Nightstand Styling Contest Winners!!!!!!

I once thought I would be an amazing Bachelorette (on the show, not just a single chick), but all my dreams were crushed this week. You see it took me three days, THREE DAYS, to choose my favorite nightstand. I kept going back and forth — #2 has beautiful branches, a great lamp, etc., #3 is more masculine and that is such a nice contrast to my style … I kept coming back to #7 because the colors and artwork are so weird …

If I were the bachelorette, I would be up there with my final rose going back and forth like, well he is so nice to grandmas but he wears Ed Hardy, and he is so funny and smart, but quotes the movie “Predator” too much

In case you are just stopping by, I started a nightstand styling contest and 200 people entered. The winner gets some dope tables from Serena and Lily.  There were 3500 people who voted, with close to 7,000 views and two winners — one with the most votes and one that is my pick. Here are my favorites below. Yes there are 30.


1. Amy A. Love the headboard, nice job on engaging the lower shelf.
2. Heylee H.  God, you don’t need any help — great table, lamp, curtains.
3. Bobby S. While I’m not normally a blue eucalyptus person, I love how masculine this is.
4. Jennifer B. Perfectly composed — followed all the rules and did such a great job.
5. Ellie E. So cute. Just great. I’m so impressed.
6. Sarah D. I want that wood table, AND the Emily Henderson DIY candle was serious emotional manipulation; it made me love you so hard.
7. Melissa C. So good — the black/gold/pink and blue combo had my heart, and I love that over-sized painting there and the ginger jar.
8. Hannah B. So good. Campaign dressers are clearly trending ( I have three).
9. Marikko O. One of my favorites, for sure. Love the Land of Nod lamp, that gold nightstand, the wall color — just everything.
10. Amy  This one was tempting because I think you clearly need a bigger nightstand, but I love that you used a typewriter table instead.
11. Alexis F.  Alexis, you can’t win because you work for me, but NICE JOB, GRASSHOPPER. You definitely would have had a shot if it were legal for you to win.
12.  Suzanne D.  I want to get into that bed, way to make it inviting.
13. Kyla H.  Leaning art is so cute, and scale is so great.
14. Lauren D. Lauren, you came SOOOOO close to winning. I love that lamp, the polka dots, the side table, EVERYTHING. 15. Sarah C.  So good. Great composition, lamp, way to engage the second shelf, just overall great.

There are just sooooo many good ones. I’M SERIOUS. You guys did SUCH a good job. I was totally impressed.


1. Rebecca Z. Oh hey, Beckers, you trying to fool me? There are very few “Rebecca Z’s” in my life. Nice job, my friend.  Love the cladding, light, West Elm accessories, etc. So good.
2. Orlando Soria  You can’t win because I love you, but thanks for playing (although I made you do it :))
3. Katie A. Love the art and table.
4. Katie W. That ram is intense.
5. Samantha G.  Perfect. The lamp/plant/books. I’m just so proud.
6. Jody S. So pretty, Jody. I love that nightstand so much, and lamp.
7. Kendra D. Love that print, your pillows, and of course that animal sculpture.
8. Emily B.  Such a great composition. Plus I love that leopard tablecloth.
9. Colleen G.  Um, BLUE campaign? Hell, yes.
10. Sharon T.  It’s hard for me not to love this paper peony.
11. I’m not sure whats happening in the background, but I love it. Is it a huge painting as a headboard?
12. Ryan F.  Top three, Ryan. I love it so much. All the textiles, table, overall vibe. So good.
13. Kenneth Love all the necessary accessories and the lamp.
14. Tessa Neustadt Tessa, you can’t win because you work for me, too, but I’m loving your crazy wild plants and that weird print in the back.  Nice job.
15. Patricia T. I’m drawn to this over and over again. Maybe it’s that beautiful wall color or that glass tree which I have a thing for. But nice job, Patricia.

