Aside from your bed, the dresser is probably the most important feature of your bedroom. But, left unloved, it can quickly become the dumping ground for all your bits and bobs. In this article, we’re going to look at how to dress your dresser so that it looks like you hired a decorator to do it.
Interior decorators have a formula for accessorizing dressers – something tall, something low, a wall decoration, and some interesting items. Whether decorating a tall or wide dresser, you’ll soon have a dresser that is ready to take center stage in your bedroom with this formula.
We all want a bedroom that is a sanctuary, so if your bedroom isn’t as restful as you want it to be, then the dresser is an excellent place to start. So, are you ready to makeover your dresser? Let’s go through all the steps to “dress your dresser” with the right accessories.
What Do We Do Before We Add The Accessories?
You don’t need to study interior decorating to style your dresser. However, there are a few simple guidelines to follow.
Yes – it is true that styling a dresser is all about the accessories, but the first step to decorating your dresser depends on how tidy your dresser is.
It’s Time To Tidy Up
If your dresser has become the holdall for everything, then it’s time for a tidy-up. No shame here – we all get into the habit of using a piece of furniture as a dumping ground. However, if your dresser is, ahem, undressed, in other words, a clear surface, then you get to skip to the next step.
Okay, so first things first. It’s time to put the read (or unread) books back on the bookshelf. Take the dirty mugs and plates to the dishwasher.
Return all your jewelry to the jewelry box. Send the toiletries back to the bathroom. And of course, toss that dirty laundry that has been piling up in the clothing hamper, then then your first step is to tidy up.
Clean Up Your Act
Now that you have a clean slate, you’re going to want to give the dresser a good clean. Give the piece a good dust and wipe and polish to remove all the dust and grime that may have accumulated.
What Accessories Does Your Dresser Need?
You probably won’t need to take a trip to the mall to buy new accessories for this little project. Chances are you’ll find the accessories you need lying around the house, or you can pick them up cheaply at a thrift shop.
The key to decorating your dresser is to strike a balance between décor and functional storage to help you stay organized. Don’t be afraid to mix materials and shapes – you absolutely can use different materials, such as rattan, wood, bamboo, glass, and marble together.
Don’t be afraid to layer your objects. For example, you can lean smaller frames against larger ones or put pieces on top of one another or a sculpture on top of a stack of books.
And don’t forget to keep some empty space on the surface of your dresser.
We spoke about the formula for styling a dresser. Now, let’s go into the individual elements of this formula.
Something For The Wall
To provide an anchor and give some visual balance to your dresser, you’ll want something on the wall above the dresser. Unless, of course, your dresser is positioned under a window, in which case the window will do the job for you. We always encourage allowing as much natural light into your bedroom as possible.
When styling a dresser, a hanging mirror is a winning solution. Why a mirror? Because it allows light to bounce around your bedroom and creates the illusion of space. And of course, it’s useful for when you’re getting dressed. We love a circular mirror because it balances the vertical lines of the dresser.
Another option is art – either a single piece of art or a collection of smaller pieces to create a gallery wall. Another fun option is a collection of smaller mirrors in eclectic frames.
The rule of thumb when hanging mirrors or art above the dresser, the rule of thumb is to make sure that they are at least half the width but no wider than the dresser top. For a wide dresser, consider hanging the mirror or the art to one side of the dresser.
The next step is to create height by adding something tall. A tall piece will look great placed to the side of the wall art or mirror. Ensure that your tall object is shorter than the wall anchor piece. You don’t want them competing for attention.
If you’ve hung your wall piece to the side of the dresser top, then place your tall object on the other side. Ideally, for a visually pleasing arrangement, hang the wall piece on the left and set the tall piece on the right.
Here are a few options for this element:
- A tall lamp is an excellent option because it is functional, as added task lighting, and adds to your bedroom’s aesthetic.
- A tall houseplant – because we can never add enough greenery to any of the rooms in our homes.
- A piece of artwork or a large, framed photo, standing atop the dresser and leaning against the wall.
- A basket (which can also hide odds and ends)
- A tall pillar candle or tapered candlesticks, for a touch of drama
- A vase of real or faux flowers. We love adding greenery, and while fresh is lovely – don’t cringe at the thought of faux flowers – you can find some unbelievable realistic-looking fake flowers these days. Plus, they’re inexpensive and low maintenance.
- An upright jewelry box – because your dresser is a great spot to store your jewelry.
- Any other sentimental or collectible piece.
Add Something Low
You’ve got the hanging mirror or art piece, and you’ve got something tall. Next, you need to add something low, like a tray or a little jewelry bowl.
