Chest of Drawers Vs Dresser: What Are the Differences?

There is often confusion between a chest of drawers and a dresser. If you are deciding between getting one or the other, you should know their features. Chest of drawers vs dresser – what is the difference between the two pieces of furniture?

The main difference between a chest of drawers and dresser is their height and width. A chest of drawers is tall and narrow, while a dresser is short and wide. Typically, you use dressers to store clothing, while you use the chest of drawers to store general items. 

They have the same purpose for clothing storage, but the types of clothes and the way you store them are different.

To help you decide what to get between a chest of drawers and dresser, here are some tips you can follow:

  1. Measure the Available Space for Your Furniture
  2. Consider Your Storage Needs
  3. Pick the Style/Design You Want
  4. Consider Its Features
  5. Allot a Budget
  6. Buy Only from Reputable Sellers

Read on to learn about the differences between a chest of drawers and a dresser.

chest of drawers vs dresser

Chest of Drawers Vs Dresser

Dressers and a chest of drawers are essential pieces of furniture in your bedroom that you can’t do without. But do you have to have both, or is one sufficient for you? The answer would depend on your preferences and on the items you want to store in your drawers. 

However, before we go into the detailed differences between a chest of drawers and dressers, let’s first learn each word’s definition.

What Is a Chest of Drawers?

A chest of drawers is a set of drawers stack one after another and is narrow but taller than a dresser. It’s designed for people who want to save space or have insufficient space to accommodate a large piece of furniture. Despite its narrow width, its taller design allows more space to store your items.

Types of Chest of Drawers

There are various types of chest drawers that you can choose from. These are:

1. Lingerie Chest

A lingerie chest is a smaller version of the chest of drawers. It consists of smaller drawers where you can keep your lingerie, bathing suits, underwear, and smaller clothing. You can also organize your personal things using this chest. You can store your pieces of jewelry, makeup, favorite pins, and similar items.

2. Bachelor’s Chest

This chest is meant for single persons, as it usually provides three to four drawers only. It provides limited storage space and is small. You can store a few of your light clothes, tie pins, cuff-links, and other small items.

3. Vertical Chest

These chests are your typical chest of drawers that are narrow but tall, ideal for narrow spaces, as you can buy taller ones to accommodate all your personal paraphernalia. This is also used to store beddings, blankets, pillows, and other bedroom items.

4. Gentleman’s Chest

The gentleman’s chest is tall and narrow, like other chests of drawers; only, it’s designed as a cabinet where you can hang your suits, dresses, or coats. It has both a wardrobe door and drawers where you can store your clothing. This chest is useful in keeping clothing for one person. 

5. Media Chest

The media chest can serve as your entertainment chest, where you can place a small TV, stereo, or cable box in the middle portion. You can store remote controls, music notes, or anything you want, so they can be within your reach whenever you want to use your entertainment set. Some entertainment chests are pre-designed or customized to meet the customer’s needs.

6. Standard Vertical Chest

This chest has an upper half that is sometimes used as a cupboard. It provides a double stack of drawers and is taller than the typical dresser design. 

What Is a Dresser?

On the other hand, a dresser is wider but shorter. In contrast to the chest of drawers, a dresser is long, low, and has deeper drawers. One common feature of a dresser is a mirror where you can dress up and admire your reflection. 

The dresser occupies more space than the chest of drawers. Thus, it’s meant for spacious bedrooms

Types of Dressers

Here are the types of dressers that you can choose from:

what is a chest of drawers

1. Double Dresser

This dresser is built for couples due to its long but low design. It provides spacious, deep drawers occurring in double rows. It would look superb in the master’s bedroom that has sufficient space for this double delight. 

2. Horizontal Dresser

This dresser is an ideal fixture in your master’s bedroom as you can utilize it as a tabletop too. You can place a medium, square, or oval mirror on its top, together with your other personal makeup kits or pieces of jewelry.

It’s a standard dresser consisting of two to three rows of wide and log drawers, with the top row featuring several small drawers. It’s a complete storage area for all your foldable outfits and other personal paraphernalia.

3. Combo Dresser

A combo dresser could contain a wardrobe and drawers, so you can hang your dresses in the cabinet and keep your other clothes in the drawers. You can store your shoes, bags, belts, scarves, hats, boots, and other items in this chest and dresser combo. 

This is best for you if you would want all your essential items in one place. Also, you can save space by buying a dresser and a chest drawer separately.

Standard Closet Shelf Height

Major Differences: Chest of Drawers Vs Dressers

Here are some significant differences between these two incredible storage pieces of furniture.

1. The chests of drawers are narrow but tall, while the dressers are low and short but broad. 

2. The dresser’s top can serve as a dressing table or tabletop where you can place a mirror and dress up, while the chest drawers don’t usually provide a tabletop. They can also have a wardrobe door when in combination with a dresser.

3. The chests of drawers are ideal for narrow areas as they can conserve floor space, while the dressers are best for spacious rooms. 

