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Is it Okay to Put a Dresser in Your Living Room? If So, Why?

A living room with indoor plant and a dresser.

Should you put a dresser in the living room? Usually, long chests of drawers work best in the living room, especially when converted into a media center or credenza. I’ve also seen some nightstands used as an end table with storage space. But what about the upright dresser?

From Long Dresser to Media Center

A white dresser with 9 slots.

Source: IKEA

“There’s no need to buy expensive furniture when you have a perfectly good dresser than needs a new home in another room,” says Coral Nafie of The Spruce.

A wooden dresser and two lampshade.

Source: Walmart

I agree with Nafie’s point of view, and it doesn’t matter what style of drawer chest it is. For instance, some bedroom furniture may look more like a credenza, having cabinets, drawers and shelves, which also make excellent media centers. However, other people might make placing a dresser into a DIY project like what I just saw on the Jami Ray Vintage YouTube channel.

What I find most useful about the Jami Ray Vintage long dresser to media center transformation project is taking out the drawer tracks to make room for a shelving board. However, I don’t have the time to sand, paint and refinish my furniture right now like these DIY experts did. However, I do understand that doing so may refine the converted look.   

For me, re-purposing a horizontal, six-drawer or nine-drawer dresser is as simple as removing the drawers, prying out the drawer track, and inserting a board in the place where the drawer used to be. That’s where I would store small items, such as remotes or physical media players, or a DVR or DVD player, if I even have one. Otherwise, this space would probably contain baskets of USB cords and wall plugs.

When I remove drawers to turn a dresser into shelves, I usually don’t take the time to fasten the boards to the slots where the drawers used to be. Maybe because of the limited time I have, I don’t see it as necessary. However, I do understand that some people may want the finished transformation to look more “formal” and professional rather than the Bohemian, relaxed look I prefer.

No Dresser Conversion Necessary

A wooden dresser and a lampshade.


I should add that you don’t need to convert your bedroom dresser into a media center or credenza that has shelves at all. In fact, it may make your life simpler if you don’t. For instance, a mid-century design, nine-drawer chest with a dark finish would complement most area rugs, wood doorway trims and flooring of a similar color and texture.

A dresser with indoor plant and vase.

Source: HomeSquare

I like the idea of at least nine drawers, in which you can keep all your entertainment supplies hidden. It also makes organization of small items simple, and it becomes even easier if you have a 12-drawer dresser you could move to your living room.

For instance, maybe you have microphones and music amp cords you would place in one drawer. Others might have just portable devices or Bluetooth keyboards and mice or DVDs and other physical media. I like a combination of shelves and drawers, but just drawers would work too, and the horizontal space has plenty of room for a flatscreen TV on top.

Using Nightstands

A wooden Nightstands dresser.

Source: Crate & Barrel

“More storage in the living room is always great, but closed storage that lets you hide a mess? You can’t beat that,” says Kelsie Schrader of Apartment Therapy.

I take this home furniture expert’s side. To me, the nightstand ranks as the number two most useful piece of bedroom furniture besides the long dresser used in the living room. I can’t think of a better way to organize a living room space that allows for items within easy reach in open spaces that also conceals items you don’t want guests to see when they come over.

When it comes to nightstands, I’m fascinated by how many options exist. They come with short stubs or long legs or even no legs at all. I feel overwhelmed trying to decide, but a factor that contributes to my choice is how much space I have. In some cases, the items with legs fit in tighter quarters than ones without.

A bedroom with a nightstand and flower vase.

The nightstands without legs, however, won’t draw any attention to the floor or the unit if you don’t want this to stand out as your primary piece of living room furniture. This style usually sets up a rustic or minimalist living room display with just the right amount of extra texture and shape – not too much like some legged models.

The Upright Dresser

An Upright Dresser with leather chair and flower vase.

Source: Pottery Barn

I couldn’t neglect talking about whether you should place an upright dresser in a living room or not. Personally, I find the one I have more useful in a kitchen for storing cleaning and cooking supplies in them. However, it also works in a space where people might gather to relax or watch movies and TV or just have drinks and socialize.

Besides, the upright dresser takes up less horizontal space, so you might have more places to set it than a long dresser. People like me who live in a shoebox apartment would appreciate this, but it’s also important to remember style. If your bedroom has a similar design theme as your living room, it does make the transition of an upright dresser from the bedroom to the living room easy.

If your dresser doesn’t look at all like your living room furniture, you might have to alter it. For instance, repaint or refinish it. In most cases, however, you can add an upright dresser to your living room without much problem.