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Differences between dressers, sideboards, sideboards, lowboards and highboards


In our last article, The Small ABC of Cabinet Furniture, we dealt in detail with the structure and special features of cabinet furniture and cabinet furniture in general. Today we want to turn to special types of cupboards and explain the differences between dressers, sideboards, lowboards, highboards and various other types of cupboards to you.

For this purpose, we have set up this Wohnen.de magazine article like a small encyclopedia in which we bring you closer to various chests of drawers and cupboards from A-Z with small definitions, further explanations and some background information. In this way, you can get to know exactly the pieces of furniture that are of interest to you.


Various chests of drawers and cabinets from A-Z

As the title of our article "Differences between dressers, dressers, sideboards, lowboards and highboards" expresses, we want to help you differentiate between the different types of dressers and cupboards. This is often not easy due to the variety of names and cabinet shapes. In addition, it is often the case that one and the same cupboard or one and the same chest of drawers can be characterized with different names. Some furniture groups, for example, have been given new, more modern names over time, so that at least one old category meets a new category, but everything still fits the respective piece of furniture. Some classifications or furniture names for the cupboards and chests of drawers relate to the use, structure or installation location. Others refer to the dimensions of the furniture.

Below are many types of cabinets and dressers with brief definitions and explanations. Take some time now and get to know the different furniture groups better:

file cabinet

The filing cabinet belongs to the group of so-called archive furniture, which also includes library cabinets and library tables. From this, the original use of the filing cabinets can be derived, which in the late 17th and 18th centuries were mainly used to set up monastery libraries. Nowadays we understand filing cabinets mainly as cabinet furniture for office furnishings, which are suitable in terms of their dimensions and equipment for storing files and folders.

Filing cabinets in the Wohnen.de online shop


The term Almerei is actually no longer used today. In the late Middle Ages, a cupboard was generally known as Almerei in colloquial language, although the exact structure of the cupboard did not play a role.


The classic sideboard is a half-height cupboard with two doors that is used to store tableware and tableware. This piece of furniture is derived from the chest. Today, chests of drawers or sideboards for dining room furnishings that have a certain height are also referred to as sideboards because they are basically suitable for serving buffet-style dishes.

Top cabinet

A top cabinet is defined as a piece of furniture made up of two parts, which consists of a lower part or base in the form of a chest of drawers (with drawers or doors) and an upper part or top in the form of a small cabinet with two doors or a cabinet.

Top writing cabinet

The top writing cabinet is a piece of writing furniture that has a chest or cabinet-shaped lower part, a hinged writing surface and an attachment with compartments and / or doors. The term essay secretary is also used synonymously for the term writing cabinet.


Ricardo bookcase

In ancient times, cupboards were used to store rolls of parchment. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, chests were mostly used to protect valuable books and manuscripts. Bookcases themselves have only been known since the second half of the 18th century, when they were shaped by Chippendale, especially in England in the form of barred display cabinets. This special form of the bookcase was widespread until the 19th century and was adopted particularly in northern Germany and the Netherlands. Today, modern bookcases are often used as an alternative to classic bookshelves.


The buffet - often also: buffet or buffet cupboard - is a sideboard in the form of a cupboard that is used as a display or utility cupboard. The classic buffet has been particularly popular in France since the 16th century.

Dining room buffet cabinets and kitchen buffet cabinets in the Wohnen.de online shop

Hall closet

Hall closet racket

The hall cabinet is defined as a large type of cabinet with two doors that can be found almost exclusively in northern Germany. Entrance cabinets have been in use since the end of the 17th century, although - as the name suggests - they are mainly set up in the spacious hallways or corridors of bourgeois houses. Entrance cabinets are primarily used to store laundry and / or clothing.

Lockers for the hall in the Wohnen.de online shop

Corner cupboard

A corner cabinet is a cabinet that is designed to fit into a corner of a room. Corner cabinets were very popular in the 18th century and were used there in pairs. The corner cupboard came into fashion again in the Art Nouveau era. Corner cabinets adapted to our zeitgeist are available again today when it comes to functional home furnishings.


Cupboard Pecos

The term cupboard is used to describe a special shape of the cupboard, which is usually characterized by a glazed upper part. For this reason, the term glass cabinet is used synonymously for cupboard. The cupboard has its origins in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 18th century, where it was primarily used to display valuable porcelain, glass or silver. From the Netherlands, the cupboard spread mainly to Germany, England, France and America. Cupboards were largely replaced in the 19th century by display cabinets with often full-door glazing.

Wall cupboard

A wall cabinet is a cabinet that is attached to the wall. Wall cabinets are only supported by one or more walls of the building. Accordingly, they have no contact with the ground. Wall cabinets are mostly found in the bathroom or kitchen, where they are also known as wall cabinets. In addition, there are also wall cupboards which, for example, in the form of showcases with glass inserts belong to the wall unit programs or are offered as a complementary piece of furniture for sideboards or the like.

