Setting Default Values with JavaScript’s Destructuring

There's one last thing we need to know about destructuring objects, and that is the ability to set defaults. This one's a little bit confusing, so bear with me here and we're going to circle back for another example later on in a couple of videos over at

When you destructure an object, what happens if that value isn't there?

const settings = {
    speed: 150
const { speed, width } = settings; 

What is width? It's undefined because we create the variable, but it's not able to be set to anything.

With destructuring we can set defaults, or fallback values so that if an item is not in the object (or Array, Map, or Set) it will fall back to what you have set at the default.

This syntax is a little hard to read:

const settings = {
    speed: 150
const { speed = 750, width = 500 } = settings;
console.log(speed); // 150 - comes from settings object
console.log(width); // 500 - fallback to default

Now if the speed or width properties don't exist on our settings object, they fallback to 750 and 500 respectively.

Careful: null and undefined

One thing to note here is that this isn't 100% the same as this old trick used to fallback when settings.speed is not set:

const mySpeed = 0;
const speed = mySpeed || 760; 
console.log(speed); // 760!

Why? Because ES6 destructuring default values only kick in if the value is undefined; null, false and 0 are all still values!

const { dogName = 'snickers' } = { dogName: undefined }
console.log(dogName) // what will it be? 'snickers'!

const { dogName = 'snickers' } = { dogName: null }
console.log(dogName) // what will it be? null!

const { dogName = 'snickers' } = { dogName: false }
console.log(dogName) // what will it be? false!

const { dogName = 'snickers' } = { dogName: 0 }
console.log(dogName) // what will it be? 0!

Combining with Destructuring Renaming

In my last post we learned that we can destructure and rename variables at the same time with something like this:

const person = {
  first: 'Wes',
  last: 'Bos',

const { first: firstName } = person;
console.log(firstName); // Wes

We can also set defaults in the same go. Hold onto your head because this syntax is going to get funky!

const person = { first: 'Wes', last: 'Bos' };
const { middle: middleName = 'Super Rad' } = person;
console.log(middleName); // 'Super Rad'

Woah - let's step through that one!

  • First we create a new const var called middleName.

  • Next we look for person.middle. If there was a person.middle property, it would be put into the middleName variable.

  • There isn't a middle property on our person object, so we fall back to the default of Super Rad.

Cool! Make sure to check out for more like this!

Find an issue with this post? Think you could clarify, update or add something?

All my posts are available to edit on Github. Any fix, little or small, is appreciated!

Edit on Github

Syntax Podcast

Hold on — I'm grabbin' the last one.

Listen Now →
Syntax Podcast

@wesbos Instant Grams

Master Gatsby

Master Gatsby

Building modern websites is tough. Preloading, routing, compression, critical CSS, caching, scaling and bundlers all make for blazing fast websites, but extra development and tooling get in the way.

Gatsby is a React.js framework that does it all for you. This course will teach you how to build your websites and let Gatsby take care of all the Hard Stuff™.
I post videos on and code on

Wes Bos © 1999 — 2021