Have you ever wondered what a credenza is? A credenza desk, usually described as a credenza, is a piece of furniture that offers an additional desk or storage area. Initially, sideboards were small ornamental pieces of furniture in 14th-century Italy that featured columns and architecturally fascinating designs like the one below (Payne, Christopher, ed. (1989). Sotheby’s Concise Encyclopedia of Furniture (1st ed. New York City: Harper & Row, page 24). Credentials today, however, come in a variety of designs and are not simply limited to being used as decorative items. Today, many are now used in offices, and you’ll typically place them in a conference room against a wall or alongside a standing desk for more storage space.
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In the past (read: the 14th century), the term “credenza” described a dining room furniture decorative item where slaves would no doubt serve as food and drink for the elites. The suggestion was that if the noble family’s food had been poisoned, which was a genuine danger at the time, the attempt on their lives would undoubtedly be discovered before it was offered. Therefore, the Italians called the wardrobe credenza, which translates as “belief” or “trust.”
Today, sideboards are widely used for storage purposes and have become practically compatible with cabinets and buffet tables, although there are some essential differences. Credenzas are usually long and low to the ground, with no legs or very short legs. They also typically have sliding or smooth doors without obvious pulls.
On the other hand, sideboards are a little taller (relative to waist height, without legs, or with short legs) and more flexible. For example, a sideboard would be as low as an entryway table, but a sideboard could conveniently work in the entryway or in the living room behind your sofa. Another surefire way to spot a sideboard in the wild? They have cabinets that span the floor and may include a booth for displaying personal products.
Credenza vs. Buffet
Concerning practicality and functionality, sideboards and buffets are pretty comparable. The main distinguishing feature of a buffet is that they usually have much longer legs and are taller than sideboards or sideboards. Buffets provide a modest amount of storage, and they’re also excellent for setting out food for a buffet-style dinner (makes sense, right?).
What is the difference between a credenza and a sideboard?
A credenza is a piece of storage furniture built without (or short of) legs. Thus, a credenza produces a low-to-the-ground appearance, typically appropriate with mid-century style design. A sideboard is also a storage unit; where the two differ comes down to appearance. While sideboards incorporate a common, simplistic form, usually with cabinet-style movable doors, sideboards often tend to be larger, outfitted with tall legs and chest-of-drawers.