Your Guide to Buying a Tall Chest of Drawers

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Your Guide to Buying a Tall Chest of Drawers

A chest of drawers is a piece of furniture with several stacked drawers. They store clothing, accessories, and personal care items. Clothing is folded, rather than hung in the closet. While the bed is the most important piece of furniture in the bedroom according to function, prominence, and style, the chest of drawers is second in importance. The chest of drawers, also called a dresser or a bureau, holds items for storage, organisation, easy access, and to keep them clean.

While a chest of drawers is mainly for the bedroom, people make use of them in other rooms, including the dining room, family room, children’s playroom, hallway, bathroom, closet, entryway, and garage. Consumers buy a chest of drawers at furniture stores, flea markets, department stores, and online merchants like eBay. When looking, people should keep in mind the different types, varying styles, and how to find the right chest of drawers.

Chest of Drawers Types

Chests of drawers come in varying types, differing numbers of drawers, and variations in drawer size and configuration, but most chests of drawers are wider than they are tall. Most are waist level with a single column of three to five drawers. Some drawers are full length while some are half-length. Some drawers are deep and some are shallow. The top is a flat surface for a mirror, jewellery boxes, photographs, or personal care items like perfume or cologne.

Tall dressers are taller than they are wide, have a single column, and are about chest high. Consumers can find chest of drawers with two to 11 or more drawers. When browsing, keep in mind some of the different types available for purchase on eBay.


A commode is a French style chest of drawers. It is a lower height and wider than it is tall. Most have drawers but some do not. This type is normally made with solid woods, some had marble tops and shelves, and some had carvings. Many are curved in the front and sometimes the sides, as well. Consumers may be able to find vintage or antique commodes.


A chest of drawers in the dining room is called a sideboard. Most are waist level and are intended to serve food or drinks from the top surface and store items in the drawers and cabinets. Sideboards have a European origin but became popular in the United States later on.


The chiffonier is English in origin with a French name that means rag-gatherer, as its original purpose was to provide several drawers for storing various items. It is usually taller than the sideboard and antique ones are usually made of rosewood and feature doors to hide the drawers.

Highboy and Lowboy

The highboy and lowboy are chests of drawers popular in previous generations. The highboy has many drawers, some of which can only be reached with a stepladder or by standing on the bed. The lowboy stands at waist level and more closely resembles the chest of drawers people are familiar with today.


The tansu is a Japanese style chest of drawers. People can find antique tansus made with a variety of woods, such as cedar, cypress, and elm, or find reproductions that are newly manufactured and made to look old.


Also called a chifforobe or wardrobe, the armoire contains drawers, space for hanging clothes, and sometimes shelves. People use the armoire for its variety of storage space, if they do not have a closet in a room, or simply for its style.

Chest of Drawer Styles

Aesthetic preferences will influence the selection of a chest of drawers. Some people prefer to match the style, the wood, the finish, and the hardware to the room’s other furniture. Other people may want to choose a contrasting style that gives the room a unique look. Chests of drawers can have a classic look or a contemporary look.


Traditional styling imparts a formal appearance and architectural styling. It is in keeping with English and French designs, other European influences, or Asian styling. Classic pieces are usually dark woods like oak and mahogany, have carvings, ornate legs, and sometimes veneer. Veneer is a thin slice of wood applied to the surface and has delicate and intricate grains. Other chests of drawers have floral designs and rich details.

Consumers can find vintage or antique chests of drawers in many locations. Vintage is more than 25 years old and antique is 100 years or older. People can also find newly manufactured chest of drawers with classic styling. Older chests are made from solid pieces of wood, and are usually handmade and durable. When buying older chests, keep in mind that it may be difficult to locate and match hardware. Newer, factory produced chests of drawers may be lighter, weigh less, and be less expensive.


Contemporary or modern chests of drawers could be trendy or have a Scandinavian influence, but they are free of frills, details, ornamentation, carvings, or paintings. The design is clean and geometric, and light to medium toned woods are used. Chests can be solid pieces or come packaged for assembly. Consumers will often find chests with engineered or composite wood products like plywood and fibreboard, or natural woods like pine, birch, and beech. Tropical woods like rubberwood can be more affordable.

For a cleaner look, composite wood with a veneer finish is less expensive. Some chests of drawers mix materials like plastic, steel, glass, and fibreglass to make a statement or increase visual interest. When a minimalist or uncluttered look is desired, contemporary chests of drawers are appropriate.

Choosing a Chest of Drawers

Finding the right chest of drawers is a matter of choosing a type, a style, and size that fits aesthetic preferences. Then, make a diagram or a list of the clothes and items that will be stored. This list will help choose a size, the number of drawers, and the configuration of the drawers. Different people have varying needs, so one person may need deep drawers to store sweaters while another has many accessories and will need multiple small drawers. People with limited space would be better served with a tall chest. When sizing, measure the bedroom or the room where the chest will be located and choose a piece that fits the scale of the room.

Remember that entry doors and closets need to open fully, so the dresser must be positioned away from them while making sure the drawers can open. In addition, position it away from a radiator or other heat source, as wood warps and fades when exposed to heat. If the floor is uneven, find a chest with adjustable legs. For children’s rooms, drawers with rounded corners can limit injuries. People can purchase chests with mirrors, use drawer liners, and install drawer organisers. It is easy to change the drawer pulls and handles to influence the room’s ambiance. One other way to select a chest of drawers is to consider the finishing.


To match the finishing to the other furniture, it is helpful to know the difference between stain, finishing, and paint. To be sure, take a picture of the current furniture, and then ask for a picture or sample of the proposed chest. A stain is a solution that is tinted and applied to a wood surface in one or more coats that permeate the grain but do not obscure the wood grain. A finish is a clear sealant that goes over raw wood or stain. Its purpose is to protect the surface or stain from environmental influences.

Choices include water-based sealants, shellac, lacquer, varnish, and polyurethane. Some sealants are tinted for colour effect. Paint is an opaque solution that does not permeate the wood grain but instead covers it and obscures it. Paint is available in many colours and can leave a flat, glossy, or textured surface.

Buying a Chest of Drawers on eBay

When browsing for a chest of drawers, people can navigate to eBay’s website. Use the search box on any page, as that will help you find furniture quickly and precisely. Enter the general term "chest of drawers" or a more specific term like "oak chest of drawers". If just browsing for now, use eBay’s save a search feature, so you can bookmark favourite sellers and chests. Look for sellers that offer bundled products. For instance, you may be able to find a chest of drawers that comes with a mirror or drawer organisers.

Authorised sellers will often offer free shipping, which is a valuable benefit when shipping a chest of drawers, which is heavy. Additionally, most sellers list their shipping policies and are open to questions from buyers, which can be very helpful. For an additional convenience, eBay also offers the option to find a local seller, so you can see the dresser in person and take immediate delivery. To find sellers with good feedback from previous customers, choose eBay’s Top-Rated Sellers.


A chest of drawers is the second most important piece of furniture next to the bed. While the chest is most often used in the bedroom, people can place a chest anywhere they need storage. A chest is available to fit all spaces and size requirements and consumers can choose wide or tall ones. They can choose from just a couple of drawers to many as 12, and the drawer sizes can be full size and deep, or much smaller to suit one’s needs.

People should consider the items they want to store and choose a chest that is adequate for current and future needs. Antique chests of drawers are available in some of the older styles like the commode or the tansu, or people can find newly manufactured chests built in those styles. Consumers can find chests of drawers at brick and mortar stores and online, but eBay makes it easy to browse through various styles and purchase with confidence.

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