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How to choose the best sideboard or buffet for your dining room

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Not too long ago, every family home boasted a sideboard or buffet alongside their dining table and chairs. But over time, as contemporary and minimalist styles began to rise in popularity, people were left with a tough decision: downsize the dining table, or remove the buffet?

Now it seems we’ve come full circle, and these under-appreciated gems are being reinstated to their rightful place in the home’s busiest room, ready to safely store your dinnerware and coffee cups yet again. 

 

What are buffets and sideboards?

Traditionally, buffet tables and sideboards are long and low pieces of furniture that are used to store or display items in your dining room. It is a practical piece of furniture and one that offers an additional serving space, which is especially useful when entertaining.

While they are typically included in a dining room arrangement, sideboards can also be used in an entryway, hallway, or living room – depending on the size and theme of your space.

What is the difference between a sideboard and a buffet?

While you can use their names interchangeably, sideboards and buffets do hold one distinct difference, and it’s really quite simple. The legs of a sideboard are typically short and stout with a hutch on top, while a buffet offers no hutch and its legs are higher. Keep this in mind while shopping to make the experience a little easier.

How to choose a buffet or sideboard for your room

There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing the right buffet for your room.

Purpose

First of all, what will the sideboard be used for? Is it to store plates, mugs, saucers and the like? Do you need space for cutlery? Will you use this to display an ornament or fragile china? Or is your furniture piece purely decorative?

Size

Size matters when it comes to buffets and sideboards. A piece that is too bulky and large will appear out of place and make your room feel unnecessarily cramped, while one that is too small runs the risk of going unnoticed or worse – falling prey to all those homeless bits and pieces we love to dump on the nearest flat surface.

When looking for a buffet or sideboard that will fit perfectly in your room, use these measurements as a guide:

  • 20 to 22 inches from the front to the back;
  • Keep your buffet approximately 24 inches away from other furniture so your dining area doesn’t feel too confined;
  • The sideboard should be the same height as your kitchen counter for consistency – roughly 34 to 38 inches.

Storage type

Another reason to measure your room and sideboard before purchase is to ensure the shelves work in your space. For example, a buffet with glass cabinet doors or a sideboard with open shelves is likely to suit a smaller dining room, whereas a solid buffet with closed cabinetry will look much better in a room with more space.

Material

While sideboards can be constructed from a number of materials, wood remains the most popular. Offering natural detail in the grains, durability and able to be presented in a variety of tones, stains and finishes, wood also lends itself to other materials used as accents or dominate features such as marble, leather or glass table tops and metal handles.

Styles

A buffet is not just another piece of furniture. It is both a staple and a statement piece, providing function and creating a focal point in the room. For this reason, it’s important to consider the existing theme of your room.

For a modern or contemporary space, consider a simple piece such as the Antony Buffet. The solid black finish over a natural grain on this piece highlights the gold accents for lustrous look.

 

If you’re after a touch of Parisian allure, the Antoinette French Buffet offers a variety of materials in its design. Constructed of wood, this pastel buffet boasts glass shelves behind its two glass doors, and an open shelf at the centre of the piece –with gold and silver accents to complete that French Imperial look.

And then there are your traditional oak wood sideboards and buffets, eliciting that homely country feel in your family home. These are typically designed to look like older models to create a nostalgic sentiment.

There are several other styles you might like to consider for your home, depending on your current kitchen and dining room theme. From Scandinavian buffet tables to Asian sideboards, you are sure to find a piece that works for you.

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