There’s something truly decadent about a dressing table; the words conjure up the elegance of the Golden Era of Hollywood, of starlets sitting atop quilted velvet stools, gazing into silver edged mirrors and touching up their makeup with giant, voluminous powder puffs. When you put it like that, it’s hard to imagine anyone not wanting to have a movie star moment at a dressing table of their own – but for several decades, the dressing table fell from favour. Seen as a non-essential item, a relic from a bygone era, it was overlooked as houses got smaller and bedrooms became modernised.
In modern houses with built-in storage, a dressing table is occasionally alluded to with a dimly lit shelf and stool between wardrobes – nothing that speaks of the lavish grandeur of its previous incarnations. Yet now, perhaps in part as a backlash against these lacklustre imitations, it seems the dressing table is back in fashion . . . and for good reason.
It’s an elegant, striking addition to any bedroom, dressing room or hallway, scattered with a sparkle of crystal-topped bottles and a couple of artfully placed, precious family photographs. The style you opt for depends very much on your existing decor – perhaps you’ll channel your mid-century maven and go for a pared-back, 1970s G Plan model in glossy tan teak, or splash out on a gilt, baroque masterpiece replete with a built-in mirror and matching stool. A mirror can really complete the look, so whether it comes with one attached or not, it’s worth positioning one above the tabletop so you can use the dressing table to its full potential.
Whatever the style you choose there’s no better place to display your jewellery box
Whatever style you choose, there’s certainly no better place to keep a jewellery box, perfume and aftershave and nowhere nicer to sit and put your makeup on – or take it off, for that matter. Most come with at least one or two drawers (perfect for storing toiletries) and occasionally, they’re graced with more extensive storage capacity, which means they double up as a chest of drawers. In spite of its reputation as a frivolous addition, a dressing table is actually an eminently usable piece of furniture, as when space is tight. It can double up as a desk and instantly turn a bedroom into a home office during the day.
Beyond the high street
Though there are lots of available high street options, for standout, unique dressing tables, look for antique and vintage examples. You’ll find a wide variety of vintage options at virtually any auction house or antique shop. Larger charity shops also often have a good selection of vintage furniture, but your search may be longer and less fruitful if you choose to go this route.
Vintage specialist marketplaces such as Vinterior
You can also try shopping at an online marketplace like Vinterior – vintage dressing tables for sale on the internet where the choice tends to be better and the ability to hone a search becomes much easier. If you’re not seeing the perfect thing, you could always buy a vintage piece and upcycle it – or even give your existing dressing table a facelift. For the cost of a little paint and some offcuts of fabric, you could completely revitalise your bedroom. If you’re feeling adventurous, experiment by using a colour you really like to turn it into an eye-catching accent piece, and then reupholster the stool in a bold, coordinating print. This ensures that your dressing table is totally unique whilst giving an old piece of furniture a new lease of life.