What to Put on Your Makeup Vanity

What to Put on Your Makeup Vanity

A makeup vanity is a space for creativity, and it makes sense why you would want to feel inspired when you sit down to do your makeup. Attacking the issue of deciding what to put on your makeup vanity can seem like a daunting task. 

You can put anything you want on your makeup vanity, but a few essentials include:

  • Organization
  • Some of your products
  • Good lighting 
  • A mirror
  • Pretty décor 
  • Something that smells nice

Before you go to town decorating your vanity, though, there are a few things you should consider. 

In this article, you’ll learn more about the best things to put on your makeup vanity that are functional, cute, and most importantly, inspirational. Read on to find out more about vanity necessities!

What Should I Put on my Makeup Vanity?

Makeup vanities are where a lot of people start and end their day. Putting on and taking off makeup should be relaxing, and a properly decorated vanity can really help with that. 

You should always keep a mirror and some organization systems on your vanity at the very least. If space allows, you should also try to add some things that make you feel good, like pretty flower arrangements or cute figurines, and something that smells good to put you in a good mood. 

What Every Vanity Needs to Have on it

Regardless of how much space you have on your vanity’s tabletop, there are a few essentials you need to squeeze in. Otherwise, you will find yourself hopping around from place to place gathering the things you need and stressing yourself out. When you’re deciding what to put on your makeup vanity, you should think in steps:

  1. Gather your organizational items and the other items that need a permanent place on your vanity. 
  2. Put those down first and move them around as needed until you like how they look. 
  3. Decide on the makeup products you’d like to keep on your vanity instead of tucked away in the drawers.
  4. Put those items in their places and move them around until you reach a system you like.  
  5. Now that you have all of the things you need for function, you can start decorating the empty spaces with things that are pretty!


A vanity just won’t work without organizers. Even though it might look prettier to have a cleaner tabletop, you’ll regret it. At the end of every makeup look, you’ll just have a bunch of products strewn about that you now have to go to the trouble of putting away elsewhere. However, there are different types of organizers, and odds are, your vanity needs both. 

Brush Organizers

Brushes touch your face more often than something like an entire bottle of foundation does. That means that brushes pose more direct danger to your skin. Unclean brushes can lead to issues like:

  • Breakouts
  • Allergic reactions 
  • Pink eye
  • Infections

Brush organizers help prevent this. The brushes should be stored bristles-up in a cup, so that the bristles aren’t touching the cup at all. They should also not be touching the wall, any organizers, or the mirror. You can find brush organizers online, but you can also just use a glass, plastic cup, or even a vase. If you can, you should try to find a large brush holder with a lid to prevent dust from accumulating. 

If you’d like to, you can also turn this into a bit of a décor piece! All you have to do is get a clear cup or vase and fill it with colorful beads or pebbles before you stick your brushes in. It doesn’t harm the brushes and it can add a nice pop of color if you think your vanity is lacking.

Drawer Organizers

Drawer organizers are another must have for your vanity. They hold so much, from makeup to skincare and other beauty tools like tweezers or your eyelash curler. If you’re pressed for space in your vanity’s actual drawers, a drawer organizer that sits on top of your vanity will alleviate a lot of that stress.

They also make your makeup easier to see. If you store products in it that you need to remember to use up before they expire, you’re more likely to actually use them up than if they were tucked into a regular drawer. 

Jewelry Organizers

Jewelry organizers are something you should definitely try to squeeze onto your vanity, even if it’s just a small one that sits on top of your drawer organizers. If you have a jewelry organizer, not only will your vanity look a little prettier and more put together, you’ll also be able to put on jewelry immediately and complete your look.


Once you’ve picked out your organizers, it’s time to start filling them! The best way to fill your vanity organizers with makeup is to go in the order you do your face. Pick one or two of each product you like to use and put them in the drawers, reorganizing as you see fit. If you find you’ve run out of space before you’re done, consider making some sacrifices. 

Should I Store Makeup On My Vanity?

Makeup is generally fine when stored on your vanity instead of in the drawers. However, if at all possible, avoid having your makeup in direct sunlight. The sunlight can cause the makeup to oxidize, meaning it may turn darker than its original shade and you’ll have to part ways with it. Products like foundation, concealer and tinted moisturizers are especially susceptible to oxidation. 

If you are worried about your makeup being in direct sunlight, it’s best to keep those more sensitive products on one of your vanity’s actual drawers so it’s away from light and possible temperature changes.

What Kind of Makeup to Keep on Your Vanity

Choosing what makeup to keep on your vanity is tough for sure! However, there are a few general methods:

  1. What expires first? Some people prefer to store makeup that’s on its way out in their tabletop drawers, so they see it and remember to use it before it goes bad. This also prevents you from accidentally opening another one of something when you already have one open. 
  2. What are my favorites? Maybe you don’t have a ton of makeup that’s almost empty or going to expire soon. If this is the case, you can fill your drawers with your favorite products. That will make putting on your makeup in the morning effortless, and you know you’ll get a good look every time. 
  3. What’s new? The last popular method is to store products that you’ve just gotten in your drawer organizers. This prevents them from getting lost in your collection, so you can really get your money’s worth.
  4. Jenga! If you don’t have a ton of makeup and your vanity doesn’t have drawers, you can cram as much into your drawer organizers as possible. 


Your face wash should stay in the bathroom, but everything else is fair game. If you have space for a fancy skincare fridge, this can be good for storing sensitive serums, masks, and moisturizers. Applying cold moisturizers to your face can soothe irritated skin very nicely after you’ve just spent some time scrubbing all of the makeup off of your face. The fridges are small, don’t take up much room, and can be found on Amazon for decent prices!

