Design

What’s the Difference?? A Huge dive into the Credenza, Sideboard, Buffet, Console, Media Stand (and our favorites of each!)

March 17, 2022

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We recently moved this cabinet into our dining room, and in moving it I realized I’m not quite sure what to call it. Is it a cabinet, a chest, a buffet now that it’s in the dining room?? And while we’re at it, what about a credenza, sideboard, media stand, and console? I think I’ve been using these all interchangeably and I’m not exactly sure what the differences are. Are these just fancy words for living storage? It might just be a game of semantics, but for the sake of getting it right (or at least trying to) we did some research for you.

The info out there is about as clear as mud, however we did our best to define them and categorized them by likeness! The fact is, shops and manufacturers name their furniture whatever they think sounds best so this is also just a fun game of semantics, so let’s jump in.

Chest (of drawers?)

Let’s get the easiest out of the way! I would say that any type of living storage with a smaller width could be known as a chest. A chest of drawers, or a small cabinet is a great way to bring in some storage to a smaller space like an entry, the corner of a living space or our dining room! It’s plenty big for our table and 6 chairs, but it would be too tight with a full buffet in here. Inside we’re storing extra linens, tapered candles, candle holders, and additional faux stems!

Chest | Lamp | Shade | Vase

A chest of drawers is another way to go for a dining room or entry. We had these drawers in our last entry and it was so nice to drop mail and store smaller ingoing and outgoing packages. We actually have a chest coming for our entry because we could really use some storage there! Whether it’s a chest cabinet, or a chest of drawers, I think they’re one and the same!

Flush Mounts | Art | Bench | Lamp | Sconce

Favorite Chests or Drawers

1. Merk Accent Cabinet $259
2. Wood & Cane Storage Cabinet $269
3. Bountiful Cabinet $300
4. 3-Drawer Wood Dresser $349
5. Gallery White 3-Drawer Chest $649
6. Easterbrook Accent Chest $734
7. Olive Green Dresser $799
8. Outline Entryway Cabinet $899
9. Hargrove Buffet $989
10. Keys Lacquered Entryway Cabinet $999
11. Amati Burl Wood Entryway Cabinet $999
12. Slatted Bar Cabinet $1099
13. Finnley Hall Chest $1499
14. Conrad Reeded Chest $1499
15. Hale Chest $1750
16. Pearce Chest $3285

Shop Chests

 

Credenza, Sideboard, and Buffet

I would say it’s pretty safe to use these terms interchangeably, and it seems like most furniture stores do! It’s all about what you prefer to call it, and where you put it. Credenza is to Sideboard, is to Buffet, however Buffets are exclusive to dining rooms! Is this a riddle? In other words if you buy something called a sideboard, and you put it in your dining room, then it becomes a buffet. That is, unless you prefer to call it sideboard! The name is in the eye of the beholder. All of these typically have a taller height at about 30″, perfect for setting down dishes if you choose to use it that way.

Credenzas & Sideboards

Rug | Lamp | Record Player

Fun fact: historically credenzas were originally used to examine food that needs to be tested for poison before being served. I would say it’s safe to say we don’t use them for this anymore and thank goodness! So credenzas are free rein IMO. I typically use the phrase credenza over sideboard but I would use both search terms if you’re looking for storage like this.

Traditionally they either have short legs or no legs, with the cabinets close to the ground, but I think that’s a rule that has gone out the window! Also, who made these rules? Credenzas and sideboards can be used in living rooms, roomy entryways, home offices, and wide hallways. Move it into a dining room though? Hey, buffet.

Buffet

Lamp | Vase | Stems

It’s kind of funny because in our previous dining room, this is what we called the credenza. According to the rules it’s a buffet, solely based on the fact that it’s in the dining room! I think it’s an interesting conversation to have, and the purpose in writing this isn’t to make everybody change their language around living storage. The main purpose is to give you searchable terms so you can find what you’re looking for! You have my full permission to buy a buffet and put it in your living room. I dare you, actually.

Favorite Credenzas, Sideboards, or Buffets

1. Sideboard with Drawers $240
2. Walker Framed Sideboard $529
3. Fuel White Credenza $549
4. Welwick Walnut Sideboard $506
5. Boheme Sideboard $890
6. Ruffle Sprayed Concrete Credenza $999
7. Prism Wood Credenza $1299
8. Truffle White Credenza $1299
9. Chelsea Leather Woven Credenza $1499
10. Curtain Buffet $1699
11. Terra Natural Oak Sideboard $1899
12. Marjorie Curio Sideboard $2099
13. Ramsay Sideboard $2700
14. Connoisseur Console Cabinet $2999
15. Kensington Buffet $3099
16. Kensington Sideboard $3500

Shop Credenzas/Sideboards/Buffets

 

Media Stand, Media Console, Media Unit

Rug | Media Console | Vase | Sectional | Lamp | Curtains | Rod

Again, different terms for the same piece of furniture! Media consoles are typically lower to the ground and shorter than a credenza to keep TVs lower for eye-level viewing! Funny enough, in the example photo of our basement, I would actually categorize that as a credenza based on the height, but with the large scale of the TV, it balances out really well. Some people actually prefer their TVs to be higher up though so a credenza might be a great alternative. Although media consoles typically have a little cut-out slot in the back to thread cords through which is handy.

