask where Casey got her fab Campaign nightstands? I’ve been searching forever! They are exactly what I want and am looking for!

    • They are actually vintage and she had them painted and finished by Megmade here in Chicago!

  • CrystalLC

    My nightstand is so embarrassing! There is only a lamp and a phone on it!

    • Well good luck, hopefully you will win the card so you can splurge on yourself!!

  • Rachel Griesmer

    My night stand has a lamp, book and a ring tree.

  • Tara

    I agree with having a piece on your nightstand that you cherish and can wake up and see every morning! I have a wedding photo and it makes me smile every time I see it!

  • Sarah Taylor

    I have a large lamp, ipod stereo, alarm clock, book, and journal on my nightstand. It is pretty packed. πŸ™‚

  • Sounds perfect Vonya!

  • Jill Steinwender

    There is only room for one nightstand in our bedroom…. Just curious, from where is the sculpture?

    • Good question, Jill! Ryan and Sarah got it on their first trip together…I believe it’s from Costa Rica? They love it as it reminds them of some great memories of that vacation. I figured it must be added to their nightstand!

  • Lizzy

    I keep a flat blue tray in my nightstand that also helps corral everything!

  • Carol Roberts clark

    well i have a dell monitor with securtiy camera feed and a air purifer and a piggy bank go figure

  • Megan

    Love these tips! Can I ask, where is the nightstand from in the “Add a Pop of Greenery” segment with the gorgeous navy walls? I love the combination of the wood and the white in this nightstand and I think this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. This would be perfect for our master bedroom!!

  • PAM

    Lamp, box for change..etc..drinking glasses..remote

  • Helena Swyter

    Aw man, my nightstand is a disaster right now! It’s too small but I’ve been holding out to find something I love.

    • Yes, great idea! You definitely want to end up with something you love.

  • All the essentials!!

  • Katie

    Lamp, book, phone charger and a baby monitor πŸ™‚

  • Jessica

    Lamp, alarm clock, Kindle and moisturizer.

  • Special pictures, that’s amazing! A great way to start and end the day =)

  • Jessica Gipson

    I have my lamp and echo on my nightstand.

  • Stephanie Bevan

    Such a useful post! As of right now my nightstand is a mess πŸ™ˆ We just moved to a new state a month ago (and closed on our first house, so I can definitely relate to Bridget’s excitement, congrats!!) and are still working on getting settled. We’re in need of new nightstands since with the new bed frame we got the nightstands don’t work! But as of right now we have a lamp as the only intentional thing there…the rest of the items include a phone charger, paperwork and random odds and ends. I’m definitely looking forward to styling some new nightstands soon!

  • reglok l

    Mine needs a make over! Currently on my night stand are: ring dish, stack of my kid’s story books, lamp and some pom pom in a milk bottle.

    • Awww, love the addition of your kid’s books!

  • Emily

    My nightstand could use a little love. I purchased a lamp that is gorgeous and I have a stack of books. Thats it πŸ™ Plus my nightstand is an old hand-me-down that is not my style at all. Thats probably why I haven’t taken the time to style it properly.