A tale of two tablesBy Isabel Berenguer Asuncion
Philippine Daily Inquirer
FOR MOST women, two tables tell the story of their lives. One of them tells of their chores, obligations and work activities. It tells of what time the children get fetched, of what bills have been paid, of what household items need repair. It is possibly the energy “output” table. The other, is the energy “input” table where depleted energies are replenished. It is likely where she gets recharged after a long day’s work or after spurts of hectic activity, where she gets propped up from tiredness or prepped for an event.
Welcome to the world of the vanity and the worktable, two worlds that in concept seem to collide in terms of usage and function. But in reality, they house the many different activities that within a day can fuse the sanity and efficacy of today’s female—whether house-mom or working-mom.
Centers of their universe
For most women, these tables alternate as centers of their universe. The vanity table is not just really for rituals of vanity. It often is also home to healthcare and hygiene habits. It is also where a child sits to get his wound dressed, or his/her ears cleaned. As such today’s vanity table has come a long way from that of your grandma’s own, where a small mirror hung and where small drawers adequately contained all their beauty appurtenance.
As today’s mothers have become busier, and lifestyles have grown to be more complicated, vanity tables must consider ample storage space suitable to larger items such as tall bottles of cosmetics or lotions, hair dryers (and even straighteners, curlers, hot rollers) and on the other end of the size scale, small cases of makeup, cosmetics and even medicines. Shallow drawers for the small items and deep drawers (and I mean deep, like a foot deep) to handle bottles in an upright position serve their user well.
Almost as dramatic in scale are the requirements of the home worktable. Fortunately, a lot of information can already be stored in one’s computer or iPad, but previously, a mom’s worktable was quite the nightmare—folders, files, paper, paper and yet more paper! Although technology has managed to cut most of the paper away, there are still things that can’t be stored digitally.
Hence, like the vanity table, the worktable requires larger-scale storage for file and the like, and smaller-scale storage for the diminutives like paper clips, fasteners, pin tacks, post-its (can’t live without them!) and staples. Box files still tops my list of file systems: they can stand upright, and they handle documents easily, clipping closed or open when papers go in or out. Thus, I find that shelving works best over traditional drawer files where pulling out papers or even folders themselves can be quite troublesome.
I love the fact that available on the retail market are many tabletop accessories for storing small items. Shallow trays, tiny drawer chests, deep miniature compartments in various types of acrylics and plastics abound. Hardware technology has allowed for easy-to-manage deep drawers. More so, there are even accessories like barrier rods and compartmentalizing trays that keep contents organized, easy to reach and easy to clean.
Whereas storage contributes largely to the success of these spaces, lighting plays an even bigger role, for how does one prep up or work without sufficient brightness? Vanity tables always merit from frontal lighting, either wall lamps mounted at the sides at face level, or a light fixture mounted on the mirror, slightly above head level. Warm white temperatures for your bulbs are kind and true to your skin texture and tone as they mimic natural sunlight.
But for work areas, many people find that working with whiter light keeps the mind more alert, and express a sharper and more active light quality. Light tubes mounted in the underside of overhead cabinets will definitely flood your worktops with the light you need. But table lamps can work just as well. Keeping your light source at the end opposite that of the hand you write with—if you are right handed, keep your light source at the left hand side—will cast light in such a way that shadows are minimized.
Some women like to keep their vanity tables close to their worktables and others may completely bring down the barriers and keep it to one multi-functional table, which I don’t ascribe to. But I myself am guilty of occasionally working on my laptop at my vanity space as I get ready to go. Nonetheless, I still believe in keeping work and play space at bay. As multitasking as women may get, separating spaces physically helps in separating our functions and indulgences, and makes us better in both.
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