Dresser, armoire or chest?

Posted on: November 10th, 2016

What is the difference between them? In which instances would be the appropriate use of each? Let’s find out.



Dresser. The term “Dresser” is actually an abbreviated form of the term “Dressing Table”, and “lowboy” is actually the correct American collectors term for the dressing table, or vanity (sometimes also called a “bureau”). It is a small table that has multiple parallel, horizontal drawers stacked one above another and usually comes with an attached mirror, called a “lowboy” in contrast to the “tallboy” or “highboy” chest of drawers.





Another term for a dressing table equipped with mirrors is vanity and is traditionally used applying makeup or fashion accessories.

Armoire. Armoire is a French word that refers to any tall, free-standing, ornate cupboard.  It may be rectangular or square, narrow or broad. Also known as a wardrobe, this furniture piece is typically bigger and taller than a dresser, and is usually a standing closet used for storing clothes. The earliest wardrobe was a chest, and it was not until some degree of luxury was attained in regal palaces and the castles of powerful nobles that separate accommodation was provided for the apparel of the great. The name of wardrobe was then given to a room in which the wall space was filled with cupboards and lockers, the drawer being a comparatively modern invention. From these cupboards and lockers, the modern wardrobe, with its hanging spaces, sliding shelves and drawers, evolved slowly.





And finally, the “Chest of Drawers”. The difference between a chest of drawers and a dresser lies in the fact that a chest of drawers contains only drawers and the top space with no attached mirror. A dresser will also have drawers for storing folded clothing and lingerie but it also normally has an attached mirror. A chest of drawers commonly comes with three, four or six drawers.






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