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Simple Bedside Table Decor Ideas

It’s so fun to decorate. But I’m a firm believer that it’s important to focus on why you decorate.

To analyze how you and your family function in your daily life, not just make your home “pretty” but to make it really work for you.

There’s just something about waking up to a clean, well-functioning nightstand in the morning or going to bed beside one every night to help you feel a little less stressed before and after a long day.

I found these midcentury modern nightstands on Facebook Marketplace the other day to use in our guest bedroom, and I realized a resource for bedroom side table ideas might be helpful if you’re ever stumped.

guest bedroom nightstand

Our surroundings matter.

If I have lots of pretty decor accents on my nightstand, but they’re not serving me, it’s just clutter. In the past, I found that to be so true, and it gave me constant anxiety without me even realizing it.

So now I have a few decorating rules that I swear by to make bedrooms peaceful in so many ways.

What should I put on my bedside table?

The decor items on our nightstands have to tick one of four boxes:

  1. Light
  2. Storage/Function
  3. Nature
  4. Well-Being

Always try to keep it to 5 items or less.

Seriously, that’s it. If it doesn’t end up in one of those four categories, if it doesn’t improve my personal well-being or my day-to-day functioning, it doesn’t deserve a spot on my nightstand.

midcentury modern nightstand with vase of fall leaves and pharmacy lamp

Bed Side Table Decoration Ideas

  • Lamp or sconce
  • Picture frame
  • Clock
  • Plant or vase of flowers
  • Trinket bowl or tray (handy for placing jewelry in last minute before sleep)
  • Small lidded box (great for storing the remote if you have a TV in the bedroom)
  • Eyeglass holder
  • Basket
  • Books
  • Candle or diffuser

Bedside Reading Lamp

It’s always a good idea to use some kind of light source on a nightstand for bedtime reading. I love using these animal table lamps in kids’ bedrooms especially for a little personality.

The sweet spot size to choose for bedside reading lamps is 24 inches to 27 inches tall when considering the average height of nightstands is between 24 inches to 30 inches tall.

kids bedroom side table with animal lamp, vase of flowers, and book

If you’re decorating a small nightstand with very little surface space and want to leave more room for decor and function on the bedside table top, consider hanging a wall sconce instead.

night table with bedside sconce wall lamp

Small Plant or Vase of Flowers

To me, every nightstand feels more complete with a little bit of greenery, whether that’s a potted houseplant or a small vase of flowers (even if they’re faux).

Bonus points: Houseplants provide oxygen and help clean the air in your bedroom.

These are 8 of the best houseplants for bedrooms:

  • philodendron
  • snake plant
  • aloe vera
  • spider plant
  • corn plant
  • pothos
  • English ivy
  • peace lily
bedside table with bedroom houseplant

Candle or Diffuser

I especially appreciate having an essential oil diffuser handy on the nightstand for diffusing aromatherapy sleep-promoting benefits. But a candle, whether real or flameless, can add a comforting feeling to a bedroom too.

These essential oils are best for promoting relaxation and sleep: (Not all are safe for pets or infants, so check their precautions before using in a diffuser.)

  • lavender
  • ylang ylang
  • chamomile
  • bergamot
  • sandalwood
  • clary sage
  • marjoram
  • eucalyptus
nightstand with essential oil diffuser

Clock and/or Radio

It’s a good idea for your mental health to keep your phone charging on a different surface than your nightstand (or even outside of the bedroom). But even if you choose to keep your mobile phone in arm’s reach of your bed, having a clock is helpful for better sleep.

Blue lights on phone screens can disrupt sleep if you use it to check the time when you wake up in the middle of the night. But a lighted clock (or a clock that lights up when you touch it) can help keep you in a sleepy state.

nightstand with alarm clock

I especially love having a radio accessible on a nightstand for playing white noise, therapeutic sleep sounds, or music to enjoy in waking hours. (My older daughter loves her old fashioned style Bluetooth radio!)

nightstand with radio

Books

It’s probably a total no-brainer, but nightstands are just better with a stack of books. If you find yourself not able to fall asleep, reading a book is the perfect remedy.

I love having pretty coffee table books, but sometimes you just need a good novel to lull you.

nightstand with fall decor featuring candle, clock, picture frame, book, and fall plant

Baskets

Because sometimes you just have junk you need to toss into a basket, right? Bedside tables just get cluttery sometimes, and that’s okay. Having a basket stored underneath is a great way to tame the chaos quickly.

If you have a small bedroom, every bit of storage space helps.

nightstand with basket for storage

Trinket Dish or Lidded Box

It’s nice to have a small bowl, tray, dish, or box to stash your jewelry in when you inevitably forget to take it off before climbing into bed. Because who wants to climb out of bed to put away their earrings? Not me.

Having a dish nearby is nice to keep jewelry from falling onto the floor. Having a lidded box is also perfect for stashing a remove if you have a TV in the bedroom.

bedside table with trinket dish for jewelry
bedside table with decorative lidded box

Picture Frame

It’s always nice to have a sweet photo or a little piece of framed art for pops of color nearby.

In guest bedrooms, it’s helpful to put the WiFi username and password in a picture frame for guests to access the internet without having to ask.

dresser nightstand beside twin bed with windows behind

Do you have any nightstand must-have decor pieces? Or your own decorating rule to keep the “aesthetically pleasing” factor in check so that it serves you and your family well?

More Bedroom Decorating Ideas

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13 Comments

  1. # 1 is my favorite, I love that one for sure, and I really like the tips you gave us for what to keep to have it simple. Thanks. I think your home is so beautiful!!

  2. Imi plac culorile deschise, pastelurile, este minunata acuarela, si iubesc abajurul!
    Aleg nr.1 . Deci prima prezentare!
    Imbratisari, Mia

  3. # 1 FOR SURE! I’M SO COUNTRY SO … OF COURSE THE BEAUTIFUL WHITE NIGHT STAND WITH ALL THE SOFT, WHITE TOUCHES ARE MY FAVE!

  4. These are all so pretty and I know having less means less stress, but Iā€™m curious Lauren, where do you recharge your phones? And where do your guests recharge their electronic? Iā€™m a guardian for my nephew and am on call 24/7 and need to have my phone near me at all times. That means, for me, my phone recharges nightly on my nightstand.

    1. You could easily add a charger on your nightstands if you need to. These are just starting points of ideas but I always want you to do what works best for you! šŸ™‚