If you’ve read our bedroom furniture checklist, you know clothing storage is one of the most important considerations in a bedroom after a bed. After all, without proper clothing storage, your bedroom could easily go from a tranquil retreat to a disaster zone.
One of the most common types of clothing storage (after a closet, of course) is a dresser. This practical piece of furniture will provide a home for your folded clothing, and a surface on which you can place decorative items, photo frames, and trays to hold items like your jewelry or perfume.
But when it comes to how to choose a dresser, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many different types of bedroom dressers, not to mention different styles! We often get Modsy customers asking, “What dresser should I get for my bedroom?” So, today we’re here to decode the dresser buying process!
How much do dressers cost?
But first: let’s talk about budgets. Because you don’t want to fall in love with a dresser you can’t afford! What exactly is a reasonable price for a dresser? Depending on the size, style, and material, bedroom dressers can range anywhere from $300 to $2,000. While that’s quite a range, that also means you can find a dresser on tight and limitless budgets alike!
Read on for some bedroom design ideas with our complete guide on how to choose the right dresser for your space!
Consideration #1: Placement
It’s important to let dresser placement guide your decision-making process. So, consider where in your bedroom you want to place your dresser, as well as the overall size and constraints of your room.
Where can a dresser go? Against a wall is typical. But if you have a walk-in closet, you may want to stash it in there. In a small room, placing it next to your bed as a nightstand alternative might be the best option. Some people even opt to put a lower, wider dresser at the foot of the bed in lieu of a bench or trunk when they don’t have wall space to accommodate this piece of furniture. Others want to place their dresser beneath a window Identifying roughly where you’d like to place your dresser will help you determine what shape and size of bedroom dresser to buy.
Consideration #2: Dresser Shape and Size
There are a number of different general sizes when it comes to dressers. What you choose depends on how much bedroom storage space you need and the size of your bedroom. So, think about how much clothing and other items you’d like to store in your dresser. This will help guide to figure out how many drawers you’ll need—whether a three or six-drawer dresser, or something in between. If you live with a partner, you’ll also want to consider if you’ll be sharing the dresser or if you’ll have separate clothing storage.
Read next: How to choose the best storage furniture for your needs
Dresser Drawer Depth
Depth is another important consideration when thinking about shapes and sizes. And we’re talking about both the depth of the drawers and the overall depth of the dresser itself.
Whether or not you need deep drawers depends on what you plan to put inside of them. For example, if you like to fold and store your thick sweaters in a dresser, you’ll need deep and tall drawers. On the other hand, undergarments require less space and can be stored in shallow drawers.
But, beyond what you store inside them, you also need to go back to thinking about where in your room you’d like to place your dresser. A general rule of thumb is to have at least 42 inches of clearance between the front of your dresser and any other piece of furniture to give you ample walkway space, as well as the space to comfortably stand in front of your dresser, open drawers, and dig through them!
Once you have these answers nailed down, you can start considering dresser shapes. Below are the main dresser shapes and sizes to consider.
A standard horizontal dresser has six drawers and stands around waist height. Some have six equally sized drawers, while others have four deeper drawers that are the same size with two smaller drawers at the top. Sizes vary quite a bit, but on average, standard dressers are around 60-70 inches wide. For those who want ample surface space for displaying decor, this dresser shape will give you the most room to play with. (Is this you? Learn more about how to style a dresser!)
Chest of Drawers
A chest of drawers, or chest dresser, is a smaller dresser with three drawers which are usually equal in size. They tend to be around three feet tall and three feet wide. With this smaller footprint, they’re a great option for kid’s dressers, so your child can easily access all three drawers, or for a guest room where you don’t need as much storage. They also make great nightstand alternatives if you have a small bedroom and want a 2-in-1 piece of furniture, or if you want both a nightstand with tons of extra storage!
A “tallboy” dresser is a vertical, chest-height dresser that often features four to six drawers. While they don’t offer as much surface area on top, this style is great for small spaces that are short on square footage but have room to spare vertically. If you’re sharing a room with a partner, opting for one standard dresser and one tallboy is a great way to fit two dressers into your bedroom!
Similar to the standard dressers we mentioned above, bureaus are horizontal, six-drawer dressers, but also feature a mirror attached on top. They typically have six or more drawers and are larger in scale. In decades past, this was a very popular style in furniture sets for main bedrooms. However, some antique bureaus have a smaller footprint—still featuring six drawers and a mirror, but scaled down, closer to the width of a chest of drawers.
Consideration #3: Dresser Style
Now for the fun part: style! You can find a bedroom dresser to suit just about any interior design style—from mid-century modern and minimal to glam, rustic, and just about anything in between! You can opt for a brand-new piece, but dressers are a great way to incorporate a vintage or antique piece into your space as well. These pieces of furniture tend to age well and there are tons of vintage and antique styles out there that are in great condition.
Typically, you’ll want your dresser’s style to mesh well with other items in your bedroom. If you have a bed that you love, use that as a jumping-off point for landing on a dresser style for your space. Since a dresser is both an investment and a large piece of furniture within your space, you want to make sure it’s a style that you love!
Consideration #4: Dresser Finishes
Once you’ve nailed down a dresser style, consider finishes, which will lend a lot of personality to your piece and help drive home the overall style of your dresser.
While wood (or wood composite) is by far the most popular material used in dressers, you’ll also find dressers with metal frames, lacquer finishes, and even woven wicker drawer fronts. Material not only affects the look and feel of your dresser, but it also greatly influences the price. (For example, a solid wood piece will be more expensive than a composite dresser.)
Beyond the basic material, you’ll want to think about the style of handles and drawer pulls (or lack thereof). Opting for a style without drawer hardware offers a more streamlined look. And if you do choose a dresser with drawer pulls and handles, the style of hardware can impact if a dresser has a more modern or traditional look. In a kid’s room or nursery, you may also want to consider a dresser with soft-closing drawers to avoid pinched fingers!
Finally: legs or no legs, that is the question! Choosing a dresser with legs means this piece of furniture is lifted off the floor. This means your dresser can be placed over a floor vent, you can put storage baskets underneath, and it will look more streamlined. Opting for a style without legs gives you a more solid-looking piece but limits where you can place it within your room.
Final Considerations: If You Have a Small Space
If you have a small bedroom, you may be worried that you can’t fit all the furniture you need into your bedroom. But dressers are quite versatile, and there’s plenty of ways you can get multiple uses out of this one piece of furniture to help cut down on what you need in your space! Below are a few of our best small bedroom design tips.
- If you live in a studio apartment, consider using your dresser as a TV stand, whether the TV sits on top or is mounted above it.
- In a nursery, add a changing table topper to the top of a dresser rather than trying to squeeze both a dresser and changing table into the room.
- Consider removing your closet doors and tucking a dresser inside of your closet to get it out of the main room area and save on some square footage.
- Opt for 2-in-1 pieces. As we mentioned earlier, you could use a chest of drawers as a nightstand/dresser hybrid to save on furniture and space in a small bedroom. Secretary desks are another great hybrid option. With a smaller footprint than a typical dresser, this piece of furniture typically offers two or three dresser drawers, as well as a fold-down top for a desk workspace.
- If you lack closet space and want a piece of furniture that lets you store both hanging and folded clothing, look into an armoire.
- Use your bookcase for book and clothing storage by adding baskets on the bottom shelves, where you can stash folded clothing.
- If you simply don’t have space for an extra piece of furniture in your space, consider a storage bed, which has drawers built into the base of your bed frame!