Simple, Cheap, Chic DIY Nightstand Styling

Love & Specs
by Love & Specs
2 Materials
Our fun, easy, affordable DIY answer to styling our nightstand: decorative stacks of color-coordinated antique/vintage books! I'd been dying to use these pretty whitewashed lamps somewhere in our home ever since I'd spotted them nearly a year ago, so when I was dreaming up our master bedroom makeover those were the first items I included in the plan, but the lamps are slightly small, which is great for the size our small master bedroom overall, but feels a little bit too tiny when placed alone on these oversized nightstands. The answer? Give 'em a little lift by placing them on top of a decorative stack of perfectly color-coordinated antique/vintage books! Using cheap antique or vintage books (or cheap color-coordinated contemporary books, for that matter) to style and add interest to a table is one of my go-to home decor tricks because not only is it so simple, chic and effortless, if you're shopping at a vintage/antique bookstore like we do, or just your average second hand store, it's uber affordable, too
Our nightstands before our little makeover. Talk about boring! The style of the brass lamps just didn't fit our romantic, relaxed, cottage-like aesthetic so they had to go.
Tip 1: One of the ways to maximize the affordability of this little decor project is to shop local at an antique/vintage bookstore or better yet, Goodwill and the like. In general we prefer that the books we use have content inside them that we actually enjoy and would read from time to time, but if it's purely decorative books you're after (no judgement - we're not above it!), you can easily find cheap gems at a local antique/vintage bookstore or second hand store, with the latter being the cheaper option (though there's a chance you won't find exactly what you're looking for there).
Tip 2: You can also find color-coordinated bundles of decorative antique and vintage books on Etsy, which is super helpful and an easy way to get all of the books you need in one purchase/place. Bonus: that's just another way to shop second hand, creatively reuse something old and beautiful and give it new life and reduce your footprint.
Tip 3: Try using large coffee table books as your base and get smaller and smaller as you stack. Like a staircase! This will give your stack a solid foundation and allow you to put a larger, heavier item like a lamp on top without fear of wobbling.
Tip 4: Look for books that have bindings or jackets that perfectly mesh with your color scheme. Luckily, if you're shopping second hand there will be a plethora of book colors to choose from! Our bedroom features black, white and seafoam so to brighten up the nightstand we chose mostly white books with black text, and added a seafoam book in the middle for a fun little pop!
Tip 5: Don't be afraid to play with your proportions! The main purpose of this little DIY project was to give our lamps a boost, but take a look at your decor corners as a whole and decide how many books you'll need in your stack to give your nightstand or room/bedroom corner a variety of heights that are in perfect proportion to one another! We chose three to give the lamp just a slight boost in height, while still giving it that perfectly proportioned stagger with the cactus pot, the laundry basket and the edge of the nightstand.
Tip 6: For our other nightstand we switched it up a little bit and went with a more monochromatic look, which can be such a fun way to approach this DIY project! Keeping the book color-combination to just two colors makes the stack feel like it was always there and is just part of the nightstand, which is always a win in my book. Understated, functional, gorgeous.
And another one of the finished, perfectly styled nightstand... on a budget!
Suggested materials:
  • Vintage or Antique Books   (Second-Hand Store)
  • Small Whitewashed Floral Lamps   (Target)
Love & Specs
Want more details about this and other design ideas? Check out my blog post!
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2 of 10 comments
  • Dan88953307 Dan88953307 on Mar 05, 2024

    Nightstand wasn’t the focus of the article, the books were. Also, books used so much space, no room for eye glasses, phone in emergency.

  • Kcole Kcole on Mar 18, 2024

    How do we paint our furniture like this one has been?