Friday, 19 June 2009

Dressing Tables

I was wafting a duster & some polish around my bedroom (not my favourite occupation I might add!) and started thinking about dressing tables.

I remember my mum having a sleek 60's/70's one when I was a child. A long one with a knee hole in the middle so you could sit down while preening, applying your make up or completing your bee hive hair do. It had various drawers containing fascinating lotions & potions, brushes & rollers etc.

My sister & I had our hair cut on many occasions while sitting in front of it & probabably experimented with applying my mum's make up too!

I had a little white painted kidney shaped one with a free standing mirror on top & a curtain around the front - a "Dolly Varden" I think!
It went very well with my fringed pink candlewick bedspread in the days before duvets.

You don't see that many dressing tables in bedrooms these days do you? Once an essential part of a lady's life it seems they have become a little obsolete.

Having said that, I do have a dressing table - my mum bought it at auction for me when I was about 15 & it has travelled to various houses with me & across the sea too - it probably originated in England before being taken to South Africa & now it is back here.

It is such a practical item of furniture, one wonders why they ever fell out of fashion.

It holds lots of things in it's various drawers & I keep some pretties on display too.

Above the dressing table I display my small collection of Victorian silver purses & a chatelaine which holds various useful items such as a tiny hand mirror, a propelling pencil, a coin holder & a button hook.

I'm always impressed with how even practical, useful things were always pretty as well as functional - perhaps that is the attraction of vintage? The effort put into even the simplest item? many of you still have a dressing table or have memories of one?


  1. I have memories of them in both Grandmothers's houses and my Mother's. I do not have room for one, small cottage and too many clothes so space needed for wardrobes and drawers. I do like them though and if I had spare space in my bedroom, I would definitely have one.
    By the way, it was lovely to meet you at the V&H fair. I am so pleased with my 50's prints.
    Isabelle x

  2. I have a 1920'smirror set I use (they use to attach to dressing tables)- there's three mirrors -one in the center and then two side wings that fold in. And there was a small dressing table left in the basement of our current house - a couple years ago I painted it white (sortof Shabby Chic), and now it's in our bathroom as an extra counter.

  3. I certainly have a dressing table. It sounds a little like your mothers with three drawers either side and you sit in the middle. It's a little worse for wear though - my daughter, Ruby, scratched her name into it when she was about 3. My youngest daughter, Evie, also has a dressing table - one very similar to yours actually. She keeps her collection of perfume bottles on it. As a child I had one which had a large mirror which hinged concealing two cubby holes either side - quite useful for a teenager really! Are they really out of fashion? Oh dear - not got my finger on the pulse then!

  4. Yours is lovely!! I love your collections of purses too. My great grandmother and my grandmother had the most delicious dressing tables, and I remember as a little girl, sitting in front of the mirror on the little vanity stool putting on their powders and rouges and jewelry. Such fun, and then I inherited my great grandmother's dressing table years ago when I was very young and unfortunately it was moved so many times that the poor old thing literally almost broke in two and couldn't be saved. Yours is gorgeous though.
    ♥ Teresa

  5. Isn't the word "chateleine" just soooooo delicious??? x

  6. I'm speechless...I was just sat here typing up a blog post for tomorrow, where I was going to mention my dressing table! So, yes, I do have one, as do all three of my girls!! I wouldn't be without them...all vintage ones of course...

    Yours is a beauty Jayne...and I love the old fashioned kidney shaped ones with the pretty curtains.

    Love the display that you have created above too...

    Have a lovely weekend...I need to get dusting...but may save that pleasure for another day! ;-))
    Niki x

  7. My mum had a lovely dressing table with three large, middle one and two small, narrower,side ones.
    I would sit at it for ages. But it was not so much the dressing table but the lovely things she had on it which always grabbed my interest.
    I wish I had a proper dressing table now!
    Have a lovely weekend ;-)

  8. I have a dressing table but it certainly isn't as pretty as yours. I love the chatelaine by the way, it's really unusual.


  9. I have one in our bedroom which belonged to my Nana. It's an old Arts and Crafts one and although a little battered round the edges is so useful. Have a good weekend.

  10. I really wish I had room for a dressing table - but instead I have to make do with a chest of drawers and a mirror, but of course you can't sit at it and all my little ornaments constantly fall over from persuading heavy drawers to open. This post is a lovely reminder.

    i need to know what the green & yellow dolly ornament thingy is - it is GREAT!

    And - please visit Marble Rose to collect your well deserved and prestigious award!


  11. I've always had dressing tables, though I call them vanities. Growing up, I, too, had the white-painted kidney shaped table with the fabric skirt. White voile with pink hot pink roses - very 70s! It had a fold-up mirror with a storage area underneath, and two small drawers. I'm sure I have a picture somewhere. Now I have a french provincial (reproduction) that I got out of someone's trash many years ago - it's a little wonky, but serves its purpose - with the same fold-up mirror with hidden storage area, and 4 drawers! I've got a furniture dealer wanting to buy it from me...I don't know :-)

    Now so many women use their bathroom sinks and countertops for make-up applying...but I prefer to get out of the steam and up to the dressing room where I can sit and relax while I do my hair and make-up. It feels much more luxurious...


  12. What a lovely dressing table and yes I have one in my room myself. My dressing table is actually one of the few items that keeps my room looking like a bedroom with the amount of boxes I have piled up everywhere!

    I also had one of the white kidney shaped ones years ago with the curtain across it.

    Victoria xx

  13. Alas I do not own a dressing table.. instead I perch everything on our tiny mantelpiece in the bedroom...
    My mother on the other hand... had a beautiful elegant French bedroom suite...and I always remember her dressing table being laden with silver backed mirrors, beads and baubles and her favourite bottles of Chanel No: 5 perfume...

    Michele x

  14. Lovely dressing table ..... give me good old fashioned proper wooden furniture anyday as opposed to MDF ........ I have a small one drawer Edwardian one with a little mirror and original glass which came from my gran's house .... I really regret giving up a beautiful walnut bedroom suite given to me by an uncle when he moved to Spain years ago. We moved house and it came with fitted wardrobes so we just didn't have the room for it but it was a beauty. I have my other nanna's green glass dressing table set that used to sit on her table many moons ago.

  15. What a lovely dressing table - mine is certainly not as glamourous as yours!

  16. I have a dressing table - or rather a merchants chest come dressing table. It is a modern one though made out of pine. I used to have an absolutely lovely dressing table, one which you could sit at, but also contained draws. I bought it in my teens - I saved up my first few wages for it - and it travelled to various different places with me until I came to England. I discovered my mother sold it a few years ago when I asked if she could send it over to me! It was made out of Kauri and was antique. I miss it, but sadly will probably never have the opportunity to have another like it.

  17. Spooky! Your dressing table is almost identical to mine! I think ours came from an auction years & years ago when we were first setting up home.
    Lizzie x