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How Do I Choose the Best Antique Dresser?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet

An antique dresser can provide storage while adding an elegant touch to a room. With the wide variety of antique dressers available, however, finding the best one for you can be an overwhelming process. To choose the best antique dresser for you, begin by deciding which antique style would best suit your taste and your existing décor. Then, consider which dresser size will fit your needs. Finally, set a price point and begin shopping, consulting antiques experts if necessary.

Many antiques experts hold that the term antique refers to items more than 100 years old. Even after this distinction has been applied, however, there are many antique dresser styles to choose from, and these different styles can vary widely in appearance. A simple, heavy Gothic piece, for instance, carries an aura that is quite dissimilar from that of an elaborately embellished Art Nouveau one. Therefore, your first step in choosing an antique dresser should be evaluating both your taste and your existing décor to decide which antique style would be best. If you are uncertain of the typical characteristics of each style, consider using decorating magazines and antiques websites to do some research.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Once you have decided which antique dresser style you prefer, you should consider which dresser size would best fit your room and storage needs. If space is plentiful and you would like a piece that offers ample storage, you might think about choosing a low, wide dresser with many drawers, often known as a bureau or lowboy. Should you need a significant amount of storage but have only a limited amount of floor space, consider a high, narrow dresser, sometimes called a highboy. If space is limited and storage is not a major consideration, a low, narrow dresser may be best.

After settling upon a desired style and size, set a price point for your antique dresser. Antiques can vary considerably in price, depending largely on their condition and rarity. When deciding how much you would like to spend, consider whether you will be regarding the dresser as an investment or simply as a functional piece of household furniture. Should you be purchasing your dresser as an investment, you will likely want to source a piece that is in excellent condition, which may mean spending a significant amount of money. If you simply want a functional dresser with an antique appearance, you might wish to buy an affordable piece that is not in pristine condition, or even a reproduction piece.

As you finally begin shopping for an antique dresser, keep in mind that perseverance can be the key to finding the piece you have envisioned. If you cannot seem to track down a dresser that meets your needs, try consulting an antiques dealer, who may be able to find a piece on your behalf. Antiques experts can also provide a professional opinion about the worth and authenticity of a prospective dresser, which can be extremely helpful if you wish to buy an investment piece.

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