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Dresser Essentials: Master the Art of Organizing your Wardrobe

October 26, 2023

Discover our expert guide on dressers – from selecting the perfect piece to maximizing storage. Revamp your space with our dresser tips!

How To Make A Dresser Look Mid-Century

How To Make A Dresser Look Mid-Century

By: Emily Roberts • Your Ultimate Guide To All Things Furniture

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How To Paint Dresser Without Sanding

How To Paint Dresser Without Sanding

By: Samuel Turner • Your Ultimate Guide To All Things Furniture

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How To Fill Dresser Drawer Holes

How To Fill Dresser Drawer Holes

By: Emily Roberts • Your Ultimate Guide To All Things Furniture

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How To Fix An Old Dresser Drawers

How To Fix An Old Dresser Drawers

By: Ethan Hayes • Your Ultimate Guide To All Things Furniture

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How To Replace Dresser Knobs

How To Replace Dresser Knobs

By: Sophie Thompson • Your Ultimate Guide To All Things Furniture

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How To Build A Built-In Dresser

How To Build A Built-In Dresser

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How To Clean A Wooden Dresser

How To Clean A Wooden Dresser

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How To Store Clothing Without A Dresser

How To Store Clothing Without A Dresser

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A dresser, often referred to as a chest of drawers, is a vital piece of furniture in every home, providing that necessary storage space for clothes, accessories, and even essential documents. Over time, the functionality of dressers has broadened, making them a key element in a room’s aesthetics and utility. Beyond storage, they serve as a display area, a vanity, and a vital tool for organization.

Apart from fulfilling basic storage needs, they also come in various styles, designs, and types, adding a dash of elegance to the room’s ambiance. The guide that follows is crafted with a clear goal – to provide you with an insightful understanding of dressers, their history, their relevance in modern home decor, and how to select the right one for your home.

Key Takeaways:

  • Transform a regular dresser into a mid-century masterpiece by choosing the right dresser, updating its finish, and enhancing it with mid-century design elements. Style it with vintage-inspired decor for a timeless and nostalgic appeal.
  • Achieve the iconic mid-century look by following simple steps to transform your dresser. From selecting the right dresser to styling it with complementary furniture, create a cohesive and visually appealing mid-century-inspired space.

The Origin and History of Dressers

The evolution of dressers is a fascinating journey through human history. The term ‘dresser’ was initially associated with kitchen furniture used to dress or prepare food in medieval Europe. The dresser style we’re familiar with today, primarily used for clothes storage, didn’t emerge until around the 17th century. It was then employed as a means of safekeeping for clothing and personal belongings.

As societal norms and fashion trends evolved, so did the dresser. From the extravagant designs of the Victorian era to the minimalist styles of the contemporary age, the changes in dressers reflect the changing preferences and living conditions of people across the world. Today, dressers are considered a staple piece of furniture in bedrooms, cherished both for their utility and aesthetic appeal.

Choosing the Right Dresser for Your Home

Picking the ideal dresser for your home is not merely about finding something that can store your belongings. It involves contemplating the space available, your storage needs, your personal style, and how the dresser will fit into the interior décor. Keep in mind; a well-appointed dresser can do wonders in elevating a room’s atmosphere.

Start by considering the size of your room and the space you can allocate for the dresser. For compact spaces, taller, lean dressers can be an excellent choice to maximize vertical space. For larger rooms, you could opt for a wider dresser that provides extensive storage and ample display space.

Fitting Into Your Decor

Each dresser brings with it a distinct style and character. From vintage wooden designs to sleek, modern metal frameworks, the options are vast. Take into account the existing decor of your room. A dresser should complement the room’s aesthetics, and not stick out. If your decor leans towards a modern, minimalist style, choose a dresser with clean lines and a simple silhouette. If your room has a more vintage charm, opt for a carved wooden dresser with a touch of antiquity.

Remember, buying a dresser is an investment in your comfort, functionality, and personal style. Take your time to choose one that meets all these aspects beautifully.

Dresser Styles: Traditional

Traditional dressers are often distinguished by their intricate designs and sumptuous detailing. This style of dresser usually features components like curvaceous silhouettes, dovetailed drawers, intricate moldings, and antique or brass-finished handles. They are frequently crafted from hardwoods like mahogany, oak, or cherry to provide a timeless and elegant appeal.

Traditional dressers best suit environments that draw on classical or antique decor, where their distinctive appearance can shine as a focal point of the room. The rich wood grains and intricate detailing present a sense of luxury and sophistication that’s hard to match.