Wall cabinets in the Wohnen.de online shop

Half cabinet

A half-cupboard is a two-door piece of furniture that is often also equipped with a drawer. Half cabinets are sometimes also referred to as dresser cabinets.


Highboard nalium

A highboard is a chest of drawers or half-height cupboard with a height between approx. 110 cm and 130 cm (chest to shoulder height). The highboard is also designed to be relatively wide (width is usually less than the height). The storage space available for highboards is completely different depending on the model. Highboards can not only have doors made of solid material, but also glass doors, flap compartments, open shelf areas and drawers.


The Highboy is a special chest of drawers with high legs, which is a characteristic American furniture of the 18th century.

High chest of drawers

Lavrony high chest of drawers

A high chest of drawers is generally understood to be a relatively narrow (up to 50 cm or 60 cm wide) chest of drawers that is up to 100 cm high. Tall chests of drawers are often only equipped with drawers, but due to their height they offer a large number of them. Occasionally there are also tall chests of drawers with doors or open shelves.

Tall cabinet

One speaks of a tall cabinet when a cabinet has a height of approx. 175 cm or more and a width of usually no more than 60 cm. The amount of storage space is correspondingly higher in tall cabinets. Tall cabinets are part of typical bathroom furnishings, but are also often found in the kitchen, where they are also used, for example, to accommodate normal household refrigerators.

Tall cabinets in the Wohnen.de online shop


The cabinet or cabinet is a showpiece of furniture that spread from the end of the 16th century. The cabinet was used to store valuables or utensils for writing. Originally the cabinet consisted of a rectangular box with doors or hinged lids and a large number of small drawers. The cabinet was usually set up on a specially made table. From the 18th and 19th centuries, the cabinet was increasingly replaced by the writing cabinet.

Chest chest

The chest chest developed in the 15th century. It differs from the older Stollen chest in that the chest boards are connected to one another via tongue and groove and are nailed at the corners.


Julie wardrobe

As the name suggests, the wardrobe is used to store clothes. In addition, most wardrobes are equipped with rails for hanging storage and with shelves for lying or folded storage of the items of clothing. Some wardrobes also have drawers for storing laundry, which means there is no need for an additional chest of drawers in the room.

Wardrobes are usually part of the permanent furnishings of bedrooms, baby rooms, children's rooms and youth rooms. The majority of the wardrobes are very deep, with the clear depth (inner dimension in the direction of the hung items of clothing) being defined as at least 54 centimeters. But there are also manufacturers who have considered in their range that there is little space in many old buildings and therefore offer space-saving variants with a smaller depth.


Wohnen.de tip: wardrobe with a shallow depth

If you are looking for a particularly space-saving wardrobe, it can be worthwhile to look around for a suitable piece of furniture in the hallway furniture or cloakroom furniture area. Furniture for the hallway area is usually characterized by a shallow depth and there are definitely models that can also be ideally used as a compact wardrobe thanks to wardrobes, shelves and drawers.


A rough distinction is made between wardrobes with revolving doors, wardrobes with folding doors and wardrobes with sliding doors or sliding doors. The differences are - as you can already guess - in the design of the doors. The wardrobe with hinged doors is a classic wardrobe with doors attached to one side on hinges. These cabinet doors open into the room, which means that a relatively large amount of space is required to open the wardrobe. In the case of folding doors, the doors of the cabinet are connected to one another using special fittings. The individual wings of the folding doors slide together to form a flat package when opened, which is why folding door wardrobes require less space than revolving door wardrobes. In the case of sliding-door wardrobes or sliding-door wardrobes, the doors are fixed on or in the carcass in such a way that they can be moved horizontally to the carcass. Additional space in front of the cabinet is therefore not required here, which is why these cabinet types are ideal for confined spaces.

Wardrobes in the Wohnen.de online shop

Combination chest of drawers Tropezian

Combination chest of drawers

A combination chest of drawers is a chest of drawers that has both doors and drawers - i.e. is equipped with a combination.


Mercantego chest of drawers

Chests of drawers appeared in the early 18th century. The chest of drawers is defined as a storage unit with half height, which is provided with drawers. Functionally, the chest of drawers is seen as the successor to the chest, although there have been chest-like drawer cabinets since ancient times.

Chests of drawers in the Wohnen.de online shop


The sideboard is a sideboard in the shape of a table, which was originally a piece of furniture from the Italian Renaissance. The sideboard comes both as a half-height cabinet with two doors and with drawers. In the 17th century, credents were also widespread in the Netherlands and France.


