A dressing table is a piece of furniture, where women usually apply make-up and groom themselves. This is one type of furniture with a rich history that most people probably don’t bother with. There is some furniture that never run out of fashion, one such kind is the dressing table.
The use of a dressing table came into fashion in the 18th century where mostly aristocrats use them. The term “dressing table” was coined in the 17th century to refer to tables with three or more drawers. Most of these tables had secret panels, a vanity mirror attached to it and a stool for women to sit on. These dressing tables were usually fashioned in such a way that fixtures could be concealed when no one was using them. Since aristocrats mostly use these dressing tables, they were fashioned elaborately with separate drawers for combs, toothbrushes, powder, and even a basin drawer where water was received from a separate container or cistern. A vanity dressing table was commonplace back in the days of aristocracy.
A dressing table is made from a variety of materials, including: oak, cherry, pine, mahogany, walnut, brass or nickel. They also come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some are rectangular, some are oval and some are circular. Perhaps the most feminine of all dressing tables are the ones with skirts attached to them. These usually come with stools upholstered with silk. There are also some that have knee-holes in the centre to accommodate one’s legs.
A dressing table is not only used by women, there are some modern designs that have been made more masculine to cater to men. These dressing tables have tall dressers composed of several rows of drawers to put clothes in. There are also mirrors attached on top of it and some space to place watches, razors, wallets etc.
There are various types and styles of dressing tables. Through the years, this piece of furniture has evolved in both craft and design. Now, one can choose from a variety of minimalist, modern and elaborate designs. They also come in big sizes with elaborate engravings to fit large rooms and they come in small sizes to fit small rooms. Wooden dressing tables are perhaps the most common because they are easier to make than metal ones. Some of them are also lighter than the metal kind unless they are made of hard wood. Dressing tables made of hardwood are probably more expensive than your average mirrored dressing table.
A dressing tables is not as commonplace today due partly to the fact that most people living in cities may have small flats or apartments where they cannot accommodate large amounts of furniture. In some cases, they have been replaced by bathroom sinks with large mirrors mounted to the walls. These usually come with counters where a sink is placed in the middle and space is made available at the sides to accommodate toiletries, make-up, razors, toothbrushes and various things one would usually place in a baby dressing table.
Matching the Dressing Table
It was also important that all the furniture in the bedroom matched. The dressing table was considered a necessity at that time. Since noblewomen attended a lot of parties, make up tables were practically the centre of their living space. Appearances were considered of vital importance in that era. Women of nobility had to attend a lot of parties; they had maids to style their hair and apply their make-up for them and at the centre of all this is the dressing table.
Dressing tables may not seem as important now as it used to be but during the 18th century, they were the centre of women’s lives. The role of upper-class women at that time was to make sure they looked their very best at all times.
While dressing tables are not as elaborate as they used to be, they still serve the same purpose. Albeit, women’s lives are not centred on dressing tables like the aristocrats did, some of them still spend a lot of time preening themselves in front of this piece of furniture. It would be safe to say that dressing tables is, in its own right, a historical piece of furniture.