How To

Sideboard and Buffet Table Buying Guide

A great way to create a beautiful, eclectic focal point in your home is by introducing a sideboard or buffet table. The perfect addition to the dining room, living room or another spacious zone that’s currently a little lacking, a sideboard provides ample surface area for your favourite decor items, as well as tonnes of storage.

Evaluate what kind of piece will suit your interior aesthetic and unique needs before you click ‘add to cart’ with this must-read guide to choosing sideboards and buffet tables.

What are sideboards and buffets? Are they the same?

If you’re thinking about adding a sideboard to your space, right here is the perfect place to start. To kick things off, let’s debunk a common misconception – are sideboards and buffet tables the same thing, or different furniture pieces? The answer is, they’re interchangeable terms used for a large, long cabinet often found in the dining room. They have a number of names, including ‘buffet cabinet’ and even an amalgamation of the two terms: ‘sideboard buffet’. But, whichever way you spin it, the unparalleled functionality and huge styling potential of this versatile piece stays the same.

As we’ve mentioned, sideboards are often found in the dining room, because traditionally, they’re absolutely packed full of storage – perfect for stowing away crockery, cutlery, linens, and other tableware that isn’t used on a daily basis. But, buffet tables have proven themselves to be pretty adaptable, so now, they also have a place in a number of other rooms, including the living room, office, and even the bedroom. Use them to tuck lesser-used items out of sight, and display your favourites on the tabletop.

Measure twice, buy once! Our petite sideboard is the perfect fit for this mid-century home.
Measure twice, buy once! Our petite sideboard is the perfect fit for this mid-century home.
Measure twice, buy once! Our petite sideboard is the perfect fit for this mid-century home.
Measure twice, buy once! Our petite sideboard is the perfect fit for this mid-century home.

Choosing the right sideboard height and depth

Sold on a sideboard? Now’s the ideal time to work out exactly where you plan to put it in your home, and begin the process of measuring up. Especially if you plan on shopping online, you’ll want to have a solid idea of how much space your new piece will take up, and whether it suits your needs from a practical standpoint.

Unlike many other furniture items, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to sideboard dimensions – which also means that sizes can vary pretty greatly. However, you’ll find that the depth of a sideboard will roughly fall somewhere between a console table and an entertainment unit. A standard sideboard depth might be around 45cm, however you’ll also see buffets on either end of this spectrum. So, if you’re looking to kit out a pretty squishy space, a narrow sideboard is definitely doable. You’ll also find wide options that provide more surface space for you to style your beloved bits to your heart’s content.

In terms of height, there’s a little less flexibility, but variation still exists. A tall sideboard like the Caledonia Rattan Compact Sideboard, which stands at 90cm high, could be a great fit if you’ve got high ceilings or are placing it next to similarly tall items. You won’t find many notably short buffet cabinets, predominantly because they’re a practical object first, and so, need to be accessible to the average human to use while standing.

Finally, let’s talk length. Depending on your space and what you’re working with, there’s so much freedom with this dimension. A short, small sideboard packs a punch and offers up some much-needed storage without swamping a cosy space. On the other hand, if you’ve got a massive wall or empty area just begging to be furnished, opting for a large, long sideboard cabinet will be the go, and should address all of your functional needs, too.

If you still need a little more guidance, here’s a handy reference guide to the most common sideboard sizes.

Size Depth Height Length
Small / Narrow / Short 35-40cm 60-75cm 100-120cm
Medium 40-45cm 75-85cm 120-140cm
Large / Wide / Tall 45-50cm 85-100cm 140cm-160cm
Functionality without sacrificing style! Internal shelves and drawers make the Caledonia Rattan Sideboard the ideal sideboard.
Functionality without sacrificing style! Internal shelves and drawers make the Caledonia Rattan Sideboard the ideal sideboard.
Functionality without sacrificing style! Internal shelves and drawers make the Caledonia Rattan Sideboard the ideal sideboard.
Functionality without sacrificing style! Internal shelves and drawers make the Caledonia Rattan Sideboard the ideal sideboard.

Another facet of finding the right sideboard is making sure whatever you choose really fulfils your needs. There’s nothing worse than buying a new piece for practical purposes, just for it to fall short, and ultimately become a very burdensome feature in your home. Be sure to spend time investigating the storage your sideboard of choice provides.

There are three different storage configurations you’ll commonly encounter when shopping for a buffet cabinet – drawers, cupboards, and a combination of the two. They all have their pros and cons, but it really comes down to the type of items you’re looking to store, and what your ‘storage style’ is. An all-cupboard sideboard is practical if you’ve got a few large items to stash away, or you’ve got a storage system in place with baskets and boxes. On the other hand, drawers are more convenient for those of us who prefer to collect like-minded objects together without too much structure. Drawers inherently will be quite narrow, preventing storage of taller, larger items, so the more organised hoarders among us mightn’t jibe with this style. If you’re not sure, opt for the combo option – you’ll find that this provides enough variety to store whatever you’d like, and not stress too much about where things go or how long they’ll live there.

