Sideboard, credenza, buffet – even we get confused sometimes! Really it’s just a matter of lost in translation – the English, Italian and French names respectively. Whatever you decide to call it, all you need to know is that this is one piece which your interior will thank you for. A popular choice of iconic furniture designers Thomas Chippendale and Robert Adam and declared the pièce de résistance of dining room furniture in the 1867 Universal Exhibition’s illustrated catalogue, the silhouette’s esteemed heritage are proof enough of its enduring style clout.

A display-cum-storage piece of late 18th century origins, sideboards were originally found in the grand formal dining rooms of the elite where they could be used to display plateware. Older designs included a cellaret – a compartment specifically designed for housing bottles and decanters – whilst the 19th century saw an increase in storage space, even sometimes incorporating pedestal cupboards. Nowadays, of course, we can use them for just about anything as they seamlessly blend form with function. Here’s what else they can do.

Change Of Scenery

Originally a dining room staple, sideboards have branched out to just about any room of the house that you can use their multifunctional goodness. Using a low-profile version as a stylish alternative to a TV unit is just one way they can be used.

Double Duty

Offering extra storage and table space to a room, sideboards are brilliantly stylish functional items. Conceal items you don’t want on display in their cupboard or drawer section whilst highlighting items you do want to show off creating a beautiful tabletop vignette.

Proportion Play

A sideboard can be as big or as small as you’d like. Make the piece a main player in your room and draw the eye by going for a larger than life design or choose one of more delicate proportions to keep interest focused on other aspects of your room.

Style Chameleon

A historically formal piece, sideboards now come in all shapes and styles. More modern minimalist designs are kept clean-lined, unadorned and laid back whilst there are still plenty of traditional examples out there which feature decorative hardware and intricate carved panels.

Credits: Written by Jade Thomson; photo courtesy of Selva.