Dressers are a common feature in many homes worldwide where people store clothes. While the piece of furniture is popular because of its portability and low cost, it also comes in various styles and designs capable of satisfying diverse aesthetics. However, this is not to say that dressers are the only ideal place to keep clothes; many alternatives exist, and this piece discusses some of them.
To some, dressers can be expensive and sometimes annoying, especially when you fill the drawers up such that it becomes difficult to open them. Some inexpensive alternatives you could choose to include under-the-bed drawers, bedside tables, and closets.
It is no surprise that dressers feature in many bedrooms because they are practical furniture items. They also create a pleasant look in the place, especially when they blend in with the environment. Nevertheless, the items do not come without downsides, which might push some to look for alternatives.
But before we explore the other options, let’s take some time and understand dressers in detail.
Dressers were simple pieces of furniture in the Middle Ages – no more than a side table – on which people displayed fine crockery and earthenware. Later, the dressers acquired a row of drawers and provided storage space for more personal accessories.
When not holding miniature sculptures and carvings, the furniture became a nice place to store folded clothes. It was later fitted with a mirror to complete its primary function in contemporary bedrooms – a place where we groom.
Dressers come in different sizes, shapes, and aesthetic appeal. For example, they could be broad and low (often below the waist at knee height) or tall and narrow (although such designs are rare). Also, they come with varying numbers of drawers and depth. As such, you should understand your options clearly before purchasing one.
Nonetheless, lovers of dressers typically fall into two camps: those who want a dresser that goes all the way to their shoulder level (or higher) and those who prefer them waist-high (or lower). A shorter dresser has plenty of space for a mirror, while the tall one often excludes such fittings. Perhaps this explains why the more elevated option is often regarded as the gentleman’s chest.
Guide To Types of Dressers
Before we go any further, you must distinguish a dresser from a chest of drawers. Both items provide a place to store clothing in drawers, and yet, on the one hand, dressers offer even more space on the top side where you can place clothes as you dress. The top side can also hold a mirror to help you groom better.
On the other hand, the chests of drawers are often tall and narrow. Unlike the broader and shorter dresser, the former maximizes the storage space by going up as much as possible. This way, you cannot use the top for either mirror placement or holding clothes as you dress.
With that difference out of the way, now is time to see the different types of dressers. Also, we must add that one can differentiate dressers along various lines, such as design type, material, and style.
Types Of Dressers by Design
Standard Vertical Dresser
The traditional dresser is vertical and does not include embellishments. More often than not, this piece of furniture is taller than it is wide. Therefore, it is more prevalent in settings where there are critical limitations, like a small floor space. The standard vertical dresser occupies a small floor space and yet provides ample space for storing clothes.
A typical standard vertical dresser comes with multiple drawers and a simple top. The top could be modified later to include a mirror or a place to hold grooming equipment.
Standard Horizontal Dresser
As with the vertical dresser, traditional horizontal dressers are unembellished pieces of furniture with multiple drawers for clothing storage. However, because of the more vast breadth, the dresser holds a pair of drawers in one row, and it is wider than it is tall. As such, this is the type of dresser that is familiar to most people.
The squat shape of this traditional piece of furniture gives it a broader top that can hold a wider mirror. Also, you could choose to place the mirror on one end and use the other for decorative items like jewelry stands or photo frames.
Like the word suggests, this dresser is a combination of two cabinets, each with different size drawers. For instance, one cabinet might have a single door (wardrobe door) that opens to shelves, and the other could include pull-out drawers.
This dresser is perfect when you need space for storing more than just clothes. For example, you could stuff different items like ties, belts, and hats, even shoes on the wardrobe side, and keep neatly folded clothes on the other side.
Types Of Dressers by Material
The traditional dresser is wooden. This has to do with the material being the most ubiquitous since time immemorial. Also, wood lasts longer, solid, and carpenters can easily shape it into various styles and designs.
Reflective Glass Dressers
Reflective glass, also called mirrored glass, is popular in architectural designs where mirror-like properties are essential to the overall decorative appearance. The material is a product of treating glass with metallic substances.
Dressers made out of reflective glass are often high-end and pricey. Also, they suit environments where chances of breakage are low, such as homes without small children.
After wood, metal is the second most reliable material for dressers, although popular in industrial settings. But this is not to say you cannot find them in some bedrooms.
The most crucial benefit of metal is its hard-wearing properties, which makes metallic dressers longer lasting. Also, most metals are light and malleable, such that you can have any design you desire.
Types Of Dressers by Style
The traditional style is also the industry standard. This style is simple yet enduring because it existed for centuries without becoming extinct. The traditional style dressers are often wooden, meaning they come with little embellishments.
Contemporary (Modern) Style
Designers often indulge in various designs and exploit different materials when building modern dressers because this style does not recognize design or material boundaries. Usually, buyers have an extensive breadth of choice.
The antique style enables enthusiasts to hark back to the era when deco was simple but more elegant. You’ll be surprised to find out that dressers were built out of marble and leather hundreds of years ago. But, today, most of these items are not sold for the same purpose as you would buy a modern dresser.
Instead, because they are regarded as antiques, the items are fit for art collectors.
