How to Measure a Chest of Drawers

Chests of drawers are often the least thought through piece of bedroom furniture. The size of the unit is the most important factor. You could have the most breath taking chest of drawers in the world but if it’s too small or too big you’ll grow to resent them.

Purpose of the Drawers

Before measuring anything take a minute to think about what you are going to be using your drawers to store. For most people the answer would be clothes. If this is you, consider the quantity of clothes you have and which clothes you will be storing inside your drawers. This should give you a better idea of the size of drawers you will need. If you are specifically looking to store jewellery then you may wish to consider a dresser drawer, which will have in-built storage specifically for jewellery.

What is on top?

It is also worth considering what you will be placing on top of your drawers such as a scented candle or a lamp. If you are putting a mirror on top of your chest of drawers it would be wise to consider the height of your drawers. You don’t want to morph into the hunchback of Notre Dame bending over to do your hair or makeup. Likewise, you don’t want to use a ladder to take a look at yourself.

Consider the room/space

Another size to consider is the space in front of the drawers. You will need enough space to be able to pull the drawers out so you can access whatever you chose to store away. Ensure there is at least 36 inches between the chest of drawers and any obstacles facing it.

You will need to take into account how much floor space you have available for the chest of drawers. If your unit is too big it will consume the room or if it’s too small, you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t get one bigger. Use masking tape to give you a better visual representation of how much floor space the unit will take up. This gives you a good opportunity to get a feel for size comparison with the other furniture in your room. Additionally, it will allow you to make changes before it’s too late.

The Process

When measuring for a chest of drawers there are three main dimensions to consider:

  • Width: this is the size from one side of the drawers to the other. Measure the wall you are placing your drawers in front of. Ensure there will be enough space for any cupboard or bedroom door to swing open without a collision.  A wider top would be ideal for anyone wanting to use their unit for decoration and display purposes. Whether that be for photographs, ornaments or for your cup of tea and book to rest on before bed.
  • Height: this is the size from the bottom of the unit to the top. As discussed earlier, your ideal height depends on your specific needs. If you prioritise storage, a taller unit with more drawers would be more suitable for you.
  • Depth: this is the size from the front of the unit to the back. I will go into more detail on how to measure depth of individual drawers. If you are looking to store plenty in your chest of drawers then having great depth will be excellent for you.

Measure an individual draw

Right, you have bought your chest of drawers and now you are planning to use a drawer organiser. You will need to know the dimensions of your drawers. Here’s how to measure an individual drawer:

  1. You need a measuring tape.
  2. Now open and empty out the drawer. Use the measuring tape to measure the drawer from left to right and from the back to the front. Note that the drawers might not on a straight axis, so measure at the middle and ends to cover all ground.
  3. Measure from the floor of the drawer to the top of the sides. Do this for the back, sides and front of the drawer as panels might vary in dimensions around the drawer.
  4. Repeat these steps for each drawer in the dresser to ensure you avoid disappointment. Each drawer may differ in size even if they look the same, which is why I stress to do this for every drawer if you want exact measurements.


All measured up and ready to start finding your perfect chest of drawers? Why not head over and take our style quiz now, and get instant recommendations matching your style and budget.