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When designing your bedroom dresser decor, the first thing to first consider is the purpose of the space. Is it about privacy and being hidden away from the prying eyes of guests - a place where you can express yourself in your own way? Is it a space where you execute your morning routine in front of a mirror and surrounded by skincare essentials? Is your bedroom dresser a workspace or reading nook? Or is it a place for your favourite trinkets to be proudly displayed? Defining the space is the first step to great design.
'I think it's about creating a moment and it is an opportunity to curate a tableau and frame a view,' says Jane Landino, Creative and Design Head of Studio at Taylor Howes.
'It's nice to have a decorative mirror with a sculptural frame or a beautiful propped piece of art. Fresh flowers always create an element of calm and a selection of personal accessories to dress the top - an evocative scented candle, maybe a tray with a lovely item of costume jewelry or a collection of crystal - help make a dressing table personal,' she adds. Here's our top bedroom ideas for how best to use your dresser that will transform the space.
1. Use the space to highlight your favorite piece of art
Art or picture frames filled with photos of holidays and loved ones will look at home above your dresser as a smart bedroom wall decor idea. It can add to the scheme, provide a smart background to your trinkets, and can draw the eye to this part of the room. It is a statement place for your favorite piece, and doesn’t compromise on space.
In this modern bedroom example, a photo by Sally Mann casually leans against the wall, looking effortless yet thoughtful. Leaning art as opposed to hanging art can make the space flexible, and you can switch up your chosen frame at any given moment. This example is in a townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, designed by Ariel Ashe and Reinaldo Leandro of Ashe Leandro.
2. Play with height and space
Our dressers make for a great space to display our treasured objets and collected trinkets, but these must be carefully considered before carelessly exhibited. Think how the shapes and patterns you place on your dresser work and interact together before allowing them to take over your master bedroom.
Think beautiful bowls for jewelry and smaller items alongside tall or oversized items to add layer. Candlesticks can work to add height and drama to the space, alongside smaller candles.
'We like to have groupings of objects and usable accents on top of a dresser - a table lamp, a small bowl, a vase, flowers, books, a candle,’ explains Keren Richter of interior design studio, White Arrow. ‘We will use trays to group vignettes. We also play with scale and use items at varying heights in a mix of odd numbers or play with symmetry.’
3. Add to the overall scheme
The bedroom dresser can work as the final flourish to the overall look of the bedroom, and tie together a color scheme in a small snapshot. Consider soft furnishings like throws, blankets and cushions that match the look and add depth to the scheme of your room. In this bedroom designed by Lane McNab of the San Francisco Bay design studio, the bedroom dresser put the final touches on a neutral, monochromatic room.
‘This bedroom vignette was done to create the geometry and sculptural elements the client wanted in an Italian-style room,’ explains Lane Mcnab. ‘Meanwhile maintaining calm and softness appropriate for a place of refuge and relaxation. The tonal colors are very soothing and the placement of the pieces around the mirror with the alternating hard lines and soft curves create a sense of balance and intention.’
This approach fits in with bedroom feng shui, to make a space that feels harmonious.
4. Bring the outdoors in
Bedroom plant ideas in the form of potted plants, hanging baskets or bouquets of fresh flowers can bring the room to life, adding a sense of calm and serenity.
‘Flowers, plants - even if preserved - add height, a touch of green and texture,’ says Fredrick Tang of the eponymous architecture studio. Place on the dresser for display, or for a plant, place on the floor to lead the eye up the dresser.
This dramatic touch of nature was added to a dresser in a SoHo penthouse loft, designed by Jesse Parris-Lamb.
5. Use a dresser as a station for pampering
For some, taking the seat at the dresser is a place to pause and kickstart the day. It's a spot for routine and a place for self-reflection. Adding practical items like a mirror and beauty items to the bedroom dresser is a great place to start, and a beautiful, statement mirror can work as a focal point and makes for a glamorous bedroom idea. 'Hanging an appropriately sized mirror above the dresser defines the space and adds a sculptural and artistic moment as well,' says Daun Curry.
