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Dresser vs. Wardrobe

This is a white antique wooden dresser by the bedroom door.

We all desire a bedroom that is elegant and cozy, yet simple – one that appears perfect regardless of what style of décor you select. It means selecting the right size of essential furniture and choosing between, say, a dresser and a wardrobe. Although some might elect to install both items, some might want to choose one between the two; which is better?

Whether it is a dresser or wardrobe, choosing the correct item depends on personal needs and preferences. For example, wardrobes are often tall and fit for unfolded clothes. On the other hand, dressers are often low but occupy more horizontal space.

The bedroom is our most intimate space in the house. Unfortunately, it is also where we throw clothes haphazardly without the slightest care – especially when we do not have a wardrobe or dresser. However, some of us will have none of the clutter, hence the need to install a wardrobe or dresser, or both.

Should You Select A Dresser Or Wardrobe?

A man surrounded by illustrations of a wardrobe with racks, shelves and drawers.

As you may recall, whether you should install a dresser or wardrobe is a strictly personal decision. However, some might still face challenges defining their needs, hence unable to make the critical decision. But maybe, the decision could become more manageable after one learns the crucial differences between dressers and wardrobes.

How Do Dressers and Wardrobes Differ?

We should note from the outset that dressers and wardrobes are pieces of furniture that accentuate the elegance of the bedroom. They are also specialized locations for neatly storing clothes. You could also use places to keep valuables like jewelry.

However, there are crucial differences between the pieces of furniture that you should know.

Size and Shape

This is a white wooden dresser with various decors on top.

Typically, wardrobes are tall because they include a vast space for hanging clothes and pull-out drawers for folded clothes. The space for hanging clothes is sometimes split in half such that one side contains racks. The rack part is great for storing stuff that wouldn’t go anywhere else, such as clothes you no longer wear or a winter jacket waiting for the right weather.

On the contrary, dressers are often low but broader. They have various pull-out drawers in a single row, which usually have double handles. The shape and size of dressers make them unideal for small bedrooms; otherwise, you’d run out of space to access some parts of the room.


As we have seen, wardrobes are ideal for hanging clothes, especially those that would badly crease when folded, such as coats and suit jackets. There is also plenty of space for clothes you’d go for a long time before wearing.

On the other hand, dressers are suited explicitly for folded clothes. This piece of furniture is ideal for ultra-minimalists, although it would make more sense if accompanied by a closet because it is rare to have a bit of clothing that requires hanging. 

Furthermore, the top of dressers offers a considerable space for keeping things like books. Some even come with mirrors, hence acting like a place you could use to groom. Finally, you could place all the essential items, such as body oil and perfume, on the top for easy access.

How Do You Select the Perfect Dresser or Wardrobe?

Once you have a clear sense of what distinguishes a dresser from a wardrobe, making the right choice shouldn’t be taxing. Perhaps, to help you further, let us discuss some tips for choosing the right dresser or wardrobe.

Tips For Choosing the Ideal Dresser

Have a good idea about where to put it

This is a large modern wardrobe with shelves in the middle and on the side.

Like any other piece of furniture in the house, the dresser has a specific location where it would look elegant. Usually, dressers go into the bedroom – it could be the master bedroom or the children’s sleeping area. If in the master bedroom, such spaces are enormous, meaning you have the freedom to indulge in large-size dressers.

To get the most out of the dresser, look for a place where the room will not look cluttered. Also, the item must not appear to be in the way.

Think about the size and shape

You should contemplate the size and shape of the dresser with a clear picture of the room in mind. This way, you’ll select a perfectly fitting item that will belong to the location elegantly. If you recall, dressers are low but occupy more horizontal space, meaning you must account for the width.

Another traditional aspect of dressers is pull-out drawers. Whether the design is chic or conservative, you will have to pull the drawers out every time you need access to the storage space. So, if you will place the dresser next to the bed, ensure there is enough space for the drawers when fully opened.


This is a corner of the house that has a gray chair and a gray dresser topped with a potted plant.

Of course, you want the space where you retire after a long and challenging day to have a sense of style. When buying a dresser, it helps to select a style that blends into the room’s decoration. For example, go for a vintage style of the bed, and other decorations in the space are vintage.


Like style, the item’s color better conforms to the environment. Interestingly, the color doesn’t have to match the floor tiles or the wall paint exactly. Instead, you could go for anything within the acceptable chromatic range. While at it, you’ll notice that some daring combinations work well.


This is a large built-in closet wardrobe with shelves and cabinets by the bedroom.

While you are having fun playing with different and daring color combinations, this is also an excellent time to contemplate the ideal material. Usually, these items are wooden, but there are alternatives to this classic style. For instance, you could go with a metallic tone, although some might come across as lockers.

Alternatively, DM Lacquered wood offers an exciting option because it imitates timber and lighter, not to mention cheap.

Tips For Choosing the Perfect Wardrobe

Most of the tips for choosing the ideal dresser also apply to wardrobes. For example, the size of the room will dictate the item’s size. So be quite sure about the location and make a choice.

This is critical because wardrobes are often large and complex to move around, unlike the dresser. Also, you’d have to return it to the shop if it happens to be taller than the ceiling.

Furthermore, consider the item’s style. Like mentioned earlier, wardrobes are massive objects and whose presence in space impacts their overall theme. So whether you like slick contemporary designs or versatile and timeless classics, always ensure that the style compliments the other fixtures and items in the environment.

Other wardrobe-specific tips that should be of great help include:

How do you want to use the wardrobe?

This is a woman with illustrations of a wardrobe that has racks and drawers.

 You’ll find a wide selection of wardrobes in the market, ranging from sliding doors, freestanding/fitted, two/three-door, and more. There are unlimited options concerning the configuration and combinations you can get out of a single wardrobe.

So, start with asking yourself the kind of storage space you desire. For example, will you need space for hangers, shelves for shoes, and drawers for ties and socks? The drawers could also come in handy for holding accessories and cosmetics.

The item must be practical

Wardrobes can be bulky, sometimes too huge to make practical sense. However, the perfect wardrobe doesn’t have to be the most sophisticated. As long as it holds everything in the right place and does not restrict movement across the room, then it is okay.

Conclusion: So, Should You Select A Dresser Or Wardrobe?

One cannot say with authority that a wardrobe is ideal than a dresser or the other way around. As with anything that depends on personal desires, interior design matters boil down to preferences and the limitations of the available space. If making the right decision in such cases appears to be challenging, you are welcome to read articles like this one and many others available online, and perhaps some of the doubts will evaporate.


Strachan: Walk-in Wadrobes and Dressing Rooms, What’s the Difference

Cymax: Buy A Dresser You Love

Home Guides: Choosing a Dresser

Luxe Victoria: Dresser vs. Wardrobe

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