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Three ways

To style a dresser

The dresser. It's the sort of piece that gives a home real gravitas, that earns you an impressive amount of points for simply having one in your life. Because of that, the dresser makes a statement with little to no intervention required. Its mere presence speaks volumes. But with all its shelf and cupboard space and forever elegant looks, it becomes easy to neglect. We take it for granted, thinking it will look after itself.

So whether you're the proud new owner of a dresser, or have one that's an old friend looking for a bit of affection and attention, listen up, this is how to take it from dresser, to well-dressed.

Shelf styling

This is the most obvious place to start.

Firstly, clear everything. It's always best to begin with a blank canvas.

Before you start arranging, take a moment to consider your home's personality. It's all well and good going for a busy layout with leaning towers of crockery and skew-whiff angles but if the rest of your home is minimal in ornamentation and thoroughly organised, the look won't sit right. It will jar. And vice versa. So we encourage you to think about this section in terms of ideas, and for you to go forth and create your interpretation of it.

Whatever your style, we believe the best dressers are those that are rooted in practicality. So crockery, glasses and a scattering of mugs are a real must. And instead of using the dresser as a place to display your finest wares, we like to see it as an excuse to treat ourselves to lovely everyday tableware and display them on the dresser instead. Pretty serving plates propped up is a safe path to a traditional aesthetic, but they can be fiddly to get out and means moving the things in front out of the way to get to them. So if yours is a home that runs at 100mph then we'd suggest stacking instead. Much easier.

Next we like to look to the things that give our days a little lift. For some people that's the familiar face of a teapot. For others it's a cake stand or set of vintage weighing scales. For some it's both, combined with a basket of smooth, white hen's eggs. By finding these things a home on a dresser's shelves, they get to sit in sunlight rather than lurking in the depths of a corner cabinet and they make us think of happy weekend afternoons.

And for the little bit of surface space, kept entirely clear just feels a little too sterile to us. But if clutter-free is your thing, try placing a few folded linen napkins or tea towels on the surface to give it warmth. Otherwise, it's quite a nice area to fill with carafes, a colander, a breadboard or two, and almost certainly some greenery, be it home-grown herbs or a vase of blooms.

 Paint brushes at the ready

Just like with any room of the home, a touch of colour can completely transform a space. So to breathe new life into your dresser, grab the sandpaper, a paint chart and a good quality brush and set several hours aside.

Don't be afraid of colour. A dresser in a strong blue or of-the-minute shade of blush pink is really fun. But that being said, don't feel bullied out of your comfort zone by magazines stating the grey reign is over. If neutrals are your thing, cream to bright white or natural wood to a soft grey can be just as transformative.

If you're using one of our house-blended paints, firstly prepare your surface by removing any sharp edges or flaking paint with fine-grade sandpaper. There's no need to go back to bare wood, just sand enough to create a smooth surface. Then wipe away any dust with a dry cloth so it doesn’t spoil the final finish. Our paint doesn't necessarily need a primer and can be applied directly onto exposed or painted wood. Give it a good stir beforehand and apply your first coat in the direction of the wood grain or of any existing brush strokes. It should dry within two hours and will be ready to re-coat within four hours. Two coats are all you need.

 Location, location, location

Our final tip is one that's often not considered yet has enormous impact. Think back to when you were little. If you were anything like us, we used to love moving the furniture around to create a new layout. It would make the biggest difference to how our bedrooms felt and was the next best thing to having it decorated. So why not be inspired by a younger version of yourself? If the room in which your dresser lives is big enough, try moving it to a different wall and reconfigure other freestanding bits of furniture. Or, if you fancy a real switch-around, why not take it to a new room altogether? Just like the sofa is no longer confined to the living room and the living room alone, the dresser too is quite happy spending its days in the kitchen, the dining room and even wide hallways and lounges. It means your dresser takes on a whole new character and gives your room a new point of focus. Whichever path you choose, it's all rather refreshing.

Styling your dresser doesn't have to involve steps one-three. It can just be one of them, two of them, none or all. The most important thing to remember is, it isn't set in stone. Explore ideas, try them out, arrange, rearrange, start all over again, but try to laugh along the way. With things like this, we like to think of it as a bit of a grown-up's playground.

Have fun!