Incorporating Traditional Dressers into Modern Homes

If your heart yearns for a traditional dresser but your home exudes a modern vibe, don’t fret. You can seamlessly blend a traditional dresser into a contemporary setting by balancing the ornate details with minimalist, modern accents. Use neutral hues or monochrome style to let the traditional dresser stand out. You can also customize antique dressers by repainting or refinishing them to fit better with your modern decor.

Dresser Styles: Modern

Modern dressers are known for their simplicity, clean lines, and minimal embellishments. They tend to emphasize function over form and often feature geometric or streamlined shapes, smooth surfaces, dark or neutral colours, and metal or chrome accents. They are frequently made of materials other than wood, such as metal, glass, or high-quality MDF.

Modern dressers are the perfect companion for contemporary decors or industrially styled interiors as they not only provide practical storage but also contribute to the sleek aesthetics. The simplicity of modern dressers allows them to effortlessly fit in with various color schemes and styles.

Blending Modern Dressers with Other Furnishings

While modern dressers are inherently versatile, the key to successfully incorporating them into your space is to maintain coherence with other furnishings. Pair them with other modern or industrial-style pieces that share common design elements. Contrasting a modern dresser against a backdrop of vintage or rustic furnishings can create an exciting eclectic vibe, provided the color scheme and materials are thoughtfully coordinated.

Dresser Styles: Rustic

Rustic dressers embody the charm and warmth of country living. They often feature natural elements like wood or stone and showcase rugged aesthetics and textures. Rustic dressers are typically crafted from hardwoods like oak, pine, or walnut and are defined by their unfinished or distressed appearance, giving each piece a unique, earthy appeal and inviting vibe.

Enhancing rooms with a rustic dressers is befitting more relaxed, informal settings that inspire a sense of comfort and homeliness. Whether it’s a mountain cabin or a countryside-style city home, a rustic dresser can infuse a sweet nostalgic charm.

Blending Rustic Dressers with Other Furniture Styles

Integrating a rustic dresser into your decor can add a touch of warmth and natural beauty. When paired with similar rustic elements, they can create a harmonious, serene environment. Alternatively, combining rustic dressers with sleek, modern pieces creates a distinctive contrast that illustrates the sophistication of eclectic decor. Try opting for colorful, rustic dressers to add a splash of charm in an otherwise monochromatic, modern space.

Dresser Styles: Vintage

Vintage dressers are also known as antiques due to their age and unique styling. These dressers often feature detailed carvings, ornate handles or drawer pulls, and a richness in the material used – typically hardwood. They offer charm and elegance to any room with their aged beauty.

Vintage dressers make a stylish statement in various interior themes – from farmhouse chic to modern. They bring a particular charm that is heart-warming and nostalgic, breathing life into any space with a story behind each piece.

Incorporating Vintage Dressers

To incorporate vintage dressers into your home, consider the overall style of your room. These pieces work well in spaces that are already vintage-inspired. A vintage dresser can also be a standout piece in a more modern room, as long as you keep a balance between the two home decor styles.

Maintaining vintage furniture is essential for its longevity. Regular clean-up, occasional polishing, and immediate repair of any damage will keep the piece intact and stunning for years. Sometimes, a restoration process can revamp the whole look, giving your vintage dresser a fresh lease of life.

Understanding Dresser Sizes

The size of a dresser depends on your storage needs and the allocated space in your room. A standard double dresser size ranges between 60 to 72 inches in width, 20 inches in depth and 30-36 inches in height.

If you are looking for more storage options, you may consider tall dressers or chest of drawers. They can range from 42 to 60 inches in height and are narrower than standard dressers. For smaller spaces or kid’s rooms, a small dresser that is 42 to 48 inches wide might do the job.

Customized Dressers: Pros and Cons

Customized dressers tailor to your specific space and requirements. They are perfect if you want a piece that fits just right in terms of dimension and style. However, these come at a higher price than standard-sized dressers and may take longer to produce and deliver.

On the other hand, standard-sized dressers are readily available and come in a wide array of styles. They are also more affordable as they are mass-produced. However, they may not fit perfectly into every room, particularly if the space is irregular or tight.

Organizing Your Dresser

Organizing your dresser is essential to keep your belongings easily accessible and maintain a clean, clutter-free room. Firstly, sort your items into categories such as beauty products, accessories, clothes, and so on. Dedicate each drawer to one category for easy access.

