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Buying a Chest Of Drawers

Chests of drawers are an essential piece of bedroom furniture and can get a lot of use, so it pays to choose wisely.

Because a chest is probably the most used piece of storage furniture in a bedroom, particular attention should be paid to the construction of the chest and the drawers themselves.

Dovetail Joints

You will often see the term “dovetail jointed” when looking at descriptions of chests of drawers.  This refers to the method used to join the drawer front to the sides of the drawer.  A dovetail joint is the strongest way to build a drawer and ensures that the drawer will remain intact regardless of the number of times it is pulled out pushed back in.  The ends of each section of the drawer box dovetail into eachother and are very difficult to separate in normal use.  Drawer backs can also be dovetailed. This will make the construction stronger again.  The alternative to dovetail joints include screws or nails and/ or glue.

Drawer bottoms

The base of the drawer will be taking all the weight of whatever your drawer will contain.  You need it to be strong and you want to be sure it will last.

Make sure the drawer bottom is at least made of plywood or MDF.  Solid wood is the best, but a decent ply or MDF will do the job.

Hardboard is used in some furniture, particularly flat-pack furniture.  This is fairly thin and only a few steps up from cardboard.  We would tend to avoid this type of construction as is may not last as long as a ply or MDF drawer base.

The way in which the drawer base is attached to the drawer is also a factor.  Some drawer bottoms are simply nailed onto the bottom of the drawer box. These may be prone to failure.  It’s best to chose a drawer that has its base in a sitting groove all the way around the inside of the drawer. This is the most secure drawer construction.

Flat-Pack Chests of Drawers

Chests of drawers are probably the most time-consuming piece of flat pack furniture to make.  The number of components in a chest of drawers means it is sometimes quicker and simpler to build a wardrobe!

Will the chest fit into your home?

Of course, you’ll have to measure the gap where the chest is to be sited to ensure it will fit into the space, but you will also have to look at how the chest will be delivered.

Almost all chests of drawers will  fit through all but the tightest doorways and up stairs, but it is best to check the measurements to make certain that access will not be a problem.

So, as most chests will fit up stairs it may be best to go for a fully constructed chest of drawers.  These are the most solid and simple choice.  All our retailers supply factory constructed chests of drawers with dovetailed drawers.

Drawer Runners

Drawers slide in and out of the chest on what are called runners.  These are either wood or metal. Some chests simply slide on their bottoms.  Metal drawer runners allow the drawer to be pulled fully out of the chest without falling out.  This allows you to see and reach right into the very back of the drawer.  Wooden drawer runners can also have the disadvantage of wearing out over the years, but have the advantage of having fewer moving parts and so being less prone to mechanical faults.  Bear in mind that a faulty metal drawer runner can be awkward to replace.

Types of chest.

Chests of drawers come in many shapes and sizes but there are only a few basic shapes and drawer configurations.

The Tallboy

A tallboy chest is a chest of drawers that is tall and thin. most have upward of five drawers.  Tallboys are great for fitting into confined spaces.

Drawer configuration

The way in which a chest’s drawers are arranged is often referred to as  the number of small drawers at the top ‘over’ or ‘plus’ the number of drawers beneath.

For example, a chest with two small drawers in the top row and two large drawers underneath would be called a 2 over 2 drawer chest or a 2 plus 2 drawer chest.

In summary, make sure the chest will fit where you need to put it and that it wll fit through any gaps or doorways and stairways en-route to its final destination.  Check the construction and also, if you intend to add more furniture from the same range, ensure that the other pieces will also the right size.

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