The Bath Trend We Are Thrilled To Welcome Back

A return to glamour.

Bathroom vanity
Photo: Photography by Brian Bieder; Builder: Athens Building Company; Cabinetry: Webber Coleman Woodworks; Lights: Visual Comfort; Mirrors: Mirror Home; Rugs: Looms and Lighting; Architect: Greg Busch

There are few spaces that hold more of our hopes and dreams than that of the bath . We'll envision claw-foot tubs , dramatic chandeliers, and rows and rows of lipsticks perfectly organized by brand, finish, and color (oh wait, just me?). If spending roughly 1.25 waking hours of every day visualizing the pièce de résistance that could be ours if only money were no object is wrong, then we'll gladly wave our white flags because we have no intention of burdening our dreams with reality. As the years have come and gone, so has the style du jour. But, like all good things, what's old will inevitably be new again, and there's no bath trend we're more excited to welcome back than the built-in makeup vanity.

While memories of makeup vanities (sometimes called dressing tables) can conjure feelings of nostalgia, they're still just as relevant and necessary today as they were 50 years ago. Maggie Griffin, Principal of Gainesville, Georgia-based Maggie Griffin Design thinks there's a reason we're seeing these once vintage bathroom features come charging back on the design scene. "With a focus on spa-like primary bathrooms, and the need to hide all of our clutter, makeup vanities give [us] a designated spot to sit and enjoy that step of one's day," she says. The return to the dressing table has been one that Griffin has noticed over the past five years, with most of her clients requesting them as part of their bath's design. For those who leave it off the list of must-haves, Griffin never fails to make the suggestion.

How To Customize a Built-In Makeup Vanity

No matter your personal style, a makeup vanity is rife with possibilities. One way Griffin can create a one-of-a-kind piece is through giving the vanity a furniture-like quality. "Consider an alternate paint color, possibly a stained wood even with a nice turned leg foot, and complementary hardware to the rest of the room," she suggests. On the other hand, if you're working with your existing bathroom footprint and/or want a less permanent option, she's also a fan of built-in alternatives. "I love the thought of using a small desk or writing table in a bathroom as well, for a bit of handsome furniture if space allows," she says.

Factors To Consider When Installing a Makeup Vanity

Regardless of the style or level of permanence you go with, there are a few hard and fast rules for vanity tables that Griffin stands by. First up, you're going to want plenty of natural light—the closer to a window the better. You'll also want to pay attention to leg space—as in, make sure you have plenty of it so you don't soon find yourself with busted up kneecaps. Storage should be at the top of the list as well. Take inventory of your products and how you plan to use your new bathroom workstation. Separate them from your other items and see if you're missing anything or, conversely, have anything unnecessary in the crew. Live with it for a few weeks to give yourself a taste of what storage needs you'll likely have. Things will certainly change through the years, but consider it your jumping off point.

When it comes time to select your countertop, Griffin says a heavy-duty option will pay off in spades. "If you're prone to makeup spills, then marble (whether polished or honed) may not be your friend," she warns.

How To Accessorize a Built-In Makeup Vanity

Just like every good outfit, a makeup vanity is only finished once it has been topped off with some well-selected accessories. Griffin says wall lighting (think vanity lights or sconces), a stool or chair (pay attention to finding one with the ideal height), and a good, large mirror are must-haves for creating your ideal station for makeup and skincare—or just sitting and pondering your next home renovation project.

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