Styling secrets for your nightstand

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Photo credit: Freshome

When you move into a new house or redecorate an entire room, you can get so bogged down in the big picture – the paint colour, the furniture, the layout of the room – that you completely neglect the little bits and pieces that make the space your own.

For weeks after Giulio and I finished renovating our apartment, I felt flat. I loved the furniture I had chosen, but I remember waking up in the morning thinking that my bedroom was impersonal as those display homes that are popping up everywhere.

You can have the most beautiful furniture in the world, but if you don’t get those little design details right, it’s a bit like a cake without icing. Still nice, but not perfect. Obviously if you’re as obsessed with fudge icing as I’m am, the analogy works better

It took me months to style my bedside tables and vanity just right, but when I did, it made all the difference. I would wake up and really feel as if I was in my bedroom and not just a show room. With that in mind, I thought I’d share three design ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

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1: Masculine, but polished

It is complete hogwash that your bedside tables have to be styled identically. In fact, I find that just transforms the space into a display home. If you’re really into symmetry, buy the same lamp for both nightstands and mix everything else up. That’s what I did. Although if I could do it over, I’d throw caution to the wind and have different lamps as well.

I’m a stickler when it comes to not having overly effeminate spaces, so my first look is inspired by my husband and all the other husbands that have to sleep beside vases of fake flowers and glittery photo frames.

Start with a base colour that will run through all your items. I chose black because my lamps have black shades and my nightstands are a dark wood. Just with any styling job, you have to play with heights. I picked up this really cool geometric print online and framed it with a black Ikea frame. I added a black and ivory box because Giulio is always pulling coins out of his pockets and leaving them on the nightstand before he goes to bed.

The Chanel Bleu perfume is his personal obsession. If he could bathe in it, he would, so that’s there as an inside joke and so it’s close at hand in the morning.

I finished with a little giraffe statue a friend brought back from South Africa. I love the shape and I think it adds an exotic flourish that ties our bed, which was made in India.

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2. Pretty and personal

You’ll notice that all my nightstands have an odd number of objects on them. That’s design 101. Everything looks better in odd numbers.

I’ve thrown the colour blocking out the window and focused on personal. I still need varying heights, but I’m using one of my favourite photos of me and my siblings as kids. My sister gave this to me before I moved to Italy, so it packs a sentimental punch.

I brought the elephant back from Singapore and the vibrant pink is the only touch of girly I’ve used. A lot of people say it’s bad feng shu to have potted plants next to your bed. I don’t believe in that and find vases of flowers not only predictable, but also impossible to maintain. Who has the money to buy bunches of flowers every other day? So instead, I’ve gone with a terrarium. It’s zero maintenance and out of the box.

My final touch is a candle. I hate candles usually. I think they’re overdone in interior design. You never light them and they just collect dust, but this hydrangea candle by US brand Michael Design Works is an exception because it smells amazing even when it’s not lit. I get a whiff every so often when I’m lying in bed and I’m smitten all over again.

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3. A little more practical

I’m a voracious reader, but I’m a Kindle reader, so all my books are compressed into a tiny tablet. Still I can relate to the multiple book readers out there. In my last styling, I’ve used a few books for height and added a frame because it wasn’t high enough.

The idea for the water jug and glass came from a gift my mother received many years ago. It was a beautiful caraffe and glass set with a floral pattern, which I then broke, but I thought if you’re the sort of person who gets thirsty at night, this is a thousand times better than a dirty old Mount Franklin bottle.

The final touch is a cute little tray for the bits and pieces you always shed before you go to sleep. Keeping them in the tray like this helps you keep track of them and looks cute too.

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