Nate Berkus' philosophy on nightstand decor has totally changed my once-practical approach

Filled with meaningful items, the interior designer's nightstand proves they shouldn't be all function over form

Bedside table and Nate Berkus headshot
(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors/Julie Soefer, Getty Images/John Nacion/Stringer)

Decorating a nightstand may sound like a fairly insignificant home decor consideration, but often, these small spaces spark divided opinions on how they should – or shouldn't – be styled. 

By that, I mean that there are generally two ways to go. For some, a nightstand is a tightly organized space that includes only the most practical daily-use items; for others, it's an opportunity to style non-functional decorative items to enhance the visual appeal of the bedroom.

Suggesting favor for the latter, Nate Berkus recently posted a video to Instagram explaining his philosophy on how to style a nightstand – safe to say he fully embraces a decorative approach. 

The interior designer discusses the items he stores on his own nightstand, a mix of functional and stylish pieces. But, his overarching message is that beyond the most obvious items, he uses his nightstand to home beautiful items that bring joy to the everyday.

'I try to fill my nightstand – because it’s the first thing that I see when I wake up – with things that have meaning, and beautiful things,' Nate shares in the Instagram video.

Vintage drawers used as bedside table

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors/Julie Soefer)

By no means is my own nightstand as considered as Nate's, but I fully agree with his approach and one I have shifted towards recently, despite the trend for very curated, very practical nightstands (TikTok is probably to blame for this one). As he points out, nightstands are one of the first parts of our home we see at the start and end of each day, so why not take the opportunity to fill them with meaningful items, even if they don't serve a purpose? 

Recently, the opposite approach seems more apparent, with the portrayal of super-organized daily routines dominating TikTok algorithms. Within them, minimal nightstands lead the way with only the most essential items on show. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for an organized home. And while having a neatly arranged nightstand is no bad thing, it can leave little room for decorative items that don't boost efficiency, yet do bring joy and add personality to our homes.

Elevate your nightstand with decorative items

Amongst the expected vintage lamp and his currently reading book, Nate's nightstand includes unique and sentimental objects – from a rock crystal glass that he sourced at an auction to a framed family photo.

If you're inspired by this eclectic approach to nightstand decor, why not try it out for yourself? To help you make a start, we've rounded up our top nightstand decor picks which you can shop below. From decorative trays to candles, these items will elevate your nightstand with aesthetic appeal. 

Looking for some more help with your nightstand? Interior designers say these are the items not to store on your nightstand to ensure a relaxing bedroom

Emily Moorman
News Writer

Emily Moorman is a News Writer at Homes & Gardens, working across a range of topics spanning interiors, celebrity and emerging trends. With a background in the fashion industry, Emily is well-versed in the world of design and trend cycles. Her undergraduate degree was in Fashion Communication and Promotion which she studied at Norwich University of The Arts, specialising in writing and digital communications.