So there were two winners: One who received the most votes and one that is my pick. I set the contest up like that for this exact reason — in case the person with the most votes doesn’t have a good entry. If you have been following along with me on Facebook you know that Kimberly won with 523 votes, which is very impressive, indeed. But many people wondered the authenticity of this entry because well, the nightstand was lacking in a lot of ways, and it just seemed weird that this shot got 523 votes, 200 more than the second place entry.

bad nightstand styling

I know. Calm down and be nice in the comments. I dug around and indeed she just got all 523 of her friends to vote for her.   Democracy is a good thing, but tricky at times. I’m so grateful for all the traffic she drove and all the new Facebook likers she brought. And most importantly those Serena and Lily nightstands are going to really improve this space. Kimberly, watch the video how on how to style a nightstand because there are good styling techniques you could learn to improve your bedroom and make it look oh so pretty. That is kinda what the contest is about — taking my techniques and applying them to your space. I’d love to see your new nightstands styled with my styling rules — it will look pretty, I promise! Congratulations and thanks so much for entering, seriously.  Enjoy your new Aqua Melrose Nesting Tables nightstands:

serena and lily

As far as my pick? Samantha G, for the gold.


Here’s why she won: She followed all the rules/suggestions. She has something for height (lamp), something horizontal to ground it (books), and something sculptural to bridge the two (fern). The composition is perfect. They are layered without being on top of each other, and they look natural and effortless. (Plus the bowl for jewelry and the bird to throw it off a bit.)  I love that art behind it and the weird art to the left, which I think might be a huge photo booth strip on wood? I’m intrigued. Even if her nightstand hadn’t been good, she would have won. During my six-hour long debate on who should win, this photo always made me the happiest. Yes, I realize that this is very my style, but the composition is undeniably good and so many others that weren’t my style but whom I wanted to win had less good composition and followed less of the rules. Could I possibly over explain more?

Anyway, congratulations Samantha G. Please enjoy  your nightstands, which you should probably just use as side tables somewhere else in your house because your nightstands are clearly simple and pretty.

These are your choices. I love them both. A. Lot.

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 9.16.07 AM Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 9.15.49 AM

As far as what I learned from this contest/giveaway?

1. Next time I won’t giveaway what the contest actually is.  A gift card is probably a better giveaway because it was hard to not take in consideration what the nightstand actually was. What I love about the winning shot is that even if it was on a plain boring nightstand it still would have won.

2. Thank god I had it set up to have two winners just in case what happened happened. It made the contest a total success and created a very interesting controversy.

3. I LOVE these contests. I love seeing how people style their real homes. I think I might be a voyeur.

Overall, did you guys enjoy this contest? I LOVED seeing so many real bedrooms and watching people engage and vote and tweet about it. I can’t believe how many good ones there were, truly. I’m so impressed. So thank you so much, all of you who entered. I’ll get the bugs out of these contests soon, I promise. (And yes, we are starting a new one April 1st, but it’s a Pinterest contest instead.)

Thank you so much Serena and Lily for giving away these nightstands. They are awesome because you are awesome. (And no, I didn’t get paid to work with them. I simply love the company and everything they sell). Please follow them on Facebook; they are doing very good things. While you are at it, follow me on Facebook and subscribe to my Youtube channel (where you’ll see all of my how-to videos).

So for those of you who didn’t vote in the contest (or who did but want to vote again), which of the above 1 – 30 do you like the most?

  1. Melissa Carandang

    Thanks for sponsoring the contest! I had a great time with it. I also appreciate the time it must have taken to provide so many comments on the nightstands shown above!

  2. Thanks so much Emily for this contest. I’m so happy to be in your favourites at #12. Looking forward to the next contest.

  3. heather

    Loved this contest. I didn’t enter but I did vote and I look forward to your next one!

  4. Mandi

    Oh, my goodness. There are so many good nightstands, it must have been hard to choose!

