From Dressers to Chests and Armoires: What’s the Difference?

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03 Jul 2024

Navigating the world of bedroom storage solutions can be daunting, especially when seemingly interchangeable terms like dressers, chests, and armoires come into play. Each piece serves a distinct purpose, with different benefits depending on your needs and space. Whether you're looking to maximize storage, enhance decor, or simply organize more effectively, understanding the differences between these pieces is important.



A dresser is one of the shorter pieces of furniture typically found in a bedroom. It originated in the 1400s when only small side tables with a singular drawer were available. Dressers are horizontal, long, and have a nice sized depth to fit bulky clothing properly. Drawers can be stacked on top of each other or divided into two sections beside each other. The height of a dresser is perfect for hanging a mirror on the wall above it, or having extra storage and decor on top.


The Brandon 6 Drawer Double Dresser is a great example–it has three drawers on each side and is 35 inches tall. It has plenty of space for clothing and personal belongings, English dovetail drawers, and undermount glides for a soft closure. Read about the entire Brandon collection here, which includes a matching bed, chest, and nightstand. 




A chest of drawers is tall and narrow, and they are great for rooms that lack a lot of excess space. While dressers sometimes have two columns of drawers, chests only have one vertical row of drawers. Although a mirror typically cannot be hung on the wall because of its height, they are a great way to achieve a minimalist look while maximizing storage in a room.


The Portsmouth 7 Drawer Chest is a great addition to a bedroom–it comes in eight colors and is made from New Hampshire birch wood.



Gents Chest or Chifforobe

A gentleman’s chest, also known as a chifforobe or bachelor's chest, is separate from a regular chest because it includes a wardrobe section that is meant for hanging up clothing. The piece originated from the reign of King George of Great Britain in the 1700s, where the sleek design was ideal for a single man. Typically the section was used to hang up suits or long robes, and the drawer section was used for other accessories. Some gentleman’s chests included a fold over top that could be used as a writing surface.


The Willow Gents Chest is a great way to maximize storage in a room; you get the benefits of a chest with a section to hang up clothing as well. It also comes in three different colors of strong cherry wood; natural, autumn, and chocolate.



Armoire or Wardrobe

An armoire, another word for a wardrobe, is a standing closet for hanging up clothes and storing accessories. Before the invention of the armoire in the 12th century, nobles stored their long gowns and robes in chests causing them to wrinkle. After its creation, the hanging bar within the piece was created for the king’s robe so it would not become creased. An armoire can benefit a bedroom that lacks closet space and extra storage.


The Harvestmoon Armoire is handcrafted in Vermont from solid wood, and comes in cherry, maple, and walnut. It has a hanging pole along with drawers below the doors.



Lingerie, Sweater, or Tall Chest

A sweater chest, also known as a lingerie or tall chest, is a tall, narrow, set of drawers that is great for storing clothing in a room with a sleek, minimalist look. The piece has clean lines and does not take up a lot of space—yet it holds a lot of clothing.


The Shaker Sweater Chest is a great piece that stores a lot, but does not take up a large amount of space within a bedroom. It comes in three types of cherry wood; natural, autumn, and chocolate. This sweater chest is timeless, sleek, and a great addition to a room.



Key Differences and Considerations

While all of these different pieces store clothing and accessories, each type has its own pros and cons depending on your needs. If you enjoy decorating surfaces of storage in your bedroom, you might enjoy a dresser which is low enough to hang a mirror or frames above it, or add decor to the top. If you are going for a sleek, minimalist look, you might want a chest or a tall chest. Maybe your bedroom lacks closet space and you need more room to hang up clothing—an armoire or gentleman’s chest would be perfect.


Try to look around your bedroom and think about what you need more of. Is it added storage? Additional closet space? Somewhere to store clothing and add a mirror on top? Pairing a new piece of storage with simple bedroom organization can totally transform the look and function of your room.



Finding the Right Fit

Explore our showrooms and look at each storage option. Pay attention to the size of the piece and imagine what you could store in the drawers. Our expert Interior Designers are here to help find the right piece for you. You can even book a free in-home design consultation with our designers to ensure you find the perfect piece of storage for your space.


Written by Madeline Leung, Marketing Associate

Author: Guest Author