Sideboard Solutions

Sideboards in the dining room date back well over 150 years, and are a budget solution to an age old dining room storage issue.  Where else can you keep the good silver, the good dishes and serving necessities?  Sure you can use a glass front china cabinet for display, but not all these pieces were meant for display and better kept sight unseen.

Usually used in more traditional dining rooms, particularly period rooms, sideboards can make the switch to contemporary, modern, cottage and casual dining rooms in the blink of an eye.  With plenty of availability on the second hand market, antique shops, auctions, flea markets and garage sales, use sideboards to:

  • Store table linens, silver, china and serving pieces;
  • Place serving dishes during dinner after they’re used;
  • Display a centerpiece, candlesticks and other accessories; and
  • Serve as an extra serving station for buffet dinners.

To choose a sideboard for the dining room, consider size, finish and function.  Federal and Hepplewhite period and style sideboards are more delicate looking with open bases and less storage areas.  They’re best for smaller dining rooms and tend to match the scale of the room and other furnishings better.

For larger rooms, a Victorian or Empire style sideboard is a heavier, more grounding option, and offers more storage spaces, as the bases tend to consist of cabinet space rather than longer legs.  They also tend to have darker and more varied finishes, such as flame Mahogany and tiger Oak with a larger scale.

If you have a more casual or contemporary dining room or don’t care for the dark finishes of the older sideboards, Mid-Century modern pieces are readily available, usually termed credenzas or buffets rather than sideboards.  These tend to have lighter finishes and a more linear look to them.

If you find an older sideboard that you would love to use but the finish is just all wrong for the room, paint or refinishing is an option.  One critical point -, do not paint or refinish an antique sideboard without confirming that you are not ruining the value of a priceless antique piece.  A 1920’s sideboard is usually not a priceless antique, it is considered used furniture, as it was mass produced and there are plenty available.

Distressing is an option, and in cottage decorating with oyster white furnishings, don’t rule out faux finishing or custom paint decorating for a distinctive look.  Antique and vintage sideboards are an excellent budget decorating option in the dining room – but don’t limit  yourself, think of the kitchen and bedroom as well when looking for a good looking piece of furniture to add to storage space and the décor!