Pro tips to style a sideboard by interior stylist, Kate Hill

mango wood sideboard with gold accessories and thumbnail print of Kate Hill

rustic oak sideboard with four cupboards and metal handles

How often do you look at homes in a magazine or online and think, “I wish I could style my furniture like that?” There’s a skill to making reclaimed or rustic furniture look fabulous in a home and professional interior stylist, set dresser and scenic artist, Kate Hill, has mastered that art.

The beauty of a wooden sideboard is not to be underestimated, and the same applies to any type of furniture with a surface area. Whether you have a rustic sideboard that is deep and long, a rustic console table or even an industrial coffee table with reclaimed wood and black steel, they offer the perfect stage to make a statement and add personality to a room.

Here, Kate shares with us some of her styling secrets that will help you create an effortless look every time.

Kate’s furniture styling secrets

Play with heights and layers

The trick here is to create a grouping of accessories in a variety of colours, textures and shapes that complement and contrast with each other. It can be one group across the entire surface or smaller separate ones. An easy recipe for dressing a wooden sideboard, console or side table is to choose three colours – say green, grey and terracotta. Choose items in different shapes and heights for each colour. Make your choice in different textures too – say glass, ceramic and metal. When you lay the items out on the surface, you are looking to spread out the colours amongst each other and because you have chosen them in different heights, shapes and textures, it will automatically create an interesting display.

display of vases and print on reclaimed wood sideboard

Books and Magazines

I sometimes buy a book purely for the beauty or colour of its front cover and use it to add interest to a coffee table. Stacks of books and magazines are also a great prop to add height to a surface that you want to dress creatively, but they should be colour-coordinated with your room. Neutral or muted colours that blend and don’t stand out work really well together. Green, white, grey and black are all good staple colours. Stack some of the books and place an object, such as a bowl, small plant or candle on top.

Trays and baskets

These are great for creating a home to display collections of objects such as candles or small plants. A wood or metal tray, plate or shallow bowl filled with candles always looks elegant and stylish on a reclaimed wood sideboard. You could add mini succulents, crystals and other treasured objects too.

oak sideboard with square panelled front and green accessories

Green Glassware

I love green glassware! It looks great with any style of furniture, but especially with rustic and reclaimed wood furniture. Choose plain or ribbed green glass and play with different heights; you’ll see how it gives the room a fresh lift. It also looks stylish combined with white and clear vases and glassware too.

close up of reclaimed wood sideboard with plant pots


Whether you prefer real or fake, plants…and more specifically trailing plants, will soften hard edges. They are the finishing touch that add natural colour and organic shapes to bring a room alive. Dried flowers and leaves in oversized vases are another trick for adding interesting texture and shapes to the space.

A bit about Kate

Interior stylist Kate Hill

Kate has worked as an interior stylist and writer for 20 years, creating room transformations for magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Ideal Home and House Beautiful. In recent years she has also become a set dresser, transforming venues for events and parties, including the BAFTA awards dinner and Royal Ascot. She also styles for the TV show, Interior Design Masters. Check out @katehillstylist for more inspiration from Kate.