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Do Sideboard, Buffet or Credenza Have to Match Dining Table?

Matching furniture has always given off the vibe of professionalism and elegance. However, the times of matching furniture sets have passed.  Mismatched furniture is the new trend that completely changes the outlook of any room.

It transforms the room’s setting and makes it look unique. But does the same apply to sideboards and dining tables?

Does the sideboard or buffet or credenza have to match the dining table?

They don’t have to necessarily match the dining table. Mismatching these tables with the dining table has been trending. With proper coordination, proportionality, and style, you can make it work even if they are different. All you need are some basic styling tips. 

Six reasons why the sideboard or buffet does not have to match the dining table

It brings a designer touch:

Matching sets are ordinary and are a very catalog thing to do. This is why many designers do things differently to update the classic look.

When you perfectly mismatch your furniture, it shows you’ve put the effort in to decorating your home.  

It is the latest trend:

People are tired of the traditional sets. Mismatching furniture is the perfect way to spice things up for your home. If all the furniture in your home is traditional, your home needs an up-to-date makeover! 

Gives the freedom to customize and explore options:

You don’t have to buy both the dining table and sideboard together because it’s hard to find matching furniture unless they come together.

No worries because you have the option to opt for a completely different one. You can also customize the sideboard according to your preferences.

Matching sets are not always available:

You might find a perfect dining table for your dining room and not find a matching sideboard. This is why you shouldn’t rely on matching sets completely.

It can be difficult to find similar undertones. Instead of wasting time finding a matching one, go for a contrasting sideboard. 

Saves money:

Matching sets can be very pricey because manufacturers know that most people prefer to match their furniture. It can be cheaper to buy them separately instead of wasting so much money on matching sets. 

It reflects a lot about your personality:

Having mismatched furniture can show that you are bold and not afraid to try something daring. It can impress your guests! Difference is interesting. 

Not all tables work well with all sideboards. It needs to have some balance.  As long as there is something in common between them, it does not have to match. A common thread running through the room adds a nice touch. 

You don’t have to buy every piece of furniture from the same collection. For example, both your dining table and sideboard could have the same material.

Both could be made out of wood or have the same texture or color. Besides, you can place the same vase on both pieces of furniture if nothing matches at all. 

How much space between the table and sideboard?

There should be a distance of at least 30 inches between your dining table and the sideboard. The ideal distance would be around 36 inches. But the distance can vary depending on the size of your room.

Ensure that your sideboard is not too deep. There should be enough space between your dining table and other furniture so that people can have enough room to walk around in the room. 

If there is less space between the dining table and the sideboard, it could get in the way of things. But too much space will make it hard for you to reach your sideboard if you’re using it as a server. A good amount of distance that looks consistent is what you should aim for. 

The simplest way to visualize the space required is by mapping it out with newspaper or paper on the floor. Tape out the sideboard on the floor. Then you can see for yourself if it works out for you.

What’s the difference between a credenza, sideboard, and buffet?

The words sideboard and buffet can be used interchangeably. They are the same word with the same meaning but used differently in different parts of the world. Although there is no defining difference, buffets are said to have long legs when compared to sideboards.

The reason for this is to make it easier for people to reach the food from the top. So let’s find out the difference between a credenza and a sideboard/buffet. 

Size and Legs:

Credenzas are usually small with either short legs or no legs at all. They are long and low to the floor. Sideboards are different. They come with high legs and are bigger. But there are modern credenzas that come with long legs. 


Credenzas have a more formal style due to their mid-century look and simple shape. It has a down-to-earth appearance. But sideboards are more versatile. 


Credenzas often have sleek or cabinet-style sliding doors without a noticeable pull whereas sideboards have dresser-like drawers.

Sideboards also include cabinets that extend to the floor and sometimes come with a hutch for extra storage and for displaying prized items. 


Sideboards can be placed anywhere including living rooms and foyers of a home but a credenza is mostly placed in dining tables and offices. 


Sideboards were first seen in wealthy houses in England around the 18th century. They were used as a ‘status symbol’ and to showcase treasured items or decorative pieces.

But credenzas were introduced in the 14th century in Renaissance Italy. It was a decorative piece of furniture used to keep food items of the royal. This is where taste-testers had to examine the food for poison before serving it to the royals. 

How long should a sideboard be in a dining room?

Most homeowners prefer having long sideboards to have more space to keep items. You will be able to display more decor items. However, most modern sideboards are now narrow, defeating the traditional structure. This is to save storage in your dining room. 

The answer to the question depends on the size of your dining room and your dining table.

Narrow sideboards are preferred in smaller rooms but it has to appear balanced. They save space so that you don’t bump into things. The longer your dining table, the longer the sideboard. Many sideboards are as long as the dining table itself. 

How high should a dining room sideboard be?

A dining room sideboard should always be taller than your dining table. Dining room tables have a standard height of 28 inches to 30 inches.  A kitchen counter has a standard height of 36 inches and likewise, sideboards should also have a height of around 34 to 38 inches. 

It should look well-proportioned and balanced. It shouldn’t be too tall either. A 45-inch sideboard will not look good next to a 28-inch dining table.

Read more, Why are sideboards so low?

Try to make sure that it does not overpower your dining table. The dining table should always be the center of attraction in a dining room. 

What size sideboard for the dining room?

Choosing the correct sideboard size is a must. The average length of a sideboard is around 36 inches. But you should make sure your sideboard is at the same height or longer when compared to your dining table. (Not too long!)

This is to ensure that all the items on the top of the sideboard are reachable. 

Your sideboard should not be too deep. Keep at least 20 inches of distance between your sideboard and other furniture in the room. Otherwise, the room will look cluttered and it will be hard to get around. The average depth is around 20 to 22 inches. 

Do you need a sideboard in the dining room?

That is up to you. A sideboard is an impressive addition to any dining room but it’s not essential.

If you think you might need extra space to place your dishes when you have guests over, then you could get one. It also provides storage for your cutlery and is a stylish input to your dining room. 

It’s also great even when you are not serving guests. It is not used for storage alone. If you love accessorizing and decorating then you need a sideboard in the dining room. Many people use it to decorate their rooms.

The top of the sideboard can be used to showcase decorative and prized items or even artwork. This will enhance the setting of your dining room and make it more eclectic. 

Do you have an open concept home? Because a sideboard is perfect for that. The dining table is the center of attention in most open concept homes. If you’re not using the sideboard as a server, you can use it for various other things such as to display artwork or keep baskets. 

Moreover, if you have children, a sideboard in the dining table can help you be more organized as a family. Most families with children spend a lot of time in the dining area.

Repurposing your sideboard according to your family needs will help you remain organized and maximize your space. 

What to put on the sideboard in the dining room?

You can put just about anything. Don’t clutter it with too many items. A neat and organized sideboard is what everyone should go for. You can store dining materials such as your dishes, trays, cutlery, tablecloths, and glasses.

The surface of the sideboard can be used as a decorative element. You can keep artwork, picture frames, vases, showpieces, or your awards. 

At the end of the day, it is completely up to you if you want your furniture to match or not. Matching sets are boring and common. Be bold and try something new!

Go for the mismatched look and watch it elevate the whole room. Just make sure there’s a common ground between the dining table and the sideboard.