Built-In Dressing Table Ideas: How to Create the Ideal Vanity Table

vanity table built in to bedroom wardrobes
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As you’re sure to know, a vanity table (also known as a dressing table) is a piece of furniture that’s typically found in bedrooms. While a dressing table serves a practical purpose, such as storing cosmetics and personal items, it can also be a highly decorative addition to a room, which integrates well with your décor.

Built-in dressing tables, once a hallmark of vintage home designs, have been making a prominent comeback in contemporary interiors. Their resurgence can be attributed to several factors, reflecting modern lifestyle needs and aesthetic preferences.

If you are planning on creating a built-in vanity table for your bedroom, you should first carefully consider the design, materials, and construction process.

Built-In Dressing Table Design Essentials

a dressing table with a large mirror and flowers in a vase

Built-in dressing tables are designed to maximize every inch. Whether incorporated into wardrobes, under windows, or in alcoves, they utilize spaces that might otherwise be wasted.

Unlike standalone pieces, built-in tables can be tailored to fit a room’s existing design, creating a harmonious and cohesive look. This ensures that the vanity area doesn’t feel like an afterthought but a part of the room’s integral design.

Here’s how to create your own built-in vanity table: 

1. Consider the Available Space

a dark blue dressing room with wardrobes and a vanity table
Sharps Shaker Dressing Room with built-in vanity table

When planning to install a vanity or dressing table, understanding the dimensions and layout of your room is of paramount importance. This ensures that the table integrates seamlessly into the space, without making it look out of place or too overwhelming for the room.

Here’s a guide to help you evaluate the space effectively:

  1. Measure the width of the area where you want to place the vanity. Consider any windows, doors, or other fixtures that might affect placement.
  2. Assess how far the table can come out without obstructing pathways or making the space feel cramped.
  3. Determine the optimal height for the table and consider any overhead storage or mirrors.
  4. Analyze the layout: A dressing table placed near a window can benefit from natural light, which is ideal for makeup application. However, ensure privacy isn’t compromised.
  5. If you plan to use electrical appliances, like hairdryers or lighted mirrors, ensure the table is near electrical outlets, or consider installing additional ones.
  6. Avoid placing the vanity in high-traffic areas where it could become an obstruction.
  7. Remember to account for space for a stool or chair. Ensure there’s enough legroom and that the chair can be tucked away when not in use.
  8. The vanity should be proportional to the room’s size. An oversized table in a small room can feel overwhelming, while a tiny table in a large room may seem lost.

2. How to Incorporate a Built-In Dressing Table

a dressing table in an alcove of a bedroom
A built-in dressing table in a bedroom alcove. Image: @end_of_the_row

Incorporating a built-in dressing table into a bedroom can elevate the space and provide you with a little corner of your own. The “built-in” concept ensures that the dressing table is integrated seamlessly into the room’s design, maximizing space and providing a cohesive look.

Begin by evaluating the room’s layout. Identify potential areas where a built-in dressing table can be integrated, considering factors like natural light sources, wall spaces, and proximity to wardrobes or closets. Ideally, place the dressing table near a window to take advantage of natural light for makeup application and grooming.

Integrating the dressing table beside a built-in wardrobe can offer a streamlined look and make it easier to coordinate outfits and accessories. For a modern look, consider a floating dressing table. This design can make the room appear more spacious and is ideal if you want your table to be integrated next to your wardrobe but lack space. 

If your bedroom has a recessed niche or alcove, this can be an ideal spot for a built-in dressing table. Ensure the materials, colors, and finishes of the dressing table align with the rest of the room’s decor for a seamless look.

3. Evaluate Storage Needs

a dressing table built into a bedroom eaves with stool and open shelving

When designing your vanity table, spend time thinking about what items you intend to store in it. With the right-sized compartments and the right number, you can add functionality and organization to your vanity table.

You will probably want compartments for makeup, jewelry items like bracelets, necklaces, and rings, and personal items. Make a list of each item you need a compartment for and then design the compartments accordingly.

