How to Create Your Own Vanity

Four Methods:Setting UpAdding the NecessitiesOrganizing Your SpaceDecorating Your Space

Ever needed a space in which to do your makeup and get ready for the day? You can always do it on the bathroom counter, but a vanity will give that final, luxurious feel that will make you feel like a vintage starlet. They are simple and easy to make, and even simpler to set up!

Method 1
Setting Up

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    Choose your vanity. You can buy one from a store, or you can make some space on your bathroom counter. Look for something with drawers to store away items you don't use often or items that need to be kept out of light. Some products, such as anti-aging creams, deteriorate when they come in contact with sunlight.[1]
    • Old desks make great bases for vanities!
    • Thrift shops and garage sales are great places to piece up vanities at decent prices. Don't worry about the color; you can always repaint it!
    • Can't find anything? Get two sets of drawers that are the same height, and place them 2 to 3 feet (60.96 to 91.44 centimeters) apart. Place a matching tabletop over them and secure with industrial-strength glue.[2]
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    Repaint the vanity, if desired. If you bought a piece of furniture at a thrift shop of garage sale, it might need a fresh coat of paint. You can repaint an old vanity using interior paint or spray paint following these easy steps:[3]
    • Take the vanity apart and take the pieces outside or into a well-ventilated area.
    • Lightly sand the vanity down and wipe the dust off with a damp cloth.
    • Apply a coat of primer and wait for it to dry.
    • Apply 2 to 3 coats of paint. Wait at least 20 minutes before applying each coat.
    • Take the pieces back inside and re-assemble the vanity. Add new knobs, if desired.
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    Consider adding a smooth top onto your vanity if it does not already have one to make clean-up easier. You can use glass, Plexiglas/acrylic, or even mirror.[4] Make sure that it is the right size for your table, or have a framing shop trim it down for you.
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    Find some comfortable seating. A simple, cushioned stool would be ideal, but an upholstered chair or stool will be the most luxurious.[5] You can also use a simple chair if you don't care for fancy tings. If the chair does not have a cushion, but you want it to be more comfortable, you can always buy a small cushion for it.
    • When buying an upholstered chair or stool, choose one that matches your decor.

Method 2
Adding the Necessities

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    Choose a mirror with a thick, sturdy frame that matches your room or vanity. Avoid getting a mirror with a thin, delicate frame, as it won't hold up well to being hunt. The mirror can be any shape: round, oval, square, or rectangular. If you are using a bathroom counter, then you likely don't need another mirror.
    • If you don't like the color of your mirror's frame, paint it! Take the mirror out or mask it off with painter's tape first, however.
    • If you can't find a mirror that you like, use a picture frame instead. Replace the glass with a piece of mirror instead.
    • If you'd like a girlish touch, consider a vintage, oval mirror with an ornate frame. Paint it white, ivory, or a soft pink or blue.[6]
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    Hang the mirror up at your eye level while you are sitting down. Sit down in your chair at least 1 foot (30.48 centimeters) away from where the mirror will be. Take note of where your eye level is, then stand up. Hang the mirror according to that level.
    • Don't lean the mirror against the wall. It won't be very stable, and it will warp your reflection[7]
    • You can also get a mirror that has a base and stands up by itself. Consider getting one with lights attached to it.[8]
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    Take advantage of natural light. Try to position your vanity so that it will be close to a brightly-lit window. Natural light will allow you to see the true colors of your makeup. It will also give you an even, consistent light.[9]
    • Try to position your mirror so that it will reflect the light. It will also make your room appear larger.[10]
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    Go for fluorescent lights with a white hue if you must use an artificial light source. It is the closest thing to daylight. Avoid using orange and yellow-tinted lights. They are too dark and will cast too many shadows. They will also tint your makeup yellow or orange.[11]