  5. Kellie

    The contest was awesome and I voted for the one you chose, among others. I especially appreciate that you explained why you liked each of the 30 entires; it shows that you really care. I am also intrigued as to how the winner turned a photo booth strip into a large wall piece. Please find out and let us know!!

  6. I loved the contest! I didn’t make the top 30 but it inspired me to actually practice styling in my own house and not just wish I had a styled house. I’m going to read through you comments and look at the top 30 closer tonight when I’m at home.

    Can’t wait to see what is next Emily & Co.!!


  7. Holly

    This was such fun! And I didn’t even enter the contest because I was too busy throwing a bridal shower… so glad there will be another one! I don’t know how you chose from all those amazing entries, but your pick was my pick too. LOVED the composition… but that tree stump table!… and what was that weird global configuration on top? It’s so weird – I love it! Also Kimberly must be a lovely person to have so many friends :)

  8. Kyra

    I love the duvet in round 2, number 7. Where is it from? Do tell!

    • Hi Kyra! The duvet is from Pottery Barn (about 6 years ago)!
      So so excited to be included in the top 30!! Thanks emily!!

  9. Ana

    I can imagine that the decision was not easy. There are so many good ones!

  10. Samantha G

    Emily, thanks so much for hosting this competition, it was so fun! And I am SO honored you chose my nightstand for the win! I am very design-geek giddy right now!!

    • amanda

      I’d love to hear about the photo strip on wood. Where did you have that done/did you make it? Congrats on the win – you deserved it!

      • Katherine

        Same. More info on the wood photo strip, please!!!!

        • Samantha G

          Thanks!! It was made by a friend of a friend. Here is his Etsy shop. He took a photo booth picture of me and my husband on our first date and blew it up to that piece which is just over 5 feet tall :)

  11. Lola

    Beautiful post, but “nightstand” is spelled wrong in the round 1 and round 2 images.

    • Emily

      Ha! My assistant is changing it right now. For the first time ever its not my fault, i swear. :)

  12. Susan

    Do you have a source for Kendra’s (round 2 #7) painting?

  13. This post touches on so many of the reasons I think you are AWESOME! Thanks for always giving us the opportunity to practice what you teach and caring enough to take the time to look at every entry and even commenting on a good chunk of them! Keep on rockin’ and I will not be missing this next contest, fo sho!

  14. Does Samantha G have a blog? I have that exact lamp and you can bet my nightstand is about to get a little makeover! I’d love to see more of her home!

    • Emily

      I don’t know! I’m trying to contact her right now!

      • Hi Megan! I don’t know about Samantha’s, but mine is seriously exactly like it and I got it at TJ Maxx about 2 years ago. I’ve seen them pop up again every so often either there or at Marshall’s. Good luck!

      • Emily

        Also i think its either a jonathan adler or a good knock off of a jonathan adler nelson lamp.

      • Samantha G

        Yep, it’s a good knock off of a Jonathan Adler lamp :)

        • Samantha G. – love your nightstand. Do you have a blog?

  15. You’re so awesome to have commented on your 30 pics.. I read all of them! So helpful. Can’t wait till your next contest!

  16. Thanks so much for this challenge! As cliche as it sounds…the journey was half the fun (ok, all the fun). I don’t even care that I didn’t win, I’m just A) glad this motivated me to do something creative and challenge myself B) that i was even in your top 30 is very flattering! Thanks for taking the time to recognize and comment on your top picks. Can’t wait for the next one!

  17. Julia

    Can I swear? Probably not, right?

    You’re “effing” hilarious! You could have simply announced the Facebook winner and left it at that, but nope, you gently urge her to watch your styling videos. Love your integrity, girl.

    I would have entered, by my Facebook friends are all lazy fools, and I surely would have lost.

    Can you do another one of these though? I love the emphasis you put on teaching us that it’s the little nooks that count. I’m inspired, in the most non-cheesy way. Maybe top of the fridge styling? Bathroom counter? I’ll enter one of these times!

