Sideboard Styling

The sideboard. Once an essential part of any family home, it has suffered some setbacks over the years since its heyday in the post war decades. I remember it having pride of wall place in my parents’ home. They bought it on HP (Hire Purchase- a sort of loan system whereby you paid a deposit and received the item, then had a series of weekly or monthly payments to make or the item was repossessed). The one we had was a rosewood one, but they also came in a variety of solid woods and veneers; teak, cherry, maple and even the occasional mahogany!
The sideboard is on the rise again as new designers and furniture makers realise that there is not just a nostalgia for the piece, but also a need to provide extra storage with style in the living room or dining room. Where did it first come from?
The sideboard was originally conceived as an item of furniture for use in the dining room for serving food, for storage, and sometimes for displaying serving dishes such as silver on its flat surface (it is not like a welsh dresser with shelves and grooves to display plates at an angle). It usually consisted (and most often now consists) of a single integrated set of cabinets, or cupboards, and one or more drawers, all topped by a flat display surface for conveniently holding food, serving dishes, and even lights. The overall height of the tops of most sideboards is approximately waist level. This is not co-incidental; it’s the best height to serve food from. Too low and one has to stoop; too high and one has to reach high.
The earliest versions of the sideboard familiar today made their appearance in the 18th century, but they gained most of their popularity during the 19th century as households became prosperous enough to dedicate a room solely to dining. Sideboards began to get elaborate and were made in a range of decorative styles and were frequently ornamented with costly veneers, intricate patterns and inlays.
In traditional formal dining rooms today, an antique sideboard is seen by many as a desirable and fashionable accessory, and finely styled versions from the late-18th or early-19th centuries are the most sought-after and most costly. But even if you don’t have a dedicated room for dining, there is a growing enthusiasm for having a modern sideboard somewhere in your home.
This partly it reflects our increased enthusiasm for entertaining at home and the increased desire to cook for friends and family, fuelled by the myriad of cooking programmes that have mushroomed on the television over the last five years. But it can be used to hold other things as well. It can be used as a Hi-Fi or TV cabinet with the player(s) on top and the CDs or DVDs within. Take a look around; today’s best non-retro sideboards should be sleek, slim and well-toned in a mellow wood, beech, or even white-washed oak. There are some very classy and stylish sideboard examples around – ranging from those Scandinavian-style svelte models through to the strictly practical. You can opt for lots of doors, shelves and clutter space, or have it minimalist
The sideboard has not had its day- it is back and here to stay!