The mirror can also reflect light and make the space look bigger as exemplified in this room in Boerum Hill, a townhouse renovated by Frederick Tang Architects for celebrity clients, actors Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale.
6. Think about where you put your dresser
Bedroom dressers can be clunky and take up space, but you can use your room and the natural grooves and shape to your advantage when thinking about dresser placement. ‘Embrace the alcoves in a period home by maximizing the space and creating clever uses,’ says Jen & Mar from interior design studio, Interior Fox.
‘Centering the bed in front of the chimney breast allows you to not only use each side as a bedside table, but as a decorative feature, additional storage and as a dressing table or a work space and desk.' In this white bedroom, the placement has been done sensitively around the room's period features.
‘It’s important to consider the layout when building a bespoke shelving unit. A standard bedside table is usually 24-28 inches, but building your own will allow the freedom to create a height that works best for your space.’
7. Think about the lighting
For functionality, the correct bedroom lighting is a dresser essential, illuminating your possessions, or helping the space to transform into a reading spot or desk for working from home. Placing your dresser next to a window will give this spot some much-needed natural light, or add a statement piece in a style you love.
Think glass sconces on the wall, a bold lamp with statement lampshade covering or interesting lamp harp. Original BTC make great table lamps, and New Orleans-based lighting designer, Julie Neill can be relied on for interesting sconces.
8. Place personal trinkets that reflect your personality
However you use your bedroom dresser space, it is a highly personal place, so make sure your design reflects this intention. The items you place here are key to showing off your style and your life story. Bedside books that reflect your interests alongside meaningful sculptures and your favorite perfume bottles can make great focal points.
In this example from 2LG Studio, the pieces have been carefully selected. ‘On display are a collection of German ceramics and an African mask. This reflects the couple and their lives. One was from Germany and one from Kenya. The objects seamlessly blend both their lives together, with a monochromatic palette of blue and white.’
Where to start in selecting pieces for bedroom dresser decor
'A bedroom dresser is a seat of self-care, femininity and even some creative self-expression', says Annie Sloan. 'Whether you’re a maximalist or a minimalist, storage is important here. Often, older dressers tend to be more useful as they’re well designed with lovely inbuilt drawers, cubbies. shelving. Many of us have demoted the ritual of getting ready to a rushed morning routine, applying make-up standing up at the bathroom mirror.
'This means second-hand stores are full of some really beautiful and unique dressers. I’d start here, by sourcing a really interesting piece of furniture for your bedroom and allowing the dresser as well as your existing bedroom scheme to inform how you paint.'
'When it comes to styling bedroom dressers, we focus on the key elements; color, scale, texture, and layering,' says Daun Curry of the New York-based interior design studio.
What should you display on a dresser?
'When selecting surrounding finishes for your bedroom dresser, we recommend using raw materials, such as glass, silk, and metal in soft hues that create a calm sanctuary out of your space,' says Daun Curry.
When considering how you decorate your dresser, it’s all about the mood you want to set in this particular space. Typically found in bedrooms, where the mood is centred around sleep, restoration, your bedroom dresser can be a place to encourage calmness and stillness. The best way to inspire these feelings involves the materials you use. 'Take influence from nature, and look to natural materials like wood, bamboo, rattan and stone,' says Peter Tindall, co-owner of Cornish Bed Company. ‘Having these textures will feel more soothing and aid in helping to bring more of the outside in.'
'When curating a cabinet or bedroom bureau, remember the four L’s,' encourages John McClain. 'Light can be achieved via a lamp, mirror, or candle. Life, as in trees, branches, plants, or florals, brings height, balance and organic asymmetry to every design. Learning (or books) establish levels and dimensions; they are also an excellent way to personalize your design, reflecting hobbies, travel, or interests. Luxury is the most ephemeral element of the design. Luxury can include a beautifully framed photograph, small sculptures, or a piece of precious stone or crystal. These small moments of beauty punctuate the assemblage and attract the eye.'
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Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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