Discover the Difference Between Credenzas, Buffets and Sideboards

Discover the Difference Between Credenzas, Buffets and Sideboards

Article originally published on February 19, 2018.
If you have any doubt about Credenzas, Buffets, and Sideboard, and you don’t know which one you should choose, don’t worry Buffets and Cabinets is going to explain to you all about these furniture pieces! Discover the Difference Between Credenzas, Buffets, and Sideboards!

Soleil Chair
buffets and sideboards

Many people use the word sideboard, buffet, and credenza interchangeably to refer to the same item of dining room furniture.

buffets and sideboards
Majestic Sideboard by Boca do Lobo

Sideboards (or servers or buffets or credenzas – whatever you want to call them!) stand against the wall in your dining room, and provide a surface area as well as a storage area.

See also: 50 Incredible Home Decor Ideas For A Luxury Dining Room

buffets and sideboardsBut is there a difference between a sideboard, a buffet, and a credenza? Everyone is going to tell you, yes, but there really isn’t!

Discover the Difference Between Credenzas, Buffets and Sideboards

Whilst it is true that there are very subtle differences between the three, there is no real reason for wars to be fought over the correct terminology.

buffets and sideboards
Soho Sideboard by Boca do Lobo

The English sideboard would traditionally stand against the back wall of a dining room at about waist height if not lower. It is thought to be most likely that the very first sideboards in England would have been just a simple plank balanced on trestles, or even just a shelf attached to the back wall. It was used as a surface in the dining room from which to serve food onto the table.

Symphony SIdeboard by Boca do Lobo

Over time, the sideboard evolved to include built-in cabinets that reach the floor, rather than things just being stored beneath the plank’s surface. And as sideboards became more extravagant, people took to using them to display decorative ornaments atop its surface too, as the feature piece of the dining room.

See also: Jonathan Adler’s Modern Designs For Your Luxury Living Room

buffets and sideboards
Mondrian Black by Boca do Lobo

Originally, the credenza would have no legs, with cabinets that reach the floor. But since the birth of mid-century design, it seems that the unwritten rule now allows credenzas to have legs, but those legs will be slimmer than those of a sideboard. Another differentiating factor is that modern credenzas are typically narrower in shape, and make use of sliding doors for the cabinet.

buffets and sideboards

The credenza has a fascinating history. The origin of the word itself comes from the Italian word for “belief” – or the English word “credence”. This is due to the credenza being the surface on which food was placed when taste-tested by servants for poison, before serving to royalty, noblemen, and other people of importance. Next time you’re serving food to the family from the credenza, remember to share that fun historical fact and watch their change in the facial expression!

See also: 50 Incredible Home Decor Ideas For A Luxury Dining Room

buffets and sideboards
Diamond Emerald Sideboard by Boca do Lobo

Buffets, unlike sideboards and credenzas which can be used as console tables, are confined to the dining room and serve more of a definitive purpose. The feature that commonly distinguishes a buffet from a sideboard is its long legs, though arguably in modern use, what truly distinguishes a buffet from a sideboard is its role in the dining room.

buffets and sideboardsOriginating from 16th century Sweden as the smorgasbord, buffets provide a long surface to serve a wide variety of food. And 16th century Swedes loved food. The concept of buffets, where people could congregate and serve themselves from a large selection of food and drinks, spread to the rest of Europe in no time. (You may also hear buffets being referred to as servers. Servers are similar to buffets, but are smaller and more formal in appearance.)

Lapiaz Sideboard by Boca do Lobo

The truth is: there are so many overlapping styles of furniture now that it’s become harder to define particular items when they can be hybrids or modified beyond what originally defined that item as that item.

buffets and sideboardsWhen it comes to sideboards, buffets, credenzas, servers, and consoles… There is very little difference, and will usually depend on what function the item serves and what room you put it in, rather than the type of furniture itself. But who doesn’t enjoy the etymology of furniture names!

See also: Jonathan Adler’s Modern Designs For Your Luxury Living Room

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