In this post: Looking for a vintage inspired French dresser? This guide offers where to buy and how to style an affordable French chest of drawers.⇒
Are you romanced by furniture?
Sometimes I wonder if I’m strange.
But I do look at pieces of furniture and want to buy them “just because”. I love French decorative details and gorgeous wood patina. Distressed paint, sinewy curves, gilt trim and wonderful hardware – sign me up!
And of all the furniture options that a person could buy, my very favorite is a French chest of drawers.
Why a Chest of Drawers?
I love a chest of drawers for two reasons. First, and most obviously, is its utility. A dresser is the single best place to store most of the items that we keep in our homes, from clothing and undergarments to accessories and personal items.
In addition to all types of clothing, I keep books, papers, and linens in drawers. They are easy to keep neat because you can compartmentalize them, and they offer easy access because you can pull them out.
But the other reason I love a French dresser is that the segmented drawers provide endless opportunities for decorative embellishment.
Where to Use a Chest of Drawers
A dresser or chest is a great defense against clutter in the home. Why use a simple table when you can use a piece of furniture that includes drawers?
The most obvious place to use a dresser is in the bedroom, and most people have at least one there, if not two or more. I always use the largest nightstands I can fit which adds 2 more pieces with drawer storage.
But a chest of drawers is also welcome in an entry foyer, living and dining rooms and even in a roomy hallway. I have a tiny chest in our powder room and a full 9 drawer dresser in our upstairs hall that’s filled with linens.
How to Style a French Chest
Styling a chest is no different than decorating any table you’d find in the home. It’s the perfect spot to create a vignette or display a collection, yet looks equally good with a single bold element like a deep bowl or a statement vase.
Always take into account the style of the piece, as well as the room. If the piece is light and delicate, keep the objects on top in proportion. Likewise, if you’re going to mix design styles, like vintage with modern, be sure you know what you’re doing so it looks intentional and not like a mistake.
A small narrow piece is ideal for a singular element, while a long wide piece looks great with a symmetrical layout. Try taller pieces, like lamps or candlesticks, flanking a lower item placed in the center. A bowl, floral arrangement, or stack of books is perfect for this set up.
If instead you prefer to create an asymmetrical vignette, the most important thing to keep in mind is balancing the objects. Also beware of overdecorating. Try a group of 3 items on one side, balanced by a larger object on the other side. Be sure to take advantage of some empty space around your vignette, not trying to fill up every spot on the top of the chest.
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Where to Buy a French Chest of Drawers
If you’re looking to find a pretty French chest or vintage inspired dresser, the shopping guide in this post should be very helpful.
I already own a few of these chests, and I’d love to get a couple more. What room couldn’t benefit from a charming French dresser?
The first place I usually check is vintage websites and in person markets for authentic antiques. But they are often pricey and due to age, it can sometimes be difficult to open the drawers.
If you’re looking for an item that will get a lot of use, you may want a new piece that maintains the spirit of vintage.
While I absolutely love authentic timeworn pieces, the great news is there are many affordable reproduction options available, as well. Below you will find a variety of styles, from smaller 2 drawer pieces that could fit into a tight corner to larger chests that provide ample storage.
There are bombe chests, painted accent dressers, glazed pieces, aged finishes, 3 drawer options, as well as 5 drawer ones too. There are Swedish Gustavian looks, in addition to Louis Phillipe style, plus rustic commodes, and distressed or reclaimed woods.
A Word About Price
When I first put this post together, the market was quite different, so prices have increased quite a bit. What one person perceives as affordable, others do not, so I did my best to include as many low priced options as I could find.
I kept as many pieces as possible in the 3 digit range, but particularly for the larger pieces there are quite a few that are over $1000. Please remember, for some people, a $1500 dresser is still more affordable than a $5000 antique. At the same time, at this writing, there are lots of pieces included that are as low as a few hundred dollars!
Note: I update this post from time to time, trying to keep the links fresh, but stores run out of stock faster than I can update my posts. So if you find some dead links, please know they will be updated soon, and you’re welcome to alert me as I might be able to help find something you are looking for.
Take your time and scroll through them all – there are plenty of options here to consider. Then let’s see if you can guess which one I’ve got my eye on next! Happy shopping!!
To get the look, click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.
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