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indoor plant sideboard styling ideas by sheridan

Sideboard Styling Ideas and Easy Cheats to get it right

There’s nothing sexier than a killer sideboard, right? But if yours is feeling a littler underwhelming, it’s time to revisit some of your sideboard styling ideas and rework your approach.

In today’s post I want to give you a few easy sideboard styling ideas, but also have you understand how simple it can be to get right.

So let’s dive into the things you need to think about when it comes to sideboard styling at home! Oh, and if you want to find an amazing sideboard for your own place, click here

Dark brown sideboard styling with indoor plants on top from Sheridan
This scene from Sheridan nails sideboard styling in every way.

Break the Plane Up

A long sideboard has quite a lengthy plane for you to fill with objects. The easiest way to approach it is to break the sideboard up into three sections. Create three distinct moments along the top of the sideboard, but ensure the items in these three sections all speak to one another stylistically.

The image above is a perfect example of a sideboard with three sections created. You’ll notice that all objects make sense side-by-side, but there are three unique moments going on.

If you’re dealing with a smaller sideboard, two sections will work, but you need to ensure they aren’t perfectly symmetrical. If you want to know more about creating vignettes in A and L formations, click here.

Vintage Sideboard with VIntage Record Player and Map on Wall
Take the framed art away and this scene would look better.

What’s Happening Behind?

Depth of field is really important in sideboard styling. What I mean is, you can’t have a row of items in line with one another along the top. There needs to be interest, so some items need to come forward, others pushed back a little.

The other really important factor is considering when it comes to your sideaboard styling ideas is what’s happening behind the sideboard. Art can make or break your sideboard style. In my experience, art that’s off-centre often looks best and feels less forced. If you want to use a piece of art that runs the full width of the sideboard, you’ll need a lamp or other object sitting slightly in front of it.

If you need some ideas on where to buy killer local art from, this post has you covered.

coastal bohemian interior design with blonde timber sideboard and large indoor plant
Three vignette sections, art behind, pendant above, rug below. This scene has everything.

Above, Below and Over the Side

Think about what’s happening on and around your sideboard. The best sideboard styling ideas occur when there are three things going on around it.

Firstly, something above the sideboard (like a pendant light or hanging plant). Secondly, something hanging off the sideboard (a plant cascading off the side is great). And lastly, something beneath the sideboard or just to the side of it (like a stack of magazines, a pot plant, or a rug).

This approach helps the sideboard feel a part of the room, instead of just standing alone and with no context.

mid century sideboard with bright abstract artwork sideboard styling | TLC Interiors
A larger lamp with a round shade would elevate this scene.

Getting the Balance Right

Every room needs balance, and the same goes for sideboard styling.

If you have a large piece of art hanging to the left side of the sideboard, you’ll need something larger on the right side of the sideboard to balance the art out. A table lamp is a good idea here. Look for one with a solid base and a sizeable shade.

Often people place smaller lamps on sideboards and they look quite dwarfed. The image above is a good example of how the small lamp isn’t working to create balance. A lamp with a round base and larger shade would do wonders for this zone.

Balance of shape is just as vital. You want to ensure you have some fluid shapes like circles in your vignettes, otherwise too many clean lines will make the space feel overly formal.

Contrasting Colours and Materials

Contrasting materials are also key. If your sideboard is dark and wooden, for example, placing wooden objects on it, along with art in a wooden frame, isn’t going to create the necessary balance you’ll need in the space. So look to objects and artworks in other materials that can bring some softness to the scene.

Colour is also important to think about. What the image above does well is include a piece of art that is in direct contrast to the sideboard style. Not only in colour, but in material and in mood. If the large artwork was mid-century inspired too, it would make the space feel too vintage and without interest. So always keep contrast in mind when styling your sideboard.

Tip: ultimately, your sideboard styling should tell a story, so ensure it has some of your keepsakes mixed in with more recent purchases.

blonde timber sideboard styling with abstract artwork and concrete lamp
This one ticks all the boxes in terms of balance, scale and object placement.

Scale is Important

The size of the objects you display are really important when it comes to sideboard styling. As a rule, avoid a lot of smaller objects. It can make the sideboard feel like more of a dumping ground than a design moment.

If you have smaller objects, cluster them together on a tray, so that the tray becomes one moment on its own. I find that larger items always make more sense on a sideboard. Avoid too many knick-knacks.

It’s also important to have tall items in the mix too. A lot of people place wide items along the top of the sideboard and it throws the scale off. Try a stack of books to bring some height to the scene.

sideboard styling dark green sideabord with gold and white accessories
Image via www.swoon.se – notice how the lamp is balanced out by the chair?

What are your Sideboard Styling Ideas?

How do you make sideboard styling work for you at home? I’d love to know if you have any sideboard styling ideas to share that you’ve mastered! Drop a comment below and let me know.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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