The Vanity Table: A Space for Self-Care

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Vanity tables may have come into vogue in the 18th century — when they graced the dressing room of many a high-society European woman — but in 2019, they’re decidedly modern. As the concept of self-care emerges at the intersection of lifestyle trends, mental health and feminism, women are seeking out ways to incorporate the practice into their own lives. While this can range from soaking in an epsom-salt bath to spending time unplugged in nature, what it often points to is the need for carving out space for yourself.

And your beauty routine is no different!

If the area in which you apply your makeup and style your hair is cramped, unorganized and shared with other (potentially messy) household members, chances are the process feels like a chore. With a dedicated “vanity” zone, complete with easy-to-reach tools and a few personal touches, the age-old ritual of primping is restored to what it should be: self-care.

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Here, we share five steps for creating a simple, stylish space that will kick start your day with some “me” time.

Find the Right Spot

Vanity tables are most often placed in the bedroom. Choose a location near a window if possible so you can take advantage of the natural light, and make sure there’s an outlet within reach.

Working with limited square footage? A vanity can double as a nightstand when placed beside your bed. A stylish alarm clock or phone dock, lamp and book make for attractive accessories that can blend easily with the rest of your vanity decor.

Choose Your Key Pieces

The three building blocks of vanity decor are your table, chair and mirror. Vanity tables with attached mirrors come in both antique and contemporary styles, and are a great choice if you find a piece you love. But they’re also less versatile. With a separate table and mirror, you can mix and match styles (a vintage mirror with modern table, for example) and use them for different purposes if your needs change in the future.

Whichever option you choose, make sure it’s cohesive with the rest of the space. If your bedframe and other furnishings are sleek and streamlined, an antique vanity will seem out of place. While it doesn’t have to match (furniture that’s too “matching” is outdated anyway) aim to find a table with similar lines or finish to the room’s existing pieces. The table should be narrower than a standard desk but with enough surface space that it can display your items without looking cluttered. And make sure it has at least two drawers, providing storage while helping keep the surface clear.

For the chair, aim for a style that’s visually lightweight (avoid anything bulky or with arms) and easy to slide in and out. Make sure its proportions fit the table so it doesn’t dominate the space and you’re not sitting too high or low. And have fun with it! Chairs are an excellent way to add personality to any space.

Organize Your Supplies

The quantity of your beauty supplies will determine what organizing system you need. Have a simple routine with just a few key items? Stash like-with-like (all your brushes, for example) in a glass organizer or decorative jars. When you can see each individual product — rather than having it hidden in a cupboard or bag, chances are better you’ll take the time to use it.

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If you’re a makeup hoarder with tons of products, you’ll need backup storage. Use drawer organizers to separate eyeshadows from lipsticks, blushes from bronzers. For searching ease, try keeping hair products in one drawer and makeup in the other. If you want more makeup displayed, dedicate a corner of your table to clear stackable storage.

Want to keep your hair tools (dryer, flat iron and more) off your vanity’s surface? Mount a holder for them to the wall or side of the table. They’ll be out of the way, but easy to reach when needed.

Add Personal Touches

Necklaces hanging on a stand, perfume bottles arranged on a tray, a favourite photo in a frame; these are the kind of details that make a vanity feel personal. While your hair and makeup products need to be easily accessed, be sure to leave space to mix in a few special items. Love the effect of aromatherapy? Add a scented candle to one corner. Like to take your rings off at night before you go to sleep? Store them in a pretty ceramic dish. Take a fresh look at the space every few weeks to rearrange and switch things up! This is a part of your home that’s just for you, so use it, cherish it and remember that this is just one step toward a new era of self-care.