How To Decorate A Dresser

There's no doubt about it: Dressers play a major role in our day-to-day lives. From getting dressed in the morning to having a place to toss our jewelry and watches when we settle in for the night, it's likely you're interacting with this particular furniture piece quite often. And just like other surfaces in your home — coffee tables, nightstands, dining tables — dressers deserve to have a bit of decoration. Of course, figuring out how to style a dresser might not be quite as obvious as it is for other furniture in your space. You might have even been underutilizing your dresser for years! But knowing how to style the surface in a way that's both practical and aesthetically pleasing can really elevate your bedroom.

The key, according to The Spruce, is to start with a blank page. Declutter the surface of your dresser first — and then start decorating. Add a heftier piece that can serve as the focal point, which is usually situated above the dresser, then move on to the smaller pieces. Create some height, add in functional storage, then fill out the dresser top with objects that make you smile. (You will be seeing these pieces each day, after all!) You can create any type of display you want by following this simple formula — from bohemian to moody. The world is your oyster when it comes to decorating your dresser.

Add a wall mirror

Whether you want to reflect extra light into your bedroom or just like to have a place to check your hair in the morning (because frankly, who doesn't?), adding a wall mirror above or atop your dresser can be a game-changer. Not to mention, this decor idea is both stylish and functional — giving you the best of both worlds when it comes to interior design. Joss & Main recommend placing a circular mirror on the wall because the rounded edges look great with the sharp lines of a rectangular dresser. But it's not just about the frame — it also matters where you place the mirror on the wall. For dressers that are higher above the ground, you could put the mirror right over it in the middle. If you happen to have a dresser that's longer than it is tall, though, stick to hanging up a mirror on either the left or the right, rather than the center.

Of course, for those who aren't satisfied with a single decor item above their dresser, you also have the option of creating a gallery wall that includes a mirror. In this case, try something different from your basic mirror to help give the wall a little more interest and allow the mirror to fit in with any framed art (via Apartment Therapy). This might be a mirror in a fun shape or one that's in a vintage frame.

Choose a color scheme

Make decorating easier on yourself by choosing a specific color scheme — and sticking to it! This way, you can coordinate everything without ending up with an array of mismatched decor pieces for your dresser. Especially if you tend to lean toward maximalist design, setting yourself up with particular hues in mind can help keep the process organized. Like many interior projects, though, selecting a color scheme is easier said than done. How do you decide which colors will look best in your bedroom — or, more specifically, on your dresser? Thankfully, there are a few places to start the brainstorming process.

According to HGTV, you can easily choose decor colors based on your closet. In other words, think about the clothes you love to wear. Maybe they're all neutrals — or perhaps you love to dress in bold and bright colors. The hues that you're happiest to wear are a great indicator as to what colors you'll love featured in your home. Alternatively, if you want an option that's a little less risky, you can choose a color like gray — which looks great with all different colors. If you like to change out your more colorful decor often, this hue might be a great option for you.

Opt for boho

If you're a fan of natural, cozy decor, you might want to opt for a bohemian theme for your dresser. Per MyDomaine, this particular interior look comes from the 1970s — but has been transformed into an on-trend and of-the-moment style that works well in today's homes. More good news? This design is easy to recreate in your own home (and on your bedroom's dresser). The publication recommends keeping colors neutral (think: Earth tones and other hues you might see in the mountains or the desert) and bringing in natural elements like plants. They also mention that wood furniture pairs well with these hues, so keep that in mind! If your dresser is a different material, you might not be able to get the exact look that you want.

This particular boho style isn't the only option, though. There are also other options that fall under the "bohemian" umbrella. Consider French bohemian, which involves the combination of crisp whites, bright colors, and vintage pieces. Or maybe colorful boho is more your style — it includes adding bolder hues to your space along with pieces like rattan furniture and painted wood (via The Spruce). There's so much to love about this decor style, so don't feel you have to limit yourself.

Keep clutter to a minimum

Sometimes, a clean, minimalist look can be a breath of fresh air. If you're someone who finds themselves covering up every inch of a surface with knickknacks, you might want to give keeping your dresser clutter-free a try. Of course, this doesn't mean you can't make it look inviting and expertly styled — it's just a way to keep the focus on a few pieces that fit your aesthetic. Lonny suggests simply mounting a painting or photograph that you love directly above the dresser. With one focal point, the eyes are drawn to the art (and not the clutter). If you aren't a big art person, though, you can always choose a different decor piece, such as a mirror or tapestry.