A shallow but decorative ceramic jewelry bowl is both decorative and practical. It will help you to keep your dresser free from clutter.
Set it below the mirror or artwork to collect random bits and pieces. Your keys, jewelry, memorabilia, tiny collectibles, spare change, and small toiletry items can be stored in the little bowl instead of lying loose and looking messy.
A beautiful tray is another great option to keep your dresser top looking neat and uncluttered. For example, collecting all your perfume bottles on a decorative tray looks fabulous and is ideal for making a style statement on top of a dresser.
When you’re choosing a tray, go for something that will stand out. For example, an ornate antique, a mirror tray, or a marble tray – will all work well for your “something low”.
Add Some Accents for Balance
Next, you’re going to add a few medium-sized accents to create balance. They also add a thoughtful touch, and when curated intentionally, they bring joy.
In interior decorating, we always advise that you go with sets of three as odd numbers always work better than pairs in décor. We call this the rule of three, and it applies here.
Place two of the accent pieces accent on the side opposite the tall piece, and then add the other accent right next to the tall object.
You’ll want a few pieces of varying shapes and sizes to keep things interesting. Here are your options:
- The dresser is the perfect spot for a few framed photos.
- A few houseplants – because, as we’ve already established, houseplants are everything.
- Candles – beautiful, scented candles add to the ambience.
- Some hardcover books – yes – we know we said to pack the books back on the shelf, but a few intentionally placed beautiful books will work well. Choose books with pretty and interesting spines, and feel free to remove the dust jackets to reveal a beautiful design underneath. If your dresser is low or small, you could even put the books beneath the tall object for extra height.
- Some decorative vases are the perfect accents for this space.
- A jewelry box – functional and pretty.
- Antique glass jars – especially colored glass. These are also practical as storage.
- A few mason jars filled with jewelry or interesting little items.
What Happens Once You’re Done?
Well done, you’ve arranged all the elements. What next?
Stand Back And Assess Your Work
Now you’ll want to stand back and look at how all the elements work together. Then, tweak and adjust until you have all the pieces in the perfect place. Of course, styling your dresser is an entirely personal decision because your bedroom is your space, after all.
Keep Evolving Your Style
Now that you have a beautiful vignette atop your dresser, you’re going to want to keep it that way. Make a point of decluttering the dresser top regularly to avoid it becoming a dumping ground again.
Keep things fresh by switching up your dresser accessories. It might be fun to change things up seasonally or decorate for the holidays. And let the styling of your dresser evolve with you.
Is Styling A Tall Dresser Different From Styling A Conventional Dresser?
A tall dresser, such as a gentleman’s chest, is a great option to maximize storage space in a smaller room. These are often the same width as a dresser but taller than a typical chest of drawers.
There are a few differences between styling a tall dresser as opposed to a conventional dresser. In terms of decorating, with a conventional dresser, you will look downwards at the dresser accessories. When decorating a tall dresser, the eye is drawn upward, and you’ll be looking at the accessories from the front and sides.
How To Hang Mirrors Or Artwork
You’re going to want to hang the mirror or artwork in a way to ensure that the center is at eye level – which can be a challenge if you’re working with a taller dresser. So, in this case, a piece of art or a mirror that is wider instead of taller is ideal. With a tall dresser, it is best to center the mirror or art directly above the dresser.
A clever way to hang a mirror in these cases is so that it tilts forward. You definitely don’t want it leaning backwards and reflecting the ceiling. You can attach D-ring hangers to the back of the frame, halfway down the back.
How To Deal With Lighting
Earlier in this article, we suggested that a lamp is a good option for styling a dresser, but a tall lamp won’t work as well on a tall dresser because you don’t really want to see the bulb and the inner framework of the lamp when you’re looking at it.
Go for something that is horizontally inclined – a piece with more width than height. A lamp with a glass globe or a torchiere-style shade is also a good option. Or use wall sconces on either side of your mirror or artwork.
Do You Need Different Accessories For A Tall Dresser?
Look for accessories that look great from the front and side. Also, look for items of various heights – with the shortest pieces in front. So, for example, you’d combine a tall vase with a photo frame of medium size and a low ceramic bowl or flat tray.
For the items that create balance, you can consider pieces that sit on either side of the dresser – floor standing lamps, beautiful chairs, vertical artworks, or panels are all excellent options here.
So there you have it – a comprehensive guide to styling your dresser. We’ve looked at all the different accessories your dresser needs and how to arrange them. But always remember, decorating is a personal thing, and the décor rules we refer to aren’t set in stone.
All that is important is that you love your space and a sanctuary that you can retreat to at the end of the day.