Buffet, Sideboard Credenza: What's the Difference?

Pop quiz: What do you call a relatively long, very low storage bit usually found at the dining room?

If you said “sideboard,” “buffet,” “server,” “credenza,” “cabinet” or perhaps “console,” you are correct. The truth is, shops and furniture manufacturers utilize all sorts of names for this kind of piece nearly interchangeably. So although there are some differences which distinguish these related pieces from one another (and we’ll cover those differences in a moment) there isn’t any need to feel bad if you have had these terms mixed up. Below we sort out these closely related pieces of furniture once and for all.

Laura Martin Bovard

What Is a Sideboard?

Today “sideboard” is probably the most frequently used of each of the terms for a long, very low storage slice. You can discover sideboards at a mind-boggling array of styles, with mirrored or glass-front doorways, nailhead trim and high-gloss lacquered finishes. The single feature that most distinguishes a sideboard from another storage bit, like a credenza, is its short legs. Additionally, it may have cabinets which reach all of the way to the floor.

Tom Stringer Design Partners

Consider this sideboard because the precursor to modern-day kitchen cabinets, and you will have a fantastic image of what this bit looks like. It is long and waist high or a bit lower, using a surface for putting food on top, cupboards below and very short legs — no legs in any way.

Originating in England, the sideboard was at first probably just a simple plank set atop trestles, or even a shelf attached to the wall — somewhere to place food whilst serving. Over time drawers and cupboards were added below, as the bit became more important as a place for displaying prized possessions.

TreHus Architects+Interior Designers+Builders

A sideboard may come with a hutch attached to the very top, such as the one displayed here. The hutch may be reduced, with spacious shelving (such as this one) or higher, with glass-front cabinets intended for showing fine china.

A classic variation of this sideboard is a huntboard, that is taller than a typical sideboard; it was intended for starving people to stand around and eat from after finishing a search.

Corynne Pless

What Is a Buffet?

There is not any difference between a sideboard and a buffet in terms of definition. A sideboard used in the dining room could possibly be known as a buffet, and when placed in the living room, referred to as a sideboard.

Historically speaking, buffets were used in Sweden to lay out large spreads of food and drink, called smorgasbords. The concept of buffet tables caught on in France and throughout the rest of Europe.

In practice, I have noticed that shops and producers seem to call long, very low storage pieces on higher legs buffets, and those on shorter (or no) thighs sideboards.

Ejay Interiors

This elegant piece could be known as a buffet, as it is being used from the dining room. If you place the exact same piece from the entryway or living room, it would probably be known as a sideboard or simply a cabinet.

Crisp Architects

What Is a Server?

Servers tend to be smaller, more formal, and lighter in scale compared to buffets. They might have drawers and an open floor on taller thighs, or they might have cabinets, somewhat like a buffet or sideboard. The term “server” comes in the fact that the people serving the meals at a formal dining room or restaurant are known as servers, and the server is a place where those serving the meals can place the serving dishes.

Practically speaking, shops and furniture manufacturers tend to use the term “server” interchangeably with “buffet,” though servers are likely to become smaller.

Mark Ashby Design

What Is a Credenza?

The term “credenza” comes from the English phrase “credence” and also the Italian term for “belief” — that makes sense, thinking about the very first credenzas were used as a place for food that needed to be tasted to test for toxin before being served to some VIP.

Early credenzas had no legs, simply cabinets reaching to the floor. During the mid-20th century, credenzas enjoyed a renewed popularity among the modern design crowd — but the “new” credenzas tended to be extended, low cabinets on slender legs, frequently with sliding doors.

Mark Ashby Design

I’m shopping for dining room storage. What do I search for? The truth is, shops and manufacturers name their furniture whatever they think sounds best. If you want to have the best chance of finding a bit you love, utilize every term you may think of when searching online — I would go with “sideboard,” “buffet,” “server,” “credenza,” “cabinet” and “console” for good measure.

Tell us :
What do you call the storage bit on your dining room? Have you noticed regional differences in what this bit is known as?

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