dresser / hutch

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meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, I'm wondering what to call the following (type of) kitchen furniture in English.



Can I just call it a "cupboard" (in BE) or a "dish closet" (in AmE?)?
Should I call it a "dresser" (in BE) or a "hutch" (in AmE) when, for example, a shop assistant/store clerk asked "What type of cupboard/dish closet are you looking for?" because it has shelves in the top part?
 
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    It's a "dresser" in BE, although I get the impression they've been largely superseded by built-in fitted kitchen units these days.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I'm afraid I can't tell much about the edges of the thing since it's white-on-white and viewed from the exact front. Could you possibly find another picture or tell us more about it? Is it free-standing, is it part of a longer installation, etc?
    I can tell you I've never heard of a "dish closet" in AmE.
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    A dresser is basically for clothes and no piece of kitchen cabinetry would be called a dresser in AE, that I've ever seen. What you have there is probably a hutch (if it is free standing) but that word is largely reserved for antiques nowadays. Frankly it's a cupboard/countertop/drawer combination. Something like that also used to be called a sideboard.
     
    Last edited:

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Perhaps GWB will weigh in but I'll hazard a guess that west of the Mississippi "dresser" is for use outside the kitchen while in the East people follow the English usage.

    Harry Batt said this on the other thread: "In the Midwest there is a tendency to use every name under the sun for the place where you put the clothes." That has also been my experience.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I would call the thing in the OP picture a 'cabinet'. To me a 'dresser' (aka a 'Welsh dresser') is something like this:



    A 'hutch' is what pet rabbits live in. :)
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Yes, it's free-standing, like this.



    I had taken a look at the thread Julian pointed to before starting this thread, but the pictures panjandrum linked to were lost, so I couldn't "see" what the dresser looked like.

    The one in the photo posted above by heypresto is probably the real dresser. I see that the top shelves are for displaying the dishes, not just for storing them. I guess we don't have it here because even a moderately strong earthquake, which happens from time to time, can make all those beautiful dishes fall to the floor and break.:warning:
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Well, we've found another BE/AE difference. When I was growing up (in the eastern US) "dresser" only meant furniture used in the bedroom to store clothing. We also use "wardrobes" and "armoires" for that purpose.

    In my parents house we had a "sideboard" in the dining room. It looked like the picture in #7, without the upper part where the dishes are. It looked like a low, very wide dresser with a flat top, drawers, and cabinets (doors in front of shelves). It was used to store dishes, silverware, tablecloths and other dining room items. So to me the piece of furniture pictured in #7 is a "sideboard" or a "cupboard" or a "credenza". Wikipedia defines credenza by saying "A credenza is a dining room sideboard cupboard".

    If I was describing (in AE) the two items pictured in #1 and #8. I would call each of them a "modular storage unit". One has drawers. Both have open shelf areas and enclosed cabinets. I call them "modular" because units like these are assembled from pre-made "modules", such as a shelf, a cabinet module, a drawer module, etc. When you purchase the unit, you decide which modules you want it to have, and where each module will go in the unit. Then the store assembles it.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    The picture in #8 and #1 is what I'd call a 'kitchen cabinet', 'free-standing' and rather old-fashioned too. A 'dresser' has open shelves.

    I know that I first came across 'hutch' used for shelves in American sources some 40 years ago. I see that the word 'hutch' is being used by some British furniture sellers to mean a free-standing open shelf unit that can be placed on top of a lower piece of furniture. There are also 'sideboard tops', meaning shelving units to stand on top of a sideboard, which is a long waist-high piece of furniture used in a dining room to store cutlery, china and table linen, in drawers and closed shelves. A sideboard top might have drawers, glass-fronted cupboards and open shelves.

    So, the name of such items depends very much on where it is placed in the home and the style. The top on this sideboard, isn't different from what might be called a 'display cabinet', especially if it were free-standing.



    (I rather fancy this and have a birthday coming up!)
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you all very much. I'm very surprised to see so many different names for the pieces of furniture that are used for the same purpose, which is storing dishes and kitchenware. This made me wonder if we also have more than one name for them, so I visited the most popular online store here, checked its product categories and found a total of three categories for them. The products in these three categories all looked the same. :D
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    If I was describing (in AE) the two items pictured in #1 and #8. I would call each of them a "modular storage unit". One has drawers. Both have open shelf areas and enclosed cabinets. I call them "modular" because units like these are assembled from pre-made "modules", such as a shelf, a cabinet module, a drawer module, etc. When you purchase the unit, you decide which modules you want it to have, and where each module will go in the unit. Then the store assembles it.
    I'm wodering if you actually use "modular storage unit" in a situation in which what style of dish-storing furniture it is doesn't matter.
    For example...

    Wife: Honey, did you clean the kitchen already?
    Husband: Sure I did.
    Wife: Really? Let me see......no, you haven't cleaned the modular storage unit yet.
    Husband: Sorry, I lied.


    I can imagine the wife calling it a "kitchen cabinet" if she were a BE speaker. Would AE speakers be more likely to call it just a "cupboard" in this situation?
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    No, it would just be "the dish cabinet" or "the cupboard'.
    Thanks RG. Since my brain is too small to remember all these names mentioned in the thread, I'll only remember "dish/kitchen cabinet" (for the one placed in the kitchen) and "cupboard".

    I can tell you I've never heard of a "dish closet" in AmE.
    That's good to know. I found it in my Japanese-English dictionary, so maybe it's used (or used to be used) in some other English-speaking country.
     

    Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Well, we've found another BE/AE difference. When I was growing up (in the eastern US) "dresser" only meant furniture used in the bedroom to store clothing. We also use "wardrobes" and "armoires" for that purpose.

    In my parents house we had a "sideboard" in the dining room. It looked like the picture in #7, without the upper part where the dishes are.
    This is how I see it, too. To North American ears, the word "dresser" implies something you might sit at or stand close to when getting dressed. But the word's origin is really with "dressing" as meaning "preparing food".

    As well, it has been my experience that a "hutch" is the upper part of the cabinet exclusively. One might go shopping for a combined "sideboard and hutch", which might look like the picture in post #7.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    A kitchen cabinet wouldn't be described as 'modular' because it is free standing, bought as is without variation. 'Modular' to me means furnishing with a wide variety of components from which the customer can choose, like doors, shelving, drawers and all sorts of purpose - appropriate fittings, within a co-ordinated range.

    My #10 is an example of a 'sideboard' with a co-ordinated top/ display unit.
     
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