Need simple tips on how to style a bedside table? I got you! Plus where I found mine with the help of the West Elm Design Crew.
A bedside table acts as a few things. If you have one set up on both sides, it frames your bed. A bedside table can act as a placeholder for you’re before bed read, a glass of water or any other pre-sleep ritual item. Or, it can simply become a dumping ground. Want to avoid that last one? I sure did!
WHY I CHANGED UP OUR BED SETTING
When I set out to re-do my bedroom furniture, I wanted to eliminate a couple of things. The main one that had bugged me was our old bed and bedside tables, which to be fair were Mario’s old set. We had lived with it for over six years and I had had enough. Not only was it made from a dark wood that felt tired, it took up an excessive footprint. It was all ‘design’ (though not to my taste) without function. Plus, I’d banged my legs on the sharp edges SO many times over the last six years. That’s a lot of cursing and bruising!
When I decided on the new set up, I was clear that I wanted to optimise the limited space we had in our rental apartment but find furniture that would easily transition into a new room down the track.
I WANTED TO REDUCE CLUTTER
Rather than a set of drawers I wanted a small side table. Why? As it stood, I had cleared out my drawers years prior and despite our limited storage, didn’t find them useful. On Mario’s side of the bed, he was definitely using the drawers to store socks and things but had held onto more than he needed. In an effort to declutter, we came up with a solution for storing his socks that limited the pairs and kept his space clean and clutter free.
Unfortunately, Mario’s bedside could end up becoming a dumping ground for old receipts, gadgets or items he accumulated without any clear plan on what he would do with them. The way I figured it, the more space he had on his side of the bed to dump these bits and pieces, the more he would be likely to do it. The less space? That meant he had to streamline.
THE MAISIE SIDE TABLE FROM WEST ELM
I looked all over to find the best options for bedside tables. But it boiled down to finding something that was neutral, beautiful, timeless, and of course, fit the space. What I found (and soon fell for) was the marble and brass Maisie Side Table from West Elm. The perfect diameter, these round tables fit just right, without feeling like they take up too much space. Subtle, chic, and elegant, they are exactly what I needed.
WHY WEST ELM?
Honestly, West Elm is one of those stores I go into and find myself taking mental notes of almost everything!! Desks, chairs, sofas, rugs, decor, I love their modern designs with nods to midcentury. Even better, I have been noticing the developments they have been making toward sustainability. Today 60% of their products support at least one of the company’s sustainability initiatives, from investing in craftsmanship, Fair Trade Certification, using organic linens, and sourcing sustainable materials. That all adds up to both good design and good practices, which is important to me as a consumer. I research the considerations the fashion brands I wear take, so this naturally transfers to my lifestyle as well. The side table is made in a Fair Trade Certified factory in India, which was a selling point for me.
THE WEST ELM DESIGN CREW
Alone, the Maisie Side Table’s sculptural metal base and smooth marble top make a modern statement. But I was at a loss to work out how I wanted to style it. Particularly when it came to finding the right lamp. I needed help. And luckily, the West Elm Design Crew was there to offer their tips. I went into the Perth West Elm store for one of the free one-on-one services.
Together, we went through a bunch of options to work out which size and style would be right for the lamps. Some were too big in diameter, some too tall, too dark and so on. Honestly, looking online, I probably would have picked the wrong one. I was so grateful for the Design Crew helping me try things out, measure and talk about the overall look and feel I wanted for my bedroom.
The design crew was able to sit down with me and order everything to be delivered to my house. I knew exactly when they would all arrive. Putting everything together was so easy; it all just screwed into place so I was set up in a matter of minutes. I loved how easily everything came together.
THE ASYMMETRY CERMIC TABLE LAMP
In the end, we landed on the white Asymmetry Ceramic Table Lamp, inspired by Japanese pottery. Topped with a linen shade, it offers diffused light perfect for next to a bed and for reading. I love that the linen shade texture could tie in with my linen bed, sheets, and bed cover. It all feels dreamy! There were so many cool table lamps to choose from, I was overwhelmed with choice, but confident that we had picked the right choice in the end. In the future, I knew I could do things like changing the lampshades, use the lamps in a different room and mix and match how I style each bedside table. I can add colour and shape and loved finding white lamps that form a sculptural but neutral backdrop.