Favorite Media Consoles, Stands, or Units

1. Wampat Wood Console $169
2. Ozark Media Stand $408
3. Cane Media Console $399
4. Warwick TV Stand $400
5. Manor Park TV Stand $401
6. Metal Fluted Glass $403
7. Chill White Media Console $549
8. Norre Media Console $849
9. Huron Storage Console $999
10. Sands Grasscloth Media Console $1499
11. Slatted Media Console $1549
12. Factory Media Console $1599
13. Harmon Metal Media Console $2199
14. Hattie Sideboard $2399
15. Zeta Media Console $2598
16. Malone Media Console $2799

Shop Media Consoles

 

Console Table, Entry Table, Sofa Table

A console table placed in an entry is called an entry table. If it’s placed behind a sofa it’s a sofa table. Again, these semantics are relentless but simple enough to understand! Console tables can have drawers or no drawers and they’re typically pretty tall with a shallow depth. Because of the shallow depth, console tables are pretty versatile with how they’re used and where they’re placed. Perfect for hallways, entryways, dining rooms, living rooms, and of course behind sofas.

Console Table | Leather Chairs | Rug | Sconce | Basket

In this case the console table is against a wall, and behind our leather chairs. I love stacking up coffee table books for height and dimension, and it’s also a perfect place for a lamp!

Console Table | Sofa | Lamp

Here it was in our last house, again displaying my favorite coffee table books!

Are you still with me? Honestly I care less about getting these words right, but I think it’s helpful to know that some furniture stores are calling them different things. So when you’re searching for a sofa table, you might have better luck searching for a console table, or an entry table, and use it how you like. I did find a bunch of my favorite storage pieces and categorized them by likeness for you to check out and I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Favorite Console, Entry, or Sofa Table

1. Hemenway Console Table $123
2. Athena Console Table $140
3. Cheyenne Console Table $215
4. Reynolds Console Table $251
5. Mill Console Table $329
6. Stowe Walnut Console Table $379
7. Tanner Glass Console Table $399
8. Everett Console Table $400
9. Mateo Console Table $449
10. Maria Console Table $409
11. Monterey Console Table $455
12. Horseshoe Ivory Lacquered Linen $599
13. Console Table $839
14. Horseshoe Black Lacquered Linen $899
15. Bixby Console Table $899
16. Youngman Console Table $950
17. Bertogne Console Table $1299
18. Bardill Woven Leather Media Console $1299
19. Merle Console Table $1399
20. Marble/Granite Console Table $1609

Shop Entry/Sofa/Console Tables

 

 

What do you think?

  1. Nicolette says:

    I just gotta say I always appreciate you listing the price in the post (vs having to click through)

  2. REK981 says:

    This is so helpful since I am about to start looking for something to go under a TV! I am also looking at lamps in a totally different way now thanks to your blog! :)

  3. Amanda says:

    I’m struggling to find a piece of furniture for our bedroom, for under the tv. I didn’t want to do a dresser because we don’t need to dresser space but maybe a dresser is the only thing that will look right? Would you out any of the mentioned pieces in this post in a master bedroom?

  4. Meredith says:

    This is so helpful – I usually search some of these terms on Craigslist, but it’s really nice to have them all in one place :)

  5. Kathy says:

    Anyone else grow up calling them “chester drawers”? :-D

  6. Renee says:

    So helpful, thank you!

    I think I can add a new term for you. Consofa table. Haha! I have a console/sofa table as you come in the front door of our little beach house that doesn’t have a true entry. It helps delineate the space between entry and living and provides a landing spot that we utilize a LOT.

  7. Meredith says:

    One of the things that always cracks me up when searching for this type of thing on Craigslist or FB marketplace is the sheer number of people that think “Chester Drawers” is the actual name for “chest of drawers.” So maybe that’s one search term to add to your list too 😂

    Great post! This took me years to figure out on my own and honestly, it’s still hard to keep straight

  8. Lee Ann says:

    Love this! Thank you! Also, another term to add to the confusion: “huntboard!” LOL!

  9. Becky says:

    I have the same dog nutcracker-found at an antique shop years ago when I had a Newfie. Mine is all black which makes me I wonder if a previous owner painted it at some point. So fun to see a similar found item in another person’s home!

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