What’s the Difference Between a Sideboard and a Buffet?

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Kitting out your dining room or re-designing your current look? Need more storage but not sure what to type into the search engine? We’re here to help.

You may have one in your home already. Maybe you’ve got one in your wishlist. You might call it a sideboard, a buffet, a hutch, a credenza, or maybe it’s something else entirely. Whatever it is, we’re getting to the bottom of it.

We’re debunking the definitions! Simplifying the synonyms! All in the name of easy shopping 😉

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The Merci Chest of 9 Drawers, White and the Marrakech Wall Mirror from CAFE Lighting & Living. Shop sideboards and buffets online at Zanui.

What is a Buffet?

By definition, a buffet is a cupboard with plenty of drawer space, usually found in the dining room or kitchen. That’s it. Sometimes it’s called a ‘credenza’ but that’s just being fancy.

It’s a pretty broad definition, which is why there’s often so much confusion as to what we call it or what it’s even for.

Simply put, you use a buffet to store your dinner plates and servingware for easy access. It’s just cupboard space in a convenient spot, which might be in your dining room or tucked away in your kitchen. It’s up to you!

Buffets sometimes have larger attachments for their tops, with (you guessed it) even more storage. We call these double-decker buffets ‘hutches’.

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Buffets have plenty of storage for dinner plates and servingware… Shop sideboards and buffets online at Zanui.

What is a Sideboard?

A sideboard is pretty much a buffet (ha!) because it has the same design with plenty of drawers and cupboard space. In this way, they don’t differ at all.

But the interesting thing about a sideboard is not in how it looks, but in how you use it.

Sideboards are great for the lounge room, entrance, or even in the home office because they’re generally a lot more practical and purposeful.

Use a sideboard for storing literally anything you want hidden out of sight but still readily accessible – old magazines, knick-knacks, board games… whatever takes your functional-fancy!

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The Halifax 4 Door Buffet from Nova Solo. Shop sideboards and buffets online at Zanui.

The Verdict

Sideboards and buffets (and credenzas and hutches!) are all much of a muchness. Not the most interesting answer to the age-old interior design question!

The main difference is where you use your cupboard storage and what you use it for.

Our advice is to search for both sideboards and buffets to be on the safe side, choose a look you love, and put it wherever you need it. Dictate your own rules and focus on the furniture design rather than the stuffy semantics 😉

Kyra Thomsen is a writer and editor from Sydney, NSW. She has experience in copywriting, blogging, journalism, and social media. After completing two degrees in Creative Writing and English Literature in 2013 she began work with the content team at Zanui. Kyra was the winner of the 2012 Questions Writing Prize and her work has been published in print and online for numerous sources, including Writer's Edit, Seizure, and Fairfax Media among others.