A dining room buffet or sideboard is so much more than just a piece of furniture. It’s a statement. When thoughtfully chosen and styled, these statement pieces can define and elevate your entire dining space. But with so many options out there, how do you find the perfect buffet or sideboard to suit your needs and fit your personal style? This guide will walk you through everything you need to know – from determining the right size and features to showcasing some stunning designer picks that are sure to inspire. Let’s dig in!
Understanding Buffets vs. Sideboards
Before we get into the nitty gritty details, let’s clarify what exactly dining buffets and sideboards are and how they differ:
Buffets tend to be long, horizontal pieces featuring cabinets, drawers, and open shelving. They can be placed against a wall or serve as a room divider. The defining characteristic of a buffet is that it offers ample surface area for serving food and displaying decorative items. Many buffets incorporate countertops and backsplashes to facilitate serving.
Sideboards are similar to buffets but place more emphasis on storage over food presentation. They are usually taller in height with more drawers and closed cabinet storage. The key purpose of a sideboard is concealed storage for linens, servingware, and dining accessories. That said, they still offer some countertop space for flexibility.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s explore how to choose the perfect buffet or sideboard for your unique needs and style…
Tips for Choosing the Right Size and Style
Your dining room’s footprint and aesthetic will inform what size and style of piece makes sense. Here are some key considerations as you shop:
Think about size and scale. A massive sideboard might overwhelm a small breakfast nook, while a petite buffet could get lost in a grand formal dining room. Take measurements of your space, and opt for a piece that fits the room proportions. Leave enough clearance from walls and adequate table space.
Decide how you’ll use the piece. If you plan to mainly use it for storage, prioritize cabinets and drawers. If you’ll use it to serve food and display decorative items, look for ample countertop surface area and open shelving.
Match the style. Choose a finish and design that complements your existing decor. For contemporary dining rooms, sleek lacquered or Scandinavian-inspired buffets pair nicely. In traditional spaces, carved mahogany or antique-inspired sideboards fit right in.
Assess specialty features. Built-in lighting, wine racks, adjustable shelves and silverware drawers are popular options. Decide which features would be useful based on how you plan to use the piece.
Consider custom. For hard-to-fit spaces or specific needs, custom-built buffets and sideboards may be the perfect solution. The price tag will be higher, but they can be designed exactly to your space and preferences.
Top 5 Designer Dining Buffets & Sideboards to Inspire
Need some eye candy? Here are five of my favorite designer dining buffets and sideboards representing a range of styles and budgets:
1. Handsome Traditional Cherrywood Buffet
This exquisite cherrywood buffet makes a dramatic statement with its carved rosette and acanthus leaf detailing, turned legs, and antique bronze hardware. Three roomy cabinets provide concealed storage while the four felt-lined drawers are ideal for flatware, linens and other dining accessories. Ample countertop space allows for both serving and decor display. Traditional design with fine craftsmanship.
2. Modern Walnut Buffet with White Marble
For contemporary spaces, this sleek midcentury-inspired buffet has a long, low profile perfect for anchoring a modern dining room. Expertly crafted from warm walnut wood with tapered brass legs and minimalist brushed brass pulls. Includes a stunning white marble countertop and numerous drawers and cabinets for concealed storage.
3. Rustic Reclaimed Wood Server
Bring a natural, welcoming feel to casual dining spaces with this rustic farmhouse-style sideboard. Crafted from reclaimed wood with artful distressing and a removable top shelf that provides extra serving space when needed. Open cubby style storage completes the relaxed look. A wonderful budget-friendly option!
4. Sophisticated Black Lacquer & Gold Sideboard
For glamorous formal dining rooms, this striking sideboard brings drama with its black lacquer finish and beautiful gold trim details. The multi-level mirrored backsplash and serving area ensure your china and serveware will shine. Multiple drawer sizes accommodate everything from linens to silverware. Truly unique statement piece.
5. Practical Faux Wood Storage Buffet
This budget-friendly brown faux wood buffet proves you don’t have to sacrifice style or functionality. Boasting three roomy cabinet compartments with adjustable shelves and two felt-lined drawers, it offers abundant storage options. Simple Shaker-style design assembles quickly. An easy way to incorporate extra storage in dining spaces of any size.
Key Considerations for Incorporating a Buffet or Sideboard
Once you’ve selected the perfect buffet or sideboard, it’s time to think about seamlessly incorporating it into your existing space. Here are some useful design tips:
Allow proper dining table clearance. Place your buffet or sideboard at least 48 inches from the dining table to allow enough room for guests to move comfortably behind chairs without feeling cramped.
Consider traffic flow. Situate the piece so there is an unobstructed path to enter and exit the dining space. Avoid blocking doorways or paths between rooms.
Style synergy. Tie your buffet or sideboard into the overall space through coordinated finishes and decorative accents for a cohesive, pulled-together look.
Multi-functional storage. Use your buffet or sideboard to store dining linens, silverware and dishes attractively near the table for easy serving access.
Elevate displays. Incorporate your favorite decorative plates, glassware and objects in attractive vignettes atop the buffet or sideboard to personalize the space.
Dining Buffet & Sideboard FAQs
Still have some lingering questions? Here I’ll tackle some of the most frequently asked questions about choosing, purchasing and styling dining buffets and sideboards:
How much space do I need for a buffet or sideboard? Most standard dining buffets and sideboards range from 60-72 inches long. Make sure to measure to ensure adequate room.
What are standard buffet and sideboard dimensions? Average heights range from 30-36 inches, depths from 18-22 inches, and lengths from 60-84 inches. Always double check exact dimensions before purchasing.
What are the differences between buffets and sideboards? Buffets emphasize presentation with ample countertop space. Sideboards prioritize concealed storage with more cabinetry. But there is overlap!
What materials work best? Hardwoods like oak and mahogany provide classic durability. Metal and glass offer modern appeal. Lacquered finishes make a glam statement. Choose what fits your style!
What are the most popular styles? Traditional carved wood buffets work well for formal decor. Sleek midcentury or Scandinavian inspired buffets pair nicely with contemporary rooms. Industrial, shabby chic and rustic options also abound!
How much should I expect to spend? Budget-friendly options start around $300. Mid-range pieces run $1000-$2000. High-end designer buffets can exceed $10,000. Set realistic expectations before falling in love with a look!
The Takeaway: Embrace the Versatility
At the end of the day, the “perfect” dining buffet or sideboard comes down to personal taste and lifestyle needs. Whether you seek extra storage, serving flexibility, or just a style-defining anchor for your dining room, selecting one of these versatile pieces opens up many possibilities. Hopefully this overview gave you inspiration and pointers to confidently evaluate options and incorporate your ideal buffet or sideboard into your home.
Ready to start shopping dining buffets and sideboards? Browse our extensive in-store collections or convenient online catalog. If you need help finding the perfect fit for your space, don’t hesitate to contact our knowledgeable design specialists. We look forward to helping you elevate your dining room with the buffet or sideboard of your dreams!