Today, the dressing table is one of the accent pieces that add glamour and sophistication to our homes, the type of furniture that’s both practical and aesthetically pleasing, often with an emphasis on the latter. So did this trend start? Actually, the first dressing tables weren’t even tables. They were boxes and they’ve been around for a very long time. The ancient egyptians (pharaohs in particular) used them to keep things like ointment jars, face paints and perfumes. They even had hand mirrors that were made of polished metal.

Later, the French created their own versions of these ornate boxes which they called necessities. They were meant for the royalty people and the aristocrats and they contained things like perfume flasks, combs, nail files and tiny scissors. The boxes were carried by the maids, which leads us to an important detail: the fact that the cosmetic boxes were portable.

It wasn’t until the late 1970s that these boxes started being replaced by dressing tables with mirrors. The first ones were hybrids, meaning that were pretty much tables with cosmetic boxes on them. The designs evolved in time and by the mid 80s the dressing table as we know it today started to take shape. Then, in the 19t century the dressing table was already a matching part of the bedroom suite.

In Europe the dressing table was a symbol of luxury and glamour, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries. In America, on the other hand, the designs were simpler and a bit more focused on functionality. The more recent designs are a combination of both influences and they reflect the diversity of styles that we’ve come to admire over time. Today you can find dressing tables with drawers, with mirrors, with ornate feet, small, large, modern, vintage and with all sorts of other characteristics.

It’s important to have adequate lighting when using the dressing table and symmetry can help with that
Too much light, on the other hand, can make the space feel less comfortable and intimate

With so many options and styles to choose from, it can be difficult to find the dressing table that suits you best. Here are a few tips and ideas that might help. Decide whether you want a custom table or a ready-made one or if you’d rather build one yourself. They’re all valid options. Then pick a style that reflects your personality and that also matches the rest of the decor in the room and throughout the home. After that, focus on the smaller things. For example, decide whether you want a small table or a large one.

Table tamps are excellent for dressing tables. They have a warm and pleasant glow and they can also double as decorations
For an unconventional look, combine a large mirror and a small table or storage cabinet
Instead of storage drawers, you could keep your things in trays or boxes
Ornate designs have a bohemian and glamorous look, being reminiscent of the aristocrats’ houses from the past
Instead of floor or table lamps, you could have wall-mounted sconces placed on either side of the mirror
Another options, great for contemporary spaces, is a mirror that lights up around the edges

Small dressing tables are better suited for tiny rooms or for areas filled with natural light. Also, if the table is small, choose a wall-mounted mirror and a small table lamp to free up space on the counter and make sure to organize everything neatly. Organize small items on trays and keep your things inside drawers.

If the small built-in mirror on your dressing table is not enough, you can also have a larger one on the side
The chair that accompanies the dressing table is pretty important, having a big impact on the room’s decor
A lot of contemporary dressing tables are minimalist, quite similar to this one
A glass top reveals the interior of this dressing table, putting a playful and quirky spin on its simple design
Compact designs are great for small rooms. This one has a top that folds up to reveal a built-in mirror
The curved sides and the patterned finish give this table a very chic and girly look highlighted by the accent chair
This table also has a top that opens to reveal a storage space organized in small compartments
Position the dressing table in an area filled with light, preferably in front of a window or close to a light fixture

Choose a dressing table that has large drawers if you know you have lots of things to store. You can keep your jewelry in drawers with velvet-lined trays. For extra storage, you can add a lingerie or jewelry chest next to your dressing table. Another option is to have cabinet-style mirrors above the table, for extra storage and a built-in look. And speaking of mirrors, a large one can be used to reflect the room and to create the impression of a large and airy space, in addition to being practical.

Super ornate and detailed designs like this one are not for everyone but they can definitely make a statement
You can match the design of your dressing table or mirror to that of the headboard
Usually, dressing tables are placed in bedrooms although another nice place for them in the bathroom
Complement a small table with a large mirror to compensate for a small room
Pick a table that matches the style of the room in order to maintain a cohesive look
The curved edges give the vanity a feminine and delicate allure
With storage drawers on the sides, the center remains free of clutter
A simple or minimalist table can be complemented by a cool-looking chair
Some designs are practical and others are more focused on looks. A combination between the two is often preferred
Hidden storage compartments are always fun and practical
Matching sets of tables and chairs are an elegant option but they don’t always suit the decor
Mount the table on the wall to create the impression of a more open and spacious room
Although a bit unconventional, an oversized mirror can turn out to be a practical match for a dressing table
This mirror design is another intriguing idea which can be adapted to a variety of spaces and styles
The thin legs give the table a really delicate and sleek look, in contrast with the robust top
While the table can be moved around, the mirror is fixed to the wall in this case
There’s a really nice connection between the stool and the mirror, completed by the table’s curved edges
Although small, this table doesn’t really lack storage or style

Fun fact: dressing tables aren’t just for women. There’s also an equivalent for men, although it’s not a table but rather a cabinet with drawers and a mirror. Since men stand when they shave, these cabinets are not accompanied by chairs and they can be mounted on the wall. These vanities are something you can add to your bathroom as an alternative to the usual medicine cabinet.

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