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Will a Beautifully Styled Dressing Table Transform Your Bedroom?

It’s working for these stylish sleep spaces. Be inspired and pick up some tricks to try at home

Houzz UK deputy editor. I’m an interiors journalist and editor, previously for the… More

The dressing table or, as lots of us are now calling it – American style – the vanity table, is a key piece of bedroom furniture and, after the bed, can be a real focal point. Whether you use the top of a chest of drawers, a vintage desk, or a designed-for-the-purpose piece, it’ll only look lovely if it’s given a little styling help. It’s easy to let daily getting-ready clutter mess up the surface, but this can really reduced the relaxation mood of your bedroom. Keep it looking beautiful instead (and hide all that clutter in its drawers…). Try out these styling ideas.

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Slim down
Without the temptation of too much space across which to strew your getting-ready debris, you should find that maintaining a dressing table as sleekly styled as this one is a doddle. (You may find that those drawers, which fan cleverly towards the floor when open, hide many messy sins – but this is the secret of many a minimalist: junk crammed in cupboards and drawers.)

But back to the styling: choosing a piece of furniture with so much standout style will give you a head start. And even without these details in place, there is a simple styling tip to be taken: one picture, one high thing and one low thing. You can lean the artwork against a wall on your dressing table or hang it on the wall. Then partner it up with two pleasing objects of different heights (as you can see here, it can be as simple as a book and a vase of blooms). Ensure items are not bang in the centre of the artwork. Job done. It’s really that simple. Get a gold star for tying the colours in your objects with the the colours in the artwork.

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Try a tray
The tray is a favourite styling trick and has the magical powers of making all sorts of disparate objects look purposeful and somehow prettier.

This midcentury dressing table could well originally have been a desk, since the round mirror is freestanding. Desks can make excellent dressing tables because they often have practical drawers in which you can hide everything unsightly, leaving room on your tray for several choice items of beauty.

Flowers, which will crop up again and again as dressing-table accessories, should not be saved for photoshoots or guest visits. This is the place you start your day – flowers are good for the soul, treat yourself!

How to arrange your bedside like an interiors pro

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Perfect some polish
Black lacquered surfaces are often a good base from which to create a glamorous scene. A black-and-white photo of possibly the most glamorous Hollywood icon ever continues to set the tone.

Other key glamour signifiers include the string of pearls, the silver boxes and that classic boutique-hotel favourite – a short-stem white-rose arrangement. A strict colour palette will also help you to achieve a comparable arrangement using your own things – here it’s monochrome, but you could go all white, white and gold or shades of grey or all neutrals. Just keep your colours subdued for this look.

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Be unconventional
There’s a lot going on in this dressing table arrangement, and some quirky style ideas, but the order with which everything is put together gives it the air of a mini art installation.

The lampshade is, in fact, the chief off-beat standout – choose one of these types of objects and let it shine, rather than crowding it out with other strong statements. Everything else on the table, in fact, ties in with colours or finishes around the rest of the room, so the whole display is less out-there than would first appear.

Jewellery is carefully arranged on an unusual glass tiered stand – carefully being the key word; overfill a display like this, or let clumps of necklaces spill over the edges, and artful will quickly turn to untidy-looking. A trio of unusually shaped glass jewellery boxes would be a stylistically comparable display idea – you could even try repurposing a tiny terrarium or two. Go for little ones or those with multiple compartments to avoid the bling clump. Stagger the sizes and fill with restraint.

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Keep family close
An old 1930s or 1940s wooden dressing table in good condition needs little styling. Here, though, it’s been enhanced by a simple framed photograph – do you have a black-and-white photo of a favourite grandma, or your mother as a young woman? It’s a lovely thing to gaze at while you get ready and it’ll look at home in this context. Seek out a frame from a suitable era in a junk shop or on eBay to display it in. Pair this with a simple jewellery box, or a small vase of flowers – lilacs would work well – or a scented candle and shove everything else out of sight in your vintage piece’s capacious drawers.

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Anchor with symmetry
Starting in the centre and building a display outwards, as seen here, is one smart way to go for a formal display.

The mirror and mirrored box are framed by the glass candleholders; this enables other items (all lower than the candles) to build out on each side, with a little bit more mirroring going on with the posies of white flowers. A symmetrical centrepiece like this will act merely an anchor, one that will allow a less formal scattering of objects around it to look well-arranged.

Note, too, the use of colour here: everything is pale pink, peach, off-white or has a clear or reflective finish – but lots of different textures for interest.

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Make for multi-level
A piece of furniture like this unusual chest of drawers allows for three unique ‘vignettes’ – one on each level.

If you have different-coloured drawers, or a busy unit like this, be aware that keeping your display in the same palette will really help it to look good rather than chaotic.

12 great ideas for creating a vignette in the bedroom

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Use flowers as a focal point
As already mentioned, flowers are something it’s great to get into the habit of. You don’t need to spend a fortune – three stems, once a week or even less, will do you.

And here’s a tip if you’re wondering how to get yours to look as lovely as some of the blooms in these rooms: pull off all the leaves that fall below the top of the container you’re putting them in. It may seem brutal, but just look at this example to see how it gives flowers a pro-arranged look. Then criss-cross your stems so that they support each other and – if you have a glass vessel – they’ll look nicer, too. Change water daily for a max bloom lifespan and put just a drop of bleach in the water – it keeps flower-decaying bacteria at bay.

Browse dressing tables for sale in the Houzz shop

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Sort a compact room
In a small space, a wall-mounted vanity shelf or drawers may be the answer. And to keep things feeling sleek and streamlined, don’t make the styling fussy either. Here, you can see how simple it can be to create a focal point that remains functional.

A mirror, a vase with a single leaf in it, and a framed picture. Voila. Everything else can be hidden away for easy access in those drawers. Bear this all in mind if you’re going for a minimal look and considering a shelf as a dressing table or vanity area – where will you keep the things you use every day?

Show us your dressing table top or share your ideas for good styling ideas in the Comments.

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