What is a sideboard? Do I need one?

Home Furnishings Defined: What Is a Sideboard and Do I Need One?

If you’re wondering what a sideboard is, you’re probably not alone. But just because you don’t know what a sideboard is, that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t need one. This unsung hero of home furnishings can be the missing piece of the puzzle to make your life easier! To learn what a sideboard is and to decide if you need one, learn more about their design and how they bring style, storage and more to your home.

Defining Sideboards and Related Home Furnishings

By definition, a sideboard is simply a long, typically low-sitting accent cabinet that includes shelves or drawers. The shelves may be concealed by doors or open for easy access and a clear view. Some sideboards sit directly on the floor, while others feature short legs that set them apart from similar home furnishings.

But what about buffets, credenzas and servers? Many people use these home furnishings terms interchangeably, including design professionals, so telling them apart can be confusing. There are many guides that try to explain in detail, but in general:

  • The term buffet may refer to a cabinet with taller legs, but usually any buffet can also be considered a sideboard.
  • Credenza once referred to a cabinet with no legs, although today this no longer applies. Many credenzas also offer sliding doors
  • A server is smaller and shorter than a sideboard, buffet or credenza. They are also usually more formal in styling.

Sideboards originate from England and Sweden, where they were used to set out large meals or create more room for dishes and other items. Today, however, they can serve a host of purposes almost anywhere in the home.

Where Can I Use a Sideboard (or Buffet)?

With ample storage and a flat top, it’s no wonder sideboards are popular additions to the dining room. They can be especially handy where kitchen storage is limited in apartments and smaller homes. A sideboard makes a great place to store dishes, utensils, glasses and more. Many hostesses still rely on them for their original purpose of holding a buffet for entertaining. When not loaded up with enticing dishes, a sideboard’s surface allows you to display photographs, fresh flowers or other decorative items as well.

Still, the sideboard has a lot more to offer. Here are just a few spaces where you might want to incorporate this home furnishings wonder.

The Living Room

Almost every home includes a television, and there are a number of stylish TV stands available to display them. However, if you prefer a TV stand with a large amount of storage, a sideboard may be your best bet. Choose one that’s wide enough to safely accommodate your TV, then use the storage within to organize DVDs and Blu-rays, hold a cable box, gaming console or other A/V device and even keep remotes and other items neat. With a traditional style in a sophisticated gray, the sideboard pictured below is a great choice with doors that offer easy access for stored items, plus cutouts at the back to let cords neatly pass through.

Is a sideboard a piece of home furnishings that I need in my home?

A sideboard, or buffet, can offer abundant storage space, elegant style, and unparalleled versatility.


When used in open floor plans, a sideboard, or buffet, can also help define the space and create intimate areas within the larger room. Place one behind the couch for a boundary between your living and dining areas, or use a sideboard to turn an awkward space into a distinctive sitting spot with a few chairs to encourage conversation.

Creating these kinds of spaces is a priority for San Diego-based interior designer, Rachel Moriarty, whose work with HGTV and as a brand ambassador for The Design Network is characterized by the use of bold, playful patterns and bright strokes of color.

“If you’re someone that loves entertaining, one of my favorite tips is to create a gathering space. Create a seating arrangement where everyone can relate to each other, have conversation, enjoy a drink, enjoy some food, have some music playing.”


The Office

More stylish filing cabinets are available today than ever before, but they may not be the right choice for your home office – especially if it pulls double-duty as a guest room, playroom or other multi-use space. A sideboard is a piece of home furnishings that offers an attractive, versatile alternative. And it lets you take advantage of interior storage plus space on this item’s top surface.

Shelves inside are great for files, manuals, catalogs and other important items, as well as your office supplies and everyday essentials. You’ll also have room for a printer, scanner or other tech on top, and you could even create a charging station for your most important devices so they’re always ready to go. For a hint of country style that feels polished enough for professional use, the sideboard shown below has a relaxed style that is functional in a number of rooms. The drawers allow you to stash pens, paper and other must-haves out of sight, so there’s never any clutter when you need to stay focused or meet with clients.

Is a fresh, modern farmhouse style sideboard the kind of home furnishings that can complete my room?

With a relaxed and comfortable style, this sideboard works in the dining room, kitchen, living room, or even the office.


How Else Can I Use Sideboards?

When it comes to sideboards, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Sideboards can be used to:

  • Create a vignette in a hallway or foyer
  • Store linens, towels and other items for hosting guests or when there is little bathroom storage
  • Hold out-of-season clothing
  • Set up stereo equipment or other entertainment devices
  • Keep toys out of sight when entertaining
  • And more…

Get Creative with Home Furnishings

No matter where you place a sideboard, you’re sure to enjoy the extra storage it provides. To learn more about our sideboards, cabinets and other storage essentials, visit Twin Star Home™ or contact us today. We’re proud to offer high-quality home furnishings to suit any décor style. That means you can outfit your space with beautiful, functional pieces you’ll cherish for years to come.