The Complete Guide to Buying a Wooden Chest of Drawers

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The Complete Guide to Buying a Wooden Chest of Drawers

One of the best places to store clothes is in a chest of drawers. Chests in one form or another have been used for clothes storage for centuries, and the modern chest of drawers is the most efficient form devised to date. While chests have been made of many things, the majority are made of wood. This should come as no surprise as a properly cared for wooden chest of drawers can not only store and protect the owner's clothing, it can also long outlive its original owner, and even in some cases the owners’ grandchildren. Wooden chests of drawers are not only utilitarian pieces of bedroom furniture, they can also be fashion statements or even family heirlooms. A chest of drawers can range in price from being an inexpensive bargain to an expensive investment. Whatever a person's clothing needs, they can find a chest of drawers to meet them.

History of the Chest of Drawers

Chests have been used to store clothing for centuries if not millennia. They are sturdy, spacious, and portable. Flat-topped chests can even serve as furniture, providing substitutes for chairs, benches, or even tables. Still, the chest does have its weaknesses, not least of which being the need to empty a chest almost entirely in order to get to anything stored at the bottom. Portability also puts limits on its size. In spite of its limitations, the chest has remained the primary form of clothing storage for centuries.

The transition to the modern chest of drawers began in the seventeenth century, with the introduction of drawers at the bottom of chests. This innovation made the bottom of the chest, accessible without the requirement to empty it of everything stored above. It also allowed chests to grow taller, as they were no longer limited in height by the length of a person's arms. By this point, the only benefit to the traditional chest was its portability, and as people became more settled this became less of a priority. By Queen Anne's reign, the modern chest of drawers was taking over, featuring legs to raise it off the floor, and several drawers.

What to Look for in a Chest of Drawers

When looking for a new chest of drawers, there are several things that every prospective purchaser needs to keep in mind. The two most important are the room where the chest will be placed, and the intended user.

Consider the Style of the Room

Not all wooden chests of drawers are right for every bedroom. Some are the wrong size, others the wrong style. A large wooden chest of drawers can completely dominate the appearance of a bedroom, and if it does not coordinate with the rest of the furniture, everything will look a little off. This does not mean that a large chest of drawers requires a very large room, it is possible to fit a large chest in a relatively small room. However, the smaller the room, the more care needs to go into selecting a larger wooden chest of drawers. Everything is magnified in a smaller room, be it the colour of the chest or even the degree of detailing. A heavily detailed chest may simply be too "busy" to go with everything else, and if it is large, the effect is that much greater.

Consider the Size of the Chest of Drawers

How large a chest of drawers does the intended user need? Also, what shape best fits their needs, or even the room for that matter? A bedroom with a long wall may be better suited for a lower chest of drawers with two sets of drawers side by side, while a room with a smaller amount of uninterrupted space may require a taller chest of drawers. Height is also a consideration when thinking of the person using the chest of drawers. A child may require a shorter chest of drawers because they would have difficulty reaching the upper drawers and thus be likely to pull the entire thing down on themselves. The amount of clothing a person has is also a factor, people with more clothes need more space, whether that be vertical or horizontal.

Why Choose Wood?

Wood is not the only option for a chest of drawers, interested buyers can often find examples made from particleboard or other wood substitutes. While these particleboard chests of drawers may be inexpensive, they are also much less durable and long-lasting than a wooden chest of drawers. Particleboard is heavy, yet lacks the strength of wood. It is also more subject to water damage, as well as being likely to crumble when bumped.

A wooden chest is much more resistant to the scuffs and knocks of daily life. It ages better than its less expensive equivalent, hence, it is an investment which can be handed down to the purchaser's children. A particleboard is not as enduring, one would eventually need to dispose of it or replace it. Wooden chests of drawers are simply a superior choice.

Wooden Chest of Drawers Checklist

Before buying a new wooden chest of drawers it is a good idea to go through the following checklist and make sure that the chest of drawers will not only look good but also fit in the intended bedroom:




A taller wooden chest of drawers can hold more clothes, and takes up less space along the wall. However, the height can put the drawers at the top out of reach of children.


A wider chest of drawers can allow for two sets of drawers side by side, which can be an advantage for those concerned about height as a lower chest can fit underneath a window. The only drawback is that lower chests do require a greater length of wall.

Number of Drawers

The number of drawers is not only a factor regarding the amount of clothes the user has, but also how they intend to organise them


How well does the wooden chest of drawers fit the existing style of the bedroom? Does it have to conform with an existing style, or will the chest be the focal point in the room?

Relative Size

How big is the chest of drawers in relation to the room? Is it so large that it dominates everything or does it complement the room perfectly?

By following these simple steps above, finding the right wooden chest of drawers becomes effortless. Once a buyer is better equated with his or her options, the next step is also easy.

Where to Buy a Wooden Chest of Drawers

Wooden chests of drawers are widely available everywhere from the local High Street, to the furthest reaches of the Internet. They can be found in charity and antique shops, as well as most major chains. Those who prefer to look for a chest of drawers on the web can find them at most major Internet retailers as well as online auction sites such as eBay.

How to Buy a Wooden Chest of Drawers on eBay

Buying a wooden chest of drawers on eBay is as easy as typing the words into the search box that appears on every eBay page. Once you have the results on your screen, the next thing to do is use the filters in the sidebar to narrow them down to just the chests of drawers you are looking for, whether that be by height or configuration. You can also use eBay's sort function to ensure that the chests of drawers you are most interested in are brought to the top of your attention.

After you have found the right wooden chests of drawers, the next thing you need to do is find your best match from amongst eBay's sellers. The best way to do that is to look at the seller's profile page, where you can see everything from their feedback and location, to whether they have any special policies such as bundled shipping for an entire bedroom set, or whether they allow a buyer to save money by picking up the chest of drawers themselves if they live close enough.


People have been using wooden chests of drawers in their bedrooms since the eighteenth century, so it should be no surprise that there is a huge variety available. This can make it difficult to decide on the best choice for any given person's bedroom. While wood is always a better option than particleboard for all but the very smallest budgets, even those buyers who limit themselves to wood still have a huge variety to choose from, and a number of decisions to make. Some of these decisions depend on the user, some on the room the chest of drawers will occupy. If there is a long wall with a window, a low, wide chest of drawers would likely be the best choice. If there is little room along any single wall, choose a narrow, tall chest of drawers. Whatever the bedroom, there is a wooden chest of drawers to fit it.

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