How to Distinguish Between Buffet, Sideboard, Credenza and Hutch?

Buffet, sideboard, credenza, hutch: Do you ever use these terms interchangeably? 

This is almost the same piece of furniture, but used in different rooms and for different purposes. For example, a sideboard is called a buffet when it is used in a dining room to display kitchen utensils and serve food. Elsewhere, it’s often called a sideboard.

Since these pieces of furniture have recently changed a lot in terms of style and function, and there are more options for different rooms and styles, you will get more about them in detail in this article. Read on to learn more!

Ⅰ. What are they?

Sideboard. A sideboard is a long, low-storage space. They have short legs or a base that sits directly on the floor with no legs. The top is usually a flat wooden surface, which can display food platters, lighting devices, or other decorations. Traditionally, woods such as oak, mahogany, pine and walnut are used to make sideboards.

Buffet. A buffet is a piece of furniture with a long shape and flat top, used to display dishes and crockery. The main characteristic feature of a buffet is their legs – they usually have longer legs. Beautiful hardwoods, like mahogany, oak, walnut, and pine are often used to craft buffets and sideboards.

Credenza. A credenza is usually comprised of a central cupboard, flanked by display cabinets. Contemporary credenzas are frequently built-in, to house china or glassware. A credenza is very versatile, acting as an additional counter space for food and drink preparation, as well as serving. 

A credenza is a dining room sideboard, particularly one where a central cupboard is flanked by glass display cabinets, and usually made of burnished and polished wood and decorated with marquetry. The top is usually made of marble or another decorative stone that is resistant to liquids and heat.

Hutch. A hutch is a piece of furniture that is made up of 2 parts. The lower part is a cabinet (similar to a buffet or credenza) and the top part is a display case made up of shelves that sits on top of the lower cabinet.

Ⅱ. Difference

1. Buffets serve as a great piece of storage furniture for your dining room. Silverware, serving plates and linens are often stored in buffets. Their low countertops make a great surface area for serving food, coffee, or tea when having guests over.

2. Credenzas are sometimes smaller and more formal-looking than a sideboard or buffet. They often have no legs or else very short ones. They may have shelving in their centers surrounded by glass display cabinets on either side. They are often made of decorative wood with a heat-resistant top for setting down hot plates.

3. Sideboard like a credenza, a sideboard may also have cabinets or drawers used for storing serving ware, and they are often placed in living rooms or hallways in addition to dining rooms. They are different from credenzas in that they often have floor-length cabinets and may have box-like hutches used for displaying decorative items. They may also alternately be called a “server.”

Sideboards can come in many different styles and features. Modern sideboard cabinets are usually elegant and may have slightly longer legs than traditional sideboards.

When placed in the living room, the sideboard can act as an entertainment center. Due to the large storage space and the fact that most TVs can be placed comfortably on top, sideboard cabinets are a great choice for an entertainment center.

Placed in the entrance, the sideboard can be used to greet guests with storage for keys, letters and decorative items.

4. Hutches can be used as desks as well as in the dining room or as kitchen furniture. Many cabinets will have a mirror on the back of the shelf to give the illusion of more depth and space to the room in which it is kept.

A hutch can be used to serve food, tea or coffee. The storage space in the cabinet is usually large enough to store tall or unusually sized items, such as cake plates or large serving plates. The most traditional use of a hutch is to display beautiful porcelain. Hutches will often have drawers under the counter for storing cutlery in addition to folded tablecloths.

※The main difference between a buffet and a sideboard is that buffets are the larger of the two. They tend to have larger cabinets, sit lower to the floor, and have shorter legs.

However, these are just shorthand, and ultimately there’s no essential difference between the two items.

It’s most often simply a case of where one places the furniture: a sideboard placed in the living room can be called a buffet table. If placed elsewhere, it’s called a sideboard.

A buffet table gets its name from using its surface to serve food, cutlery, and dishes to guests.

Another great use of the buffet is serving drinks to guests, allowing you to place a serving tray with a tea or coffee set-up on top of it. You can also use it to decant spirits or serve as a cocktail bar.

These three pieces of furniture are so similar in appearance and function, so it’s no wonder they’re hard to differentiate. So when you’re looking for dining room storage, let your storage needs and decorating preferences be the criteria to help you choose the best piece.

Think about details such as whether you need closed or open storage (i.e., cabinets or shelves). Cabinets can hide clutter while shelves both keep items handy and put decorative pieces on display. Open shelving has a lighter, more approachable feel, but items kept on open shelves will need to be dusted regularly.

If you just can’t choose, you can always go with glass cabinet doors. Finally, keep size in mind. Buy a credenza, sideboard, or buffet that’s slightly higher than the dining room table.

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