4. The dresser can act as part of the room décor, where you can place lampshades, flower vases, and your favorite figurines. Meanwhile, the chest of drawers cannot serve this purpose as it’s typically tall and narrow.

5. You can utilize the dresser as a chest of drawers as there are various drawers, but you cannot use the chest of drawers as a storage area and a tabletop simultaneously.

6. The chest of drawers can look drab in a room, as you cannot decorate it, while you can prep up a dresser with other decors. Hence, it could brighten up a room more than the chest of drawers. 

7. You can convert some parts of the dresser as drawers for your clothes, but you cannot convert the chest of drawers as a dressing tabletop.

8. Dressers are designed horizontally, while the chest of drawers is designed vertically.

9. Dressers are generally used for clothing, while the chest of drawers is used for general bedroom storage. So, consider your purpose when choosing between the two.

Similarities of Chest of Drawers and Dressers

1. They both provide drawers for storing your items. Despite the difference in size, both drawers can serve as storage areas.

2. They are both pieces of furniture that you must have in your bedroom. Naturally, you can have either or both. If you’re not skimping, then you may want to buy both, as each has a specified purpose.

3. Both dresser and chest of drawers are commonly made of wood material and metal

4. Both can accommodate a TV or entertainment set. However, the chest of drawers must be pre-designed to accommodate the specified item. 

what is a dresser

We’ve discussed the differences and similarities between a dresser vs chest of drawers. Let’s now proceed to some valuable tips when choosing your furniture.

Tips for Choosing Between Chest of Drawers Vs Dresser

You can use these tips to decide which one you should choose. The final decision is still yours, though.

1. Measure the Available Space for Your Furniture

Take the measurements such as the height, width, and depth of the space available for your furniture Remember to consider areas behind doors or windows. Is there enough space for the door to close and open? Will the furniture cover your windows? Consider all these things before deciding on an area to place your chest of drawers or dresser.

Measure the area and compare the measurements of the dresser or chest that you intend to purchase.


The dresser’s height is shorter, around 25 to 45 inches tall, while a chest of drawers can reach up to 50 to 60 inches.


A standard dresser’s width is about 35 to 65 inches wide, while the chest of drawers can be about 30 to 40 inches wide.


The dresser can be about 15 to 25 inches deep, while the chest of drawers can also have the same measurements.

2. Consider Your Storage Needs

If you want a space where you can store smaller items of clothing and, at the same time, have room for taller items, you can get a combination dresser. The combination dresser will have enough drawers for your smaller clothing while providing space for all your personal belongings.

If you need a drawer to store your smaller items and a top where to place your mirror and makeup set, consider a smaller dresser.

3. Pick the Style/Design You Want

Since you are choosing your furniture, you should pick one that meets your preferences. What color do you prefer? Do you want a design for your dresser? What particular design would you want it to be? You have to browse online and visit stores to choose your chest of drawers smartly. 

4. Consider Its Features

Before you look for your dresser or chest of drawers, you may want to write down the feature you want from your dresser. This list would serve as your checklist. You could find your furniture quickly when you have prepared a list of what you want beforehand.

Do you want a double door or a single one? Any specifications you wish to include in the design? There are drawers with combined small and large drawers, and there are uniform-sized drawers. Do you want a mirror at the back of the dresser? It would be best if you had the answers to these questions before you embark on your search for your perfect dresser or chest of drawers.

5. Allot a Budget

Allot a budget for your purchase. How much are you willing to spend? The price range would facilitate your search, as you would eliminate quickly dressers or chests of drawers that are not within your budget.

Expect durable drawers to be more expensive. It doesn’t mean, though, that cheaper ones are bad choices. There are durable and elegant dressers sold at affordable prices; you will have to be patient and diligent in searching for them. 

6. Buy Only from Reputable Sellers

Reputable and legitimate sellers/companies are usually those who have stayed in business for longer periods. Read customer reviews and scrutinize the product; as much as possible, request for a warranty. 

It’s best to inspect the product before purchase physically. If you have bought it online, you may want to examine the product upon delivery thoroughly, so you can return it immediately if there are any factory defects or damages.

Conclusion – Dresser Vs Chest of Drawers

You may have difficulty choosing between a chest of drawers vs dresser. That is if you don’t know the main differences between the two. 

To choose one, you have to know that they have differences in their height and width. A chest of drawers is tall and narrow, while a dresser is short and wide. 

You also have to consider the space where you would place your new piece of furniture. Is there enough space for your dresser or chest of drawers?

Furthermore, your purpose would determine which among the two you should choose. Choose wisely based on your room’s available space, the price, the design, and the items that you plan to store.

Only buy the dresser or chest of drawers that you need and want.

Related reading:

Wardrobe vs Closet: What Is the Difference?

What Is an Armoire [Armoire Vs Wardrobe Vs Dresser]

Where Is Ikea Furniture Made? (Sweden or China?)

Is IKEA Cheap? Why Is IKEA Cheap?