If you are in the market for a solid pine low storage and long piece of furniture for your dining room, you may be confused by the different terms for seemingly similar items. Credenzas, servers, sideboards and buffets are names assigned, often interchangeably, to long pieces of solid wood low storage units that are often used in dining rooms.

While there is no shame in assuming they are all the same, to help you find the best one for your needs and requirements, we are going to take a moment to discuss the differences.


Credenzas are so-called based on the Italian word for belief and the English word credence. This is appropriate as they were traditionally used as a place for testing food to ensure it wasn’t poisoned before serving it to VIP guests.

Early designs of credenzas did not feature legs and were essentially cabinets that sat flush with the floor. It was in the middle of the 20th century when they became popular again and the newer models were lower and longer cabinets constructed atop slender legs and featuring sliding doors.


Generally speaking, servers are very similar to buffets (more on them further down the page), but lighter, more formal and smaller. They are often similar to both sideboards and buffets with cabinets or feature taller legs, an open bottom and drawers. The name is based on, as you’d imagine, people who worked in restaurants or formal dining rooms serving food were also called servers and this type of furniture was generally used to arrange the food ready for serving.

Nowadays, furniture manufacturers and retail outlets usually refer to buffets and servers as one in the same, though servers are usually a lot smaller than buffets.


Without a doubt, the most commonly found solid wood low storage and long pieces of furniture are sideboards. There are various kinds and styles of sideboards available, such as the solid pine painted sideboards from Nest At Number 20. Often they have attractive features such as high-gloss lacquered finishings, nail-head trims and even glass or mirror-front doors. However, the one feature that distinguishes sideboards from alternatives such as credenzas, is the short legs.

They often include cabinets that are flush with the floor.

If you look at sideboards as being an old-fashioned form of kitchen cabinet, then you have a good understanding what they look like. Usually they are either waist high or lower and very long and feature short legs or no legs, cabinets in the bottom and a place to serve food or display ornaments and pictures or store things on top.

Sideboards are of British origin, specifically England and were originally a simple set of planks on top of trestles or shelves attached to a wall. A simple and convenient place to serve food from. It was over the course of time that cupboards and drawers were added to the standard design and they began to have a more prominent role as a display unit for collectibles.


When it comes to the actual definition of them, there is virtually no difference between buffets and sideboards. Simply put, sideboards in a living room are sideboards, and sideboards in the kitchen can be referred to as buffets.

Buffets however originally come from Sweden for laying out smorgasbords – huge feasts of food and drink. Then France and the rest of Europe caught on to the concept of buffets.

Interestingly, many retailers and furniture makers seem to differentiate buffets as being pieces with higher leg and lower storage units and sideboards as those with shorter legs or no legs at all, sideboards.