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How to Pick the Best Vintage Dresser To Fit Your Style

If you’re on the hunt for a vintage dresser then you know the options can be overwhelming. Type “dressers for sale” in your search bar and you’re bombarded with dressers of all shapes and sizes (most of them disappointingly brown in color). To narrow the search, there’s nothing more helpful than knowing a few key dresser styles. Not sure what those are? No problem! Read on for a round-up of the coolest dresser styles we know, and to learn what dresser style most fits your aesthetic!

Campaign Dresser

If you’re in the market for a modern dresser, you can’t do better than a campaign dresser. Inspired by the portable furniture constructed for the military in the 18th and 19th Centuries, campaign dressers feature sharp-edged, box-y silhouettes. Thanks to their angles, campaign dressers pair seamlessly with modernist elements. With that said, if your style skews a little more traditional, a campaign dresser may still be for you. Brass capped edges and recessed brass handles lend these dressers just a touch of classism. Campaign dressers come in a variety of colors and finishes, but you’ll most often find them in glossy lacquer or wood finishes. If you’re looking for a basic white dresser, don’t fret—campaigns are commonly found in pigment-less finishes. They’re also easy to locate in both highboy and lowboy styles. So if you’re scouting out a tall dresser, again, campaign’s your man.

Federal Dresser

Inspired by the dressers that were in production immediately following the Revolutionary War, Federalist dressers are equal parts antique and contemporary. Among Federal dressers' most defining attributes are their slightly bowed drawer fronts, rich mahogany wood finishes, and brass oval drawer pulls. As far as antique dressers go, Federalist dressers sit on the more modern end of spectrum, making them perfect for pairing with contemporary bedroom staples like tufted upholstered headboards and tailored leather chairs. If you love the style of the federalist dresser, but are looking for a gray or black dresser rather than a wood one, keep an eye out for modern reproductions from makers like Ethan Allen or Arhaus. They frequently render the style in cerused or ebonized wood finishes.

Provincial Dresser

With their wavy drawer fronts, cabriole legs, and flowery brass drawer pulls, provincial dressers are as pretty as dressers get. If you’re looking for a bedroom dresser that evokes a romantic, bygone era, a French Provincial dresser will do you right. A popular style that everyone from Henredon to John Widdicomb has tried their hand at, the provincial dresser is a prime candidate for pretty, painted finishes. Whether you’re looking for a white dresser or a black dresser (or anything in between), you’re liable to find a Provincial re-finished in your color of choice. Among our favorite ways to see a Provincial dresser used is as a bathroom vanity. Pop off the top and replace it with a yummy slab of marble and two drop-in sinks and you’ve just procured the world’s prettiest bath.


Named for its resemblance to the world’s most shapely explosive (also known as the bomb, make that bombe for you Francophiles), the bombe chest is a small, curvy dresser hiked up shapely cabriole legs. Since bombes tend to be smaller dressers—equipped with only two to three drawers max—they’re perfect for adorning entryways and end-of-hallway-situations where a little storage space is needed. Among the trends you’ll find among bombe dressers and chests is ornate detailing on the façade. Whether it be Rococo-style gilding, Chinoiserie etchings, or full-on pastoral-style murals, these little but mighty dressers pack major style.

Bamboo Dresser

While it’s up for debate what maker first produced the faux bamboo dresser, the style reigned supreme in the 1950s and 60s, when tiki mania was at its peak in America. Featuring a clean-lined, box silhouette, this dresser typically showcases legs molded to resemble bamboo as well as faux-bamboo edged drawers. Handles are usually minimal drop handles, allowing the bamboo architecture to take center stage. Makers who specialized in this Mid-Century Modern dresser style include Dixie, Henry Link, Ficks Reed, Broyhill and Thomasville. While many of these Mid-Century Modern dressers have already been lacquered up in island hues like pink, yellow, and palm leaf green, it’s not hard to track down a raw wood one which can be personalized directly by you.

Danish Dresser

If there was ever a modern dresser that could play multiple roles—playroom storage, dining room credenza, media cabinet, the Danish dresser is it. Thanks to minimal styling and superior construction Danish dressers are ready to complement your existing décor style—and house a lot more than just sweaters. If you have your heart set on a Mid-Century Modern dresser, it’s best to take stock of whether you’ll be on the hunt for a short or tall dresser, first. From there, narrow down what kind of wood you’re looking for. Rosewood, teak, and walnut were all commonly used during the era, and all showcase different hues. Lastly, decide if you’re set on owning a piece by a certain maker. A-list designers include Jens Risom, Paul McCobb, George Nelson. To make less of a dent in your pocketbook, try manufacturers like Dixie, Stanley, Broyhill, or Lane. There’s also no harm in going with an unmarked brand, either—when it comes to Mid-Century dressers there's really no such thing as a less-than-average one.