You may even want to design secret compartments to house precious items like diamond or ruby rings. For instance, once you discover ruby rings at Diamondere, you may find you begin expanding your jewelry collection.

To make sure you have all the storage you need, begin by listing all the items you plan to store in the dressing table.

  • Categorize them into makeup, skincare, hair tools, jewelry, perfumes, and other personal items.
  • Identify which items you use daily, occasionally, and rarely. This will help determine which items need to be within easy reach and which can be stored more deeply or even off the table.
  • Determine drawer depths: Shallow drawers are ideal for makeup palettes, brushes, and smaller items, medium drawers for skincare bottles, hair tools, and larger makeup items, and deep drawers for hairdryers, curling irons, etc. 
  • Consider adding dividers inside drawers to separate and organize different items. Adjustable dividers offer flexibility.
  • Determine the balance between open shelves or compartments and closed drawers. While open storage offers quick access and can display beautiful products, closed storage provides a neater look and protects items from dust.

4. Choosing the Right Material

a small wood dressing table built-in next to a wardrobe with small leather stool
Light oak is the perfect choice for a vanity table if you want it to blend in and be contemporary in style

Most vanity tables are made of wood, but metal is also an option. If you go with wood, choose a type that is both robust and matches your interior design. Some of the best woods for making a vanity table are oak, walnut, and cherry, as they are strong and durable, and can also provide a rustic and elegant feel to your room.

When it comes to making a vanity table out of metal, steel, bronze, or brass are often the best options. These metals are not only durable and easy to work with, they can also provide a sleek and modern touch to your room’s aesthetic.

5. Selecting the Right Colour

a dark grey dressing table in between two wardrobes
Dark grey built-in vanity table with wardrobes in the bedroom

Choosing the right color for your vanity table depends on your room’s existing color scheme and personal aesthetic preference. If you’re using wood or metal, consider a material with a tone that naturally complements your room decor.

Alternatively, consider painting your vanity table. This allows you more freedom to match the table directly to your existing décor or create an accent piece with additional patterns and design features.

6. Incorporating Mirrors

Mirrors are an essential design element of every vanity table, so carefully consider how you intend to incorporate them into your design plan.

Mirror size and placement matter. The main mirror should be proportionate to the table size and smaller mirrors should be used, perhaps around the sides, to provide more angles for viewing. It may be helpful to have a swivel feature for adjustable viewing angles.

The frame design can also influence the overall look of your vanity table, so pick one that matches your style and décor.

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7. Add Lighting

a dressing table built-in to the bedroom with LED lighting

Lighting plays a key role in the usability of any dressing table. Whether applying makeup or admiring a piece of jewelry, good illumination is essential.

With the advent of technology, dimmable lights, and smart bulbs have revolutionized the way we can create different atmospheres in our homes. Decide what mood or atmosphere you want to create. Is it relaxation, romance, concentration, or maybe an energizing vibe? Your desired mood will dictate the brightness and color of the lighting.

Consider adding both task and accent lighting to your setup. Task lights provide focused lighting for specific activities such as LED mirrors or the popular Hollywood mirror lights, while accent lights can highlight interesting elements or create a mood-enhancing ambiance, such as LED strip lights behind a mirror or vertical light sconces on the wall.

8. Design Ideas for the Ideal Built-In Dressing Table

Creating a built-in dressing table for your bedroom means integrating it into the decor already in the room. If your bedroom is neutral and you are looking for some guidance on how to make your dressing area special, here are some dressing table ideas: 

Modern Minimalistic Dressing Table

a minimalist bedroom with textured wallpaper and clean lines
Minimalism – straight out of a hotel room. DaFre Antis Walk in Wardrobe/Dressing Table – Go Modern

The modern minimalistic design approach places emphasis on simplicity. When applied to a dressing table, the design showcases understated beauty, maximizing function while minimizing excess.

