What Is a Sideboard and Buffet for the Dining Room?

A sideboard or buffet can be used in a dining room of almost any size. But what purpose does this piece of furniture serve, and what size is ideal? You'll wonder how you survived without this helpful article for so long after reading more.

Describe it

A buffet table, sometimes referred to as a sideboard or buffet, is a long, low piece of furniture that is typically placed in a dining room to store and show products. Additionally, it serves as an additional serving surface. Sideboards and buffets are functional enough to be placed as a storage and display element in a living room, an entryway, and a corridor. A long, low bureau or a console table with a drawer might even be moved into your dining area and used as a sideboard or buffet.


When purchasing, you can safely use the terms sideboard, buffet, and credenza interchangeably. The legs of each of them are slightly different from the other. A sideboard may have a hutch for display and short, stubby legs. A buffet lacks a hutch and has higher legs. A credenza often has sliding cabinet doors and has low or no legs. 

What Does It Serve?

A buffet or sideboard is made to offer plenty of space for the flatware, tablecloths, and formal and special occasion dishes that you typically use in a dining room. It also functions as a surface where dishes or food trays can be set down. The top surface is typically utilized to exhibit a symmetrical array of decorative accessories, such as candles, lamps, and artwork, when it is not in the serving mode.

What Kind of Style Is It?

Buffets and sideboards can either be significantly different in style for a more modern, eclectic effect or they can complement your dining room furniture and décor. Even if it's not an exact match, you can find a buffet or sideboard if your dining room set didn't come with one in a comparable style and finish. Alternatively, think about using a painted, vintage, or antique buffet or sideboard to add a splash of brilliant contrast color to any dining room design. A dining room decorated in the cottage, French Country, or farmhouse styles would look stunning with a pastel or creamy white buffet or sideboard.


For a dining room with limited space, a sideboard with open shelves or glass cabinet doors can work well. The furniture will appear lighter and make the room feel airier. A larger dining area is best suited for a buffet with closed cupboards since it looks substantial.

What Should the Size Be?

It can be challenging to gauge the ideal buffet size. Despite the fact that sideboards are often long and low, you need it to be the proper size so it will fit in your dining room and look proportionate with your table. Here are a few principles to bear in mind:

A buffet typically has a depth from front to rear of 20 to 22 inches. You need at least 24 inches of room between pieces of furniture for comfortable circulation, so make sure your sideboard isn't too deep.

A buffet typically measures 60 inches from side to side. For a dining room table that is the same length or longer, that is OK. But a sideboard that is 60 inches long might be too big for a four-person dining table that is 48 inches long.

How Tall should it be?

A buffet should also be the ideal height so you can serve food to guests comfortably from the top. Consider the 36-inch height of your kitchen counter as the standard. Your dining room buffet should be roughly at that height. However, some buffets measure 34 to 38 inches in height. A sideboard that is taller than your dining room table, which would typically be between 28 and 30 inches in height, will look well-proportioned in your dining room.