There is something quite luxurious about the idea of sitting down in the morning at an antique vanity. It is more important than ever to indulge in daily slowness and routine. While you can hunch over the sink swiping on a moisturizer, shaving, or applying make-up, there is so much more to enjoy about the start of our day.
Therefore, the vanity you choose is critical. Any space where you spend valuable time should reflect your personal style, and maximize comfort. Let’s dive in below to examine your options for vintage vanities, antique dressing tables, and more.
The Antique Vanity: A History
The Renaissance transition through the 15th and 16th centuries breathed new life into self-adornment and appearances. Across the arts and sciences, people valued discovery and investigation.
Studies in music, humanities, architecture, geography, accounting, and philosophy all bloomed. The wealthier classes got to enjoy the riches of all these developments, enjoying the gifts of innovation.
By the 16th century, Venetian crafters were innovating and locking up trade secrets for mirrors. Naturally, the most affluent European citizens wanted the most divine mirrors in their homes. Read more on the fascinating history of mirrors across the globe in our blog post from earlier this year.
What’s the Difference Between a Dressing Table and a Vanity?
Nowadays, the terms “vanity table” and “dressing table” are used interchangeably. There are some differences that are pinpointed online, though. Vanity tables generally have one or more mirrors, while dressing tables usually have more storage room.
In the 18th century, these were popularly known as toilet tables, but that fell out of fashion with time. The word “toilette” came as a French diminutive form of toile, a cloth from Medieval times that was spread on top of a table prior to using cosmetics. These were used in bathrooms for general health and incorporated a wash basin under a fold-over top.
By Another Name: Poudreuse
In the 17th century, a vanity was better known as a “lowboy” in England, and “poudreuse” in France. A poudreuse was considered to be a small table with a drawer and space for keeping perfumes and cosmetic products.
In particular, this French Louis XV Poudreuse has a great amount of storage. It would suit modern compartment needs for all our beauty purchases and necessities.
For someone who needs adaptable furniture in a small or ever-changing space, this table features an additional pullout writing surface with the original leather covering. With the tri-fold mirror, this table could see you get ready in the morning, and accomplish work tasks in the afternoon.
Admiring Oneself And Displaying Wealth
The royal and wealthy changed the way dressing tables were used in the 18th century. Vanities were no longer just private bathroom spaces for cleaning and adorning oneself for the day. They transitioned into comfortable stations for morning ritual and beautification.
There was a public element now involved for the most beloved women of the court and duchesses. Dressing tables featured refined storage options. There were boxes made of china, porcelain, glass and crystal splayed on the table tops. These furniture pieces and then items atop them became an opportunity for exaggerated displays of class and wealth.
Antique Vanities: Dressing Table Examples
This gorgeous French example of an Antique Dressing Table might have sat in a noble’s 18th century home. The cabinetmakers and furniture crafters of this era made huge strides in innovation for tables.
There is beautiful marquetry on this antique dressing table. The maker combined three types of veneer: rosewood, kingwood and satinwood. Atop curved and slender legs, the dressing table has four exterior drawers, a pull-out writing top, and an attached mirror that flips up. On one side there is an area to place cosmetic containers and on the other side an area to place beauty products. The creative storage space in this piece is astonishing.
More Antique Vanities
Full of personality, this Louis XV Dressing Table has a distinct diamond shaped design pattern of kingwood and rosewood marquetry.
While you examine all your options, our message is to uncover what speaks to you. Make an effort to seek out and appreciate the details that are important to you, regardless of the exact name of each piece. What will you use this preparatory space for? What features do you want your table, chair, and mirrors to have? Let that guide your search.
Create Your Own Set-Up: Biedermeier DIY
The perfect set up for you may not even exist yet! An antique vanity set-up can be uniquely yours by combining quality pieces.
Using Biedermeier as an example, you can stretch your creativity and personalize your space. This Biedermeier Dressing Table Mirror has been elegantly maintained with the original large mirror glass and dates from 1825 Germany. There are three drawers that add easy, compact storage.
Sit this mirror atop a table of your choice, Biedermeier or otherwise. You have free reign to mix and match styles here.
Chair and Stool Pairings For Your Antique Vanity
If you wanted to continue with Biedermeier, you could pair the mirror with a Small Biedermeier Stool, an original antique stool made with solid wood. The updated soft upholstery would make this a plush landing spot for those extra few minutes in the morning. Read up more on stools and your options for styling your home with them here: Style Your Home with Gorgeous Vintage Stools.
Your options don’t end at stools! Unlike stools and benches, which are very common in vanities, reclining chairs provide a great backrest feature. Finding a chair to match your antique vanity table can vary depending upon your décor and personal style.
The Vanity Table: Creative Options for Your Vintage Vanity Set
Perhaps you don’t need a full stool or storage set-up, but a place to glance-and-go. Consider this Antique Walnut Console Table with Mirror.
Maybe this piece is traditionally used for entryway spaces or a living room, but you’re allowed to break the rules! If this is the right amount of surface area and the black and gold features call to you, this could be the perfect choice for you.
There are also options for converting a desk into a vanity table. This stunning Bauhaus Desk and Stool is only missing a mirror to complete its transformation. This cream base with steel tubes and black leather details is perfect for someone looking for a unique vintage vanity.
A Space That is Precious and Just for You
How are you going to fit in that little bit of extra “me-time” in your day? We know that the right furniture in your bedroom will make all the difference. Especially when it comes to an antique vanity, the space can be truly just for you. Without considering guests or hosting, pause to dream.
Take advantage of your online resources, services and all the experts at your disposal. Here at Styylish, we have a wide collection of options. You’ve come to the right place! It is our mission to find unique pieces for individual interiors.