Lowboard Nosha

The lowboard is a sideboard with a low height of approx. 25 cm to 50 cm. Lowboards are mainly used to furnish living rooms, which is why they are often referred to as TV boards. Like highboards or sideboards, lowboards can be equipped with doors, drawers, flaps or open compartments. If they are designed directly for use as TV furniture, there are special device compartments and openings for cable routing on the rear wall of the lowboard.

Lowboards in the Wohnen.de online shop

Portfolio cabinet

The portfolio cabinet is a piece of furniture that appeared around 1800. It is reminiscent of a chest of drawers and belongs to the collection furniture. Portfolio cabinets are equipped with flat, deep drawers, which are used to store folders and graphic sheets. Nowadays such furniture is rarely in demand and found.

Desk showcase

The desk showcase is also part of the collection furniture group (19th century). It is a container furniture in the form of a desk, which is provided with a glazed cover plate and drawers. Desk showcases were mainly used for the storage and display of graphics.

Room divider

Vislan room divider

A room divider is usually understood to be a shelf or a cupboard that can be used from both sides and thus used to divide a room in the apartment. The paravent must be distinguished from this. - This is a stand frame equipped with two or more wings, which is filled with canvas, wallpaper, fabric or the like. In contrast to the classic room divider, the paravent does not belong to the cupboards because it offers no storage space. The advantage of a screen over a room divider is that it can be set up flexibly where it is needed. Room dividers, on the other hand, are often very heavy and cannot be moved without great effort.

Room dividers and screens in the Wohnen.de online shop


A shelf is a piece of furniture with an open front surface, which is horizontally divided by shelves or shelves. In addition to the horizontal shelves, shelves can also have a vertical division. Shelves are available with or without a back wall. They can be designed free-standing as so-called standing shelves or for wall mounting as hanging shelves or wall shelves. Shelves are available for almost every room in the home and in a wide range of sizes.

Shelves in the Wohnen.de online shop


The term secretary is used to refer to writing furniture in the form of a cupboard, especially in the art trade. Secretary is a very general description. With regard to the differences that may exist in this piece of furniture, the names Aufaufschreiberbie, Aufsatzschreiberegode and writing cabinet are more precise.

Secretaries in the Wohnen.de online shop


The term sideboard is often equated with sideboard, buffet cupboard (see buffet) or sideboard, although there can be big differences. Nowadays, a sideboard is generally understood to mean a chest of drawers without an attachment that is much wider than it is high. One speaks of a sideboard from a width of 120 cm. Sideboards with widths around 200 cm are widespread. Occasionally, very large models that are 300 cm or more wide are also offered.

The height of the sideboards is usually between 70 cm and 100 cm. Sideboards usually have doors or drawers or a combination of doors and drawers. Sideboards therefore offer a lot of "invisible" storage space. Sideboards with glass inserts and open shelves are also available.

Sideboards in the Wohnen.de online shop

Tunnel cabinet

The tunnel cabinet is a type of cabinet that was developed in the late Gothic period. Characteristic for the tunnel cabinet is a box-shaped attachment, which is supported by four high corner studs. The tunnel cabinet was mainly used as a sideboard or to store the dishes.


The chest is one of the oldest box furniture that was already known in antiquity. In the rather sparsely furnished rooms of the early period, the chest was mainly used as a storage unit in which all mobile belongings were kept. The chest was also used to sit down.The chest went through many changes over the centuries, with its importance becoming less and less important during the 17th century. From then on, the chest was mainly to be found in the country, where it could be kept in many different forms until well into the 19th century.

Chests in the Wohnen.de online shop

Wall unit

A large cabinet consisting of several parts or individual cabinets and possibly shelves in the same design and material is referred to as a wall unit. There are also wall units in endless construction where individual sides, floors and fronts are connected to one another to form a cabinet. The terms add-on wall and wall unit are used synonymously for wall unit. Since the wall unit is mainly used to furnish living rooms and there often also offers the possibility of setting up the television set, one also speaks of TV wall or TV wall unit. However, the wall unit is not to be equated with the closet. This is a cabinet that is permanently integrated into the building.

Wall units in the Wohnen.de online shop


Vertiko is simply the abbreviation for VERTIkal-KOmmode. It is understood to mean a chest of drawers that is greater in height than width. In contrast to the highboard, the equipment or front division is defined on the Vertiko. The Vertiko always has two doors and a drawer above. In addition, the classic Vertiko also includes an attachment.

Vertiko in the Wohnen.de online shop


Showcase Kostran

The showcase is a cabinet intended for presentation, which for this purpose is equipped with glass or glass doors on at least one side - usually on the front. For the best possible presentation, there are showcases that have glass on all four sides and often also at the top and are also provided with interior cabinet lighting. There are also showcases with three-sided glass and a mirrored back wall, for example.

Dining room showcases and living room showcases in the Wohnen.de online shop

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