Implement storage solutions such as drawer dividers or boxes to further organize small items like jewelry, makeup, or socks. Fold or roll clothes neatly before placing them in drawers to maximize space and maintain neatness.

Importance of Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning of your dresser not only maintains its appearance but also extends its lifespan. Wipe the surface of the dresser at least once a week to remove dust and stains. Clean the inside of the drawers occasionally to prevent dust accumulation and preserve the quality of your belongings. Always use cleaning products appropriate for the dresser material to avoid damage.

Expanding Storage with Dressers

Dressers are versatile pieces of furniture that provide an effective solution for storage and organization needs. They can accommodate a variety of items based on the drawer’s size and the item’s nature. In bedrooms, they traditionally hold clothing or bed linens.

Other than clothes, dressers can be used to store and organize various other items like makeup, books, accessories, and even electronics if they are located in living spaces. The bottom drawers can hold heavier items, while the top drawers can store the items you frequently use or need quick access to.

Innovative Uses for Dresser Storage

Innovatively, you can repurpose dresser drawers to cover a wide range of storage needs. Shoe storage, wine racks, and craft supplies storage are just some unusual but resourceful uses for dressers. This requires some out-of-the-box thinking but opens up many possibilities for additional storage and organization.

Dresser Material Types

Dressers come in a variety of materials, each with its unique characteristics and durability. Wood, being a traditional material, offers a timeless appeal and robust durability. It can be further divided into hardwood (like oak, mahogany, teak) and softwood (like pine, cedar). Hardwood is more durable but also more expensive than softwood.

Other popular materials include metal, laminate, and mirror. Metal dressers are hardy and have an industrial look. Laminate ones are affordable and come in a variety of colors and textures. Mirrored dressers add a touch of glamour and create a sense of space by reflecting light.

Choosing the Right Material

When choosing the material, consider your room’s decor, the dresser’s intended use, and your budget. For a traditional or rustic-themed room, a wooden dresser might be suitable. For a room with a modern or industrial theme, consider metal or mirrored dressers.

Dresser Decoration Ideas

The top of the dresser can be a canvas for your creativity. You can decorate it with framed photos, flowers, candles, or decorative trays to hold jewelry and small items. Even practical items like lamps or cosmetics can add to the dresser’s aesthetic if arranged attractively.

Consider incorporating a mirror above your dresser. In addition to its practical use, a stylish mirror can add dimension to the room and reflect light to make your space look bigger. Alternatively, wall art or floating shelves with trinkets or books can accent the area above the dresser.

Chic Elements in Dresser Decoration

For a chic look, consider adding metallic elements or colors. Gold-framed mirrors, bronze decor pieces, or silver tray add a sophisticated touch to your dresser. For color, consider complementing or contrasting the color of the dresser with the decor elements.

Dresser Maintenance

Maintaining your dresser is vital for extending its lifespan and preserving its appearance. Regularly dusting and wiping your dresser using a damp cloth and mild detergent will prevent build-up of dust and grime, thus keeping your dresser looking new.

With wooden dressers, consider polishing them once or twice a year to preserve the quality and shine of the wood. With metal or mirrored dressers, be careful not to use abrasive cleaners that could scratch the surface.

Repairing Dresser Damages

Repairing minor damages early can prevent more significant problems later. For instance, tightening loose handles or knobs can prevent them from falling off. If you notice a small scratch on your wooden dresser, consider using a wood marker or crayon that matches your dresser’s color to fill it in.

Dresser Transformation: DIY Projects

Old dressers can be transformed into functional and chic pieces with a little creativity and DIY projects. A common dresser transformation is converting it into a bathroom vanity by adding a sink on top. All you need is some plumbing alterations.

Another fun project is turning an old dresser into a bench with storage. Cut the dresser in half, add a comfortable cushion on top, and there you have it – a unique storage bench. You could also upcycle a dresser into a beverage station, a bookshelf, or even a kitchen island.

Upcycling Dresser for Children’s Room

Children’s rooms offer numerous opportunities for dresser transformations. Old dressers can be painted in vibrant colors or motifs that match the theme of the room. You could also add labels to the drawers to help children organize their clothes, toys, or school supplies.

Energy Efficient Dresser Lightings

Good lighting is integral to dressers, especially if they are used frequently. Opt for energy-efficient options like LED lights that consume less power and have a longer lifespan than traditional bulbs. Plus, LEDs are available in various color temperatures to suit your mood and decor.