  18. i had so much fun with this contest! i would love for you to do more. and you are so sweet to take the time to look through all of these photos and give us feedback. i just love coming to your blog every day because i get to see great design AND get some hilarious commentary :) thanks, emily!

  19. Mateo

    back and forth – not “back and fourth”! You blowin’ up girl, maybe its hire an editor time?

  20. Lauren

    Maybe it’s who-cares-if-she-spelled-forth-wrong-because-she-commented-on-30-plus-nightstands-personally time. Three cheers for Emily being super busy and still very super awesome!

    • Emily

      Thanks, Lauren! You got my back. I read through them so fast, do spellcheck and then book they are out there and i leave the house. i actually have someone that edits but sometimes if i’m really late on posting it takes her a couple hours because she’s not glued to her computer and at my editing needs 24 hours a day. But i now that stuff drives people crazy so i’m trying to be more careful. :)

  21. Thanks so much, this was really fun! Congrats to Samantha!!!

    • Samantha G

      Thank you!!

  22. Great contest with some darn good styling ideas from real people. I’d be lying however if I said I wasn’t crossing my fingers and toes for an Emily-approved honorable mention. Ah well…

  23. Like others that have commented, I truly appreciate your critiques as it helps everyone and, again, reinforces your engagement with your readers… Not that there were doubts. My favourites (not that I didn’t like your choice…) were the more unusual. Maybe because the others seemed like ‘styled night stands’. And yes I get that is the point BUT the non traditional aspect of 6, 10 and 14 really caught my eye. Number 6, you’re totally on a knife edge. It could look way messy in person, who knows…BUT in the photo I’m loving it!

  24. I think Samantha G. definitely deserved the win! The styling is great, and the moody wall color is so daring. Very Emily-esque, right down to the maiden hair fern! PS – did you know that OSH (Orchard) Supply hardware store does a plant guarantee? If your plant dies in a year bring it back with your receipt and they’ll replace it!

    Emily – what are your tips for styling – specifically for photo shoots? ie. how to layer objects without getting lost on camera, using color to make an impact, what works well in photographs, etc. I would really love to read a post on this!


  25. Hudson

    My nightstand is round 2 #11. So honored to be a favorite! The art behind the nightstand is huge, and I have one on each side that flanks the headboard. Thanks so much Emily!

  26. Sarah

    Love, love love all your posts, but when are we going to see more of Rashna and Dave’s house? I can’t hold my breath too much longer! :)

    • Emily

      Today!!!! Check back. its just busy over here on the blog and i didn’t want to do 4 posts yesterday – you gotta spread the good stuff out.

  27. sg5785

    Emily, your deep personal involvement with everything on this blog is what makes every post a reflection of your awesomeness! I was so happy to see how many people entered, and how many people voted! Cheers for every participants, and cheers for Emily who gives so much!

    Now, to echo Sarah: when are we getting the rest of Rashna and Dave’s house? :)

    • Emily

      Ahhh, thank you so much. it made my morning. Check the blog today for more of Rachna and Dave’s house!

  28. Mari

    aagh, thank you so much for picking my gilded nightstand (#9) as one of your favorites, Emily! I’m honored to be among such great nightstand entries! Even though there were some…glitches, I think you handled the contest so tactfully. Flawless!

    If you’re curious how I gold-leafed my bedside table, you can see more here:


    • i have been reading the comments waiting for you to post so i can tell you how much i LOVE yours! the navy, the gold, the white. amazing!

    • Emily

      Oh, awesome. Thank you so much for sending that link. I’ve gold leafed a few things but never had the balls to do a piece of furniture. You totally inspired me. :)

  29. Lindsey

    Emily the night stand you picked was the right choice. It is beautiful. I would love if you can find a way to do a contest that isn’t facebook related though. I don’t have a facebook, but would love to enter your contests! And seeing how the first nightstand got picked by votes off of facebook proves there’s got to be another way to have a contest. A little unfair to have all your friends vote and it’s not done very well.

