Standard furniture widths may vary slightly, from manufacturer to manufacturer, and when it comes to a chest of drawers, you may find furniture as narrow as 10 inches, or 46 inches or wider. The height of each drawer within the chest also varies, from 3 to 4 inches to as wide as 12 inches.
When it comes to bedroom storage, you typically have three options -- dressers, armoires and chests. Dressers are usually wide, possible with two columns of drawers, while armoires are tall and may have drawers, as well as a cupboard area accessed by doors. A chest of drawers is typically more narrow and is a good option for a small room. A chest of drawers may stand chest high or lower, and have several drawers.
Although there is no standard size for a chest of drawers, the most common size is 38 inches wide. A chest of drawers this size is small enough to fit in most bedrooms, but large enough to have ample storage space. The drawers are also small enough that they won't buckle or sag over time.
Most furniture makers design furniture in measurements that take advantage of the size of the raw wood. For example, if wood panels come in lengths of 6, 7 or 8 feet lengths, then making chest of drawers in widths of 36, 42, and 48 inch lengths allows the manufacturer to use every bit of wood, with no waste. Chest of drawers are almost always made in widths of even numbers.
When selecting a chest of drawers, consider the size of the room and the intended use. For example, a low, wide chest of drawers in a child's room allows the child to reach the drawers safely without climbing. Ensure that the chest of drawers doesn't obstruct windows or prevent access to closets, as well. A chest of drawers should have easy-glide metal runners and be durably constructed. To determine if a chest of drawers will fit in your home, cut a piece of newspaper or butcher paper to the furniture's measurements. Place the newspaper on the floor in the intended location of the furniture.
Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."