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bedroom dressers

Everything You Need to Know About Choosing Your Perfect Dresser

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!

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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.

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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!

 

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Dresser Shapes

Once you have these answers nailed down, you can start considering dresser shapes. Below are the main dresser shapes and sizes to consider.

Standard Dressers

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!

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Tallboy

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!

Bureau

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.

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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!

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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.

Material

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.)

Hardware

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!

Legs

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.

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bedroom dressers

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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!

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Dresser Styling: 10 Ways to Decorate This Bedroom Essential

It’s safe to say that most bedrooms have a dresser. But it’s important to remember that a dresser is not only a piece of furniture for clothing storage—but it also offers surface space to your room! And it’s important to consider this element in bedroom design if you want a space that feels polished and considered.

dresser decorating ideasBut what do you put on a dresser? And how do you style it in a way that looks polished and not cluttered? First, there are many ways to style a bedroom dresser, so there’s not one right or wrong answer! It all depends on your needs—Is the dresser in a kids room? Is there a TV on top of it? Do you need extra space for storage and organization?—your personal style, and what else is happening in your space. (Aka the room shape, size, and window placement.)

But there are some universal tips that you can use to style your dresser. And we’re not just talking tips for on top of your dresser, but also for around it. Keep reading for our 10 best dresser decorating ideas and tips on how to style your dresser in a way that complements your design style!

For the Contemporary TV Viewer

When you have a TV on or hung above your dresser, we recommend adding low-profile decor on the dresser top. Think: short vases and plants or a small stack of books. You want to make sure you don’t obscure the view of the TV. But using these elements on your dresser top helps incorporate the TV into the design so that it doesn’t feel like an eyesore.

We also love the idea of having a full-length mirror next to your dresser for getting dressed and having a tall basket nearby for laundry or extra storage. A taller plant on the other side of the dresser helps visually balance out the overall set-up.

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dresser decorating ideasFor the Refined Rustic Lover

Going for a symmetrical design is a more formal approach to dresser styling—but one that certainly looks beautiful. Top your dresser with a mix of sentimental objects, photos of loved ones or favorite vacations, and a plant for a vase of flowers. (And maybe even a tray for your morning coffee!) But don’t overdo it—keep your dresser top decor simple and refined.

With this approach, we like the idea of centering a mirror over the dresser—just make sure it’s no more than two-thirds the width of the dresser. Because then you can hang sconces or pendants on either side, saving surface space on your dresser while still giving you cozy layered lighting. However, this lighting approach is definitely more permanent—so it’s not great for renters or if you like to rearrange your layout often!

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dresser decorating ideasFor the Contemporary Collector

Love an eclectic bedroom design? We have some bedroom dresser decor ideas for that. Hanging a tapestry above your dresser adds soft texture and an interesting decorative element. Pair that with a large lamp to add light and give an eclectic flair to the set-up. We also love the idea of using a hat as a decorative element in your dresser styling—which also allows you to keep it close-at-hand for sunny days!

Add a practical element with a hanging clothing rack for jackets, hats, and bags, as well as a nearby mirror for getting ready. And a record player atop your dresser lets you enjoy your favorite music while beginning and ending each day.

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dresser decorating ideasFor the Discerning Collector

Hanging a mixed media gallery wall above your dresser is a perfect way to incorporate a small TV, a mirror, and some favorite artwork. With a busier wall design, keep the surface of your dresser minimal but personal—with personal touches like a jewelry box, picture frames, and fresh flowers. A neutral color palette creates a cohesive look and keeps it from feeling too eclectic. Meanwhile, large plants add texture.

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For the Mod Enthusiast

Bedroom decorating can be challenging when you have to work around doors and windows. If you have a window above your dresser, keep dresser top decor simple below the window and don’t block the view. Above, you’ll see a great example of how to style a dresser under a window, with just a lamp, vases, and a box for trinkets or jewelry. Since the dresser top design is more simple, we added a practical element to the side, with a wall mirror, stool, and storage basket—along with some cheery pops of yellow!

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dresser decorating ideasFor the Classic Collector

Just because you have a smaller dresser doesn’t mean you can’t utilize large decor. In fact, we recommend it! It’s a fun, unexpected way to play with scale. And, as long as you’re embracing the drama, consider some dramatic contrast with colors as well—like dark walls with pink, orange, and gold decorative accents.

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dresser decorating ideasFor the Rustic Traveler

Add some personality and color to your dresser set-up with a large piece of art hung above your dresser. Pair it with layered decor like baskets, plants, and an interesting lamp. Small baskets atop your dresser are perfect for jewelry, scrunchies, or makeup.

Next to the dresser, add extra storage with woven laundry hampers and other baskets—which coordinate with the baskets on the top of the dresser. A large mirror makes getting dressed and checking your outfit a breeze, plus helps make your room appear larger—a great hack for small bedroom designs!

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dresser decorating ideasFor the Contemporary Minimalist

Are you a minimalist? Go for a clean and clutter-free dresser top. Include just what you need—a small, practical lamp, and perhaps your journal and current book to keep them nearby. Opting for a larger mirror gives you a more bold, contemporary look. (And we love how the shape of this mirror echoes the shape of the dresser.) A simple, muted color palette keeps the look calm and clean.

A hamper next to the dresser is really the only other thing you need. Just make sure you opt for one with a lid if you don’t like seeing dirty socks and want to have a more streamlined look!

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dresser decorating ideasFor the Rustic Bohemian

A trunk-style dresser is a bold and unique bedroom furniture piece—not to mention very sturdy. Layering decor on and near your dresser promotes an eclectic vibe. The tapestry, mirror, and basket all add some wonderful texture. (And the basket offers both storage and an aesthetically pleasing way to fill out the empty space next to your dresser.) On top of your dresser, play with different heights of objects—like taller vases and a simple tray, perfect for placing your morning cup of tea in a way that keeps the look classy and helps ensure you don’t spill on your dresser! But, with all these layers and textures, you may want to ground the look in an earthy color palette, which gives this space a soothing vibe.

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dresser decorating ideasFor the Kids Bedroom

There are many approaches you can take to styling the dresser in your child’s bedroom—but we love taking the practical approach. In a nursery, you may want to simply go for a dresser with a changing table topper. But once you’re past the diaper-changing phase, you can leave the changing table topper on there and use it to help corral clutter and keep things organized! Here, we’re using it for layered storage of toys, blankets, and other necessities—great for small rooms that don’t have a ton of storage. We love baskets as an easy and low-maintenance way to stash kids toys. And, during the day, you can just set the basket on the floor and let your kids dig in!

To balance out the practicality of layered storage, we went with a colorful and youthful approach—with bright walls, fun poms on the basket covers, and a lovely lamp.

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