Chests of Drawers Buyers Guide

Drawers are a great choice for storage purposes; a chest of drawers comprises of stacked drawers that are bought online, in furniture stores or department stores. They can be used to store, organise and easily access stored items such as personal items, accessories and clothing. That is why for small spaces, a chest of drawers is an ideal option.

When looking at the functionality of furniture in a bedroom, a chest of drawers comes second after a bed since drawers add a touch to the rest of the furniture in the bedroom. Apart from the bedroom, a chest of drawers can be placed somewhere else in the house, such as the children’s playroom, hallway, garage, dining room and bathroom.

A chest of drawers comes in different types, different numbers of drawers and sizes, making it difficult to select the best for your home. This guide provides you with what you need to consider before buying a chest of drawers.

Different Types

Tallboy and Lowboy

Tallboy and lowboy chests of drawers have quite a history dating from previous generations in the English furniture tradition. The tallboy is one of the most popular types, starting with at least 4 drawers. It stands tall on the ground and is narrow, using up little floor space and offering enough space for storage.

Lowboy chest of drawers, on the other hand, are stylish and have different designs. Lengthwise, the lowboy is at waist level, with the number of drawers ranging from 4 to 3 rows. This type can either be flat on the floor or have legs or castors for support. One of the differences with a tallboy is that a lowboy takes up a considerable amount of room space.


Antique chest of drawers are age-verified drawers dating as far as the 17th century. They are a great choice if you are looking for a grand look, although they are expensive, heavy in weight and are mostly bought for display purposes.


A sideboard is a chest of drawers with a European origin that is used mostly in the living and dining room. It provides storage space and is an excellent display platform for serving items.  The top surface of a sideboard comprising of a 3+3 style can be used to serve food and drinks.



Contemporary styles are clean with a light to medium-toned wood used. Contemporary chest of drawers has a modern look and lack carvings, paintings or frills, so they are ideal if you are looking for a simple style. Materials such as steel, fibreglass and plastic can be mixed to enhance the design appearance.


Classic types of drawers can vary in design, ranging from Asian or European styles. They are made from dark-toned woods such as mahogany and oak. Classic chest of drawers can have carvings with varying leg designs and floral patterns, in addition to other details.

These vintage styles can either be purchased from a manufacturer, or from an antique collection. Antique chests of drawers are heavy and durable, but it might be difficult to find matching furniture that complements your other furniture and decor.



The highest quality materials used to make a chest of drawers are hardwoods, so ones manufactured from hardwood material are durable, saving you a lot of money from extra expenses purchasing a replacement. Hardwood materials come from oak, rosewood, mahogany or walnut wood types.

Wood Veneer

Wood veneer chest of drawers comprises of particle boards or medium density fiberboards pasted with a thin veneer of hardwood to resemble hardwood materials. They are cheap and stable, though not as resistant to wear as hardwoods. Wood veneer constitutes of thin layers of wood glued together; the glue provides additional strength, lowering chances of cracking or splitting.


Beech and pine offer some of the best softwood materials for a chest of drawers. Softwoods can be obtained in many places and are easy to work with, making the amount of softwood furniture high. Furniture made of softwoods are cheap, but one of the disadvantages of softwood furniture is their short lifespan. Most of the time, this kind of furniture easily gets damaged from scratches and dents.

Factors to Consider

Drawers and Capacity

The number and size of drawers vary depending on its use. Drawers in one unit can be of different sizes and different items require different sizes of storage space. Depending on the functionality of the drawer, you are able to choose different sizes.

Small drawers store accessories like socks and jewellery, while large drawers are for larger items like jumpers and sweaters. Choose a combination of sizes and number of drawers for versatility and so that you will be able to use it to its full capacity.


Get an estimate of the room size before buying a chest of drawers. Since small rooms have limited space, a tallboy would be an ideal choice. Large rooms can accommodate wider chests, offering surface space for bedside lamps and other items.

Style and Accents

The final look of a room is dependent on the style, colours and accents chosen. Neutral maple wood finishes are a great combination of most colours and décor, while cherry wood or oak finishes give furniture a classic appearance.

Use of mirrors, knobs and handles make a huge difference in the final appearance of furniture, so choose features that will complement your décor and are easy for kids to handle.


Wood, metal and glass are materials that are used to make drawers. Areas such as bathrooms need to have furniture made from high-quality material for durability. So always keep in mind the kind of room you will be placing the chest of drawers before purchasing.

Care and Cleaning

In order for your furniture to last you a long time, you need to take good care of it so that you won’t have to keep buying a new one every year. Caring for chests of drawers is relatively easy, just take note that liquids should be placed far away from wood veneer to prevent damages. In addition, remember to dust and oil drawers to prevent cracking due to drying and use a damp cloth and mild cleaner to clean.

On the other hand, before starting to clean the drawers, remember to remove drawers completely from the chest or open them wide and remove all items inside. Afterwards, place a bowl with a mixture of dry ground coffee, baking soda or clay cat litter in each drawer. Leave them to absorb odours for a day or two.

Use lemon-oil furniture polish or spray with an odour-fighting disinfectant to rub inside the drawers. However, if the smell persists, wipe all surfaces inside the drawers that haven’t been varnished with a damp cloth dipped in a mixture of 1-part household bleach and 3-parts water. Finally, spray a deodoriser and you’re good to go.


Before buying a chest of drawers, reflect on your current and future needs, then choose a style that is both functional and blends well with the rest of the furniture.