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What Is a Credenza, and Why Should I Buy One?

You're rethinking your interior design, and a credenza may be just the piece you need. A long, spacious cabinet that sits low to the ground, a credenza typically has very short legs and sliding doors. Originally designed for the dining room, this chic, versatile piece works in nearly any room of the house.


Here are a few tips for how you can use a credenza in your home and how to style it for best effect.


Is It a Credenza, Sideboard, or Buffet?


Sideboards, buffets, and credenzas are close cousins, and furniture companies often use the terms interchangeably, so keep this in mind when you're shopping. What is a credenza as opposed to the others? There are a few minor characteristics that distinguish one piece of furniture from the others.


  • Credenza: The shortest of the three, sitting well below waist height at around 30 inches, this is a long, cabinet-style piece with no legs or short legs. Credenzas are more likely to have sliding doors, although they sometimes have cabinets, drawers, and open shelf space.
  • Sideboard: A few inches taller than a credenza, it often sits flush on the ground with cabinets reaching to the floor. Sideboards resemble kitchen cabinets and are likely to come with an optional matching hutch that sits on top.
  • Buffet: The tallest of the three at waist height (about 36 inches) or higher, buffets also tend to have longer legs. Not surprisingly, they're designed to hold a spread of food.


Credenzas in the Dining Room


The dining room is the original home of the credenza, so credenzas are ideal for holding snacks, beverages, and overflow dishes during a meal. Use the credenza's cabinet space to store china, crystal, linens, serving dishes, and seasonal kitchen décor. Just keep space in mind. Ensure there is at least  three feet between the credenza and the dining table so people have enough space to walk behind someone seated at the table.


Credenzas in the Living Room


In the family room, a credenza makes a perfect media console, where you can store remote controls, DVDs, gaming gear, books, and the games themselves. Because the credenza has a low profile, you can place something eye-catching on the wall above, such as your TV, a piece of statement art, a mirror, or a collage. The top of a living room credenza is also the perfect spot to display framed photos, houseplants, coffee table books, small sculptures, and other conversation pieces.


Credenzas in the Bedroom


A credenza tucks nicely under a bedroom window and makes a great compartment for holding extra blankets, pillows, and off-season clothing. You can certainly use it as a dresser, especially if it has drawers. If the credenza has a lot of unstructured space inside, then you can insert bins or cubbies to store shoes, scarves, and other personal items. In a child's room, a credenza can transform into a changing table with plenty of room to store diapers and toys below.


Credenzas in the Office


In your home office, a credenza can serve as an extension of your desk. Situate your printer and handy supplies on top, and use the interior to hide all your files, resource materials, and other supplies.


Style and Design Ideas for a Credenza


You can find credenzas to match nearly any aesthetic, from minimalist modern designs to traditional wood pieces with intricate carved inlays. There are a few ways to make a credenza fit your space. For example, you can change out the hardware to update or modify the vibe. Choose a credenza in a bright color — or paint it — to draw attention to that part of the room. Just make sure you don't overwhelm the room with too many bold colors.

Although credenzas are a stylish way to fill an awkwardly empty space in a large room, they are equally suitable for small spaces. You can find compact credenzas that add much-needed storage to your home without occupying a huge footprint.

Now that you know what a credenza is and how you can use it in your home, it's time to explore your options. If you're not ready to commit to a credenza, then you can try one as part of one of CORT Furniture Rental's residential packages, along with other pieces to outfit your home. See what a credenza can do for your room, and return it or swap it for something else, whenever you choose.