    Keep it up Em I’m loving everything you do!!! :)

  30. “soo close to winning” uh emily you just made my whole day. I gasped actually lol. I love the one you chose though, they totally deserve those nightstands. And to your question about enjoying the contest, I love love loved it, I wish you would do more styling contests actually (even if the prize isn’t as big as this one). The ONLY thing I would change, would be having fans vote in any other contest, because it’s just not accurate (as we all know). It would be super cool if you picked one, and so did someone from Serena and Lilly. thanks so much for posting mine!!!

    • Emily

      I agree and am debating that. The main reason for having people vote is to frankly drive traffic to facebook (which once they ‘like’ me the more traffic to the blog) and to get new daily readers. Its a hard balance, for sure. Oh, social media – that devil we need and have to love. But yes, i would love to avoid FB contest trollers – which is what happened. She is legit and there is nothing illegal, but she clearly doesn’t read the blog or care about styling. Its so tricky.

      • Wendy

        Hey Emily,
        I enjoyed looking at all the entries and reading about it on your blog. I am an avid follower, as you are my favorite designer! I really wanted to enter this contest because I thought it was fun, and I love to use your styling rules and aesthetic. I also really need a night stand (don’t have one). I agree with your choice of winner. She created a well balanced composition and photo! In response to the popular vote winner, are you sure she doesn’t follow your blog or care about styling? I think she may benefit the most from the win compared to those in the top 30, don’t you think? She needed it more than so many others. Isn’t improving your style and getting excited about it the whole point of the contest? Seems like your reply comments lent more to getting your brand out there than inspiring people. Not trying to be harsh, I really enjoy your blog, show, style..truly. I feel so afraid to post this because I enjoy you so much. It is true, we, your followers/readers feel like you are our friend out there–cheering us on, inspiring us to make life more beautiful and balanced.

  31. Nicola

    I love the styling of a lot of the nightstands, but what’s seriously bugging me is that apparently the only use for books on a nighstand is to provide a base for bowls, alarm clocks, pots, and all other kind of stuff (or for ‘horizontal grounding’) – hello? what happened to people reading in bed at night?

    • Hi Nicola! I read every single night…on my Kindle. It’s stashed in the drawer of my nightstand. :) I feel horrible contributing to the downfall of bookstores because I love them so much, but I guess not as much as the convenience of ebooks…


      • Nicola

        Hi Mari,

        that’s cool, I like e-books too, but there is always a pile of at least 10 books (actually my to-read list) on my nightstand and it seems I’m one of the few not using books as purly decorative items :)

        • Emily

          hilarious. i assure you a lot of people read at night and yes, obviously styling is a decorative sport. the point is, if you have books (again you can use a jewelry box) there are ways to style them that looks good and not messy. its trying to find that balance.

  32. Laurielulu

    You really are fantastic Emily. This was great fun!

    I didn’t enter, busy and my night stands suck. It’s on the list once I get my tax return……just glanced over and I’m missing the bridge….and I have my lamp on top of the books (gasp…..see what a loser….kidding)per your link I’m taking a class that starts Monday and I’m sooo excited. Such an amazing way to share ones passion/talents. I’m feeling so creative myself, anyone wanna take an accounting class via the Internet? Running a successful business? Marketing? Hahaha….oy

  33. Emily

    Great contest! Loved seeing all the different nightstands. It was super helpful and inspirational! I’m looking forward to more of these contests!

  34. Great contest!
    I really like the colors in Ellie E.’s entry (#5) but the link isn’t working. Since there is a link, I’m assuming she has a blog. Do you have the correct url?
    Thanks! Love your blog!!!

    • Emily

      Oh, will check in a bit. would love to give her well-deserved traffic.

  35. eva

    holy shite! it’s like the fb winner didn’t even put forth effort. woof. (sorry, that is as nice as i can be)

    so nice of you to have two winners so someone who actually tried and didn’t bring silk flowers to the table could win!

