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Sideboards vs Buffet Tables: Are They Exactly the Same? - Rapport Furniture

Sideboards vs Buffet Tables: Are They Exactly the Same?

Sideboards and buffet tables are popular items of display furniture for dining and living rooms. 

Modern sideboards can add a great touch of luxury and storage to a dining room or living room and allow you to display more decor artfully.

So, the answer to the sideboards vs buffet tables question is: today, they are roughly the same piece of furniture but used in different rooms and for different purposes. For example, a sideboard is called a buffet table when used in a dining room to display cookware and serve food. Elsewhere, it is usually called a sideboard.

Beyond this, there are a few things to look out for when choosing the right sideboard for a space.

As these furniture items have changed a lot in style and function in recent times, and there are a lot more options for different rooms and styles, we'll go over the specifics in this guide. Keep reading to find out more!


Sideboard Osaka by KARE


Check KARE'S full collection here.

What Are Sideboards Used For?

Sideboards are an elegant storage solution and decor placement item.

A typical sideboard is a long, thin table with a few drawers for cutlery and dishes. You can display decorations and niceties on the top of the sideboard or use it as a serving table for dishes and food.

Usually, you’ll find a sideboard placed up against the wall in a dining room. However, you can also find them in living rooms and other areas for displaying decor and adding some elegance to a room.

Read also: 5 Tips on How to Decorate a Long Living Room

There are a few different items similar to a sideboard, such as a buffet, hutch, or credenza.

Of course, there are historical differences between these, but today it can be hard to tell them apart. Most modern designs can be used either as a buffet table for the dining room or as a storage and display solution for a living room.

You can also place them in a hallway or foyer to add elegant storage to any room.

Sideboard Muskat by KARE Design

Check KARE'S full collection here.

Why Sideboards are Called Sideboards

In general, a sideboard is a long, low table for storage and decoration in the dining room. It’s distinguished from similar items by its short legs and cabinet storage that reaches the floor.

The name comes from a variation on side table but refers explicitly to side tables used to store and display fancy utensils and cookware. Before adding drawers, it began as a display table with two pedestals holding the table together.

Sideboards today come in a wide variety of styles.

  • For example, modern-day sideboards often have a sleeker design with long legs and less storage space. In addition, there are a variety of styles that can fit traditional, modern, or contemporary designs.
  • Some people also use sideboards in the living room for an entertainment center. They can fit a television on top and have adequate storage for living room items

The Differences Between a Buffet and a Sideboard

The main difference between a buffet and a sideboard is that buffets are the larger of the two. They tend to have larger cabinets, sit lower to the floor, and have shorter legs.

However, these are just shorthand, and ultimately there’s no essential difference between the two items.

It’s most often simply a case of where one places the furniture: a sideboard placed in the living room can be called a buffet table. If placed elsewhere, it’s called a sideboard.

A buffet table gets its name from using its surface to serve food, cutlery, and dishes to guests.

Another great use of the buffet is serving drinks to guests, allowing you to place a serving tray with a tea or coffee set-up on top of it. You can also use it to decant spirits or serve as a cocktail bar.

Munari Sideboard by NATUZZI


Check NATUZZI'S full collection here.

Can I Put a Sideboard in a Living Room?

Yes. In fact, the modern sideboard provides an excellent storage solution for a living room. They can be used either as an entertainment center or on a side wall for holding decor.

Between mid-century modern designs and new, contemporary designs, you can find sideboards to fit almost any living room aesthetic.

Having a sideboard lifted on legs from the floor keeps the space open and flowing, which is why more modern designs are usually preferred. However, for a classic or traditional look, purchasing an antique sideboard can elevate a room.

A final decision is between open and closed storage. A hybrid solution is often best, as there is some storage you want to hide away and others you’d like to put on display. Depending on your situation, either can be helpful.

Venere sideboard by NATUZZI


Check NATUZZI'S full collection here.

How Tall Should a Sideboard Be?

The appropriate height of a sideboard depends on the room and the height of other furniture in the room. For example, it is best if the sideboard is slightly taller than the dining room table in a dining room. This creates a good sense of proportion in the room.

The average dining room table is thirty inches tall, whereas the standard sideboard is thirty-six inches, making for an excellent match.

In the living room or foyer, you’ll often want a lower sideboard. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but a tall sideboard can look out of proportion compared to couch height and for a small entryway.


Sideboards, buffet tables, hutches, and cadenzas are all names for a similar piece of furniture. This has confused many people but doesn’t have to be intimidating.

A great sideboard is well-proportioned to the room it is in and usually is lifted slightly off the floor to give the space an open look. They can be placed in dining rooms, living rooms, and elsewhere.

Using the information in this guide, be sure to check out the tips about sideboards to get your home looking modern and classy.

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