How To Decorate A Nightstand

The table next to your bed is more than just a place to dump reading glasses, spare change, and mugs of tea. As one of the key pieces of furniture in the bedroom, the nightstand holds plenty of style potential. With just a few decorating tips and tricks, you can easily design the nightstand of your dreams.

No matter your style, the first step to creating a cool nightstand setup is to choose the right table for your specific room. According to The Spruce, the most important thing to keep in mind is proportion. A bedside table should not be too big or too small in relation to your bed and the rest of the room. On average, a nightstand is between 24 and 28 inches high, so that you can comfortably reach for items on the table. Once you've found a properly sized table, you'll want to ensure you have enough space for storing functional items like a water glass as well as some decorative objects to express your personal style. Here are tips for mastering the art of nightstand decorating. 

Invest in chic bedside lighting

Your bedside table is one place where you will definitely want to have a reliable light. After all, there's nothing worse than fumbling around in the dark for a water glass or having to stumble out of bed to turn the light on. According to The Strategist, a good nightstand light sets the mood for sweet dreams and cozy reading time. There should be no bright office lighting around here! Ideally, the lamp you select will have a dimming function so you can lower the light closer to bedtime and an on/off switch that's easy to access. 

In terms of size, the nightstand light should be about one-third the width of your table so that it doesn't take up too much valuable space (via Hunker). Of course, you will also want to find a light that speaks to your personal style and complements the rest of the bedroom's décor.

Decorate with greenery to make your sleep space feel more zen

In addition to a lamp, every bedside table could benefit from a bit of natural beauty in the form of plants. There are plenty of houseplants that look amazing and have the power to rid the air of toxins, making them perfect bedside companions. According to Clever, certain indoor plants create a healthy environment for sleeping by absorbing toxins like benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde, as well as emitting oxygen for fresher air. 

Don't have a green thumb? Don't fret! There are plenty of low-maintenance houseplants that are easy to care for and thrive at different light levels. For example, the pothos plant adapts to different lighting conditions and will survive if you forget to water. If your nightstand gets direct sunlight, the Echeveria succulent is a beautiful option to consider. Other great indoor plants for nightstands include peace lily, Monstera deliciosa, and orchids. 

Promote relaxation by keeping a scented candle on your nightstand

Lighting a candle before bed is one of the best ways to relax and let the stress of the day melt away. Between the soft light of the flickering flame and the dreamy scent, candles instantly create a calming atmosphere in the bedroom. Just remember to put them out before falling asleep! 

While there are countless candles to choose from, some scents are more sleep-friendly than others. According to Apartment Therapy, the most famously soothing scents include lavender, chamomile, jasmine, rose, and sandalwood. Lavender in particular is a popular choice for promoting sleep and stress relief (via Refinery 29). Lighting up a candle infused with one of these essential oils or herbs will set the mood for a better night's sleep. However, since scent tends to be fairly subjective, you may have to test out a few aromas before settling on the perfect votive for your nightstand.

Display a small stack of your favorite books

There are plenty of reasons why reading is a staple in many people's bedtime routine. According to Headspace, opening a good book before bed promotes cognitive function which in turn reduces stress and mental noise. Reading engages the imagination, allowing our mind to dream up narratives, stories, and faraway worlds. While the mind is active, the body is able to relax and slowly calm down for sleep. However, not all reading is created equal. Skimming through a news article on your phone can negatively effect your sleep schedule, since the blue light from your screen upsets melatonin production.

Stay away from blue light by keeping a stack of beloved books on or around your bedside table. You can include familiar favorites as well as new books on your reading list. To avoid over-cluttering your nightstand, keep the book stack neat, tidy, and small enough to not overwhelm the table.

Store your essentials in a cute box or tray

All too often, our nightstand becomes a dumping ground for hair ties, change, breath mints, and other random objects. To stay organized, keep a decorative box or jewelry tray on top of the table for storing these odds and ends. According to MyDomaine, a jewelry box can help keep your favorite necklaces and bracelets looking like new by protecting them. To prevent scuffs and damage to more delicate pieces, choose a box that features lined compartments and hooks. The best part? No more tangled chains or lost earrings! 

A jewelry tray also makes for a versatile nightstand decoration, since you can set jewelry and other objects here at the end of the day. If you have a lot of rings, a ceramic hand is a stylish and functional option that complements most bedside tables (via Urban Outfitters). Not only can you decorate the hand with rings on the fingers, but you can also wrap bracelets around the wrist. 

Hang up artwork that makes you smile

While nightstands are typically short on space, decorating with a few beautiful art pieces is a good way to spark joy. Choosing art that brightens your mood is important, since the art on your bedside table might be the last thing you see before falling asleep and the first sight that greets you when waking up in the morning. According to Society 6, taking time to appreciate art can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. If you feel emotionally connected to a particular piece, looking at it can even trigger dopamine and good feelings to put a smile on your face.

Once you've picked out specific art for your nightstand, you can either hang it up above the table or lean it against the wall. Create a gallery wall by hanging up a series of related images or just stick to one statement piece. Even if your space is small, having a soothing painting or sentimental photo displayed will make the nightstand feel more personal.

Keep a cool coaster on hand

A glass of water is a nightstand essential, but water and other liquids can leave behind stains on tables if not properly cleaned up. Wood is especially vulnerable to water marks. To cut down on stains and water rings, decorate your bedside table with coasters. According to The Spruce, coasters are a cute and effective way to stop condensation from staining a table's surface.

