How to Decorate a Bedside Table

Often used to hold drinks, store items in the drawers below and house your alarm clock, a bedside table is an item of furniture that is sometimes only acknowledged for its practical use. But if you’ve gone to all the trouble of decorating your bedroom in a certain style and colour scheme, not continuing this theme with your bedside tables could result in an unwanted mismatch of aesthetics.

Below, we look at your options when it comes to decorating a bedside table and provide tips on how you can do this in a way that will complement the rest of your bedroom.

How to dress a bedside table

You may have picked out bedside tables that are stylish and visually appealing, but if you’re unsure of what to use to accentuate their appearance, you may be wasting the potential of these pieces of furniture. Instead of taking a risky leap in permanently altering your bedside tables by painting them, there are simpler steps you can take to style them.

two matching decorative bedside tables in a stylish bedroom.

How to style a bedside table

Before buying a set of bedside tables, it’s a good idea to think about what you need, such as whether you want them to have an inbuilt storage shelf or drawers. You may also want to choose a bedside table that will match the height of your bed. That said, even if you’ve disregarded these elements and simply based your decision on what you liked the look of, it’s still likely you can make them work in your bedroom.

If you want to style your bedside tables, you may want to:

Use it as an opportunity to personalise -

Your bedroom is your own personal space and it’s to be expected that bedside tables will reflect the person who sleeps beside them. Although you should refrain from cluttering up your bedside table, it can be used as a method of showing off your personality. As such, you may want to include decorative items and ornaments that reflect your preferences and interests just as you would with a bookshelf or coffee table.

Identify items that match -

Whether it’s the colour, style, shape or pattern, finding items that match elements of your bedroom will make them blend in far better. However, while this is advisable for the most part, you can still decide to include one piece that is totally different in colour or style for contrast.

Consider an element of symmetry -

In any bedroom, attractive bedside tables will typically show some level of symmetry. You might want to consider making your tables symmetrical with each other. For example, if one has a lamp in one corner, imagine a mirror in the middle of the bed and position the same type of lamp on the opposite side of the other bedside table. Even by simply doing this with two objects, your bedroom will look more welcoming.

Decorate in sets of three -

When you add items to your bedside table that are likely to be permanent fixtures, work in sets of three, starting with the largest at the back and displaying the smaller items at the front. If they’re spaced out evenly, you can present a sense of organisation while still being able to display useful items such as lamps, books or clocks.

Keep it minimal -

Working in sets of three is one thing, but if you decide to work within this mindset but for nine items, your bedside table may become messy and unorganised. Not only do you want your bedside tables to look good, but if you’re using your table to hold a drink or temporarily store other items, having all areas covered won’t leave you with many options.

What to put on a bedside table

We’ve spoken about how you could consider adding items to your bedside tables that suit the style of the room and cover empty areas, but you may be wondering what types of items are suitable for a bedside table.

Items that are commonly used to decorate bedside tables include:

  • Books
  • Candles
  • Clocks
  • Diffusers
  • Dishes and trays
  • Lamps
  • Ornaments
  • Plants or flowers
  • Picture frames
  • Vases

How to choose bedside table lamps

Often seen as the primary component for decorating a bedside table, lamps offer subtle lighting for the evening while finishing off the look of the bedroom. Available in a selection of different shapes, sizes and styles, choosing a lamp can be difficult, but you can make the decision based on a number of key factors, such as:

Style -

Many people that use lamps as the focal point of their bedside tables blend them in with the colour and style of the tables themselves and the rest of the room. While this is something that typically works and is perfectly fine to do, lamps working as a centrepiece means that you’re given more freedom with the option you choose.

Even a lamp that only has one minor similarity with the rest of the room is likely to work as the contrasting component. A benefit to having matching lamps on either bedside table is that at least they’ll match with each other, increasing the chance of working with the design throughout the rest of the bedroom.

Size -

Picking a lamp that is the appropriate size in relation to your bedside table, bed and the rest of your room is also important. It isn’t always easy to calculate this, but as long as the lamp is around a third of the size of your bedside table, it should look right.

Another consideration is the height of the lamp. Between the lamp itself and the lampshade, some lamps can be excessively tall, and when added to a bedside table, it can sometimes stick out like a sore thumb. The height of the lamp shouldn’t be much taller than half the height of the bedside table. As for width, it should be evident if the lampshade is too wide if it’s spreading outside of the bedside table and getting in the way. If you have problems with this, you could always decide to swap the lampshade for one that is better suited to the side of your bedroom.

Quantity -

As previously mentioned, it’s a good idea to have two of the same lamp, with each of one displayed on opposite bedside tables. However, you may decide to only have one lamp. You can do this providing the lamp you choose is striking and large enough to act as the room’s centre piece.

If you do choose to go in this direction though, it’s important that you’re aware of the minimal light only one lamp will bring. As a result, you may need to rely on a ceiling light or a lamp elsewhere in the room such as a tall floor lamp.

Fern xx

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