How to Style a Sideboard

A functional piece and often overlooked, the sideboard or buffet is the perfect addition to the home. Sitting comfortably in a living room, dining room, hallway or office, it may be overlooked by other larger pieces but it’s the master of practicality as well as aesthetics.

Fresco Natural Solid Oak Large Sideboard
Fresco Natural Solid Oak Large Sideboard

With drawers or cabinets, it can hide away all manner of items – from the ‘good china’ to extra blankets, kids toys and games to table linens, craft supplies and family photo albums. And even if you are well aware of its practical side, you might be missing out on the creative opportunity it gives to bring personality and drama to the home.


While we may lavish attention on other surfaces in our home, we might be missing out on flexing our design muscles by neglecting the top surface of this practical piece. Allowing the day’s mail, homework or the clutter of the day pile upon it is neglecting it’s time to shine in our home. It can truly be the wow-factor in any room we place it in with the right styling tips.

Bevel Natural Solid Oak Large Sideboard
Bevel Natural Solid Oak Large Sideboard

Styling the sideboard needn’t be a minefield of decorating decisions. Its small surface area allows us to try out a few new things and cater it to our own personal style. If you love a more rustic country look or something more minimalist or contemporary, the sideboard can be adapted to nearly any taste. So whether you decide to display family photos, use it as a makeshift bar area for your legendary cocktail parties or share your eclectic finds from your travels, it should reflect your personality and tastes.

Symmetrical or Asymmetrical?

French for Pineapple Sideboard

For a more formal look, symmetrical displays carry with it a feeling of elegance or formality. A pair of lamps flanking each side or twin beautiful large vases filled with branches or flowers are perfect for a formal dining room. As your brain can understand and interpret symmetry quickly, the look is easier on the eye and a sense of calm is conveyed immediately.

Kemble Rustic Solid Oak and Painted Large Sideboard
Kemble Rustic Solid Oak and Painted Large Sideboard

If you are looking for something a bit more casual, consider something asymmetrical which provides a bit more energy and interest in a room. Consider a range of pieces that convey a more eclectic personality, with varied interests or hobbies.

Height and Scale

Regardless of whether you choose a symmetrical or asymmetrical display, the final look will depend heavily on the height and scale of the items you choose. You can create height by leaning artwork or mirrors along the back of your sideboard or by stacking books and placing objects or plants on top. Vases or lamps will do the same, creating a balance with the width of the sideboard. You’ll also want to layer in some smaller and shorter items of different sizes to break up the look.


Without a variation in height of your objects, your collection can read as quite ‘flat’, meaning your eye will stagnate along the straight line created. Varying the height of your items allows your eye to move along the display, following an interesting line and taking in every piece.

Cairo Natural Solid Oak Large Sideboard
Cairo Natural Solid Oak Large Sideboard

The scale of your pieces also plays a role in this and you can achieve a balance by varying the size of the items you use. Layer your smaller pieces in front of the larger pieces to create depth.



And finally, you’ll want to consider mixing your textures. Rough with smooth, glossy with matt, natural textures with metals. This variation creates an interesting display that your eye will enjoy gazing upon and create a sideboard that’s the star of your space.

How do you style your sideboard? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Be sure to check out our full range of beautiful solid oak sideboards as the perfect addition to your home.


Image Credits: Oak Furnitureland, My Domaine / Amanda Shadforth for Elle Australia , Oak Furnitureland, French for Pineapple, Oak Furnitureland, The Glitter Guide / Jennifer Harrison Ciacchi, Oak Furnitureland, The Painted Hive

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