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A Guide To Sideboards – What To Look For When Choosing

By Timothy E. Vera

Firstly, what exactly is a sideboard? ‘Sideboards’ is quite a wide term, covering floor standing, reduced to medium high cupboards, which can incorporate sliding or hinged doors or drawers, or a mixture of both. Strictly speaking, a chest of drawers & a sideboard are two different things, the term sideboard can be used more to refer to the overall look, for example a long, low chest of drawers with legs is also a sideboard. Originally designed for the dining room, the sideboard was intended as a place to store cutlery, crockery, napkins, glasses & drinks, & is occasionally known as a buffet.

But now the sideboard has become madly popular, & is used in the living room too or actually the hallway, as a cabinet to put the TV on, as a place to store the ‘bits & pieces’ of daily life, or even just as a drinks bar. The advent of thinner televisions has meant one can comfy fit a TV on a sideboard, with all of the wires hidden behind it.

Not only is a sideboard a super practical piece of living room furniture it is also designed to look good & enhance your decor first & foremost. As all of the storage is hidden away in the drawers &/or cupboards the makers can concentrate on the exterior, meaning some sideboards are a actual showpiece. The large top enables those with some design flair to display their objects, or for the rest of us a nice vase of flowers or a stylish bowl for keys, wallets etc next to a nice lamp.

Many sideboards, especially the Italian ones, have lovely design detailing on the door & drawer fronts, including grooved wood, glass with etched patterns, mirrored glass, gloss lacquer in vivid or pastel colours & textured finishes, all designed to add to the visual appeal. There is no doubt about it, the makers of sideboards tend to work hard to make sure they are beautiful to look at as well as useful.

From modestly priced wood sideboards, to top of the line gloss lacquer sideboards from Italy there is something to suit nearly any budget. There is also a large range of styles available from sleek modern designs with chrome legs to sweetly traditional with special paint effects like limewashing or actually painted folk details. In fact the sheer variety of colours & designs in the market today mean that buyers can be very specific about what they want, buying a sideboard to suit their room, rather than trying to build a room around a sideboard. Although it has to be said, wooden finishes, dark & white still remain by far the most popular colours for sideboards are they are simply much more versatile.

Once you have chosen your colour the next thing to look at is size. Sideboards are not really built to standard sizes, so if you have an exact space to fill you will need to shop around – a lot. Available in a mind boggling variety of sizes, there is no such thing as a standard height, width or depth. Then there is the inside of the sideboard to consider. Often, when a sideboard is bought it is bought to store specific types of items, so the size & location of details like shelves is important. Sometimes shelves can be moved or removed, but not really usually, so this is yet another factor to think about. Again, there is utterly no standard internal format.

Whilst it’s good to have so far choice, finding a sideboard with the right look, the right type of internal storage, & to fit certain dimensions can be exhausting. So how, exactly, do you track down that perfect sideboard? The one that looks only right for your dining room, fits perfectly & has precisely the right kind of internal storage?

A good place to start is the internet. Searches can be made by style, so you can look for modern sideboards or traditional sideboards. Finishes can be searched, you could look up lacquer sideboards or wenge sideboards. Once you have narrowed the style down it becomes a lot easier to research dimensions & internal fittings, & the beauty of the internet is that you can do it all from the extremely living room you are buying the sideboard for!

The author has written more about white sideboard buffet here: white sideboard buffet

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Vera, Timothy E. "A Guide To Sideboards – What To Look For When Choosing." A Guide To Sideboards – What To Look For When Choosing. 11 Jul. 2010. 13 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Vera, T (2010, July 11). A Guide To Sideboards – What To Look For When Choosing. Retrieved September 13, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Vera, Timothy E. "A Guide To Sideboards – What To Look For When Choosing"

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