Styling Your Bedside Table: 5 Tips


A year and a half ago, I married the love of my life. We are so different, which is great because we balance each other out, but sometimes, as one would expect, those opposites can lead to tension!

One of the things I anticipated before our marriage was a clash in decorating choices. Mr M is more of the Scandinavian, minimalist school of thought, while I am more of the quirky, cosy (cluttered?) school. I remember asking (worriedly) before we got married if he expected to have much creative direction at home, to which his answer (worryingly) was yes. Thankfully, because we are renters, we haven’t had much freedom to redecorate, so many of our design differences have been avoided! And credit where it’s due, Mr. M has been rather indulgent of my styling ideas.

One weekend, while Mr M was out, I took it upon myself to style his (sparse) bedside table. It is usually bare, save his radio clock and cufflink box, so I gathered some props from around the flat to style his table with. I also wanted to give him a cute elephant letterpress card which I had found + framed – bit soppy, but it says “Grow old along with me – The best is yet to be.” What better way to give that than a styled bedside table? Also, as renters, styling is often the only (if not, main) way of expressing our creative tastes and preferences.


I really wanted to incorporate bright colours in the vignette, but with hindsight I’m not sure a pot of cacti is the smartest thing to put on a bedside table. It was within unsafe distance of the flailing about in the dark for the alarm clock or bottle of water zone! Here are my top 5 tips for styling your table:

1. Use items of varying heights – this helps draw your eye around the scene and gives the setup different points of interest. You can stack items at different levels if all your props are the same height.

2. Don’t be scared of colour – It’s difficult to go wrong with colour especially if you are starting with a white base. If you are starting with dark wood (e.g. mahogany) then choose lighter colours, or go monochrome. If you are using a yellower wood (e.g. maple or pine) then choose bright colours with more blue(ish) tones in them.

3. Pick a few things to focus on otherwise it can get cluttered – I wanted the table to look casual yet stylish, so I had to choose what I wanted on it, rather than include all the props I had gathered. It’s always a battle to know when to say enough, but my rough rule of thumb is that I need to have enough clear surface for an iPhone 6 and a glass of water.

4. Include a couple of quirky items – My little deer antler is probably one of my favourite things; I bought it off a retired search & rescue airman who makes walking sticks out of old antlers. Interesting items (even small ones) add a bit of fun and personality to the vignette.

5. You can’t go wrong with books – especially pretty books. If you are stuck for ideas, use books to add colour, height, focal points… The books can be in varying sizes and be a range of coffee table picture books or actual novels you are reading. A stack of books always looks trendy and makes you look learned 😉

Do share images of your styled bedside table/bedroom surfaces with us on Instagram, @courageanddash!

Styling/Images: Courage & Dash


Stylephiles: 3 Tips for Displaying Your Books

We had a terrible case of the Monday Blues today 😦 But what really cheered us up were these beautiful photos by Merve Bayar of @bibliophie90. We found Merve as we were featuring Emily Quinton’s home, and thought we’d share our top tips on displaying your book collection, and get Merve to show you  what it looks like in practice. You can use these tips on a coffee table or your desk or wherever you have piles of books…


If your home is anything like Courage & Dash HQ, it will feature stacks upon book shelves upon stacks of books. There’s very little better than the smell and feel of a good old book (we love the Kindle too, but the book… ahhhh…)!

So, Tip 1) While it might make sense to alphabetise or use the Dewey Decimal System for organising your books, when displaying them, you might want to group them according to colour. Do you have a colour of the moment? Or some flowers that you already have on show? Those are good starting points to get your first group of books going. Merve had some lovely pink roses, and she thought a minty green would be perfect with the roses.


Tip 2) Think of clever ways to blend the books with the flowers – rose bookmark? Why not! Book stack with flowers interspersed? Sure! Feel free to use individual stems, or clusters of flowers. You can go for a casual yet elegant look by pairing blooms with your favourite texts. Pair colours or go for a myriad of shades. It will look like you’ve been out reading under a tree and picked some flowers on the way in!


Tip 3) Add stems in containers – use jam jars, bud vases, tea cups, etc. – glass tends to add a touch of glamour. Steer yourself away from the comfort of the vase – if you want some inspiration, take a look at a guest post we did here where we shared some ideas on styling flowers with everyday containers.



There you have it, a stylishly arranged desk or coffee table, showing off pretty colours and flowers that will brighten up your room!

Thanks Merve – for more of her beautiful pictures, visit her on instagram @bibliophile90.


Images: Merve Bayar

Trend Thursday: Reading Nooks We Love

nookUnusual book storage and reading area ideas at Homedit

Hands up who loves a comfy laze with a good book? We most certainly do! A cup of tea, some warm sunlight streaming through, preferably with biscuits or cake nearby, please! We love the Homedit nook because it combines five main elements of what makes it a great place to relax:

1. Interesting colour palette

We love how this room mixes dark browns with bright pinks and reds! The room looks light and airy despite quite a few of deep brown features. The use of pale nudes and pops of orange add some variety to what could otherwise be quite a dull room.

2. Plenty of natural light

Ahhh. Ok, is there much else better than natural light? Especially if you are reading, you want lots of it. Try setting up your nook near a large window, or your terrace doors if you are lucky enough to have one. Otherwise, check out those wall lights on either side of the nook. Use lamps if you can’t have fitted lights.

3. Eye-catching elements
Look at those shapely vases, that fun retro tub chair, the modern lamp pendant! So much colour, and so easy. Our favourite is that bright red/coral vase on the top shelf.

4. Cosy furnishings!
Eek, gold silk cushions! LIKE. An upholstered wall back and a plump seat create the perfect relaxing area for you to settle into that book. Soft furnishings and cosy throws are such an easy way of adding warmth and homeliness to a room.

5. House plants
Bring the outdoors in with a house plant. Or with many. If, like us at Courage & Dash HQ, you don’t have a balcony, terrace, or French windows, it’s a lovely way of refreshing the place. Also, with the unpredictable weather, plants can help you feel like you are reading outside, under the shade of a leafy tree… all in the comfort of your home.

Check out some more of our favourite reading areas below. Enjoy!

Image2. Reading nook design idea by Interior Holic

3. 10 Favourite built in reading nooks by Remodelista

Image4. Gorgeous reading nook (our favourite) by Decoratrix via The Cottage of Vinnord

Image5. Window envy at From Moon to Moon