Comparing Storage Furniture for the Dining Room

Dining Room Storage Options

Chic and practical storage furniture is an essential part of any dining room design, especially if you love to entertain guests and host family get-togethers. However, with so many different options to choose from, it can be tough to know what type of dining room storage piece would best suit your needs.

Your choice between a china cabinet, hutch, credenza, buffet or sideboard will come down to the size, style and serving needs of your space. Depending on the type of look and flow you’re going for, one of these storage furnishings can tie your dining room layout together and give you a spot to stow table linens, display fine china and offer delicious meals to your friends and family.

Overview

In this post, we’ll answer the following questions:

China Cabinet Hutch

A china hutch is essentially a tall cabinet with three separate sections. Most models feature a glass door display case up-top and additional cabinets or a set of drawers on the bottom. Between these two sections, there’s a roomy built-in compartment that can serve as a coffee bar, a food prep space or a simple countertop to store and display various knick-knacks.

While many people use these units to stow dinner plates and drinking glasses in the dining area, a china cabinet hutch can work in almost any room. Pick a wide model that lets you show off your trophies and fill up blank wall space in the den. You can even fill the cabinets with books and use the hutch as a small home office desk.

Some china hutches have a built-in wine rack to display your collection of labels.
Some china hutches have a built-in wine rack to display your collection of labels.

China Cabinet

China cabinets are a sleek and stylish option for those looking to display elegant dinnerware and antique heirlooms. Though they lack the practical countertop of the china hutch, these tall units offer ample space for showing off your collection of beautiful plates, bowls, drinking glasses, as well as a few decorative porcelain or glass figurines.

In most homes, a china cabinet almost exclusively serves as dining room storage. However, these cabinets can also hold Blue Ray and video game discs in your media room. Want to get a bit more creative with the rest of your interior design? Use china cabinets as a family photo gallery in the living room.

Wondering how to arrange a corner china cabinet to give visitors the best view of your dinnerware collection? Consider placing the unit in a spot where people can see it as soon as they enter the room. Set it at the head of your dining set to make a grand impression on your dinner guests. If you’re decorating a studio apartment, put your china cabinet in a corner across from the entrance.

China cabinets with glass doors and mirrored back panels help brighten up a windowless dining room.
China cabinets with glass doors and mirrored back panels help brighten up a windowless dining room.

Credenza

Since credenzas often serve as accent cabinets, you may be wondering why they’re a part of this dining room storage lineup. However, there are several similarities between a credenza and the other furnishings in this post. Check out this list to see how credenzas compare to other storage pieces for the dining room:

  • What’s a Credenza?: Like the other furniture options we’ve mentioned, a credenza provides practical storage for various items. Although people tend to use these furnishings in home offices, dens and family rooms, they also make excellent additions to dining rooms, breakfast nooks and eat-in kitchen areas.
  • What Does a Credenza Look Like?: Credenzas have a long frame and a low profile. They either have short legs or no legs at all, so they typically stand lower than hip height. Most credenzas feature a central cupboard with a pair of glass or sliding cabinet doors on either side, though some models offer a shelf or set of drawers as well.
Most credenzas lack the polished knobs and door pulls that other dining room storage pieces have.
Most credenzas lack the polished knobs and door pulls that other dining room storage pieces have.

Sideboard

Sideboards are similar to credenzas in several ways. Both have a low-profile design and offer spacious cabinets, drawers, shelves and cubbies for your various dining room storage needs. However, a sideboard typically has legs and a taller frame than a credenza. As such, they work just as well in a foyer or entryway as they do in a kitchen, home bar or dining room.

Sideboards offer plenty of compartments for serving dishes, napkins, silverware and seasonal dining room decor.
Sideboards offer plenty of compartments for serving dishes, napkins, silverware and seasonal dining room decor.

Buffet

Since many people use the terms “buffet,” “server” and “sideboard” interchangeably, you may be wondering, “What does a buffet look like in comparison to a sideboard?” Because its primary purpose is to hold serving platters full of food, a buffet is usually a bit taller than a sideboard. Most buffets are either the same height or slightly taller than the standard dining room table height.

Buffets help your dinner parties and holiday meals run more efficiently by allowing guests to line up and fill their plates before sitting down to eat. They can also give your everyday dining room decor a chic boost by serving as a spot to sit unique figurines, decorative table runners and silk florals or vases full of fresh flowers that help spruce up your space.

While buffets often have long, low-profile frames, there are also models with taller, narrower designs that can fit a smaller dining area.
While buffets often have long, low-profile frames, there are also models with taller, narrower designs that can fit a smaller dining area.

Choosing the Right Dining Room Storage Option for You

Now that you understand the differences between these dining room storage pieces, you can decide which one best suits your needs. Take the following factors into consideration to determine whether a china hutch, china cabinet, credenza, sideboard or buffet is the right choice for your space.

  • Consider Your Storage Needs: A narrow china cabinet may offer plenty of room for your antique tea set and a small collection of dinner plates and glasses. However, suppose you need storage for larger serving dishes, table linens and other dining table accents. In that case, the extra compartments of a credenza or buffet can provide the additional space you need.
  • Consider Your Space: If you’re working with a limited layout like a small dinette area in a compact apartment, a wide sideboard may take up too much room. A multi-functional china cabinet hutch can fit neatly against a wall, providing ample storage and saving floor space.
  • Consider Your Style: Low-profile credenzas and sideboards make an excellent style complement to your sleek minimalist or contemporary design, while a traditional china cabinet suits the sophisticated look of a classic formal dining room. On the other hand, versatile china hutches can work well in modern, rustic or farmhouse-style layouts.
Dining room storage pieces come in multiple shapes, sizes and designs to suit almost any aesthetic.
Dining room storage pieces come in multiple shapes, sizes and designs to suit almost any aesthetic.

Whatever the size and style of your dining space, these practical storage options can add a chic and functional touch to your design. Keep this post in mind during your next home decor shopping trip and use it as a guide to help you select the perfect china hutch, cabinet, sideboard, buffet or credenza to suit your needs.