Sideboards are a stylish addition to many rooms, whether it’s an entrance way, formal living room, family room, or even a bedroom.
That said, they tend to make a particular statement in the dining room where kitchenware and linens often need to be stored along with special occasion china and where sentimental items are displayed. With a surface to display and functional storage space, contemporary and traditional sideboards are versatile and come in a range of styles to suit your individual taste.
Buying the right dining room sideboard is integral to the look and functionality of your space, so consider these points when you’re shopping for sideboards and buffets.
First things first: Is it a sideboard, credenza or buffet?
You can be forgiven for wondering what the difference between these furniture items are because the terms are used interchangeably. In fact, they refer to the same item! Generally speaking, they're all used to store household items, however, when it's placed in the living room, it's more often called a sideboard, and when it’s in the dining room, it's more commonly called a buffet! The term credenza used to refer to a piece of furniture with no legs, but many modern credenzas have legs. Confused? It’s OK. You can use any of these terms and we will know what you’re referring to!
The purpose of a dining room buffet or sideboard is to provide storage for a dinner service, silverware, extra dishes, flatware, linens etc. Sideboards with drawers are useful in the dining room for keeping cutlery, placemats and napkins.
Sideboards and buffets also provide additional surface area in the dining room. Whether it’s used for placing food platters, (the traditional purpose of sideboards), holding extra plates or displaying beverages while hosting family and friends, the additional surface area is welcomed when table space is limited.
A large, bold, contemporary buffet can be very eye-catching while even a small sideboard can be a striking addition to the dining room. Especially if the sideboard is used to house a statement piece inside or on top.
If you’re working with a more compact living room space, there are modular sofas for small spaces too. A simple L-shaped sectional allows for the comfort that a sofa affords, without overwhelming the room.
Buffets and sideboards come in many different styles, shapes and sizes. There are variations with two, three, four and even five or six doors. You can choose a low sideboard without legs, a tall, narrow buffet, or a more traditional, tapered leg style of credenza.
A popular sideboard style features tapered legs and a clean silhouette, as seen in the Soliloquy Credenza.
Sideboards are often modeled on pieces from the 18th and 19th century when this furniture style was gaining in popularity. However, the bold designs of contemporary sideboards also have a broad, modern appeal. Historically, sideboards were made in a range of decorative styles and frequently ornamented with costly veneers and inlays. This opulent style can often be seen in today’s sideboards.
The dazzling Smoke and Mirrors sideboard cabinet has Italian mirrored door fronts that have been fumed in whirls of smoke intertwined with shimmering gold for a breath-taking display.
The versatility of modern sideboards contributes to their popularity as a smart furniture option. While some designs feature open storage solutions like shelves and cubbies, others are closed, keeping the contents a mystery to guests.
The ‘Turn a New Leaf’ Buffet strikes a contemporary silhouette showcasing doors and end panels in champagne shimmer with taupe paint silkscreen design over Koto veneer. The doors conceal adjustable shelves and a tray, while the expansive surface provides a perfect platform for a lamp and pair of lamps as shown.
A few things will determine which style is the best for you -
Not only do dining room sideboards come in a variety of styles, but also different sizes. Measure the space that you have ear-marked before you go shopping so you know exactly what will fit. Also measure the space around to determine if hinge doors will be able to open. For tighter spaces, narrow or small sideboards with sliding doors are the perfect solution.
In rooms with low or slanted ceilings, a low sideboard like the Royalton Sideboard which stands just under 29 inches will not look out of place.
When purchasing a dining room sideboard or buffet, note that it should be slightly higher than the dining room table to keep it in proportion. Widths and depths of dining room buffets will vary, however the most popular height is about 36 inches. Whatever size you choose, make sure that it balances with other furniture pieces in the room.
The Domaine Blanc sideboard cabinet is 34 inches. However, the artwork displayed on the top adds the illusion of more height so it would work equally well as a living room sideboard or a dining room buffet.
Ultimately, when it comes to choosing a dining room buffet or sideboard, the most important thing to consider is whether it is functional and serves your needs. It must complement the overall theme —however, being an eye-catching focal point is perfectly acceptable. The right sideboard or buffet can completely transform a room, making it a favourite for contemporary furniture lovers and traditionalists alike. Come into Bondars in Calgary for a wide selection of sideboards, credenza’s and buffet tables.
Looking for a new dining table? Check out our five step guide to shopping for a dining room table that fits your home, lifestyle and budget.