Selecting your material and colour

Moving onto the aesthetic elements of your sideboard selection, colour and material are two major factors that’ll help establish its overall look and feel. Plus, the material you choose could have a bearing on whether your new piece is easy to clean, takes much looking after, and ultimately, how long it lasts.

There are a bunch of different materials that could work for a buffet cabinet, but undeniably the most popular is timber. A wood sideboard is bound to be durable, easy to maintain, and most importantly, to adapt to a wide range of styles. Like any other piece of wooden furniture, there are endless options on offer that vary in terms of wood tone, texture, pattern and finish – so finding the piece that suits your specifications shouldn’t be too difficult a task. Go coastal and beachy with a rattan sideboard, or opt for something eye-catching and a little mid century with a rich oak sideboard. The choice is entirely yours!

Wood is by far the most popular material for a sideboard, but there are alternatives on offer, too. You might see metal sideboards that blend an industrial take with great lasting power. However, it’s likely more common that you’ll find a buffet that blends a few different materials in its construction – such as a wooden body with metal legs and accents. This adds visual excitement and firmly plants your new sideboard within the ‘modern’ or ‘industrial’ categories.

Don’t forget to consider colour when you’re picking out the perfect sideboard cabinet. Where natural wooden tones say earthy, rustic and classic, a black sideboard is moody, contemporary, and has lots of depth. Alternatively, a bright white sideboard is clean, uplifting, and relaxed – the right choice for a Hamptons or coastal-inspired room. At the end of the day, your choice of colour is crucial, but you’ve got the same flexibility that you have when purchasing and styling any other large furniture piece. So, use your better judgement, put on your interior designer hat, and pick something out that fits your unique style.

Modern contemporary with a touch of Coastal: it must be our Marlon Sideboard!
Modern contemporary with a touch of Coastal: it must be our Marlon Sideboard!
Modern contemporary with a touch of Coastal: it must be our Marlon Sideboard!
Modern contemporary with a touch of Coastal: it must be our Marlon Sideboard!

Popular styles of sideboards

The final piece of the puzzle when sourcing a sideboard is style. Chances are you already know where your interior style sits, but a hot tip if you’re still on the fence is to think about the features and accents that you tend to gravitate towards. Then, browse through our furniture styles and work out which one fits best to guide your selection.

Buffet cabinets fit perfectly with absolutely any interior style – there are so many beautiful designs on offer. Here are a few of our favourites worth exploring&elipsis;

Mid century modern

A mid century sideboard should evoke a 60s vibe, mixing a mid-toned, warm brown wood with a simple design and gold or brass accents. The Frank Large Sideboard fits the brief perfectly, and is packed full of storage space ready to serve its purpose in a bigger home. There’s also the medium-sized Frank Sideboard if you need something a little more compact.

Modern contemporary

Modern style is typified by an achromatic colour palette (consisting primarily of black, grey and white), sleek lines, and metal accents. Bring it to life in your home with the Josie Large Sideboard, which is ultra-minimal and pared back, leaving you lots of space to incorporate your favourite chic decor and accessories. The slate grey body of this piece could stand out or blend into the background depending on how you style it.

New Art Deco

Moody, geometric and textural, new Art Deco style harks back to the 1920s with oodles of glamorous flair. If this sounds up your alley, you’ll love the eye-catching Hertz 4 Door Sideboard with its dark wood, subtle pattern and pops of brass. Stash away items not used every day in the spacious cupboards of this uber-cool, retro sideboard.

Hamptons

A Hamptons style sideboard will be the ideal complement to a laid-back yet luxurious home. Elegant and rooted in beachside escapism, elements like whitewashed or rustic wood, clean and simple shapes, and silver accents signify the Hamptons aesthetic. Play on the worn wood look with the Martin Small Sideboard, a perfectly relaxed piece with both cupboards and drawers. Another favourite is the Monterey Hamptons Style Sideboard, which is – as the name suggests – a go-to representation of this style.

Coastal

For a coastal chic look, you won’t be able to go past beachy light wood and typically earthy materials like rattan. With a new sideboard that fulfils this brief, every day will feel like a seaside vacation – score! The Caledonia Rattan Sideboard is the right piece for the job, with rattan cupboard fronts that grab attention, and a minimal, timeless structure. Choose from neutral light wood, or contrasting black if you want to make a bolder statement.

Scandinavian and Danish

Scandi style, as it’s often known, is all about minimalism. We’re talking simple and lightweight frames, warm, light wood, and pared-back aesthetics with no frills or embellishments. We’ve got a must-have Danish sideboard in the Kaneko Sideboard, which ticks all of these boxes, and presents tonnes of storage with both drawers and cupboards.

Traditional

Finally, if your style errs on the side of classic, a traditional buffet table will be the right addition to your space. Classic traditional style is warm, inviting, and neither flashy nor too minimal. Something with a clean look but a little visual interest like the Artemis Large Sideboard might be a good fit – the bright chestnut brown tone is always in style, and the unique sandblasted cabinet fronts draw the eye.

Explore Brosa’s stunning range of sideboards and buffet tables today to find the right fit for your home and unique style and needs. If you still need a little help with the selection process, visit one of our Studio spaces in Melbourne or Sydney, or access our immersive virtual services and picture a potential new piece in your home without lifting a finger.