Introduction: Stylish and Dainty Dressing Table

About: I'm a lot of a philosopher, a good deal of a musician, a fair bit of a geek, a bit hippie, and in my free time I like to build stuff. I like to think that I have enough good taste and imagination to come up wi…
I promised my girlfriend that I will make one for her, so there was a sense of obligation in this one ;)

We were really unhappy with all the dressing tables which you can buy in stores - they totally miss the point of what a dressing table needs. First of all, a dressing table needs to accommodate lots and lots of really small things and just some large drawers won't do - I mean, try to find something in there! Secondly - things must be in some order, so again, drawers are hopeless. Thirdly - all this jewelry and perfume just look brilliant, so why hide them in drawers or boxes instead of displaying them? And finally - it must be comfortable to sit by, and in this case it means that you must be able to lean as close to the mirror hanging on the other side of the table as possible - which means that the tabletop just cannot be as wide as it is in most retail dressing tables. Bearing all that in mind and joining with my preference for stylish curves I came up with this lovely piece of furniture.

- a veneered 12mm chipboard or a wooden board (you'll need to paint it then)
- a couple rolls of veneer tape
- 5 screws
- 12 pegs
- about 30 small nice-looking hooks
- about 150cm of a nice-looking wire or chain

- jigsaw
- drill
- level
- iron

Step 1: Cutting

I actually used a side of an old wardrobe and a small shelf left over from and old computer desk, so didn't need to buy any wood. On the picture I give you all the measurements, so you should figure out how much you need. One thing is that if you go for the veneered chipboard, things may get a bit tricky - you need to cut really thin slices of it and chipboard breaks easily. You'll need to be very careful - I managed with it, though, so it's not impossible. Alternatively, go for some other material like plywood or even proper wood and then paint it.

First it's a lot of playing with a jigsaw. You'll need to cut out the curved shapes - just follow the pictures, the first shows you the desktop and all elements above it, the other - the shelves below.

Step 2: Assembling the Lower Part

First, if you need to paint it, do so now. Painting when everything's done usually makes disassembling more difficult. If you used a veneered chipboard, after you cut out the curved lines you're left with ugly edges - apply the veneer tape using the iron.

Assembling the lower part shouldn't be a problem. It's always best to use as little screws as possible because they don't look great - in this case you can only use them to join the sides with the bottom shelf, and since it will be lying on the ground one screw each side should be enough. Now attach the other two shelves using pegs, four each. Finally, put four pegs at the top of the shelf to join it with the tabletop.

Step 3: Even Finer Cuts on the Top Part

OK, now we need to make sure that the top part will join nicely. Here much more work is needed and a good dose of precision will be required.

All the elements can easily join without a single screw - it's enough to cut out gaps in the right places and make sure they match. Every gap should be exactly 12mm wide, so that the boards will fit tightly. If you cut more, don't worry, you can make it up using wedges.

The first picture shows where to cut them. Start with cutting the gaps on the vertical elements - always cut exactly half the depth of the board, e.g. if the rightmost board is 6cm deep at the bottom, cut 3cm, and if it's 3cm deep at the top, cut 15mm. Now take the horizontal boards and cut them to match what you just got - if you took 3cm from the 6 you had at the bottom of the rightmost vertical board, take the other 3cm from the board that will join with it (in this case the tabletop).

The second picture (slightly cubist ;) ) shows how things should match - bear it in mind when cutting.

Step 4: Details

If you're using a veneered chipboard, add the veneer tape on the edges using an iron now. Don't add anything in the gaps. If you're using other kind of wood, paint it now.

Next, check how the tabletop will fit the shelf underneath and drill holes for the pegs in the right places.

And most importantly, add all the hooks and chains which will serve as support for jewelry. How exactly you fit them is up to you, and probably will depend on how much jewelry you actually have. Since my girlfriend has quite a lot, I made sure there will be enough space for everything. Essentially, you can screw in the hooks underneath every horizontal board. The most efficient way to do this is to get two hooks at both ends of the board and extend a chain between them, and then add couple more hooks in the corners. Generally hooks are better for hanging pendants and chains for earrings, so you can have the chains where there isn't much space underneath, while hooks will do a better job where there is more. The photo shows how I did it, but feel free to experiment.
Additionally, I drilled six holes in the lowest horizontal board (the really thin one under the mirror) for hair-sticks.

Step 5: Assembling the Whole

Finally put the whole thing together. First find a place where you want the dressing table to stand. It won't be easy to move as you will need to screw it to the wall (it's just three screws though, so it's not like it will be there forever). It has to be a corner of a room or, as in my case, a wall and a side of a wardrobe.

Start with placing the bottom shelf against the left wall. Attach the tabletop on the pegs - you might need somebody to hold it for you on the right. Next join the table with the rightmost vertical board - it should hold the table in place. Make sure the vertical piece is really vertical using the level and screw it to the wall somewhere around its middle (one screw should be enough - I used more, but that's because this wall in my flat is made of plaster boards and is really crap). Now attach one of the horizontal boards (not the corner one though), join it with the middle vertical board and again make sure both are properly horizontal and vertical using the level. Once everything's right, screw the middle vertical board to the wall. Fit the corner horizontal board and join it with the leftmost vertical board, check the level and screw the latter to the wall/wardrobe. Now attach the remaining horizontal boards and apply wedges wherever you need them to make everything fit tightly.
And that's pretty much it! Now just add a nice mirror in the middle and fill it with your stuff.

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The photo attached has a different bottom - I had this first (that's the original shelf from the computer desk I mentioned), but changed it later for something that better matches the curved shapes of the upper part.
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