  36. Lauren

    I’ll say it again…I still want Ryan G to take me shopping for rugs and blankets…I’d like to see the rest of that space based on the textiles.

    • Emily

      I know. what if ryan g is Ryan GOSLING. OMG. what is ryan gosling entered my styling contest? ahhhhh……

  37. Kayla

    Your winner was my favorite as I was scrolling through them… I felt so validated when it was your pick too!

  38. Sarah

    I loved doing this contest! My only hope was that you would put my picture on your site and you did! (the stump is mine) So, thanks. This was my first try at styling for a photo and I learned that it is very different than styling for real life. It’s all about how it looks through the lens. And just so you know how much sweat I put into this… I dragged that stump in from the backyard and cleaned it up for the pic. It was too short so I propped it up on something ugly. :) All for the pic though!

  39. Judy H.

    Emily, this was such a fun contest! Even though I didn’t win or get an honorable mention, I learned so much about myself; what type of compositions appeal to me, whether colors are most pleasing to me in a bedroom and what my “style ” is. Thanks for the fun.
    …and I still covet the nightstand in #6!!!!!

  40. What a fun, interactive contest complete with feedback… Especially enjoyed reading through your thoughts on all of the top 30 entries!

  41. Mimi

    I love the winner! So funny, though I am totally not a contest kind of girl, I briefly considered entering as I needed a kick to get me to do something with my own. Anyway, I quickly decided against it as I have what appear to be the same low room and board night stands with an odd, yet unavoidable curtain behind my headboard which takes up some of the wall space directly behind the nightstand. How amazing that virtually that same set-up won! I am feeling newly inspired to get back to work in my newly painted, if oh so far from finished bedroom! Thank you once again for inspiring me!

  42. AAARRGGH! I totally slept through this one. I would have entered, but I didn’t catch it in time! I’m borderline obsessed with styling vignettes too. It’s one of the reasons that I’m such a fan of yours. When are you thinking about doing something else like this? Tweet the deets!

  43. Jacquelyn

    I loved how you handled the whole thing. Nice job! Such a great contest. Everyone already said it but it was such a great touch to say why you liked all 30! I entered a contest on Apartment Therapy and I couldn’t even get all my friends to vote for me! impressive she got so many!! Maybe next time have the top four with the most votes and then you pick the first and second from those…
    Love the nightstand with all the plants. my favorite.

  44. Christina

    Emily, I’ve always been a big fan of you and your blog (and will continue to be) but I can’t believe you typed this sentence, let alone decided to publish it: “I set the contest up like that for this exact reason – in case the person with the most votes doesn’t have a good entry.”
    Good in who’s book? It’s true that her entry isn’t styled according to “your rules”. BUT -ultimately, it was a contest based on votes and she won. Did you really need to talk about her in that tone? If she wasn’t a loyal follower before – you’ve given her no reason to be one now.
    I read your blog loyally and have cheered you on from behind my computer as you’ve become more and more successful. But, the tone of your blog has been changing. I’m not the only one who’s noticed – I’ve seen it in the comments.
    I will continue to be a BIG fan and cheer you on, because you are a design genius!
    I just hope that as you become more and more well known by others, you will remember who you are.

  45. Okay, that last one I liked a lot. It’s very visually balanced and the OCD nut in me likes that. I’m so going to join in on the next contest. It was fun to watch though!

  46. First, is there a way to subscribe to your blog via email? I use Bloglovin’ as my reader, but I’m always behind, and I totally missed this whole contest. My very favorite blogs get the right to be emailed to me when a new post goes live, so that I’m always up-to-date. Since you’re one of my faves, I would love to see your posts in my inbox!

    Okay, business aside. I completely agree with your choice, and for all the reasons you mentioned. She must be some sort of professional. Or she should be. I want to live there!

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  48. Rhonda

    Why Don’t You Have Social Nexus Share Buttons On Your Site? I Adore Your Style.

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  52. Aline

    Excellent article. I am facing many of these issues as well..

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