For those who want something more than a singular statement piece, just make sure you're being selective (via Joss & Main). Opt for items that remind you of a fun time you've had with loved ones (framed photos are great for this) or maybe a decorative box that's been passed down for generations. Consider what would bring you joy, and choose from there.

Try a vintage feel

When incorporating vintage decor into your dresser designs, staying clutter-free is still important. So even if you'd rather go for decorative objects from different eras in time, remember that a curated approach is the best option here — even if you're a maximalist designer. Per Better Homes and Gardens, the way to start with this is to focus on one particular era. There are so many gorgeous vintage pieces out in the world, but not all of them work well together. After all, you probably wouldn't want a retro '60s quilt paired with hand-painted portraits from the 1800s in your bedroom. So just choose one decade, century, or specific vintage style at a time. This will help keep your dresser (and the rest of your room) looking cohesive.

Once you've made this decision, the fun begins. Try creating a gallery wall above your dresser featuring art from a time in history you love. This could be old photographs, vintage paintings, or other pieces that meld well with the theme (via The Spruce). You can even lean them against the wall atop your dresser if you don't want to hang them. Additionally (or alternatively), curate some pretty vintage knickknacks and place them on the dresser to fill the space. Just remember to be mindful about overcrowding the furniture! You want your pieces to stand out, not blend in with an array of other, indistinguishable items.

Add some art

As you've probably realized by now, adding art above or on top of your dresser is one of the simplest ways to decorate it. Thankfully, with the abundance of art in the world, the possibilities with this decor option are endless. Maybe you want to go with a portrait that's been in your family for years and years. (Better yet if it's in a gorgeous ornate frame!) Or perhaps you'd rather run to your local superstore and peruse their selection of quirky art. You can even display photographs that you love, art that you discovered at a gallery, or a piece you picked up while browsing a farmer's market. The world is your oyster here — and you can add as many (or as few) pieces of art as you'd like. Both statement pieces and gallery walls will look great!

For those who can't find the exact type of art they want above their dresser, MyDomaine recommends making it yourself. Take a rectangular or circular fixture and paint it any color your heart desires. Then, designer Suzan Wemlinger tells the publication, "Put a funky square of fabric remnant or a cool wallpaper sample in the frame, then place it either on the dresser or hang it above." You can also DIY your own art using peel-and-stick wallpaper. Just take it down when you want to change the look of your bedroom.

Bring books to the bedroom

Why not take a few books off your shelves and turn them into easy dresser decor? Whether they're novels you love to read on a rainy day, coffee table books that are as gorgeous as they are fun to flip through, or even vintage books you've bought specifically to use as decoration, there are plenty of ways to turn these household items into unique decorations for your bedroom. According to Better Homes and Gardens, you can actually use vintage or larger, decorative books to make items on your dresser taller. This tip can help add extra interest to your display, lifting up lamps or other objects so there's a little more variety. The publication also suggests looking at the book's design without the cover. It might help you get a more retro-inspired or overall cohesive look.

Another bonus to using books as dresser decor? It gives a purpose to something you already have — and can help save you some cash (via Lonny). For anyone on a tight budget (or those who have an overflow of books in their home), this idea is a must-try.

Use decorative storage

Let's be real: Dressers can become messy pretty quickly. After all, when you're busy, it's easy to place smaller objects — like jewelry, watches, makeup, keys, etc. — on top of the furniture piece, allowing it to get cluttered. So why not decorate with practical storage that'll keep your dresser looking tidy and chic at the same time? West Elm suggests decor that doubles as a place to keep knickknacks and items you might be tossing on whatever surface you see first when you arrive in the bedroom. Try a pretty tray that can hold small bowls, vases, or even books — all while looking chic. Or, opt for a jewelry box that can hold those bits and baubles that always end up strewn all over the room. You can even find unique pieces to hang necklaces on, keeping them from getting knotted.

No matter what you're trying to keep organized, simple storage on top of your dresser can make things so much easier. Even if it's a simple decorative bowl to toss your watch and rings into at the end of the day, a little effort goes a long way — and adds to the overall interior design of your home.

Top it with your favorite plant

According to MyDomaine, one of the simplest ways to liven up your dresser decor is with something from the outdoors. "Bring in an organic element," designer Whitney Riter Gelinas tells the publication. A little green can easily brighten up your space and make your bedroom feel cozier — and it doesn't take much! Even better? Greenery goes with just about any decor style. If you're looking for a bohemian aesthetic, try a plant that feels lush and whimsical. Or, if you're more minimalist, a small air plant or succulent could look great on top of your dresser. Real or faux, plants can make all the difference in your decor.

