The Chest of Drawers Ultimate Guide

There are many types of chest of drawers out there on the market, but instead of clicking around online in a last-ditch attempt to find what you’re looking for, you can simply consult this Cuckooland buyer guide instead. Everything you need to know before buying a chest of drawers is right here. Without further ado, here’s our mighty guide on this important piece of bedroom furniture:

New Life Chest of Drawers

What size do you need?

Before you even begin to contemplate what kind of chest of drawers you’re going to choose, get out that notepad and start scribbling down everything you’re going to be putting inside it. It’s not quite as fun as drawing up a Christmas list, we’ll admit that, but it does help to ensure you get a unit that functions as a neat, comfortable storage solution for your needs.

A lot of people use their chest of drawers to store different pieces of clothing from top to bottom e.g. socks in one drawer, underwear in another, jumpers further down etc. If this sounds a bit like you, then it might be worth looking for a model that’s built with drawers in various sizes. A particularly popular and versatile design has small, tighter drawers at the top, with the compartments increasing in size and width the further down the unit you travel. If you’re seeking a multi purpose storage solution, these types of chest of drawers are your best bet. Those smaller spaces towards the top are perfect for bits and bobs like makeup or stationery, whereas the roomier drawers can house anything from clothes to spare bedding. However, you may already have a perfectly convenient place to store certain pieces of clothing elsewhere in your home, which means a versatile chest of drawers isn’t necessary. Your jumpers, for example, could be tucked snugly away safe and sound in the top of your wardrobe. In these instances, opting for a smaller model with similar size drawers allows you to add and remove items as and when you need.

And of course, you have to factor in the overall size of the unit. When measuring up your bedroom, think not just about the floor space it will take up; you also need to consider the depth of the drawers, so that you have enough room to pull them right out when picking clothes in a morning. After all, functionality is key when choosing bedroom storage essentials!

What’s on top?

Chest of drawers aren’t just a good spot for stashing clothes – they also double as display stands if you desire. Before you dive right into the furniture catalogue, consider the amount of space you’d like to have on top of your chest of drawers unit and what you might need to put there. For example, are you an avid reader who likes to curl up with a good book at bedtime? Then you’ll need to ensure there’s enough space on the top of your chest of drawers to accommodate a lamp or reading light. You should also take note of the height of the unit too, as you want that light cable to reach the socket comfortably.

On the other hand, you may want to use your chest of drawers as a place to store your makeup and jewellery, with a mirror alongside these boxes so you can get glammed up in the comfort of your room. In these instances, you’ll want a spacious top surface that’s about chest height when you’re sat down. This will allow you to pop in earrings and apply your blusher without being forced to strain your back to get a good look in the mirror. There’s also the option to use the surface of your chest of drawers purely for decorative purposes. You might have some family trinkets or souvenirs that you want close by your side every time you tuck into bed at night, and this is one of the best possible places to keep them. Plants are also popular – indoor greenery is a good way to replenish fresh air in your room and add an attractive splash of colour to surroundings. A wider surface may be more beneficial here as you can pop flowers on top without fear of them falling as they grow.

Lastly, if you’re a person of simple pleasures, you might just want a tiny bed-height chest of drawers to rest your cup of tea, mobile phone, and alarm clock on for easy reaching in the mornings. In these cases, a two-drawer bedside table will more than suffice.

Glamm Chest of Drawers in Brass Finish
Concept Chest of Drawers in grey and oak.

Chest Of Drawer Style Guide

We’ve already talked a bit about width and height earlier in the guide, but don’t go forgetting about stature just yet. How tall a chest of drawers unit doesn’t just play a role in terms of its practicality; it also affects the ambience within the room.

Let us explain. Smaller, wider chests of drawers closer to ground level are good choices for children’s rooms, but they may look a little out of place in more contemporary surroundings where the rest of the furniture is long, sleek, and tall. Compact, low-positioned chest of drawers suit kids rooms, whereas tallboy chest of drawers (thin, long units) are preferable for modern adult bedrooms, functioning equally well as statement pieces around the rest of the property. Chests of drawers can also differ greatly from one unit to the next. Do you like the light, tall and airy appearance of Scandi styles, or are you looking for something with an olde worlde, vintage feel? To narrow down your options, consider what the surrounding furniture says about your décor, or draw up a wish list with complementary items.

