Chest of Drawers vs. Dresser: What’s The Difference?

The furniture in your bedroom serves a practical purpose, but it also reflects your personal tastes and style, allowing you to create a personal sanctuary with beautiful statement pieces. One of the most important furniture pieces in your bedroom is where you store your clothing. While a chest of drawers and a dresser have the same function from a practical standpoint, they have some important differences when it comes to how they look and fit into the room.

Understanding the difference between chest of drawers vs. dresser will allow you to pick the piece that suits your style and organizational needs while fitting the space. Let’s dive into the differences between the two so you can discover which piece might be the best fit for your bedroom.

What Is a Chest of Drawers?

A chest of drawers is a tall and narrow piece of furniture with drawers for storing your clothing, accessories, and other items. While a dresser often features multiple rows of drawers organized horizontally into two or three columns, a chest of drawers features one single column of drawers stacked vertically with just one drawer in each row. The chest of drawers, often referred to as a “chest,” typically features four to six drawers compared to the standard dresser, which often features eight to nine drawers.

While the dresser is wide and short, the chest of drawers is tall and narrow. Chests generally range in height from 42 inches to 60 inches tall and range in width from 24 inches to 40 inches wide. The depth of drawers in a standard dresser usually falls between 18 inches and 24 inches deep. However, the drawers in a chest are often shallower than the drawers in a dresser.

Is a Dresser or Chest of Drawers Better?

To find out if a dresser or chest of drawers is better, consider your space, style preferences, and what you plan to store in the piece of furniture. While dressers take up more space in the room, chests are a better fit for small spaces. With a tall and narrow build, a chest of drawers may even fit into a large closet if there is no space in the bedroom for it.

A room with higher ceilings is well suited for a chest of drawers. While the tall and narrow shape can make some rooms feel small or crowded, they don’t have that effect in a space where the ceilings are high. Similarly, a dresser can fit well in rooms with large walls. To keep the room from looking cold and empty, you can incorporate a dresser made of warmer tones and wood.

Chests can also be incorporated into larger spaces. If you need extra storage in addition to a dresser, a chest of drawers can give you additional storage space without taking up too much space. Chests can work well for his and her clothes storage. Many rooms are not large enough to comfortably house two full-size dressers. However, using two chests offers a bit more space since they take up less room on the floor.

Another thing to consider is what you will be storing and how much you have to store. The standard dresser will fit more than a chest of drawers. Not only are the drawers deeper in a dresser, but there are more drawers. If you have a lot of clothing, consider whether you need a larger piece of furniture to store it. In addition to a dresser or chest, you can also incorporate wardrobe and armoire furniture to offer additional storage.

When it comes to style, a chest of drawers often has a more minimal look than a dresser. If you’re going for a simple, sleek, minimalist look, then a chest of drawers may be the better option. A dresser will be the better option if you want to include a mounted mirror. A chest of drawers is too tall for a mirror to fit on top. Although there is space to place smaller items on top of the chest of drawers, like small decor or photos, but not anything that you reach for daily.

How to Choose a Chest of Drawers

Once you have decided to buy a chest of drawers, it’s time to start searching for a piece that fits your needs. First, measure the space in your room so you can browse for a chest of drawers with dimensions that will fit within the space you’ve chosen.

Next, think about which type of chest of drawers works best for what you plan to store. A standard or vertical chest, often used for clothing or linens, is tall and narrow, allowing you to store your items in a small space. A lingerie chest works well for undergarments or other small items, as it is taller and skinnier than the standard chest with smaller drawers.

A gentleman’s chest includes a tall cabinet section in addition to the drawers, where you will find either a rod for hanging clothes or built-in shelves. This type of chest works well for those who will be storing hanging clothes or items that are best organized on a shelf. A bachelor’s chest is a smaller, shorter chest with three to four drawers, making it more suitable for those who need limited storage or additional space to store overflow items.

A media chest is similar to a dresser, but it has an open top shelf meant for electronics like a cable box or video game console. This type of chest can be placed in a bedroom or in the living room as an entertainment center. While a media chest is wider like a dresser, it is taller like the standard chest of drawers, allowing you to place a television on top at a comfortable height for viewing.

Design style, materials, and colors are other considerations you’ll need to make when choosing a chest of drawers. Whether you’re looking for something colorful and modern or more sleek and traditional, there are many options when choosing a chest. Consider how it will fit with the other furniture in the room before deciding on your perfect chest of drawers.

Best Depths for Drawers

The best depths for drawers will depend on the size of your space and what you plan to store in the chest. To determine an appropriate depth for your specific space, measure the dimension of the area from the wall to the nearest piece of furniture that the chest will face, which is typically the bed. Subtract 36 inches from this number to get the best measurement for drawer depth.

If you have plenty of space to work with when it comes to drawer depth, the second thing to consider will be what you plan to store in the chest. If you plan to store many items or larger items like blankets and quilts, you might opt for a wider depth. If you plan to store smaller or fewer items, a smaller depth dimension can work well for your new chest.

Now that you know the difference between a chest of drawers vs. dresser, you can make the best decision for your needs and space. No matter which option you go with, you should find a piece that fits in your space well while reflecting your personal taste and style.