However, if you don’t have room for a fancy tiny fridge, don’t fret. You can store your moisturizers and creams and serums right there in your drawer organizers or on top of your vanity in their own little section. Be careful doing this with some serums, though; like foundations and concealers, some may need to be kept out of direct sunlight to avoid oxidation. 

A Mirror

What good is a vanity if you can’t actually see what you’re doing? If your vanity didn’t come with a mirror, you certainly need to add one. Mirrors come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, so the mirror you choose can also serve as a décor piece! You may also be able to find a vanity mirror with some jewelry storage built in.

Should I Have a Close-Up Mirror?

Close up mirrors are favorable if you like to see every detail of what you’re doing and make sure you look flawless. If you know you like to have elaborate, glamorous looks that need a lot of attention to detail like this, you should find a mirror with a close-up feature. 

You might also want to consider a mirror that flips and has both a close-up and standard view mirror, for those more laid-back days or a general overview of your entire face. Close up mirrors are great for full-glam days, but they’re also good for:

  • Plucking your eyebrows
  • Popping pimples (which you know you shouldn’t do, but you do anyway)
  • Shaving your face

On the flip side, some argue that magnifying mirrors are awful. While they allow you to see every detail of your skin, they also allow you to see every detail of your skin. This might mean that just a quick glance at your unibrow situation turns into a 30-minute face-picking-session, which is terrible for your skin long-term. If you think you’ll struggle with this, avoid them. 

Lit Mirrors Save Space

Some vanities don’t come with mirrors, and they don’t come with lights, either. You can install your own lights on the wall, or you can buy a mirror that has lights on it already. These don’t leave permanent marks on your wall, they’re often more compact than a big old vanity mirror with huge lightbulbs, and more importantly, the settings are adjustable. 

When you use harsh white vanity lighting only while doing your makeup, it can end up looking way different than it does in natural light. To avoid this, find a mirror that has a more natural, daylight-toned light setting and switch to it frequently to make sure your skin still looks like… well, skin. 

How Should I Decorate my Vanity?

Finally! Your vanity is stocked full of everything you need. You love it. So happy for you. But, oh no, there’s still some space left over that’s making you feel like it’s incomplete! When this happens, you really can just start filling the empty spaces with things that make you happy. There are a few routes you can take:

  • Cute and natural. If the theme of your room is more earthy, natural tones, you can string up some fake ivy vines around your vanity and fill the empty spaces with flowers, animal figurines, or even a real live houseplant. 
  • Sleek and modern. This is when you can start filling your vanity with minimalist modern things, like artsy cube sculptures and cute little books with titles like Modern Design and other such things you find at a HomeGoods. 
  • Ultra-feminine. Grab some Chanel books, pretty pink flowers, and a nice gold sculpture of something to give your vanity a nice “feminine” touch that really says I love makeup.

Decoration Essentials

There are a few things every vanity should have for décor, regardless of your overall aesthetic. You should have a container with at least one empty drawer to give yourself room to grow. You should also try to have a plant; it will just give your vanity a nice natural pop that it was missing, even if you don’t realize it. 

If space permits, you might also want to have a decorative basket on your vanity to hold things like a hairbrush, bobby pins, and hair ties. You don’t necessarily have to have a basket, either; you could use a simple dish, a cup, or anything else you might have lying around that can hold things and looks nice.

Another thing you should try to have on your vanity is your perfume collection, or at least a few of your favorites. The bottles can really tie the whole vanity together and make your whole aesthetic make sense. And, if you do add them, you won’t have to get up to apply your perfume!

Clutter is Cool

Some people love a cluttered vanity, filled with lots of things that are pretty and make them feel good. That’s awesome! If your vanity is big enough, you can clutter it up to get the feel you want without taking up too much of the useable space. 

Less is More 

However, you need to know when to call it quits. Remember that a vanity will get cluttered throughout your makeup routine as you’re putting products away. If you have too much stuff out on your vanity just for decoration, you might find yourself becoming incredibly aggravated at the lack of space you have to actually use it. 

Should I Put a Candle on my Vanity?

Having something that smells nice on your vanity is a must. It can really brighten your mood and cover up the smell of the makeup itself, which can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. Automatically, candles come to mind. 

Candles might not be the best choice for your vanity, unfortunately. When you’re at your vanity, you’ll probably use at least one flammable product like hairspray, setting spray, or dry shampoo. Using these around an open flame can lead to disaster. Even if you don’t use an aerosol product, you still might end up spilling or breaking another product that could start a fire.

Alternatives to Candles

Luckily, there are basically endless alternatives to things that smell good, such as:

  • Wax warmers
  • Fragrance sticks
  • Essential oil diffusers

The safest of the three is fragrance sticks, since there is no heat at all required to disperse the scent. All of them are safer than candles, though, just for lack of an open flame. If you set your wax warmer/essential oil diffuser at least a foot away, you most likely won’t run into any issues. 

Do I Need a Big Vanity?

A big vanity is nice, but it’s also unnecessary for most people. If anything, a big vanity just promotes overbuying in order to fill the space and wasted makeup doesn’t do anybody any good. You can get by with a small or medium sized vanity just fine. 

A big vanity would be nice if you were also planning to use it as a desk. If this is the case, something L-shaped would be ideal so you could have one side for makeup and one side for working. 

Having a small vanity works to your advantage in several ways, though. You can put it anywhere and not have to worry about losing too much floorspace, it helps keep your collection in check, and it can keep you from wanting to over-decorate. This prevents the need for clutter that may arise with a bigger vanity. 

Makeup Your Mind 

A vanity is like a blank canvas. You can put whatever you need on it, and then you can decorate it to your heart’s content. The vanity, in its own way, gives you a perfect place to express yourself and your tastes. Once you’ve figured out exactly what to put on your makeup vanity, you’ll find yourself feeling motivated and inspired to express yourself even more. 



Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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