This Is Why Dressers Have Legs

Dressers Have Legs

Legs are a stable part of furniture appearance, and it may seem like they only serve an aesthetic purpose. However, you may wonder why dressers have legs when they could sit flat on the ground. A dresser’s legs are actually a foundational part of the building of the dresser, and they serve a similar purpose for many other types of furniture as well.

Dressers have legs for structural reasons. Dressers have legs because legs are able to provide structure and prohibit the wood from warping. A dresser’s base and its drawers are particularly prone to warping, but dresser legs help prevent this.

A dresser’s legs are not only there for design. They serve a practical purpose as well. Read on to find out more about what dresser legs do, how to put them on a dresser, and if there are ways to avoid adding legs for appearance reasons. 

How Do You Put Legs on a Dresser?

If you want to understand how to put legs on a dresser, it is important first to understand why there are legs, to begin with on dressers. Legs are most common on wooden furniture and have been a staple of reliable woodwork pieces for centuries. It is even possible to date many pieces of antique furniture by looking at the styles of the legs. If you are interested in installing legs yourself, you should understand

  • What a set of legs will do to the structure of the dresser
  • Which type of legs you would like for your dresser
  • How the installation process will work for your dresser

Legs are so prominent in woodwork furniture because they provide structure and allow for the weight of the dresser and its contents to be balanced across even points. Wood can fluctuate based on changes in the weather, air pressure, or other factors, but it is important to have a stable piece of furniture or it will wear down more quickly. When wood fluctuates, it can put pressure on unstable parts, but the legs prevent this.

Legs are strategically placed evenly across the bottom of the furniture so that the weight is distributed downward evenly. If legs are placed unevenly on furniture, such as all but one leg being equidistant from each other, it will cause supporting legs to receive extra weight and others to receive less. This will result in instability and potentially the wearing down of one or more of the legs quickly.

A dresser’s legs provide structure for your furniture, but they also provide style. In fact, it is even possible to look at the style of some furniture and identify the era it came from. If your room already has a certain theme or style to it, you may want to consider adding legs to your dresser that go along with that theme. Although many of these styles are beautiful, it may look absurd to combine furniture from different centuries.

Once you have chosen a style that you like, it is also important to keep in mind that the function of your furniture legs is to provide support for the dresser and keep it from warping. Adding weaker legs to a heavy dresser may not work very well. For that reason, it is also important to keep in mind what you will be using the dresser for. If you are storing heavy items, that is weight that should also be considered.

Like any other craft, installing furniture legs can be simple or intricate, depending on the type of results you are looking for. If you have lots of experience, you may be willing to install furniture legs with a build and design the legs yourself before adding a way to attach them to the bottom of the dresser. However, if you are looking for a simple solution that will make your base sturdier, there are still options for you.

Attaching Legs to a Dresser

You can actually purchase pre-made furniture legs that come with all the pieces needed to install them onto a dresser. If you have a wide base, you can attach them using just a dowel screw which will be half in the dresser and half in each leg. You can also use heavy inserts and a drill bit to create a more stable attachment from each leg to the dresser. This would be recommended for heavier loads. 

  • Generally, legs are attached to the dresser through a wooden piece called the apron.
  • It can be complicated to build the apron so another option available is to purchase cleats that adhere directly to the bottom of the dresser.
  • From there, you will attach the legs to the cleats, a sturdy alternative. Cleats generally also will provide you with several options of how to angle the feet so you can add some design flair. 

Direct attachment is a newer style of adding legs that creates a simple, modern look. If you have a basic piece of furniture but are worried about its stability, this is an option worth considering. The installation is relatively simple, and it usually provides great support for heavy loads. However, this style clashes immensely with modern looks so if you are trying to improve an antique piece, it is not recommended.

Metal Dressers

You may think that metal dressers would not need legs because they are less susceptible to changes in the environment than wooden furniture. However, you would be surprised to observe that most metal furniture also has legs to some extent that add to the style and structure of the piece. Although metal furniture does not have a history as rich as wooden pieces, there are still reasons to use it.

Metal furniture is generally sturdier than wooden furniture. For that reason, it is used to hold heavy items, and it can be put in less delicate environments. A dresser’s legs are a helpful tool in ensuring that the metal furniture can maintain its stability. Metal legs also have wheels or pads attached to them to ensure that the furniture can be moved easily, either through rolling or pushing, without causing too much damage to the floor.

Metal dressers are a modern style, and the legs on them tend to reflect that style. Oftentimes, they have the direct attachment method mentioned earlier that connects the legs to the base of the dresser without a cleat or apron. If you are thinking about adding legs to a metal dresser, be sure to consider the style of the room and what the furniture already has. It can tie other pieces together or make the room look chaotic.


Overall, there is a lot to consider if you need to add legs to a dresser or are thinking of purchasing a dresser of any kind. Legs are a noticeable feature of most furniture and can have a lasting effect on the room the dresser is in. The style you choose can clash with other artistic choices, but it could also bring together a disconnected area if carefully chosen and assembled. All of this is in addition to the primary role.

Legs are necessary for a sturdy piece of furniture, and that is why they have been used and experimented with, and improved upon for centuries. You can add legs to prevent a wooden dresser from warping, and it may also serve the purpose of creating an easier way to move the furniture from room to room. If you are choosing leg installation, it is important to consider your skills, but there are ways to make this easy for anybody.



Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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