Here at The French Bedroom Company, we love a styling moment, and we love to re-style the same legacy pieces with seasonal touches throughout the year. A French style chest of drawers is a particularly lovely spot to show your personality, but it can be difficult to know where to start.
Whether you’re struggling with a large chest of drawers in your bedroom or a simpler two drawer console table in your foyer, we can help you turn your chest of drawers from “wow what a beautiful piece of furniture” to “wow I love how you’ve transformed this space!”
Something for the Wall
The first element to think about is the wall behind your chest of drawers. A mirror or a piece of artwork is usually the best bet for this space. If you do choose to go for a mirror, remember to think about what you’re “framing” on the other side of your room. The door to your bathroom or that spot where the kid’s toys tend to collect might not be the most aesthetically pleasing.
This piece sets the tone for the entire space, so make sure it’s something that makes your heart sing whenever you see it. Choose an opulent, ornate frame or a piece of art that includes gold leaf for a luxurious space, or a modern take on a traditional oil painting for a cool contemporary space.
Ideally, look at finding a piece that’s around two thirds the size of your chest of drawers. Don’t go for something that’s bigger than the full width of your drawers, as this will overpower the drawers, resulting in it looking top heavy.
Something with Height
To help bring your drawers and the artwork together, choose something with height for dramatic effect. It could be any number of things: a plant, a candle and candlestick combination, a vase filled with flowers, eucalyptus or pampas grass, or a table lamp.
For a coherent space, try working within a theme. For example, you could pair a coastal landscape with pampas grass for that breezy beach walk feel. Or, if high French style drama is the look you’re going for (let’s face it, why would you be here if you weren’t!) then pair your hand-carved gilded mirror with a gorgeous French urn styled with a cascading cherry blossom branch to make you feel like you’re on the set of your favourite romantic drama.
If your chest of drawers is to be functional as well as beautiful, a tray helps odds and ends look purposeful. With things like jewellery, perfume bottles or skin care, putting them on a mirrored gold tray or an antique one that’s been treasured by your family for years turns them into a bit of a statement, whilst still providing handy storage for all the little things you tend to store on top of your set of drawers.
If you share your chest of drawers with your husband or partner, you could create symmetry by having yours and theirs’ trays on either side.
Now you have your artwork on the wall, something tall, and a low tray, you’ll need to create some balance with extra pieces until you’re happy with it. Choose a variety of heights and sizes to ensure the space looks vibrant and eye-catching. It could be a framed photo of you and your family, a couple of scented candles, small plants for a contemporary look, your favourite books – anything can be an accent piece if you want it to be.
The beauty of a vignette on a chest of drawers is that you can change it up. Just on a whim. You might decide that you need a change to inspire something different in yourself, or to go with the changing weather.
We love swapping things out on a seasonal basis. You might change that photo of the kids at the beach for one where they’re playing in the autumn leaves and collect some pinecones together, or change your big wall piece for something Christmassy, and add a sprig of holly to your tray. The possibilities are endless, and your chest of drawers is the perfect place to get creative.
A chest of drawers is not just for the bedroom. They can live in the living room, a hallway, even a bathroom. And the way you style them can reflect the room they’re in too.
The principles remain the same, but the items you use could be different. For instance, in the hallway you might have a catch-all tray for keys, a letter holder and a diffuser to welcome you home, whereas in the kitchen you could use it as a place to store pasta in jars, your favourite cookbooks or your cocktail making accessories.
The style of your chest of drawers will influence your vignette as well. With a distressed, shabby chic style of drawers in white, you might opt for something romantic and simplistic – a cut glass vase of roses, an ornate frame and a tray of designer perfume bottles and a place to pop your favourite piece of jewellery.
Whereas for a gold or black chest of drawers, or something that’s making an undeniable statement, you can lean into that and go for drama with sculpture, candelabras and lots of plants at various heights.
Do you have any other tips for styling French chests of drawers?