This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, We may earn commissions from qualifying purchases made from our chosen links.

No bedroom is complete without a nice dresser to keep your clothes neatly folded and out of sight. This piece of furniture is meant to be not only practical but also an attractive design element that makes a statement. So, as you start shopping for a dresser, here are the details to consider before you buy.

First, make sure you know what defines a dresser and how this piece of furniture differs from a chest of drawers. While both are meant to hold clothes, they have slightly different features that set them apart. In particular, a chest of drawers is tall and somewhat narrow, with about five or six drawers within the frame.

On the other hand, a dresser is low and wide, so it takes up more space than a chest of drawers. In addition, the drawers tend to be deeper, and there can be anywhere from three long drawers to six or more short drawers within a dresser frame.

Plus, since the dresser is low to the ground, you can attach a mirror to the top, which is perfect for when you want to get dressed in front of it. In fact, that’s why it’s called a dresser!

How to Buy a Dresser

Dresser Buying Guide 1 Dresser Buying Guide
  • Construction

One blouse doesn’t weigh much, but your entire wardrobe does. Your dresser should be built to bear that weight for years, so look for the hallmarks of careful construction before you buy. Solid hardwood pieces are generally much stronger than those made with particle board, which means they’re less likely to warp or break under the strain of daily use. In particular, look for drawers made with dovetail joinery to ensure that the drawer fronts are solidly attached to the drawers.

  • Size

Most dressers may be wide and low, but they’re not all the same size. As you shop for a new dresser, think about how much space you have in your room and how many clothes you need to fit in this piece of furniture.

Small dressers often have three to six drawers and can fit perfectly into a smaller space. Large dressers may have up to ten drawers and are good for when you’re looking for a classy, practical way to fill up a large room.

Don’t just think about the overall size of the dresser, though. You should also consider how many drawers you need. If you’re big on organization and want each type of clothing to have its own separate space, look at 5 drawer dressers as you shop. But if you only need a few large drawers to put your clothes in, 3 drawer dressers may suit you best.

  • Style

When it comes to choosing a dresser style, you should take into account the theme and other furniture in your bedroom. If you’re going for a modern or contemporary look, choose a dresser with a simple design and a geometric shape. Choose neutral tones; an espresso dresser for example. The design should be very streamlined with little or no frills or decorations.

For a traditional room, you’d be better off with an antique dresser, or something that looks formal. Choose warm woods (an oak or mahogany dresser) and look for decorative designs and intricate patterns.

You’ll also have to decide if you prefer double or triple dressers that are around waist height, or a chest dresser that is taller but less wide. If you do choose a double dresser, you can find one that is accompanied by a mirror. These are definitely more visually interesting pieces, and can add a lot of atmosphere to a room.

Another style of dresser that might interest you is the armoire dresser, which is an armoire combined with a set of drawers. These are great because you can store your more formal and outerwear along with your more casual dress. They are very versatile, and a nice option for rooms with a bit more space.

  • Storage

The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out how much storage space you want your dresser to have. If you’ve got a huge wardrobe, a 6 drawer dresser makes more sense than a 4 drawer dresser. If you need lots of storage, look for a taller dresser that is at least shoulder high, and check to depth of the drawers. A dresser with a number of shallow drawers might have less storage space than a dresser with a few very deep drawers.

If you think you need even more room, something like a double dresser or a triple dresser might be just what you need. These dressers are wider than a single dresser as they can hold more, but they will take up more space, so make sure there’s a suitable area in your room to put it.

Here are some tips to consider while shopping:

  1. More expensive dressers often offer more drawers than dressers of comparable size.
  2. The drawer pulls and other hardware to be found in a moderate price range are generally purchased from hardware manufacturers. As you move up the price-quality spectrum, you’ll see more custom-designed hardware and a more stylized look.
  3. Drawers, which tend to be smaller at the top dresser and larger at the bottom, are a good indicator of high-quality product design. A less expensive design will often have drawers of the same size.
  4. Pine and oak dressers are often affordably-priced, while maple, mahogany and cherry dressers tend to be more expensive. Oak dressers are considered to be in the moderate range.
  5. Moderately priced pieces tend to have a finish that’s sprayed on, with lacquer applied over it. As you move up in price, you’ll get more steps to the finished process and more handwork.
  6. Dovetail joints at the face and back of the drawers, which are much stronger than nails or glue, are signs of good quality. So are sanded and finished-edge drawer sides, which prevent clothes from snagging, and reinforced legs and dust panels.
  7. Moderately priced pieces have metal drawer glides. As you step up, look for wood-on-wood glides and a center-rail support. This will help support your drawers and help maintain the form longer.