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Kids Dresser vs Adult Dresser

This is a colorful patterned wooden kids dresser with decors on top.

If you are looking for a dresser, you have most likely come across the same questions as most others looking for the same thing. 

Is the dresser made well, does it have versatile storage, and is it the correct size for your needs? Whether you are looking for a kid’s dresser or an adult dresser, we are here to give you the answers you need to make the perfect choice for your home.

Dressers made for children have many of the same features as those made for adults. When selecting a dresser, a discerning homeowner should consider elements such as budget, other décor, storage needs, and how long you would like the piece to remain in the family.

Dressers are designed to hold your clothing, shoes, and accessories in a way that is easy to access and keeps your items in good condition. If you are looking for a dresser for a child or an adult, it is helpful to keep the ideal dresser in mind as you shop. This mental image will help you stay on track as you view dozens of gorgeous furniture pieces.

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the mountain of options available to you, fear not. We are here to uncover the complete guide to the ever-present question: kid’s dresser vs. adult dresser.

What is a Dresser?

This is a side of the house with a wooden dresser against a beige wall.

Dressers were originally part of kitchen furniture. They were basically sideboards with drawers and were used to dress meats before being served.

Nowadays, dressers form part of most bedroom furniture sets.  They are typically low and wide and have several drawers that run the entire length of the piece. Their purpose is to house your clothing items, keeping them neat, organized, and easy to access.

A dresser may also be referred to as a vanity or dressing table.  The flat, low-top surface lends itself to having items stored on it. Many people enjoy keeping their jewelry, perfumes, makeup, photos, and other personal items on top of their dresser.  

Dressers often have a mirror attached to the top. This allows you to see yourself while dressing, which is a fitting role for this furniture piece, given its name.

There are a few types of dressers, each with its benefits:

  • Horizontal dresser
  • Double dresser
  • Combo dresser

Before purchasing your dresser, be sure to research the different dresser types to ensure you get one to suit your needs.

What is Similar to a Dresser?

This is a vintage wooden bureau with a desk and a swivel chair.

Similar to a dresser is a chest of drawers, often called a bureau. This furniture piece is typically as tall as an average chest height, so pretty tall.  It is narrow and also has drawers. 

A chest or bureau does not have a mirror attached to the top.

Another piece of furniture that is similar to a dresser is a chifferobe. This is a cross between a wardrobe, also known as an armoire, and a chest of drawers. A chifferobe is tall and has both drawers and hanging space. This allows you to store your clothing both in a folded and hanging manner.

What Makes a Kid’s Dresser Different?

This is a girl's bedroom that has a white small dresser on the side of the bed.

If you are furnishing a room for a child, you will be amazed by a large number of colors, styles, and themes that kid’s dressers can be bought, or built, in. If you are looking for one of those, you will also find a variety of dressers, chests, and chifferobes to choose from.

For many parents, a dresser does not need to fit in with the nursery’s theme, as they plan to use it for many years, even as the child outgrows the various themes they may use. In this case, your options will circle more classic-looking pieces that more closely resemble adult furniture. However, classic furniture used in a child’s space is usually lighter in color.

What makes a kid’s dresser different from an adults is usually the color and décor used. Children’s dressers are seldom much smaller than their adult counterparts and can be bought in good quality wood.

Can an Adult Use a Kid’s Dresser?

This is a side of the house with a small wooden dresser by the entrance with a basket.

Choosing a dresser for yourself entails thinking about a few details:

  • What is the function of the dresser? Will it be used as an entrance table, nightstand, traditional dresser, or office furniture? The function will determine what dresser you decide on and whether or not it has a mirror attached.
  • The size of the room. Smaller rooms may need a tall, thin chest rather than a dresser. Consider where the dresser will be placed and measure depth and width to ensure it will fit in the space.
  • How much, and what type of storage space do you need? When looking for a dresser, consider what you will be storing and how much room you need. Look inside the dresser to ensure there are no sub-divisions that will limit your storage capacity.

When you know precisely what you are looking for in a dresser, there is no reason to shop only for adult furniture. If you see a dresser that you love, and it is in the children’s section of a store, nothing is stopping you from purchasing it. Be sure to check the measurements and what the piece is made from to ensure it will be a quality piece of furniture that will fulfill your needs and last a good few years.

Can I Use an Adult’s Dresser in a Kid’s Room?

This is a kids bedroom with a large wooden dresser that matches the wooden bed.

The short answer is yes! If you have your eye on a dresser designed for adults, but your heart is screaming for you to use it for your child, then go for it.

Adult dressers are generally pretty similar to children’s ones in size and make, so it should not make much of a difference to the space, whether you use a dresser explicitly made for children or adults.

If you are refurbishing an adult dresser for a kid’s room and want to make it more child-friendly, we have a few ideas on how to jazz it up a little:

  • Paint it to match the color scheme of the room, or stain it a light color
  • Replace the drawer handles with decorative ones
  • Place decorative items on top of the dresser, like bunting, a mirror with a fun frame, teddies, or other items to match the theme of the room
  • Use the top as a changing table if the child is a baby. Place a changing mat and a decorative box with diaper supplies on the top of the dresser.

If you are using a dresser in a kid’s room, consider the safety of what you are storing. Be sure to keep safer objects, or ones you don’t mind the little ones accessing, at the bottom, and more dangerous or precious items nearer the top of the dresser.

The Verdict: Kid’s Dresser vs. Adult Dresser

This is a child playing with the adult clothes dresser.

The verdict on whether to get a kid’s dresser or an adult one is really up to you. Think about your needs, your space, and the amount of money you are willing and able to spend, then get shopping or building! There are so many ideas out there for making your dresser genuinely unique that you could most likely get away with purchasing a kid’s or adult’s dresser and love it for years.


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