What is a Mule Chest?

A mule chest is a traditional piece of furniture that combines the features of a chest and a drawer.


A mule chest is an elegant and functional piece of furniture that originated in the 18th century. Deriving its name from its hybrid nature, a mule chest effectively combines the storage benefits of a chest with the convenience of drawers beneath. Originally, it was used for storing clothes, especially the long, easily wrinkled garments that were common in earlier centuries, hence the combination of a spacious top section (the chest) with drawers underneath for more neatly organized storage.

Typically crafted from wood, mule chests are admired for their craftsmanship and beauty. They often feature decorative elements like intricate carvings, brass fixtures, and dovetail joints, showcasing the skill of their creators. Despite their historical origins, mule chests can seamlessly integrate into modern interior design. Whether adding a touch of rustic charm to a contemporary setting or complementing a traditionally styled room, mule chests offer both aesthetic appeal and practical storage solutions.

In contemporary use, mule chests are versatile. Beyond their original purpose of storing clothing, they are commonly used for linen storage, as accent pieces in living rooms, or even as innovative coffee tables. The variety of designs and finishes available today means there's a mule chest to fit almost any decor style.


In a modern home, a mule chest might serve as an attractive bedroom storage solution, holding blankets and seasonal clothing. Alternatively, placed in a living room, it could act as a statement piece that also stores board games, photo albums, and other items. Antique mule chests, meanwhile, are sought after by collectors and vintage furniture enthusiasts, appreciated for their history and craftsmanship.


  • Are mule chests still popular today?

    Yes, mule chests maintain popularity not only for their historical charm and craftsmanship but also for their practicality and versatility in contemporary interior design.

  • Can a mule chest be used in any room?

    Absolutely. A mule chest can be adapted to any room in the house, whether as a clothing chest in a bedroom, a linen holder in a hallway, or an innovative coffee table in the living room.

  • How do you care for a mule chest?

    Care for a mule chest involves regular dusting with a soft cloth and occasional polishing with a suitable wood cleaner to maintain its appearance. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight or near heating sources to prevent the wood from drying out or fading.

Practical Application

When considering a mule chest for your space, think about how it can multifunction within your design. As a statement piece, it can offer both aesthetic charm and practical storage. Position it where it can be easily accessed yet contributes to the room’s overall decor. Mixing modern and vintage styles? A mule chest can serve as the perfect bridge between the two.