A few months ago, we wrote an article titled “Bedroom Furniture 101” to address some common FAQs regarding bedroom furniture. Think of today’s post as the sequel. There are several dining room pieces with murky, unclear definitions. Exactly what is a sideboard? What is a credenza? What is a buffet table? How about servers? Aren’t these all kinda the same thing? We have the answers to these questions and many more below!
Servers & Sideboards. Buffets & Credenzas. What’s the Difference?
First, let’s start with the obvious. We all know what a dinner or dining table is, and we all sit in dining chairs regularly. You might be sitting in one right now. And, a china cabinet is clearly a cabinet made to store or display china. We may be calling this article “Dining Room Furniture 101”, but we’re assuming that we don’t need to dive into these particular furniture pieces.
Instead, today’s post is dedicated to clarifying the difference between many pieces that might look similar at first glance. What is the difference between servers and sideboards? What is the difference between a buffet and a credenza? Let’s find out!
What is a Server?
Unfortunately, when you Google search “what is a server”, all the results are about computer servers or people waiting tables. When we talk about servers, we’re referring to a piece of dining room furniture also known as a serving table.
A server is relatively slim, much like a sofa table, and is meant to be placed along the dining room wall. As the name suggests, this piece was traditionally used to stage food before it was served to guests. Unlike some of the pieces below, a server may or may not have cabinets below for storing dishes. For this reason, many servers sit atop a set of fairly high legs. Additionally, servers are usually shorter in length and are more traditional than sideboards, buffets or credenzas.
What is a Sideboard?
So exactly what is a sideboard? As opposed to the server, the sideboard is all about storage space. Cabinets are the central and most important feature of a sideboard. In fact, one could argue that sideboards are basically long, low, horizontal cupboards. Many times these cabinets reach all the way to the floor, while some sideboards have very short legs.
Since technically sideboards can also be used outside of the dining room, all of that cabinet space can be used to store everything from dishes to décor, to miscellaneous housewares. To improve our customers’ user experience, we’ve conveniently put all our sideboards under the dining room category on the WFMO website.
What is a Buffet Table?
Here in the South, we love a good ol’ country buffet. However, these buffets aren’t of the all-you-can-eat variety – even if the restaurants are clearly named after them! So what is a buffet table, and how is it different than a server, sideboard, or credenza?
A buffet table (or buffet for short) is a bit of a hybrid between a sideboard and a server. If you combine the cabinetry and long length of a sideboard with the longer legs of a server, you’ll have a buffet table. As a result, buffets often have slightly less storage than sideboards. Unlike sideboards, buffets are also limited to the dining room and sometimes have glass display doors meant to display its contents.
What is a Credenza?
The credenza is perhaps the hardest of the bunch to nail down. Credenzas always have cabinet space like sideboards and buffets, and are usually of similar length. And just like a sideboard, they can have short legs, or no legs at all. However, credenzas generally have one distinguishing feature – sliding doors. Not all credenzas have sliding doors, but if it has sliding doors, it’s probably a credenza!
While the credenza was originally designed for dining areas centuries ago, these days you’re just as likely to find credenzas in the office; usually at a right-angle to the desk. When we use the word “credenza” at WFMO, we are typically referring to this piece of home office furniture.
Bonus FAQ: What is a Hutch?
How about a bonus? The hutch is clearly different from the four pieces of furniture above. But hey, they are closely related and we get a lot of questions about them. So why not?
A hutch is simply a shelf, bookcase, or cabinet unit that anchors to a base piece of furniture. Hutches aren’t limited to the dining room and can be found atop everything from desks and credenzas, to servers, sideboards, and buffets. Depending on your intended use, a hutch is versatile and can hold everything from your fancy china, to business manuals, to everything in between!
North Georgia’s Home for Servers, Sideboards, Buffet Tables & More
Hopefully that clears up a few common misunderstandings about dining room furniture. Now that you know the difference between a server and a sideboard, or a credenza and a buffet, you’ll be better equipped to make the best decision for your own dining room! Regardless of whichever you choose, you can find these pieces and more at Woodstock Furniture & Mattress Outlet! Come visit our showrooms in Woodstock/Acworth, Dallas/Hiram, or up in Rome!
Follow us on social media for upcoming features on dining room decor with some of our favorite designers/influencers. Cindy DeMaio from SIMPLY Decorated will be back to give us her favorite “tablescaping” tips live this upcoming Tuesday, September 17th at 2pm on our Facebook page. Then on Thursday, September 26th, Haley Bond from GracefulAndFree.com will give us her own decorating ideas on tablescapes and centerpieces. Keep in mind that both of these events aren’t just for dining tables and will help you decorate your servers and sideboards too! We hope you’re as excited as we are to get our dining room decor nailed down before the 2019 holiday season starts!