How to Style Your Nightstand

You may not think about it, but your bedside table can be stylish too! Look no further for the best tips on how to choose, organize and style your nightstand.

An organized multi-tiered nightstand next to a made bed.
Meg Allan Cole

With a little design and organization, your bedroom can be a relaxing oasis that helps you ease into sleep each evening. After a long and busy day, there is nothing better than climbing into bed to take a deep breath and finally relax. However, after you’ve finally gotten cozy there is something especially irritating about having to search to retrieve glasses, lip balm, night cream or any other of the many items needed for an evening routine.

Having an organized and styled bedside table is not only a big part of the design of your bedroom, but it can also be an asset in the function of the room in general. With the right bedside table and some helpful design tips, you’ll be able to have and store everything you need in an organized fashion, enabling you to ease into relaxation without interruptions. First, let’s make sure you have the right bedside table for you.

Tips on Finding Your Perfect Bedside Table

  1. If you are in the market for a nightstand, finding one with storage can be a game changer. A drawer or two can be really helpful in keeping items you need on hand without visual clutter. A nightstand with multiple tiers provides more than one level of space and can be organized with attractive-looking vessels or stacked books from your to-read pile.
  2. Make sure the top of the table is the same height as your bed — or close to it. This way it’s easy to reach over and get your glass of water without spilling it, and to feel for things you need in the middle of the night. It’s also ideal if you use the app! If you need to adjust the height of either the table or bed, consider getting risers.
  3. Vintage stores, thrift shops and Etsy are all great places to locate unique vintage or newly handmade pieces in any style and from any era.
  4. Feel like you’ve been looking for ages and still not finding the color or style you want? Get a basic nightstand with the storage you want, and DIY it the rest of the way. A coat of paint and new hardware can give any basic old beat-up piece a fresh new look.
  5. Don’t have money in your budget for something new? No problem: Shop your own home! Look in the other rooms of your house for a dresser, bar cabinet or end table that is around the height and size you want, and reimagine it as a nightstand. If you have a pair, even better!

How to Style It

Now that you have your nightstand, you can begin styling it. Everyone has their own personal style, so it’s important to put your individuality into your design. Choose the style you want your bedroom to embody, and let that vision guide you every step of the way. The key to creating your bedside table design is simple: Choose the types of materials you want, and use them in a strategic way to hold the items you need for your bedtime routine.

For example, if you are a minimalist who prefers a clean, sleek look, pick one vessel with smooth, clean lines, and use it as storage and leave the rest open and minimalistic. For a modern look, a marble box keeps items tucked away, and a geometric trivet is a great home for your water glass. For an organic, boho look, try a woven basket to corral your nighttime routine and a faux plant to bring a little nature indoors.

A light colored wood nightstand with two woven baskets on top holding an eye mask and glasses. The drawer is open showing the organized contents inside it.
Meg Allan Cole

Making It Functional

With style settled, let’s make it work for you. I recommend going through your nightly routine and gathering the items that you use regularly before bed and first thing in the morning. This could be lip balm, a glass of water, hand lotion, a book, glasses, your prescription meds, a dream journal, even remote controls. Simply bring together whatever you really need when you’re in or near bed. With your items gathered, divide them into sections so you can begin organizing.

Various woven baskets with commonly used nighttime items such as lip balm, remotes, and glasses.
Meg Allan Cole

Organizing the Top of Your Nightstand

Ideally you want to keep the top of your nightstand as clutter-free as possible. Studies have shown that the less clutter we see, the less stressed we feel. To help with this, try utilizing wall sconces instead of a bedside lamp. This will leave a lot of space on the top of your nightstand to work with. Once the table top is clear, you can take the organization containers you picked earlier and start arranging things to work for your habits. A pro tip for anyone with a lot of knickknacks that they just can’t part with is to consider installing small floating shelves above or near your nightstand to display your knickknacks.

A nightstand next to a bed with orange sheets. Nightstand table top is organized.
Meg Allan Cole

Organizing the Bottom of Your Nightstand

If the bottom of your nightstand has shelves, a basket can help you keep those little bits and bobs in one spot and not floating around the top of your bedside table. Shelves can also be a great way to keep your electronics all stacked in one place. Or you can let your personality shine through by displaying an interesting sculpture or your favorite nighttime reads.

Does your table have a drawer, like mine does? If you don’t have the right plan, it might become a more personalized “junk drawer.”

  1. Take the whole drawer out.
  2. Dump the items.
  3. Measure the inside of your drawer.
  4. Cut and place drawer liner, if desired.
  5. Gather small boxes or dishes that fit inside.
  6. Throw away or donate items you don’t need, and then organize your belongings inside the boxes and dishes.
  7. Put the drawer back in the table. You did it! You have an organized bedside table drawer and a bedside table in the style you want.
The inside of the junk drawer now organized,
Meg Allan Cole

In the grand scheme of things, organization looks different for every person. The important thing is to make it functional for you and your life. It just takes a little vision and some simple organization to make our bedside tables help our bedroom be the relaxing oasis we have always dreamed of, easing us into a relaxed state at the end of our day.