Fabulous sideboards - the best storage for your home

Fabulous sideboards - the best storage for your home

Call it what you will, but a credenza.. or sideboard..or buffet..is a wonderful piece of furniture that too many of us are going without

By Abby Trow
Adventures In Furniture

A bit on the sideboard...if you've yet to invest in one, you could find your sitting or dining area becomes far more tidy the minute you do. So don't think they belong in the annals of history, credenzas are one of the most useful and attractive pieces of furniture. Pictured above: Oak Blackbird sideboard, two doors, three drawers. Made from solid European oak with black painted legs, by Adventures In Furniture, W180xH90xD45cm. £1,919.

Up until the1960s everyone used to have a sideboard. But you don't see them in homes so much these days - which is a shame because they can be extremely pleasing visually and a very capacious piece of storage that bring order from chaos.

(The Trow family had a very simple one made in pine by joiner Gary Wild.. it's in our sitting room and contains probably two tons of our belongings which would otherwise be..well, I just don't know where they'd otherwise be...)

They can be hugely pricey but also eminently affordable if you look on the high street, or better still choose an upcycled one or an antique - re the latter Biedermeier and Victorian mahogany sideboards are fairly widely available through antiques dealers.

And because sideboards new and old tend to be made from wood, one of our most sustainable materials if the wood is from managed forests, they are generally considered a pretty eco-friendly piece of furniture.


Vintage sideboard upcycled using Formica by the talented Lucy Turner. £1,295. www.lucyturner.co
Spanish company Punt offers the Sussex range of sideboards. Choose from many woods, colours and configurations. Prices from around £2,500 at Heal's
Wave oak sideboard by Content by Conran, prices from £1,649. Available at John Lewis
Upcyclers such as Emma Wood at Woodpop love to transform mid century sideboards into funky pieces. The McIntosh Flaires sideboard, W153cms, is upcycled with inlaid laminate panels
Super clean lines..bespoke American black walnut 3-door sideboard made by Sealey Furniture in Leicestershire. Finished with 20% gloss water-based lacquer. Prices from £1,980. www.sealeyfurniture.co.uk
Super de luxe, Malden sideboard by Black & Key in raven oak and burr walnut veneer, W160cms. £6,516. www.blackandkey.co.uk
Webber silk screened oak sideboard by Italian brand Catellan Italia at www.limemodernliving.co.uk. W147 or 220cms
Livingstone sideboard by Leonhard Pfeifer, £799. Made in Estonia using sustainably sourced oak, and oak veneered chipboard. www.leonhardpfeifer.com
Rainy Day Sideboard, £895. Humblesticks upcycled this '50s G-Plan light oak veneer sideboard using stencilled raindrops. W122cms. www.humblesticks.co.uk
Not quite a sideboard but not far off.. Edwardian chiffonier upcycled by The Treasure Trove. W137.5cms. £385. www.thetreasuretrove.co.uk

Upcycled sideboards

Mid-century modern furniture such as vintage G-Plan and Ercol, as well as pieces from Scandinavia, are hugely popular with upcyclers, who use paint or laminate to give pieces a new lease of life. See work by Humblesticks, Lucy Turner, Woodpop, The Treasure Trove, Ruby Rhino and VIntage Uniques to name but a few. And you can do your own upcycling of course, using paint (Annie Sloan's chalk paint seems to be the upcycler's favourite..). Find pieces of furniture in second-hand shops or on Ebay.


And let's not forget antiques shops, where you can find lovely pieces. Heavy mahogany Victorian sideboards may not be in vogue these days, but in a light modern room the juxtaposition can be striking. And antiques can be less expensive than buying from a contemporary designer brand or commissioning your own piece from a joiner or cabinet maker.

Modern design

Find a local cabinet maker or joiner and they will be happy to make you a bespoke credenza.

Keith Sealey of Sealey Furniture in Leicestershire is able to make fine pieces at considerably less than you pay buying from a high end retailer. He's recently completed a simple, elegant three-door American black walnut sideboard for a client which 'allows for maximum versatility and storage space, with three identical compartments and equal-sized doors on soft close hinges,' he says, adding that it has access holes in the back panel for cabling etc.

For such substantial pieces with doors and adjustable height shelves Sealey says expect to pay from £1,980, but if you start adding drawers then the cost can increase quite considerably. 'As a guide, having three dovetailed drawers in the centre section with suede linings would bring the overall cost to around £2,800,' he says.

There is no shortage of brands with beautiful contemporary wooden sideboards that work in dining rooms or in sitting rooms, where you can put the television on them and store your worldly goods behind their doors.

Spanish brand Punt has had great success with its sleek low Sussex collection designed by Terence Woodgate back in 2000. It's added more modules, paint finishes and colours to the range over recent years and you can buy in the UK through Heal's.  

Austrian brand Team7 makes very elegant credenzas to clients' specifications. So you choose your wood, size, colour of glass, with drawers or without...Team7 products are not, alas, cheap, with prices from around £5,000. 

UK bespoke furniture makers Black & Key offer exquisite sideboards for elegant homes made using woods such as raven oak and burr walnut veneer. Pieces are hand-made in Britain.


Vintage wood sideboard upcycled in grey hues by Ruby Rhino, £695
Wexford oak sideboard at Marks & Spencer, £649. We like M&S because of its Plan A*..(
Lifestyle Peter Sideboard in reclaimed teak from Raft. Prices from £1,154
Pleasingly retro, the Vince walnut veneer three-door sideboard (W180cms) can accommodate a mountain of stuff...£795. www.habitat.co.uk
Victorian mahogany sideboard from Nimbus Antiques in Derbyshire, £1,850
Oak sideboard with wicker basket drawers by Lee Cervi,W120cms, £1,895 at www.makethemostof.co.uk
Large Mid Century sideboard from West Elm is perfect for your flatscreen telly. Eucalyptus wood and acacia veneer. W145cms £849

High street

Look out for excellent wood credenzas at our high street retailers. Habitat has the capacious walnut veneered Vince sideboard while West Elm has eucalyptus wood sideboards perfect for TVs and other AV equipment in a mid-century modern style. Good ol' John Lewis has a fine selection to suit all pockets, and Marks & Spencer likewise has good products at very reasonable prices. And don't forget Ikea.

Over to interior designer Diana Blanchard to explain why a credenza should be a must-buy once you have a bed, sofa and table in place. 'They are fantastically useful, they hold a lot of stuff ..and you can put your telly on them.

'If you want to stand a chance of having a tidy sitting room or dining space, you do need one. And they look very appealing, I think, whether they're decorative, upcycled or very plain and simple. We need pieces of furniture we can put things on and in and the credenza/sideboard/buffet is that piece.'

Origin of the word credenza

To save you from getting out the dictionary or logging on to Wikipedia, credenza was the Italian word for belief. In the 16th century the act of credenza was the tasting of food and drinks by a servant for a lord or other VIP to test for poison. The name passed then to the room where the act took place, then to the furniture in it...

*To find out more about M&S Plan A, click here