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
Oak Furnitureland's oak credenza from Boston range

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 Furnitureland's Boston Natural Solid Oak and Metal Extra Wide Sideboard, £584.99 W180xH85xD43

*Click on images in article to open in larger format

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 brings 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, of course, cost a fortune, but equally some are 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 - which can't be said of sofas and mattresses filled with foam.


A lovely wooden sideboard from Ercol at Heal's
Lucy Turner upcycled mid century furniture, including sideboards, using Formica
Leics-based Sealey Furniture made this modern walnut sideboard for a client's home. Around £2,000
Beautifully made Alpha sideboard in walnut with nickel feet, by UK maker Black & Key. POA
Stockholm sideboard, wood with aluminium top, by Mario Ruiz for Spanish brand Punt
Spanish company Punt offers the Sussex range of sideboards. Choose from many woods, colours and conf
Windsor Oak sideboard from UK maker Cosywood, £1995
Ligne Roset 4-door Everywhere Sideboard, £2500, wood and ceramic top
Flute acacia wood sideboard with marble top, £799 at Atkin & Thyme

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 the brilliant upcycler Lucy TurnerThe Treasure Trove, and Cosy Wood to name but a few. And you can do your own upcycling of course, using paint (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 way 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.

Acacia wood with steel legs, Fargo sideboard at Swoon Editions, £629
1960s AC McIntosh teak sideboard £985 at vinteriors.co
Toshi sideboard, mango wood with a cement finish, Atkin & Thyme
Sonoma sideboard, oak and oak veneer, £799 at M&S
West Elm's Mid Century Sideboard in acorn, sustainable eucalyptus with acacia veneer

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...