You can install under-cabinet lighting to illuminate the contents of open shelves or drawers. Alternatively, installing a light fixture on the wall above the dresser or incorporating a table lamp on top of the dresser can provide ample light.

Maintaining Aesthetic Appeal with Energy Efficient Lighting

While the primary function of lighting is to illuminate, it can also accentuate the overall aesthetic of your dresser and room. Choose fixtures that match your room’s decor style. For example, a sleek LED strip complements a modern decor, while a vintage-style lamp might suit a rustic theme better.

Childproofing Your Dresser

When there are kids in the house, it is critical to ensure their safety by childproofing furniture, including dressers. Children are curious by nature, and a tip-over hazard can result in serious injuries.

The first step towards childproofing a dresser is to secure it to the wall. Anti-tip kits, or furniture straps, are commonly used for this purpose. Place corner guards to protect children from sharp edges or corners on the dresser.

Tips for Effective Dresser Childproofing

Although safety is paramount, you also want to maintain accessibility for older kids. For this, consider installing safety latches on the drawers which reduce the risk of pinching fingers and prevent young children from accessing potential hazards yet allow older children to open it.

Another tip is to avoid placing enticing objects like toys or colourful items on top of dressers as children might be tempted to climb and reach them.

Dresser Hardware and Accessories

The hardware and accessories of a dresser not only enhance its functionality but also add to its aesthetic appeal. Dresser hardware includes handles, knobs, and pulls, which are available in various designs, materials, and finishes to complement your décor.

For instance, brass or copper hardware can provide a touch of classic elegance, while colourful ceramic or glass knobs can add a fun, whimsical element.

Customizing Your Dresser with Unique Hardware

Using unique hardware is one way to personalize your dresser and make it stand out. Upgrading the standard knobs or handles with vintage ones or ones in bold, contrasting colours can completely transform the look of the dresser.

Another idea is using leather pulls for a rustic, rugged appeal, or geode knobs for a touch of luxury. Remember that the hardware should not only be visually appealing but also comfortable to grip.

Dressers and Feng Shui

In the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui, the placement and type of furniture can influence the flow of energy, or “chi”, within the space. With a few adjustments to your dresser’s placement or color, you can harness positive energy.

According to feng shui principles, the dresser should not be the first thing you see upon entering the bedroom as it may lead to stagnant energy. A better location would be across from the foot of the bed. It shouldn’t also directly reflect the bed in a mirror.

Impact of Dresser Material and Color on Feng Shui Energy

The material and color of your dresser can also affect energy flow. Wood, which represents growth and vitality in feng shui, is considered an excellent material choice for bedroom furniture. Wood dressers in warm, earthy tones can add a sense of calm and stability.

However, if a wooden dresser isn’t your style, you can also opt for dressers in colours that correspond with the desired feng shui elements. For example, black or blue can symbolize the water element and white can represent the metal element.

Buying vs. Building Your Own Dresser

Purchasing a ready-made dresser or building your own is a significant decision based on various factors such as time, cost, skills, and customization needs.

Buying a pre-made dresser is more manageable for most people as it offers convenience and saves time. Brands offer a range of designs, materials, and finishes to choose from, ensuring you can find something that matches your taste and decor. Another advantage is that they often come with warranties, giving you peace of mind.

Pros and Cons of Building Your Own Dresser

Building your own dresser provides a sense of satisfaction and allows you to customize the design to your exact requirements. This option is ideal for those who are skilled in woodworking and those having specific needs that off-the-shelf items can’t meet. Cost-wise, it can be cheaper, but this heavily depends on the material and finish used along with the complexity of the design.

The downside is that it is time-consuming, requires a certain skill level, hard work, and access to the right tools. Also, if you’re not an experienced builder, things could go wrong, leading to additional costs and time.

To make a dresser look mid-century, consider adding tapered legs, replacing hardware with sleek, minimalist options, and applying a warm, wood-tone finish.


Dressers are a versatile piece of furniture that offer a perfect blend of functionality and aesthetics, making them a staple in homes across the globe. The wide variety of styles, from traditional to modern, vintage to rustic, provides options for every taste and every decor.

The right dresser adds character to a room, brings harmony in home decor, and offers practical storage solutions. Whether you choose to buy or build your own, make sure it complements your space, fulfills your storage needs, and brings joy every time you use it.

Remember, investing in the right dresser isn’t just about buying a piece of furniture; it’s about enhancing your living space, organizing your belongings, and bring you a sense of satisfaction every time you see and use it. The decision ultimately comes down to your personal style, requirements, and what makes you happy.