How to Choose the Perfect Chest of Drawers
Our bedrooms are for so much more than getting our daily shuteye. They’re where we spend tonnes of our time, and because of this, they provide the perfect home for all of our personal items, such as clothing, accessories and linen. Having ample storage – and more importantly, storage that really suits our needs – is pretty crucial as a result.
With built-in wardrobes a common fixture in many homes, traditional, freestanding storage options like the humble chest of drawers have unfortunately taken a backseat. But, if you don’t have the luxury of a closed cabinet, or simply want to reinvigorate these beautiful and functional furniture items, perhaps a pretty chest of drawers should be on your bedroom furniture wishlist.
When the time comes to carve out a spot for a chest of drawers in your bedroom, there are a few things you should consider before you purchase. Here’s our must-read guide to choosing the perfect chest of drawers.
Exploring types of chest of drawers
Chests of drawers come in many different shapes and sizes, with different dimensions, drawer configurations, and levels of practicality. Ultimately, though, this timeless furniture piece can be boiled down to two key types that then are modified by chopping and changing a few elements.
Lowboy chest of drawers
Not to be confused with a large trailer of the same name, a ‘lowboy’ chest of drawers is a fancy name for the most common style, one you’ve probably seen around a lot (that is, if you don’t have one sitting in your bedroom right now). They’re longer horizontally than they are tall vertically, and are shorter than a ‘tallboy’, which we’ll demystify in a minute. Generally, a lowboy chest of drawers won’t be much taller than a metre or so, but the defining factor of this design is that it’s long and horizontally-focused. They’re great for anyone who has horizontal space to work with in their bedroom, and perhaps wants to style up the tabletop, whether that’s to create more functionality (e.g. with a mirror to get ready) or for aesthetic purposes using homewares.
Tallboy chest of drawers
On the flip side, a tallboy is exactly what the name conveys – a tall chest of drawers that, unlike the lowboy, is higher than it is long. This narrow, skinny choice is a fantastic space-saver, perfect if you’ve got minimal space in your bedroom yet need the practicality of some drawer space for folded clothing and other bits and bobs. As a result, the surface area on this type of piece is a lot smaller, but still provides more than enough room for styling.
Selecting the right dimensions
If you’re not already inclined towards either a tall or low chest of drawers, you’ll want to really consider the space that you’re working with and how adding in a chest of drawers might impact how easy it is to use and navigate. If it’ll help, measure up the free space you currently have in the bedroom and use this information to visualise what size piece might work best. Be sure to consider height, depth and length, as well as the overall size of the drawers.
Every size has its own pros and cons, just like any other piece of furniture. A narrow chest of drawers will save heaps of horizontal space, making it an ideal fit for a small bedroom, or one that’s already packed full of other furniture items. Narrow drawers are also easy to keep organised compared to much longer drawers, making a dresser in this style great for storing essentials in other rooms. Incorporating a small chest of drawers into your bedroom will ensure you’ve still got space to style other pieces without compromising on practicality.
On the other hand, a large chest of drawers might overwhelm a small space – that is, if you don’t play your cards right. This is why it pays off to really consider your dimensions. Where some larger pieces are big all over, others are long but not particularly deep, which roughly evens out in terms of available drawer space. The moral of the story? Look for a chest of drawers that fits with the needs of your bedroom first, and the rest will fall into place.
How many drawers do you need?
The answer to the question ‘how many drawers should my chest of drawers have’ is pretty simple – ultimately, it’s all up to you and your unique needs and household storage requirements. Where a 4 drawer chest of drawers might be suitable if a lot of your clothes get hung up, others (such as the athleisure wear-lovers, pyjama hoarders and t-shirt aficionados) might need the additional space provided by an 8 drawer chest of drawers. If you’re not sure, a standard chest of drawers usually has 6 to 8 drawers. A 6 drawer chest of drawers should provide just enough space for all of your clothing items, as well as some miscellaneous pieces like accessories, bed linens, and daily must-haves.
With the functional stuff out of the way, let’s talk aesthetics. The way your chest of drawers looks will have an impact on the overall mood of your bedroom, as it’s bound to take up a fair chunk of space, whether that’s vertically or horizontally. Plus, it’s a furniture piece you’ll likely use every day (unless you don’t get out of your pyjamas, which is highly relatable) – so it’s crucial that it’s durable and can withstand the test of time.
When it comes to material, there’s one queen that emerges above the rest, and that’s timber. A wooden chest of drawers is classic and chic, but most of all, they’re super hardy and will take a lot. Because this piece is going to live inside, there’s not too much to worry about with wood, as long as you keep it out of direct sunlight and give it a good polish every now and then. Wood is also very easy to clean, so if you get a mark on the dresser’s surface, it’s just a matter of grabbing a gentle cleaning product (dishwashing liquid and water does the trick) and gently buffing away at the offending stain.