On a similar note, put some thought into whether you’d prefer your chest of drawers to be fitted with handles or not. Naturally, handles make pulling open the drawers much easier and can even offer a nice decorative touch to the units, but if you’re buying for kids bedrooms or a minimalist setting, handle-less is a popular option. In the case of your little ones – no handles mean less chance of hazards and may stop kids snooping about in places where they shouldn’t be looking. As for décor, minimalist environments are all about “less being more”, so any attachments to your chest of drawers may prove to be distracting and out of place with the rest of the room.

Is price important?

Budget is a big thing when it comes to shopping for any item of furniture. You might feel tempted to splash the cash on a luxurious design you’ve absolutely fallen in love with, but make sure it’s in-keeping with other items in the room. Buying from the same designer can avoid any clashes while ensuring every piece of furniture commands the right amount of attention in the bedroom.

Alternatively, you might be shopping on a budget. But don’t worry – quality doesn’t cost the earth nowadays, and neither does elegant design. A simple unit can work just as well as a statement piece in many instances, so don’t feel compelled to stretch financially beyond your means. When it comes to furniture, simplicity isn’t a synonym for dull. In fact, a humble unit can look rather sophisticated in a room with complementing furnishings – establishing calm, quiet, peaceful surroundings. If you don’t have lots of different things you need to put away, an ordinary fixture is also perfectly adequate for your storage purposes.

If you do have wiggle room in your budget and your interior is ready and waiting to welcome a plush chest of drawers as part of the furniture family, then it’s well worth looking at a luxury unit or statement piece. These can really set the room alight, looking even more impressive when accompanied by classy ornaments on top.

Choosing the right material

Wood is the most common material used in the construction of chest of drawers – and is usually a safe bet for most units. Not only does wood work well in both contemporary and traditional interiors (darker tones function more effectively in a minimalist setting, whilst beachy hues work best in classic-style interiors); it’s also sturdy and strong in most cases – resisting scuff marks and maintaining its appearance for a considerable amount of time. These robust features are what makes a wooden chest of drawers such a good choice for kids’ bedrooms – environments where furniture is forced to face regular tests of strength!

If you want a slightly cheaper option for your chest of drawers, you can opt for wood substitutes or “wood effect”. Wood effect can be made of just about any material to mimic the look and sometimes feel of wood. Vinyls, plastics and mixed wood chip components can all be used to create a wood effect. These materials won’t have quite the same levels of durability as their wooden counterparts, but this isn’t always a key consideration. For example, if you’re shopping for a fast-growing family, you might be planning to switch-up the kids’ bedroom every few years anyway.

Looking for something a little different? Consider metal, locker-style drawers that will add texture and variety to your bedroom. These can span from war-time vintage models to quirky modern units, giving the space a sense of individuality that you’ll love waking up to each morning.

Extremely cheap and versatile, plastic drawers make a great great alternative to wooden counterparts. Plastic drawers are a popular choice for parents as the designs are often quirky, can come in a variety of bright colours and are easy to keep clean. Add in the safety aspect of a lighter frame and it’s easy to see why parents favour plastic drawers when it comes to the nursery, kids bedroom or playroom.

Camille Vintage style three drawer chest

Setting things up

Regardless of their material, many chests of drawers will arrive fully assembled and ready to use from the off, but occasionally they’re delivered in flat pack form with an accompanying set of instructions for assembly. This is usually very easy to do, but there are a couple of things worth keeping in mind during the assembly process.

First of all, cast a sheet on the floor of the room to protect each part of the furniture from becoming scratched or damaged, and keep all the bits and bobs in one place to prevent important parts from going walkabout (a bowl is always a good option for the smaller pieces). Also, decide where you’re going to put your chest of drawers before you set it up – as this will prevent you from being forced to lug the unit around the house.

chest of drawers
R&O Bedside Table with Drawers

Chest of drawers: The big conclusion

There’s a fair bit to think about when you go shopping for a new chest of drawers, so it’s worth taking the time to mull over all the buying factors. These furnishings can add a touch of class and sophistication to your bedroom, underpinning a particular décor trend and offering a huge amount of extra storage space in the process. Consider the look, feel, dimensions and style of the room before you buy, along with the kinds of items you’ll be wanting to stow away and the sort of money you have available to spend.

Require more assistance?

Here at Cuckooland, we pride ourselves on being able to help all our customers out no matter what they might be looking for – and chest of drawers are certainly no exception. If you’re seeking a certain style, don’t see the item you desire among our catalogue, or would simply appreciate a bit more help in your hunt for a top-notch chest of drawers, just get in touch with our team on 01305 231231, or email us at We’ll chat furniture with you all day long if that’s your thang!

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