Buying solid wood furniture for the bedroom is hard enough, with there now so many different options out there – particularly if you are looking online; without the process made even trickier by the fact that different names are used for seemingly similar pieces. For example, you may be looking for a chest of drawers and come across something that looks like a chest of drawers but is called an armoire. Similarly, you may be looking for a dresser and come across a chest of drawers that has been given the name dresser.

Is there any difference between these items or are they just basically the same thing? In the following post we will look at the similarities and differences between these three types of bedroom furniture.


Dressers is actually a shorthand term for dressing tables and the often used name of lowboys, is actually just the American collectors name for the same type of furniture. A vanity is also a dressing table, as is a bureau. Basically, dressers are small-sized tables with many horizontal, parallel drawers on top of each other, with a mirror on top. The term lowboy is to note that it is not a chest of drawers, also known as a highboy or tallboy.

During the 18th century is when tallboys and lowboys were most popular in the US and England. Lowboys were often used in the same function as dressing tables or side tables. Normally they were made from mahogany, walnut or oak and featured brass pulls on the fronts of drawers.

More elegant and sophisticated variations such as the Chippendale, early Georgian period and Queen Anne had what are known as cabriole legs. Cabriole is a fancy name for curved legs, it seems. The centre drawer on many examples of this style of dresser feature sculpted scallop-shell motifs beneath them.

Vanities are normally dressing tables that are used for fashion accessories and applying make-up – obviously used by women and girls more than men and boys.


The word Moire, unsurprisingly, is French and basically refers to any ornate, free-standing and tall cupboard. Armoires can be broad, narrow, rectangular or square. Also given the name as wardrobes, these are pieces of wooden furniture that are taller and bigger than dressers and closets normally used for clothing storage.

The earliest instance of a wardrobe that there is any record of was a chest, and it wasn’t until a certain level of luxury and sophistication was acquired by castles and regal palaces that accommodation was arranged for the clothing of the rich and powerful.

Wardrobe was a name given to a specific room that had wall-space devoted to lockers and cupboards, while drawers were actually an invention of more modern times. What we understand to be wardrobes nowadays evolved from these lockers and cupboards, with drawers, sliding shelves and hanging spaces.

Chest of Drawers

The difference between dressers and chest of drawers is the fact that, as you’ve probably guessed it, chest of drawers only features drawers and have no mirror on top. While dressers contain drawers for lingerie and pieces of folded clothing, there is usually a mirror attached too. Chests of drawers, like the painted tallboy/chest of drawers available from expert pine furniture manufacturers Nest At Number 20, normally consist of 3, 4, 5 or 6 drawers stacked on top of each other in a very uniform fashion.

We hope this has helped address the confusion over these different terms and types of furniture and storage pieces. If you are looking for natural, locally sourced pine furniture painted in the hue of your choice, Nest At Number 20 might be a good place to start your search.