Firstly, thanks for all the great suggestions and opinions on my dressing room plans.  Sometimes it just helps to hash out ideas with others, don’t you think?  I also love that everyone has such diverse opinions: “Go for the pink chandelier!” “Wait on the chandelier!”  “What if you hate the pink in a couple years?” “So what if you tire of the pink, it’s not like you’re contracted to love it forever!” Hahaha! Loved it!  Looks like the jury is still out on the pink chandelier then!  But y’all have given me much food for thought which was wonderful.

Nicest thing was that there was almost unanimous support for the idea of a skirted vanity to sit between my Billy bookshelves and buoyed up by your encouragement, I decided to tackle the project this weekend.  Well, it was so stinkin’ easy, I figured I’d do a little tutorial on how to create a skirted vanity (or skirted table or skirted desk or whatever else you might use a little shelf that sits between two walls or bookshelves – as you can see, this is a pretty flexible design) in case you fancied tackling it yourself in the future.

Bear in mind, there are probably 100 other,  possibly better ways to do this seeing as how I didn’t bother looking for any tutorials online but this is what worked for me.  Since then, I’ve looked to see if there were any similar to this and I didn’t see any.  So either I’m a genius or a moron.  I’ll let you decide.

You want to start with a piece of MDF cut to size.  I purchased a sheet of MDF from B&Q and then used their free cutting service to ensure it was exactly the right size.  I also purchased a dowel and that was cut to the same size as the length of the MDF less 5mm (not cut to size yet as you can see in this pic).

You also need some of these little cupholders hooks which I already had to hand.  It doesn’t matter the size of the dowel or the hooks, just ensure that the diameter of the dowel is smaller than the diameter of the hook.

Blogger is being weird and keeps rendering this image up side down. I have no idea why.  
I’m sure you can see they are bog standard cup hooks..

You are also going to need 2 of these brackets.  You can get them for under £2 in any DIY store (I got mine at B&Q).  As you won’t see them, it doesn’t matter how ugly they are, they are purely practical so you might as well save money and just get the most inexpensive brackets you can find that will support the weight of the shelf and anything else you will be placing on it.

The next step is to attach those babies to the wall using a fixing appropriate to your wall type.

Paint that piece of MDF to your chosen shade.  I again used two coats of the same paint as was used on the chest of drawers, saving me a few pennies on paint as I had it already.  A roller will give you a nice smooth finish.

On the underside of the shelf, you are going to attach 3 of those little hooks along one edge (which will be the edge closest to you when you are sat at your fancy skirted vanity).  I used the measurement of 1.5cm to both edges at the corners.  The middle hook was centred between them.

Because the edge of the MDF is a bit ‘rough and ready’, I used a glue gun to attach sexy black pom pom trim to the same edge as the hooks, gluing around 6″ at a time and aligning it along the bottom edge.

Considering that I would be using the underside of the skirted vanity to house my hairdryer and curling rod and the plug socket for my clip light would be hidden underneath as well, I decided to get a 6 socket extension plug and using three large dollops from my glue gun, glued it right to the underside of the shelf.

I also added a couple of more hooks to hold my hair dressing paraphernalia.

When the shelf is then attached to the brackets, it looks a bit like this.

Next comes your skirt.  The only thing I regret on this project is that I wanted more ruffles but being the cheapskate that I am, I only purchased a metre and a half of fabric. I probably should have purchased 3 metres for a truly ruffled skirt.  I also should have gone with a lighter weight fabric (this one is 100% cotton so doesn’t drape like a mixed fabric might).  Live and learn (from my mistakes).  The raspberry daisy fabric was purchased at Dunelm Mills for £8/metre.  I do quite like the happy vibe of the print though, so it’s only a minor regret and I can always sew a new one when/if I tire of this one.

I didn’t take pics of the sewing process because it’s really pretty simple.  You are simply making two long rectangles with seamed edges.  Make sure your finished length is the same height as the distance between the floor and the underside of the shelf.  I used 2mm side seams (fold the material under twice to hide your cut edge, iron and then sew so you’ve got a total hem of 4mm on each side).  The bottom hem followed the same process only slightly wider (6mm total hem). The seam sizes at the sides and bottom are a personal preference though, if you want to make yours wider or thinner, it’s fine.

The only place you want to be mindful of is at the top where a wider hem will create a channel that your dowel will pass through.  Mine was was a 5mm top seam (2mm folded under then an additional 5mm to form the channel so 7mm all together to add at the top) to accommodate a 1mm diameter dowel.

Carefully snip small holes at 1.5mm from the edges of the top of your panels (remember that was the placement of your hooks from the edge?), being careful not to go through the fabric at the front so that your channel is accessible on both ends.  If you want to be a real fancy seamstress, you can actually create a button hole here (I wasn’t feeling that fancy obviously).  Now slip your dowel through both panels like you would a curtain.  The reason you want to snip a hole rather than just leave the hem open on the edges is so that the edges of your panels hide the ends of the dowels and hooks once they are in place.

Pushing back the fabric to expose the ends of the rods, slip the dowels into the hooks as so…

Adjust the ‘curtain’ so that it hangs evenly and covers the dowels and hooks completely and you are done!

Wanna see what it looks like in situ?

Just as a reminder, let’s see what the space looked like just last weekend.

And here’s what it looks like now…

The fact that the line of the vanity shelf follows the line of the book shelves on each side was totally a happy accident but I like that it looks a bit more streamlined and almost like a single unit.

Apologies that it’s so difficult to get a decent picture in here.  The light from the window just blows everything out and I’m not an experienced enough photographer to figure out how to correct it!  So despite in some of these pics the shelf looking almost white, it is actually the same pale turquoise as the dresser and the backs of the shelves.

I love how tidy it makes everything now with all the trailing wires out of site but everything accessible via the split between the two panels.

With the panels closed, no one would guess there was a mess of wires underneath.

Following Meera‘s excellent suggestion, I’m considering an upholstered cube to sit in front so that I can actually utilise this little shelf as a vanity (lots and lots of natural light to do my makeup by).

In the meantime, I’m loving how finished the space is looking now with this really simple addition.  I haven’t styled the top yet as you can see but I did pick up this little quote canvas at Dunelm at the same time which I thought was wonderfully appropriate for the room – for under a fiver, I couldn’t pass it by!  Good ol’ crazy shoe-lovin’ Imelda Marcos.

Oh and speaking of future projects, here’s a little sneak peak of something else I was intending to get done this weekend!  I wanted to zhush up my rather plain roman blind but didn’t have enough ribbon to finish it so it’s all just hanging up there with pins for now!  Whoops.  Hopefully I’ll have that done soon enough to share with you.

I hope you found the tutorial helpful but of course, if you have any questions, please just  let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.  Otherwise, what do you think of my sassy skirted vanity?

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