Dressing tables bring to mind a vision of ladies of luxury, ladies with time to sit and brush their hair or calmly make themselves up before...

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Dressing tables bring to mind a vision of ladies of luxury, ladies with time to sit and brush their hair or calmly make themselves up before heading out for a night on the town.

Sounds relaxing, doesn’t it?

Why not try it?

These days, dressing tables are moving back into homes. New versions are found in all shapes and sizes, from the classic kidney shape to new contemporary styles in mahogany. Vintage versions can be found at antiques shops and yard sales.

More specialty shops, department stores and online catalogs, too, including Pottery Barn (www.potterybarn.com), Williams-Sonoma Home (www.wshome.com), The Bombay Company (www.bombaycompany.com), Sears (www.sears.com) and JC Penney (www.jcpenney.com) are trotting out fresh versions of the classic dressing table.

Browse through magazines, and you’ll see them more frequently than you used to, but they’re still the quiet, elegant pieces in the corner that rarely scream for attention.

Interior designer Kristina Eckert remembers her mother sitting at her dressing table, putting on her makeup and getting ready to go out for the day.

“I think it makes a lot of sense,” says Eckert, noting that most of us simply rush through putting makeup on in the bathroom and then rush on to work.

“People are so busy, so it’s nice to have a place and make it more of a ritual,” she says.

When placed facing a window, a dressing table is perhaps the best spot to apply makeup, in any house. When a three-way mirror is added on top of a dressing table, the picture is complete. Sometimes older tables will include skirts that swing out of the way to reveal hidden drawers, which are perfect for storing makeup, hair accessories and perfume.

Here are some tips for creating a dressing table:

Be resourceful. As long as you can sit at it, anything can be a dressing table. A small, simple farm table covered with a pretty table runner can work beautifully, especially if you’re lucky enough to have a table with at least one drawer.

Add a tablecloth, and you can store a lot underneath the skirt. If you’re buying a new piece, consider a small, lightweight desk with drawers if you can’t find a bona fide dressing table.

Think about lighting. Use two small lamps, ideally, and place the table directly in front of a window to take advantage of natural light. Add sheers to soften the glare if the window faces due west or east.

Make sure you have a mirror that’s big enough. You want to be able to see your face completely. A folding three-way mirror is ideal, but a large mirror that props on the table or can be suspended in front of the window is a fine substitute.

Don’t skimp on your chair. It doesn’t have to be a stool, it doesn’t have to swivel or match or be new, but it does need to be comfortable, or else you won’t be tempted to use your dressing table.

Tiny place? In smaller spaces, a petite dressing table tucked in the corner of a bedroom can take pressure off a typically crowded bathroom and also provide a lot of hidden storage.

Building a home? Think through your routine. If you are building a new home, consider your lighting and space needs and whether you’d prefer a built-in dressing table in the bathroom or in the bedroom.

Consider custom. If you have a large jewelry collection, for example, you might want a dressing table that includes a lot of specialized storage.

Look at the variety of styles in the marketplace. Manufacturers have created dressing tables in styles ranging from country casual (painted wood or pine) to sleek contemporary (high-gloss white or beautifully veneered mahogany).