There are almost endless types of wood to choose from for your chest of drawers, but popular picks for durability include oak, mango wood and acacia. They also look stunning, and can be constructed in an array of colours, textures and finishes. Another favourite is rattan, a very on-trend material that’s the perfect accompaniment to coastal or Hamptons style. A rattan chest of drawers will catch the eye, pull focus in your space, and establish a beachy, laid-back feel.
Of course, there are other material options out there, but most chests of drawers will rely on wood in some way, shape or form. A metal chest of drawers could be an offbeat, modern choice – just be prepared to care for it a little more to prevent rust.
Choosing the right colour
Colour can have a massive bearing on the way a piece of furniture ‘feels’ in your space – and by that, we mean the mood that it gives off, and how it interacts with your other pieces. Colour will tie directly into style, too. Natural wood tones are ideal for creating a Scandinavian or mid century modern look, whereas a white chest of drawers could establish a Hamptons vibe, and a black chest of drawers is ultimately super modern. Each of these choices has a unique point of view, so it comes down to determining which one will jibe with your existing styling.
There are also coloured options to consider – as the chest of drawers acts as a large accent piece in your bedroom, you’ve got a little more leeway and room to play around. So, don’t write off bolder options like grey, green, blue and even bright tones.
Finding a style you love
Finally, give style a prominent seat at the table as you select your new chest of drawers. If you’re not sure what your style is, the best way to find out is to take a look around your bedroom (or whatever room your chest of drawers will live in) and make note of the key design elements that pop up most frequently. Do you use a lot of gold and metal, or is everything understated and pared back? What kinds of colours arise the most? Do your furniture pieces have sleek, sharp lines or lush curves? All of these things will tie into a particular style, and can be used to determine the direction your new chest of drawers takes.
If you’re still not sure where to start with style, here are our go-to pieces for a few popular aesthetics:
- Mid century modern: If you like a retro feel with lots of chestnut-toned wood, pops of colour (think jewel tones) and cool curves, mid century modern is for you. Our favourite mid century chest of drawers is the Frank Chest of Drawers.
- Modern contemporary: This style is clean, chic and sleek, often typified by an achromatic (colourless) palette consisting of black, white and grey. Modern pieces are fuss-free and regularly draw on materials like metal, glass and marble. For a modern look, we love the Slim Compact Chest of Drawers – a great space-saving piece.
- French provincial: Based on furniture found in 1800s French homes, this style is fancy and frilly, with lots of embellishments and curlicues to its design. You’ll see curvy construction that feels regal, yet can be paired with other items quite easily, using brown tones, white and grey. For a French provincial look, the Maison Tall Boy is bound to satisfy.
- Classic traditional: As the name suggests, this style is simple, timeless and easy to introduce into almost any home. Classic furniture is often reminiscent of ‘farmhouse’ style, with cream tones, soft yet clean lines, and heavy wooden construction. Bring it into the bedroom with the Enzo Wide Chest of Drawers.
- Scandinavian: Slimline yet sturdy, and rooted in minimalism, Scandinavian style is all about making the utilitarian look good. You’ll see pale wood paired with light, unburdened frames and very few embellishments or accents. It’s plain to see that the Cato Chest of Drawers or Cato Tall Boy would make a great addition to a Scandi space.
- Coastal: Coastal style is laid-back and beachy, with elements that draw inspiration from nature. Think earthy natural materials like rattan, bamboo and jute, as well as light-toned wood and lots of white. Embody coastal style with the Caledonia Rattan Large Chest of Drawers.
- New Art Deco: Art Deco style is a lot of things, but when it comes down to it, it’s all about luxury, glitz and glam. Look for elements like dark, moody tones, lots of bright gold to contrast, and geometric shapes. For a muted vibe, opt for the Marlon Chest of Drawers, or go bolder with the Meggs Chest of Drawers.
- Hamptons: Lastly, Hamptons style is all about classic seaside elegance. You’ll notice a lot of whitewashed furniture, sturdy construction à la classic design, and accent colours like royal blue. To create a Hamptons-inspired aesthetic, look no further than the Monterey Hamptons Style Large Chest of Drawers.
Armed with everything there is to know about selecting the perfect chest of drawers, all there’s left to do is evaluate your own needs, and when you’re ready, begin the process of finding the piece that’s right for your home. Don’t forget to consider shape, size, drawers, colour, material and style as you make your choice. Of course, if you’re still unsure, our team of expert stylists are here to help, either virtually or at our Sydney and Melbourne Studio spaces – get started today to begin picturing your new piece in your home. Shop Brosa’s full range of chests of drawers today.