Ideally, coasters should be thick enough to stop liquids from leaking through and wide enough to comfortably hold your glass. Standard coasters are about 4 inches wide so you can use them for larger mugs and glasses. As for material, fabric and ceramic coasters are your best bet in terms of absorbency (via Bustle). To prevent coasters from scratching or leaving marks on your table's surface, look for soft materials like cork and cloth with anti-slip features. And of course, choose a coaster that reflects your personal style. From rose quartz to seagrass, there are tons of unique options available (via The Spruce). 

Include a small clock for style and function

While many people use their smartphone as an alarm clock, there are benefits to making the bedroom a phone-free place. According to Apartment Therapy, if you keep your phone next to your bed you're more likely to disrupt healthy sleep patterns and have trouble falling asleep. Whether checking emails first thing in morning or scrolling through notifications in the middle of the night, having our devices within easy reach does more harm than good.

The good news is that making the switch to an old-fashioned alarm clock will help you get a peaceful night's rest and wake up effectively. While the sound isn't exactly pleasant, there are lots of alarm clocks out there that are easy on the eyes. From retro styles and small digital clocks to glowing light alarms, there's a style out there for everyone (via Camille Styles). When decorating your nightstand with a clock, make sure it doesn't take up too much real estate and fits proportionally with the rest of the items.

Bring some magic into your bedroom with crystals

Whether counting sheep, meditating, or listening to the sound of ocean waves, we all have our go-to method for falling asleep. Some people swear by the power of crystals for promoting better sleep and well-being. According to Well + Good, there are specific crystals that you should incorporate into your bedtime routine. Stones like amethyst, selenite, rose quartz, and lepidolite all make for beautiful decoration. With stunning color and energy, crystals complement every décor style and won't take up too much room on a nightstand.

Each crystal has unique properties and strengths. Rose quartz is a popular crystal for the bedroom since it inspires love, joy, and heart opening. Placing a stone or two on your bedside table will help encourage your inner romantic. Alternatively, amethyst is perfect for connecting to your dreams and intuition. If you are having trouble calming a restless mind before bed, celestite is best for you.

Lean a mirror against the wall

No bedroom is complete without a mirror or two. Whether you need a trusty looking glass or just want your room to feel more open and airy, mirrors are amazing multitaskers. According to Apartment Therapy, mirrors are an affordable way to brighten up dark spaces and make rooms appear more spacious. Placing a decorative mirror on your nightstand adds personality and style, and ties the room together. To get a brightness boost and add cool ambiance, position the mirror next to a table lamp, candle, or window.

While it's common to hang mirrors above the bedside table, leaning a mirror against the wall creates a creative, undone look. You can set them up over each side of the bed for symmetry or hang up a mirror on one side and an art piece on the other (via The Spruce). Pairing mirrors with artwork will add layers and dimension to your bedside table.

Showcase items from your travels

One of the best ways to decorate your nightstand area is by adding unique items from your travels. Whether it's a photo of you and your loved ones on a trip or an art piece you picked up while backpacking through South America, travel mementoes make your bedside table feel like your own. According to Landmark Fine Homes, displaying special travel souvenirs adds a personal touch and gives your nightstand some eye candy.

Looking for decorating inspiration? Start by taking inventory of your travel trinkets. Maybe you have an old silver hair clip from a market you visited on vacation or a few postcards you can hang up on the wall. Ideally, the pieces should hold special memories and help dress up your nightstand. To ignite your wanderlust for the future, place a globe or compass on your table as decoration or hang up a map marked with all the places you've been or want to visit.

Select colors that complement the rest of your bedroom

When deciding on nightstand décor, color is an important element to keep in mind. According to The Spruce, your bedroom color scheme should ideally incorporate your favorite colors. Think about the different shades you naturally gravitate towards and aim to fill your room with colors that boost your spirits. Your bedroom is where you spend most of your time, after all! 

If you don't have a favorite color, you can also choose a color scheme that corresponds to a decorating style. For example, Mediterranean interiors feature lots of warm earth tones like brown, light green, and dark red, while coastal décor draws inspiration from the ocean with blues and whites. Alternatively, if your bedroom features a statement piece of art, let it inspire the colors of the rest of the room. If all else fails, you can always fall back on a monochromatic color scheme. 

Stay hydrated by placing a water carafe or glass on your nightstand

By now we all know that we should be drinking about eight glasses of water each day, which is why it's important to keep water accessible on our nightstands. Whether reaching for a glass in the middle of the night or quenching your thirst in the morning, having water by your bed will ensure you stay hydrated. According to Vogue, keeping a water carafe on your nightstand not only looks chic but also serves as a reminder to stay healthy and drink more water. Since these containers often hold multiple glasses of water, you can cut down on trips to the kitchen.

From bold and bright creations to minimalist glasses, there are lots of different carafe styles to choose from. Selecting a carafe that looks just as good as it functions will brighten up your nightstand area and enhance your décor. To make midnight pours easier, opt for a spouted carafe.

Keep the space organized and tidy with storage solutions

Once you've chosen the perfect nightstand and arranged your décor to perfection, there's one last element you'll need to complete your nightstand setup. Storage! If your nightstand has drawers, you can easily stow random knickknacks out of sight. As reported by The Spruce, installing drawer organizers helps make the most of your storage space and keeps items conveniently organized to help you locate them quickly. Store the items you use regularly in higher drawers, keeping less-used items down below. 

If your bedside table has shelves instead of drawers, utilize your space effectively by placing a cute storage box or basket on the shelf. Shelves are also a good spot to keep magazines and books. Just be sure to clean regularly, since bedroom furniture tends to collect a lot of dust. Washing bedding, vacuuming, and replacing your air filter are also ways to fight the battle against dust (via Apartment Therapy).