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buffets, hutches, and sideboards

Buffets and sideboards date way back to the 18th century when they were used for both display and storage purposes. During the 19th century we saw a rise in popularity of credenzas or sideboards in more contemporary styles. Traditional styles of sideboards evoke some Old World charm and elegance into dining rooms, however regardless of your style and the size of your room, in more modern times dining rooms benefit from the addition for both storage and function.

You may find yourself using the words sideboard, buffet, server and credenza quite interchangeably. Don’t worry, you are not alone, and as the differences are often minimal and often not really known by furniture designers or sales people, the names are used interchangeably. Despite variations in name all of the pieces are cabinets which almost always sit up against a wall, traditionally speaking the differences in style and use are outlined below.
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about buffets, hutches, and sideboards

Sideboards and buffets

There is really no difference between a sideboard and a buffet. Both generally maintain a shorter style of leg, and sometimes the cabinet even sits directly on the floor. When the legs are slightly longer the piece is more likely to be referred to as a buffet.


A server is a smaller and shorter version of a buffet or sideboard and is often seen in more formal dining settings and its use is as the name suggests, to assist with the service of food.


Often with sliding doors (think of the mid century Scandi style retro furniture that is currently popular) credenzas traditionally often had no legs and cabinets that reached the floor, however modernisation of the design means that many credenzas now have legs.


It pays to work out how you intend to use your sideboard or buffet before you go about attempting to choose one to purchase. Many people associate these pieces of furniture with a more formal setting; however they are both functional and useful in more modern homes for day to day use.

Win the storage wars

Sideboards and buffets make a great, stylish solution to stowing away cutlery, table cloths, serving bowls, crystal, glassware and crockery.
Buffets with glass doors on top and timber drawers or doors below are great for displaying fine china and crystal as well as storing items you don’t want on display like napkins and silverware.

Who doesn’t love a buffet?

If you were wondering if there is a link between buffet style eating and the piece of furniture, there is! Buffets can be used for times when you host a casual dinner party where your guests can help themselves to a variety of food laid out on your buffet.

On display

If not being used for serving food, sideboards and buffets can give ample space for the display of treasured family memories like photos, collectables from travel or a simple fruit bowl and vase of flowers. The decorative function of these pieces should not be discounted.

Designated to the dining room, or not?

Just because they are useful for storage of silverware, crockery and other items as well as the service of food, this doesn’t mean that buffets and sideboards always belong in the dining room. In fact, they can work as an excellent bridge between the kitchen and an alfresco dining area, or as a bedroom dresser, or as storage in a hallway. A stylish sideboard can literally make any room look pulled together.

Size matters

It doesn’t matter what the size of your space is, you will be able to find a buffet or sideboard to suit your room. The height and size of the sideboard should be carefully considered, and in order to make the right decision when purchasing your piece it pays to work out exactly how you would like to use the piece. Use a measuring tape, chalk or removable tape to give yourself a visual representation of the piece in your room to see what size will work well for you. This will help to narrow down your choices when it comes to making your final purchase.

Regardless of what you choose to call them sideboards, buffets, credenzas and servers all make excellent additions to any home. Whether you have scaled down to live in a small apartment with a small kitchen and require more storage and bench space for food service, or if you want to make your dining room more stylish and put together, the addition of a sideboard or buffet can really bring your dining room to life.
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