Exciting Dresser Alternatives
Despite the centuries-old history, one has to accept that some people do not wish to conform to prevailing decoration traditions – they’d instead buy something else than install a dresser in the bedroom. If you are one of them, you’re lucky because we will tell you some brilliant dresser alternatives you might love.
Sometimes you want something more decorative without losing sight of practicality, and an armoire is precisely what you need. Most people know an armoire as a large cupboard that is more movable. The furniture stores clothing in the same way as a wardrobe, but the former is more out of the way, especially in a small space.
A typical armoire comes with plenty of storage space, where you can hang clothes and fold others keep them into neatly spaced racks. Also, you’ll notice that the name sounds French because it was devised in the country before the popular revolution that toppled the royals.
In the past, the piece of furniture stored armor and was built of oak but later became a nice place to keep clothes and linen. Over time, the armoire underwent various design changes; for example, it acquired doors and drawers, turning it into the item we know today.
Chest of Drawers
We mentioned earlier that the difference between dressers and a chest of drawers is subtle. Typically, the two pieces of furniture differ in height and breadth. Although, as you may recall, there are tall and narrow dressers, they do not usually extend to a chest’s height.
Chests are simple in design and fit for cramped spaces. You only need to find a place where you can put it against a wall. The narrow and tall design maximizes the storage space while consuming minimal floor space.
Some chests are not as tall, which brings them closer to traditional dressers. As such, you can set them at the foot of your bed, and they won’t look out of place. A substantially low chest could also double as a seat when necessary. For example, you could sit on it while wearing socks or tying shoelaces.
Sometimes the room is so cramped that you wouldn’t have space for a dresser, however small it may be. Instead of agonizing over the lack of space, you could install drawers underneath the bed.
Depending on your bed’s size, the drawers will have enough depth to hold many clothes. In fact, the room does not have to appear cluttered before you think of such a smart idea. Imagine how the room will look like with only the bed in the middle?
You could place a mat on the available space (which would have been taken up by dressers and other fixtures) and straighten your bones through regular exercises.
Use the Corners
You’re probably staring at a corner right now, and all you can see is unutilized real estate. Sometimes it feels rejuvenating to get a little creative and do stuff that could excite visitors. Taking advantage of the bedroom’s corner spaces is one way you could achieve this.
The corners often appear uninspiring, especially after they start collecting cobwebs. Instead of this sorry state, you could hang shelves in the space and add hooks or rods for hanging clothes. You’ll be surprised how much clothing the spaces can hold.
If you can imagine storing clothes on shelves built into corners, the idea that you could pull a rack on wheels at the foot of the bed and hang clothes shouldn’t appear radical at all. The racks come in various designs – the better if they stand on wheels.
Typically, the racks are built to create space both for hanging and storing folded clothes. Such a design is broader as you move to the base and has pieces of flat wood or metal mesh to hold folded clothes.
The most significant upside of garment racks is that you can freely hang or pick up your clothes because the structure is open. There are no drawers to pull out and back in.
While at it, make sure the rack accentuates the room’s appeal. Find a color that blends into or complements the theme of the space. If you have a small space, you could go for a rack that maximizes storage while taking up as minimal room space possible. However, you have the license to go big if the room allows.
There is no better feeling than saving money when you are on a tight budget. One such trick is to get as many trunks as you can and use them to store clothes. Thankfully, you can get plastic or cardboard-made boxes for cheap anywhere.
Since you can stack the boxes easily, they’ll utilize plenty of vertical space and leave more room space for other uses.
But if you have some money to splurge, you could acquire a bench trunk. Bench trunks are pretty and have legs that make them appear like stuffed benches. In addition, the storage room offers a discreet space to keep your clothes away from dust.
Because it is a bench, the piece of furniture also doubles as a seat. It is usually lower than the bed, hence a nice place to sit as you dress. The only downside for the bench trunk is that you cannot stack one on top of another.
If you travel a lot, you might have some suitcases lying around the house just gathering dust. You could even buy new ones, and if money allows, look for vintage ones that have a unique charm and character.
Most suitcases have plenty of space to hold all of your clothes when folded. What is more, you can stack them to add to the room’s decoration. To be safe and avoid strange smells in the house, make sure to clean the clothes before stuffing them into the suitcases.
Baskets have a rather curious reputation, especially in the bedroom, because they are often bins for dirty laundry. However, you could get some decorative baskets that match your room’s décor and put them to more noble use.
Because they come in different sizes and shapes, you could choose a few big ones and set them next to the bed or several small ones and hang them on shelves in the corner.
You probably have plenty of space if you have a staircase in the house. Nevertheless, you might still want a dresser alternative for reasons best known to you. In this case, the space under the steps is valuable real estate.
All you have to do is find a carpenter and buy enough timber. If you are a DIY enthusiast, this could be an auspicious moment to put your skills to the test.
You will build as many cabinets and drawers as the space allows. Note that you’ll be utilizing the vertical space that is often wasted.
You probably have a dresser in the bedroom, and some even have a number. Granted, the pieces of furniture are functional and have an unbeatable aesthetic appeal. But if you feel like they have become too monotonous, there is plenty of time to try out one of the alternatives discussed above.
Wayfair: Gentleman’s Dresser
Wayfair: Dresser and Chest Style Guide
Living Spaces: What is an Armoire
The Spruce: What is an Armoire