Opt for straight lines and geometric shapes. Whether it’s a rectangular table or a square one, the edges are often sharp and well-defined. Legs, if visible, are straight and slender, or you might opt for a wall-mounted floating design for a more spacious feel.

Natural wood is a popular choice due to its warmth and timeless appeal. Light woods like beech, ash, or pine can give a serene and airy feel, while darker woods like walnut can add a touch of luxury without compromising the minimalist ethos.

Add a clean frameless mirror, built-in LED lights, drawers without handles, and a neutral color scheme. 

Classic Elegance Dressing Table

an elegant vanity table built in in the bedroom with crystal chandelier and gold trim

Rooted in tradition and the grandeur of bygone eras, classic elegance embodies sophistication and timeless beauty. Dressing tables inspired by this style often exhibit intricate craftsmanship, vintage touches, and a keen attention to detail.

Classic tables often veer away from the straight and geometric, embracing curves, cabriole legs, and scalloped edges. The table might feature hand-carved details, be it floral motifs, cherubs, or intricate patterns, adding to its antique charm.

Dark, polished woods such as mahogany, cherry, and walnut dominate this style, exuding warmth and luxury. Gold or silver leaf accents, especially on carved details, can add a touch of opulence.

To finish your dressing area, add a large ornate mirror, brass or crystal handles, and seating with plush upholstery, perhaps with velvet or brocade fabric.

Rustic Charm Dressing Table

a dressing table made out of industrial style furniture with a large mirror

Rustic charm captures the essence of countryside living, embodying natural beauty, simplicity, and a sense of authenticity. Dressing tables inspired by rustic design are characterized by raw textures, unfinished or reclaimed woods, and an overall cozy, homespun feel.

To create a rustic dressing table, you need to lean heavily on wood with visible grains, knots, and imperfections, often in its natural or lightly stained form. Clean lines, but with a rough or handcrafted appearance, can help define the structure. 

A mirror with a broad, wooden frame, possibly with distressed paint or a weathered look, complements the rustic vibe. Consider a mirror with a live edge, where the natural contour of the wood is preserved.

Instead of sleek drawers, rustic tables might have open shelving, possibly with wicker or wooden baskets for organization. If you do add drawers, the handles should be simple iron or bronze which is in tune with the rustic theme. 

Finally, a simple wooden stool, possibly with a carved seat, can be the ideal companion to a rustic dressing table. If you opt for a cushioned seat, use natural fabrics like cotton or linen with simple, earthy patterns.

Boho Chic Dressing Table

a green vanity table with slim wardrobes either side and boho elements.

Boho Chic decor draws on global inspirations and eclectic tastes. This design style often merges unconventional patterns, vibrant colors, and a mix of vintage and modern elements. When it comes to a Boho Chic dressing table, expect a space that’s both personal and vibrantly eclectic.

Combining different materials, like wood with metal or glass, embodies the eclectic nature of boho chic. Consider repurposing an old table into your built-in design, perhaps painted in a vibrant hue or distressed for that lived-in feel.

Mirrors can either be carved wood or metal, possibly with a touch of gilding to help fit into the boho style. Don’t be afraid to go for non-traditional mirror shapes, such as sunbursts, crescents, or even abstract forms.

When it comes to the chair, think of bright patterns, perhaps with a patchwork design or adorned with tassels and fringe. If space allows, consider a low table setup with a comfortable floor cushion instead of traditional seating.

Fairy lights, lanterns, or a pendant lamp with a colorful shade can finish off your dressing table and make it personable to you.

a dressing table with a mirror and hollywood lights around it

There has always been something luxurious about having a dressing table in the bedroom.

Over the years, my bedrooms often didn’t have space for one and it was only when I stayed in hotel rooms that I got to experience the pleasure of sitting down at a table to do my makeup and hair 🙂

Built-in dressing tables are a great way to utilize unused space in your bedroom, somewhere you can sit and enjoy your start to the day or a time to reflect in the evening before going to bed. 

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here.

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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