One of the best pieces of advice my Mum ever gave me was this: when you arrive in a new home, like a room in a uni hall of residence, the first thing you should do is make the bed up. Suddenly the room will start to feel like yours, and having a nicely made bed with fluffed up pillows and a snuggly duvet will make you start feeling like you belong. Afterwards the next step is to make the room (or a part of it if you share the room with a boyfriend/girlfriend) your own. I spent a little time this morning arranging my “dressing table” (top of a chest of drawers). It’s a new chest of drawers – we had one already but two people can collect a lot of junk over four years of living together. Now we have his ‘n’ hers dressing tables; one for piles of coins and cufflinks, and one for a beautifully curated zen garden of femininity. Ok, my space is actually a carefully controlled chaos of clutter, much like my wardrobe, but every piece is very special to me. It took me a while to get everythingjust how I want it, but this is pretty darn close. Come on in and have a nosey round!
My Granny was given this little antique chest of drawers by her grandmother, and she passed it on to me on my 18th birthday. I remember it sitting in one of her guest bedrooms, and as a child I loved going through the drawers. Each one contained mysterious and exciting treasures – a long necklace made out of delicate shells, a twisted intricate brooch, a broken hatpin – and when she gave it to me I was beyond thrilled. The drawers are now filled with my little jewellery treasures. My stash of brooches are more well worn than any other pieces, and are particularly special to me because the majority of them were inherited from either my Granny, Grandmother or Great Auntie. The same goes for necklaces; I bought the necklace tree a few weeks back from Sainsburys of all places, and while there is a truely hideous butterfly decoration on the top, the effect of having a mis-matched collection of vintage costume jewellery draped over it is pretty cool. I’m all about the ugly pretty (thanks Tyra).
These tiny ivory elephants were my Granny’s, and I keep them tucked away in a little glass pot (also hers). They don’t get used for anything, they are just a little bit of hidden treasure! I like to think that one day (in the distant future) my granddaughter will find rummaging through the weird and wonderful things on my dressing table just as fascinating as I found discovering my Granny’s old shell necklaces.
Finally, these little guys have been an unintentional feature of my dressing table for years now – I like to call them Desmond and Buttercup. Like quite a few little girls from the late 80s, I collected Sylvanian Families, and while their houses have long since been sold or passed on I still have all my figures carefully stashed away. Somehow I could never bring myself to get rid of them! On rare occasions friends and family buy me new ones for a bit of fun, and these guys were a Christmas present from Chris a few years ago. They didn’t want to join the others in storage, they just wanted to play.
What is your dressing table like – minimalist chic or cluttered and crazy? And for those of you sharing your personal space with a partner, how do you resolve your individual tastes?