You can also use a plant to add some color to your display (via Better Homes and Gardens). Maybe you have a neutral bedroom and want to bring in a new hue. Or perhaps you've gone with simple, rustic decor and are hoping to brighten things in the room. Either way, a plant can definitely help. Don't underestimate the power of natural elements! 

Dried florals are your friend

Plenty of people love having fresh flowers in their home — but they don't last nearly as long as they'd like. After only a few days, bouquets tend to wither and wilt, turning what was once a beautiful decor piece into something much, much less aesthetically pleasing. So instead of topping your dresser with a vase of aromatic florals (though they do smell amazing), try a selection of dried flowers instead. Not quite the same as faux flowers, dried floral arrangements are actual flowers — they've just been dried out. Per Apartment Therapy, these bouquets will last much longer than fresh flowers. Not to mention, you can either buy them (at a flower market or even certain supermarkets) or dry them out yourself. If you can't find your favorite flowers pre-dried, just DIY a bouquet for your dresser!

Another perk of using dried florals as decor on your dresser is that they add height (via The Spruce). If you're not planning on using tall art or a lamp on your furniture piece, this is a great solution to accomplish the same goal. Arrange them in your favorite vase, and your bedroom will have a natural, cozy feel — without all the hassle of fresh flowers.

Make things moody

Feeling moody? There are so many ways you can incorporate a darker color scheme with old-school flair into your dresser decor. Per MyDomaine, the first step is to stick with deep hues. This could mean black, deep gray, or even dark green. Or, if you really want to decorate outside the box, the publication suggests trying an animal print for an exciting, unique look. Of course, not everything has to be dark to achieve the look. You can also add in some color here and there to liven up the space a little, too. A plant or a piece of bold art can really work well here!

Another way to approach this dresser decor option is to incorporate a dark academia style. Consider this option equally as moody as the previous suggestions, but with an academic twist. Designer Michelle Nussbaumer tells Homes & Gardens, "I like to use antique portraits and especially nineteenth-century portraits of gentlemen. These types of nineteenth-century portraits help create a moody aesthetic." You could also try a vintage bust, old books, or accessories that feel straight out of an eclectic professor's study.

Add some photos of friends and family

One of the biggest advantages of keeping photos of people who are important in your life on your dresser is that you'll likely see them every single day. Unlike some parts of your home where you might not spend much time, you're probably rooting around in your dresser each morning (and maybe in the evenings, too). Per Apartment Therapy, seeing these pictures can bring a little joy to your day — even if it's only for a quick moment while you're getting dressed.

There are plenty of ways to actually place these photos on your dresser, too. Of course, you could opt for a simple, minimalist frame for a low-key aesthetic. Or, if you're into a vintage look, you can place photos in vintage frames that mesh well with the rest of your bedroom decor. And if you have a mirror (either attached to your dresser, hung above it, or leaning on top of it), try placing some unframed pictures in the corners. This is a fun way to display old-school options like instant film photos or photo booth print-outs. As long as the photos serve as a reminder of happy times, you can't go wrong.

A lamp can brighten things up

Though we sometimes may discount lamps as viable decor pieces, they can make all the difference when decorating a space. And placing one on top of your dresser can elevate your bedroom in more ways than one. Designer Melissa Nelums tells MyDomaine, "A pair of lamps will add height to a dresser and give the illusion of a larger space." If you're working with a smaller room, this is a game-changer. You can even place a shorter lamp on top of a stack of books to get more height if you can't find (or don't have) a taller option. Just get creative with it and test out different looks to see what fits your decor best!

The extra light is a bonus, as well. Sure, it might feel strange to put a lamp on top of your dresser instead of (or in addition to) your nightstand, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't (via Lonny). This can be especially helpful if your bedroom doesn't get a lot of natural light or you just prefer to skip the overhead lights and use lamps instead.

Don't be afraid to make a statement

Let your dresser become the star of the bedroom by adding a can't-miss statement piece. Sure, we often consider the bed the biggest focal point in a bedroom, but that doesn't mean you can't change it up! Before you start searching for big and bold pieces, though, Hadley Court recommends making note of the size of the room — and the piece you're decorating. If the art or other decor item is taking up too much space (either physically or aesthetically), you might want to tone it down. Keep in mind the style of the bedroom and the other furniture in the space, too. Bold shouldn't equate to overwhelming!

There are plenty of great options when it comes to selecting the perfect piece to complement your dresser. You can try a huge mirror that'll dazzle any guest. Or, opt for a large art piece that brings you joy — like a vintage sign or painting. And for those who really love a unique decor option, you can use something unexpected to bring the "wow" factor, such as a shirt or dress that doubles as artwork (via Apartment Therapy).