Method 3
Organizing Your Space

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    Know the importance of organization. Organization is key to keeping a vanity. If your items aren't well organized, you will have a hard time finding what you need. Your vanity will also look messy and not very appealing. There are lots of ways to organize a vanity, and this section will offer a few of those ways.
    • Not all of the steps in this section are mandatory. Use them as ideas to get your imagination flowing.
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    Organize your perfumes, nail polish, and creams on tiered cake stands.[12] Clear, crystal-cut cake stands or painted porcelain ones are perfect for a girlish or vintage dresser. You can also get a metal cake stand and paint it any color you wish using glossy spray paint. If you can't find one, you can make one using these simple steps:[13]
    • Glue a glass candlestick down on top of a glass plate. Use an epoxy or industrial-strength glue.
    • Glue a smaller, matching plate on top of the candlestick.
    • Repeat with a smaller candlestick and plate for another tier.
    • Spray paint, if desired, and let it dry before using it.
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    Corral similar items, such as creams or nail polish, using decorative trays. Choose trays that are small; your items should be able to fill the tray without much space left over. Metal trays will look the most elegant, but you can also use plastic or glass ones as well. Make sure that they match your vanity![14]
    • If you are using a wooden try, consider decoupaging vintage or Victorian themed pictures onto it.
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    Place your makeup brushes, eyeliners, mascara, and q-tips into jars and glass candle.[15] Use the smaller containers to hold small items, such as eyeliner and q-tips. Fill the bottom of the larger containers with glass gems, and use them to store your makeup brushes. They will help hold the brushes upright.
    • You don't have to keep the jar lids. If you do decide to keep them, consider painting them a bright color to make them look more interesting.[16]
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    Place desk organizers in the drawers to keep your makeup, brushes, and so forth in order.[17] You can get clear ones, metal ones, or even wooden ones. You can use a color that matches the inside of the drawer, or you could use a contrasting color. For example, if your drawers are white, you could use black or even soft pink.
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    Use mini drawers to store your makeup on top of your vanity. Consider getting some clear, acrylic ones. They will keep things organized while letting you see what's inside.[18]

Method 4
Decorating Your Space

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    Make your vanity look more interesting by decorating it. By now, your vanity is finished, but you could always make it look more cozy and personalized by adding some final touches to it. There are lots of ways in which to decorate a vanity. This section will give you ideas for a few of those ways.
    • Not all of the steps in this section are necessary. Use the ones you like for inspiration.
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    Add some flowers if you'd like to add a touch of freshness. They can be real or fake.[19] You could even use flower garlands instead! Choose a pretty vase that matches your vanity and place it in the corner, close to the wall. Add the flowers and spread them out a little to make the bouquet appear fuller. If you are using a garland, hand it above the mirror.
    • For a rustic look, fill the bottom of a mason jar with glass gems, then add the flowers. You can tie a ribbon around the middle of the jar for a pop of color.
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    Get some candles if you'd like to add some ambience. Choose a candle that looks or smells nice (both is a bonus) and set it down on a pretty plate or charger. Set the candle down close to the mirror, where it will reflect when lit.[20]
    • Consider changing the candles out with the seasons. Use floral scented ones for the spring, fruity for the summer, and spicy for the fall or winter.
    • You don't have to light the candle at all. If you do, remember not to leave it unattended.
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    Hang some framed artwork to either side of the mirror if you have room. This is not completely necessary, but it can make your vanity look more interesting.[21] You can use photographs or paintings. Make sure that the frames you use go well with the mirror. To avoid competition and clutter, choose simpler, thinner frames.
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    Consider draping something above your mirror for a mire girlish touch. You can use a string of pretty lights, tulle, or even a flower garland. If you are using Christmas lights, go for the kind that have a white cable; green will look too Christmas-y. If you are using tulle, tie some pretty ribbon in the middle and at each corner before it drapes down the side of the mirror. This will give it a fancier, curtained look.
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    Keep your vanity tidy and leave out only your statement pieces. Keep everything else safely stored away. While not quite decorating, keeping your vanity clean will make it look nicer. A messy, cluttered vanity won't look very pretty. Keep everything in its place and stored away. Your vanity should only have decorative items and organizers on display, so tuck those hairbrushes and eye shadow pans away!


  • Keep your vanity organized to reduce clutter. Leave out only your prettiest, statement pieces and keep everything stored away in drawers. Most of your vanity's surface should be empty.
  • Use colors and patterns that go well with your room.
  • Light colors reflect light better and will make your room appear brighter.
  • Whites, ivory, and pink are popular choices for vanities. Your vanity does not have to be these colors or girlish at all. Try black, purple, or even turquoise!
  • You can make a vanity using items you already own. If you don't have much space, you can turn your bathroom counter into a simple vanity.
  • Change your vanity up as the seasons go by. Use softer colors in the spring and brighter colors in the summer. Choose warm colors or earth tones for the fall, and cool colors or dark colors for the winter.

Things You'll Need

  • Vanity or desk with drawers
  • Sandpaper, paint, and primer (optional)
  • Glass top (optional)
  • Mirror
  • Organizers (drawers, jars, etc)
  • Decorative items (flowers, candles, etc.)

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Personal Care and Style