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Buying a sideboard: things to consider

Inspiration Station - Style and Storage

Rustic oak and light grey painted small sideboard in hallway

When it comes to the home, sideboards are quickly becoming an essential fit for any room. An incredibly versatile piece of furniture, it has heaps of stylish and functional attributes but, before you buy, there are some things you need to consider to ensure you’re making an investment that’s right for you and your interior space.

What is the difference between a sideboard and a buffet?

On your search for smart storage options for the dining room, you may come across names that you’re not too familiar with. What’s the difference between a sideboard, a buffet, a dresser, a hutch, a display cabinet, a credenza or a console table, for example?

Large mango sideboard in living room

Image credit @lathbury_dreamhome

A lot of these are interchangeable terms. For example, a hutch is the American word for a dresser. A buffet is also synonymous with sideboard. Mostly. The name can change depending on where in the home it is placed. If in the dining room, a sideboard can become a buffet as, rather self-explanatorily, a buffet can be laid atop of its surface and served to guests at dinner. If placed anywhere else in the home, the buffet becomes a sideboard.

Thinking about different ways to use the sideboard around the home? Read our guide to get inspired.

What size sideboard should I get?

Estimating the size of your sideboard may be the easy option, but measuring the area you want your sideboard to sit in will save a whole lot of head and heart aches later down the line. Here’s how to measure for a sideboard:

1. Measure other furniture

Where exactly will your sideboard slot and what other furniture is currently in the room? Although a sideboard is a truly commanding piece, you want to fit in as an integral part of a whole interior designs scheme, rather than be the primary focal point of the room.

2. Take note of the space

Your sideboard shouldn’t just fit around the other furniture but it should also actually fit into the appropriate width, height and depth of the space offered. Take note of the measurements of where you want it to sit and ensure it won’t block any windows or radiators. Make sure you can comfortably walk around it and any cupboard doors or drawers can open with ease.

3. Don’t forget doors and hallways

When moving furniture into your home, it’s vital that any access points - doors, hallways and staircases - are considered. Will the sideboard be able to fit through these and into the room you desire?

Rustic oak and light grey painted small sideboard in hallway

Image credit @mrs_roobottom_home

How tall should a sideboard be?

Proportion is key, so make sure your sideboard isn’t a hugely different height level to the rest of your surfaced furniture. For example, they should be at least the same height as your dining table or a console table and it’s even better if they are a bit taller to add a bit of interest to the scene. It’s also a good idea to play with different widths across the surfaces.

What do you store in a sideboard?

As mentioned, there are a myriad of different ways to use a sideboard. The contents of its storage will depend on the room it sits in. In the living room, for example, you may store board games, crafts or stationery within a sideboard.

Large rustic oak sideboard styled with houseplants

Image credit @shell_williams7

In a dining room, a sideboard is perfect for pots, pans, cutlery, crockery and table linen due to its many drawers and tall cabinets. It’s a safe place for valuable or breakable objects to be stored like precious china or delicate glasses as they can be placed safely behind closed doors and are protected by the sturdiness of the unit.

For a more extensive look at smart storage options, check out our guide to maximising storage potential across your home. Otherwise, start browsing our full range of sideboards today.

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