After the bed, a dresser is likely to be one of the largest pieces of furniture in a bedroom, therefore it plays a key role in setting the style and tone of the entire space. Such a key piece of furniture deserves plenty of consideration, in both the design of the dresser and how it’s styled.
This Morrison Dresser sits adjacent to the wall, both blending in with and contrasting the dark wood in a way that helps to bring the light and dark elements of the room together | Designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for © Minotti London
Sometimes referred to as a chest of drawers, this is more than just an item for storing clothes as it also offers another surface space. It’s important to consider this element in bedroom design, in order to create a space that feels complete.
Below we discuss how to style a bedroom dresser in order to strike the right balance between intentional organisation and thoughtful accent pieces to create a focal point.
How to Style a Bedroom Dresser
With only a few pieces of furniture in the bedroom, it’s important to make sure each item stands out while complementing the wider space. A dresser is a great place to show some personality, but knowing how to style a bedroom dresser can be difficult.
These design ideas can be implemented with any style of dresser, provided one considers the theme, backdrop, lighting and functionality as well as selecting decorative items and ornaments to display on top of it.
Choose a Style
To create a coherent space, one should consider working with a set theme. The style of the dresser will influence the overall look; it could be romantic and simplistic, minimal and modern, or antique and ornate.
Whether the style is more minimalist or maximalist will determine how many decorative accents will be needed to achieve a certain look. One shouldn’t be afraid to mix colours and materials, as this will help create a unique vignette.
Of course, styling a dresser isn’t necessarily something that should be done only once. Rather than allow a certain style to go stagnant over time, a dresser can evolve over time and with the seasons, trends and one’s own taste. For example, one may wish to display a range of seasonal blooms and foliage throughout the year.
Consider the Backdrop
One of the first elements in a room to consider when styling a dresser is the wall it sits adjacent to. A mirror or work of art will make for a great anchor and has the power to set the tone for the entire space. Such a piece may even feature an ornate frame or simply be placed on top of the dresser and propped against the wall for a modern look.
If the dresser is tall, one might centre the anchor piece directly above it. However, if the dresser is wide, the anchor piece can be off-centred to one side, provided it’s balanced with other items.
Of course, if the dresser is located in front of a window, then an anchor isn’t necessary and it may be best left without too many large objects in order to allow natural light into the bedroom.
An anchor piece should be around half to two thirds the width of the dresser, any wider and it might look top-heavy. The mirror or art should be hung around 15-25cm above the top of the dresser, so it looks connected. Once an anchor piece is placed, it will be much easier to style the space around it.
Work With Height
A couple of decorative vases of differing heights have been placed on top of this Harvey Dresser, drawing the eye and adding intrigue to what would otherwise be an empty space | Designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for © Minotti London
Styling objects at varying heights will help the eye move around the dresser’s top space, while creating intrigue and ensuring the area doesn’t look flat.
Introducing some height will bring the dresser and anchor piece together, and create some dramatic effect. This could take the form of a tall plant, a candlestick, a vase with flowers or tall dried foliage such as pampas grass or even a table lamp.
When styling a particularly wide dresser, place any tall objects on the opposite side to the anchor piece. If the mirror or artwork is on the left and the tall object on the right, the eye will naturally ‘read’ the dresser from left to right like a book. This technique creates a ‘visual hierarchy’ and is used to influence the order in which one observes a scene.
Add Accent Pieces
Decorative items can add some personality whilst keeping the overall purpose functional. A layered look, with items of varying heights and widths, will create interest and allow the eye to easily take in all of the items on display.
In a bedroom setting, it’s important to choose thoughtful touches that bring calm or highlight a fond memory. Some accent pieces to consider when styling a dresser include:
- Objets d’art
- Framed photos
- Stacked books
A natural element is a great addition to a dresser and creates movement that draws the eye. Plants are great in the bedroom and have a way of breathing life into a space, purifying the air and adding colour and texture no matter what the style.
This can take the form of cut flowers in a vase, or potted plants – lavender and jasmine also bring a relaxing scent to the room that’s known to encourage sleep. Meanwhile, eucalyptus branches dry beautifully, giving months of longevity whereas an indoor plant such as devil’s ivy is ideal for the bedroom as it thrives with less light.
This Archipenko dresser is home to a stylistically modern lamp that feels inherently retro, bringing a key focal point to the space and an extra point of illumination | Designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for © Minotti London
Ambient lighting is an important component of interior design and a dresser provides the perfect opportunity to introduce additional lamps and candles to the bedroom.
One might consider adding a table lamp to provide an additional pocket of light in the room. This will work to elevate the ambience at night as well as bring balance to the top of the dresser. Its’ important to ensure that the lamp’s size is relative to the size of the dresser as proportions are important to ensure the whole design remains balanced.
For a more formal look, one might consider placing matching lamps on both ends of the dresser, or for a more relaxed style place the lamp to one end and balance the look with a styled arrangement on the other side.
As well as being a stunningly visual piece of furniture, bedroom dressers are a storage solution but their functionality can extend beyond the drawers. When styling a dresser, it is important to keep it organised and a thoughtful accessory will ensure the surface stays neat.
Decorative trays are useful for storing items such as jewellery, toiletries or perfume bottles. Such trays come in many shapes, sizes adn styles but a mirrored gold tray or an ornate antique can turn this practical item into a statement piece all on its own.
Meanwhile, a keepsake’s box makes it easier to keep clutter under control whilst also being decorative. Other functional and attractive pieces include ceramic bowls, which can be used to store and display larger decorative items, such as shells and pine cones or anything that’s pleasing to the eye.
Key Considerations for Styling a Bedroom Dresser
As one of the largest pieces of bedroom furniture, a dresser plays a key role in setting the tone of the room. These seven style ideas on how to style a bedroom dresser will help to create a considered space that shows personality whilst keeping the functional purpose:
- Choose a style
- Consider the backdrop
- Work with height
- Add accent pieces
- Something living
- Consider lighting
- Chic functionality
While there are no absolute rules for styling a dresser, these guidelines will help create a beautiful, functional focal point in the bedroom. When combined, these ideas will pull everything together to create a cohesive design, striking a balance between intentional organisation and thoughtful accent pieces.