6 TIPS ON HOW TO STYLE A BEDSIDE TABLE
Think about it, a bedside table is just full of possibilities for styling. You can really add a little, as I have done, or a lot. It’s one place to get personal, which might mean that each side of the bed looks a little different. But as I pointed out above, a bedside table can so easily end up as a spot for miscellaneous items to stack up too. Of course, being personal, there isn’t a correct and incorrect way to style this part of the bedroom. Read on for simple tips on how to style a bedside table.
1. SIZE AND HEIGHT MATTERS
When it came to picking both the bed side table and the lamp, I wanted to make sure the heights felt natural, practical and not to overcomplicate the space. We have a tall mattress, so I needed to make sure the table wasn’t too short but at or just below mattress height.
For the lamp, I wanted something that would hit my eye level when I was sitting in bed reading. We had low lighting issues before, which would make reading before bed difficult. Trying out the various table lamps in store, some were so tall they would dwarf the table and bed head. This mini lamp balanced out the space and had a smaller diameter. It is also important that your bedside table isn’t taken up almost entirely by the lighting. You want to option to put a glass of water or book on your bedside table.
2. BRING IN A NATURAL ELEMENT
In general, I love having a pop of green foliage in my house to liven things up. Not only a leafy plant or small succulent, but you can also add small vases of fresh flowers or tall vases of cut branches to bring in colour or a sculptural shape.
3. ADD A HOME SCENT
I love having beautiful candles in our home. There are so many stunning scents and candle jars out there, it’s another way to add personality to your styling. Reed diffusers or electronic diffusers can also bring in a scent to the room. Why not mix it up and style a diffuser on one bedside and a candle on the other?
4. DISPLAY WITH DECORATIVE TRAYS OR LAYERED BOOKS
Shallow trays made from glass, brass, ceramics, you name it can add a decorative touch. They can be a place to store jewellery, a watch, glasses, or a matchbox. Just make sure you don’t let them fill up with clutter.
Layering beautiful coffee table books can be another cool way to bring in personality. If you have a bigger table, try layering a couple of beautiful coffee table books.
5. GET PERSONAL WITH A PHOTO FRAME
If you are anything like me, you often forget to print out any of those beautiful photos you take. Guilty? Well, you aren’t alone. We are surrounded by digital images! However, making it a point to print out one or two small pictures can really add personality to your bedside with a photo frame. Share a memory, a reminder and keepsake that will make you smile each day. I love the idea of waking up to a thought that makes you grateful each morning.
6. THINK ABOUT SYMMETRY
Obviously, I wanted to go with a bit of symmetry with both bedside tables and lamps. Why? Because I wanted them to effortlessly frame our bed. I also knew that what went on top of the tables would otherwise be unique.
For example, Mario charges his phone/ earphones etc in the room overnight, which works for him. I personally like to keep the bedroom tech free, so my phone charges in another part of the house. For me, this is important so I am not distracted by my phone and can concentrate on sleep.
As I mentioned above, this is a space where you can get personal, so keep that in mind when you are styling.
HOW I FEEL ABOUT OUR BEDROOM NOW
As you can see, for me, less is more when it comes to styling. I don’t love clutter, so keeping things clean, simple but considered makes me feel calm, the minute I step into the room.
I’m now in love with our bedroom. It encourages me to switch off and go to bed earlier and to read more. I love that one day I could use the side tables in another part of the house- they’d be perfect next to a reading chair and or sofa. The marble and brass is timeless, while the lamps are neutral but add a cool shape and texture. Again, I was so grateful for the help from the West Elm Design Crew in getting all of it to come together. Looking at so many combinations online I was getting overwhelmed, so having the Design Crew give me that one-on-one advice was just so valuable.
What do you have on your bedside table? Let me know below!
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Photographed by Jenelle Witty and Mario Recchia.
Created as a collaboration with West Elm. As always, all styling and opinions my own.