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The Sideboard: A seamless blend of form & function

Form and function—it’s little wonder that the sideboard is the object of our affection

Jade Bloomfield
By Jade Bloomfield, Editor

, credenza, buffet… It’s easy to get confused! Really it’s just a matter of your vocabulary with each being the English, Italian and French names for the storage hero, 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 is 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 of the elite where they could be used to display serveware. 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 why you should love them, as well as some of the most popular sideboard styles.

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Originally a dining room staple, sideboards have branched out to just about any room of the house. Wondering how to incorporate a living room sideboard? Using a low-profile version as a stylish alternative to a TV unit is just one way this piece can be used. Or perhaps a bedroom sideboard is in order to fill a space and provide extra storage. Placing one of these facing a bed, styled up to the nines, makes for a lovely scene to wake up to.


Offering extra storage and tabletop space to any room in which they’re found, sideboards are brilliantly stylish functional items. Conceal items you don’t want on display in a sideboard’s cupboard or drawer section and highlight items you do want to show off by creating a beautiful tabletop vignette.

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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.

If you’re searching for the perfect piece, check out these popular sideboard styles as a starting point.

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Modern sideboards

Arguably the most prolific sideboard style of the moment, a modern sideboard is characterised by simple lines, a lack of pattern or strongly marked natural materials and contemporary finishes. White sideboards, black sideboards or dark wood sideboards are not uncommon in this style. They’re also the ones most likely to incorporate forward-thinking storage aids or be repurposed as the housing for retractable televisions.

Fisher Media Cabinet
Theodore Alexander
Fisher Media Cabinet

Mid-century sideboards

As the ever-enduring design style that it is, it’s understandable that mid-century modern (and mid-century sideboards) are still high on the design set’s must-have list. The style offers an informal edge to the silhouette and its much-loved design power to any room courtesy of its warm wood tones and unmatched mix of cupboard and drawer space.

Dressed with an oversized drum shade table lamp and graphic artwork, the look is brilliantly mid-century; paired with nothing more than a textural plaster sculpture, the vibe is bang up to date.

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Rustic sideboards

Taking style notes from the weathered finishes of nature, rustic sideboards are those which you may find in a country home, a loft space or simply a casually styled contemporary home. Texture rules in this style with woods ranging from lightly cerused woods to rather distressed with the resulting effect being one of laid-back chic. Go-to brand include Bernhardt, Theodore Alexander and Hooker.

Retro sideboards

Fun and a little unexpected, retro sideboards are a winner for design risk takers. You’ll find sideboard designs use pattern, colour and unique shapes (often all together) in a way not seen in other styles.

Chevrons, stripes and other geometric patterns combine with 1970s Space Age motifs, florals and colour blocking making this one of the bolder sideboard choices.

This Greg Natale Paul Evans-esque 1970s marvel makes the most of the designer’s own Studio 54 inspired living room.

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Header Image: Sarah Lavoine

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