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17 September 2021

What is a Sideboard and What Can It Be Used For?

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Dave Hut - Content Editor

Sideboards have a long and illustrious history in English dining rooms, evolving from mere shelves on the wall or planks on top of trestles, to become the stately and versatile piece of furniture they are today. But what exactly is a sideboard? If you often hear the term but you’ve never quite been sure what it refers to or what sideboards are used for, we are here to demystify this highly useful piece of furniture.

What is a sideboard used for?

The traditional function of a sideboard (or buffet, or credenza) was to provide a surface for food to be placed upon before it was served onto the dining table. In fact, credenzas (a very close cousin of the sideboard, with slimmer legs or no legs at all) were where the food was put in order for it to be tested by servants before being given to prominent members of society. These taste tests were necessary to avoid any potential assassination attempts via poisoning!

Over time, however, sideboards became more elaborate and decorative, and they began to be used primarily for storage and display. This versatility meant they also crept out of the dining room to take up prime positions in lounges, studies and even hallways. Here they serve as an attractive focal point for guests entering the home. 

What to store in a sideboard

Sideboards are multi-purpose items of furniture that offer an elegant and practical addition to almost any area of your home that requires extra storage space. But, what you choose to put in your sideboard will largely depend on the room you place it in.

If you are keeping your sideboard in the dining room, it can be used for its traditional function of storing plates, glassware, cutlery and table linens. In this case, a Florence sideboard with cupboards would be an ideal choice. Plus, you can give it a playful edge by using the top for alcoholic beverages and cocktail glasses, creating your very own little bar, perfect for entertaining guests of an evening.

In addition, if you have a collection of fine wines, you can display your prized vintages on your sideboard. Our Florence sideboard with wine rack comes in several attractive hues, and can comfortably house 10 bottles, including larger champagnes.

On the other hand, if your sideboard is going to be situated in the lounge, you can use it to store items such as books and board games. It could also serve as a robust media centre, with plenty of room for speakers, a DVD player or Playstation.

If kiddies toys are a constant source of clutter in your home, a sideboard with baskets is the perfect way to eliminate the mess, while still making sure your children have easy access to their playthings.

Keeping your sideboard in your home office? This piece of furniture is the perfect place to keep all of your precious files, stationery and other office must-haves, eliminating the need for an unattractive filing cabinet.    

Choosing the right sideboard for your home

Now that you know how to use a sideboard and the benefits they offer, you’ll need to decide which kind is right for your space. Our Florence and Edvard Olsen ranges offer a variety of sideboards for you to choose from, with different shapes and sizes to suit your needs.

Larger rooms will comfortably accommodate the Edward Olsen 2-door, 3-drawer sideboard. This design comes in two different shades and provides an abundance of storage space. Choose light oak sideboards for modern spaces and golden oak sideboards for a more retro feel.

Alternatively, you may want a more decorative sideboard to serve as a focal piece of your lounge or dining room. Our Victorian-inspired white, truffle, navy, grey and sage green sideboards feature clean lines and classic panelling to complement your decor. Plus, we also have a selection of corner sideboards that are ideal for small lounges and hallways, saving space while still offering plenty of storage. 

Decorating a sideboard

In addition to storing items within it, the top of a sideboard is often used for creating an aesthetically pleasing display. In fact, there are a plethora of options when it comes to decorating a sideboard – from showing off your beloved potted plants or candles, to arranging an assortment of much-loved family photos and ornaments.

Love all things vintage? You could even give your room a retro feel with a strategically placed record player and vinyl collection displayed atop your sideboard.

Source your ideal sideboard from

If you can’t wait to show off your own treasures on a new sideboard, browse our Florence and Edvard Olsen ranges to find the perfect piece for you. Got a question about one of our pieces? Give us a call on 01989 763343 or email us at [email protected].

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Dave Hut
Content Editor

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