What is an Apothecary Chest?

An apothecary chest is a type of storage furniture originally used to store medicines and herbs.


An apothecary chest, also known as a pharmacy cabinet, is a piece of furniture characterized by its multitude of small drawers. Traditionally, these chests were used by pharmacists and herbalists to organize and store various medicinal herbs, compounds, and ingredients. The design, featuring anywhere from a dozen to several dozens of drawers, aided in the meticulous organization necessary for quick access to specific items.

In contemporary interior design, apothecary chests have transcended their original function. They are now cherished for their vintage appeal and versatility in storage and organization within homes. Their unique appearance, often made from wood with labels or ornate detailing on each drawer, makes them a popular choice for adding character and a touch of history to a room's decor. Whether used in a living room, bedroom, or home office, an apothecary chest adds both functionality and aesthetic value, blending well with a variety of design styles from rustic to eclectic.

Moreover, modern reproductions and adaptations of apothecary chests are available, allowing them to fit into more contemporary spaces. These modern versions may maintain the traditional layout of numerous small drawers or incorporate larger compartments for more versatile usage.


Traditionally used in pharmacies and herbalist shops, apothecary chests are now commonly found in homes as decorative and functional storage solutions. They are used to organize small items like craft supplies, jewelry, or office supplies and serve as unique focal points in room decor.


  • Can apothecary chests be used in modern interiors?

    Yes, apothecary chests can seamlessly blend into modern interiors, especially through modern reproductions that might feature updated materials or designs while maintaining the traditional drawer layout.

  • What materials are apothecary chests typically made of?

    Historically, apothecary chests were primarily made of wood, but modern versions can also be found in a variety of materials, including metal or a combination of wood and metal, to fit contemporary aesthetics.

  • How can an apothecary chest be styled in a home?

    An apothecary chest can be styled as a statement piece of furniture by placing it in a prominent location like an entryway or living room. Its drawers can be labeled or left plain, and the top can be adorned with decorative items such as vases, books, or lamps.

Practical Application

When incorporating an apothecary chest into your interior design, consider its size and the amount of drawer space needed for your specific storage needs. For a more authentic look, opt for a chest made of wood with vintage finishes. Additionally, think about the items you plan to store in it to ensure the drawer sizes are appropriate. Labeling the drawers can also enhance its functionality while adding a personalized touch.