Living Room Storage Ideas: The Modern Sideboard | Articulate

Living Room Storage Ideas: The Modern Sideboard

On the hunt for living room storage ideas? Say hello to the stylish, modern sideboard. No longer confined to the dining room, these traditional pieces are enjoying a fresh new spin; and showing up in the bedroom, the hallway, the living room, and under the TV. And beyond the utility aspect, modern sideboards also bring a welcome infusion of style to your space. Because who can resist a beautiful form that serves a practical function — and works in almost any room of the house? Nobody, that’s who.

We love the way the Emily Henderson has incorporated a bar and a gallery wall above her Seno sideboard.

We love the way the Emily Henderson has incorporated a bar and a gallery wall above her Seno sideboard.

Credenza, Buffet, or Sideboard?

You may have heard these words used interchangeably to describe what looks like the exact same piece of furniture. But are they the same thing? Yes and no. The term “credenza” is used to identify a sideboard that has no (or very short) legs, and was typically located in an office. “Buffet” and “sideboard” basically mean the same thing. Here at Article, we tend to call them “sideboards,” though sometimes they can also be found under “media units.”


Sideboards really shine in the ‘attractive storage’ department. What sets them apart from other storage items like bulky contemporary cabinets and wide modern dressers is their slim footprint. A sideboard comes in at 15” to 18” inches deep, making it ideal for smaller spaces. Besides being thin, its elongated shape means that it fits nicely along a wall, behind a sofa, or at the end of a tall bed. It also shares space with things like dining tables, beds, and couches with room to move instead of a tight squeeze.

The Bios sideboard looks crisp and clean in this quiet corner of the Kismet House.

The Bios sideboard looks crisp and clean in this quiet corner of the Kismet House.

Storage: Open or Closed?

Sideboards can have either an ‘open’ storage area, where the shelves serve as a display area, or they can come with doors (sliding or swinging). Which one is best for you? Consider what you’ll be storing. Grandma’s silver tea service? Open. That pile of phone charging cords? Closed. While open is perfect for displaying collections, the beauty of closed storage is that it keeps its’ secrets. And for those times when your pre-party cleaning session runs short, you’ll be grateful for it.

Size Matters: Function and Form

For the Modern Living Room

Trying to decide how much sideboard you need? Start by considering what you need the sideboard for. Is it a straight up mid-century modern storage solution? Or are you looking for a piece that can display your new lamp and a few frames? Bear in mind that the amount you need to store will likely grow in size, so go for more storage space than you think you need.

Next, asses the vibe of your living room and decide if you want a piece that will fit the current look, or if you want to create some contrast and add interest. Don’t worry about materials clashing. You can mix and match just about every kind of material, from wood to acrylic to brushed metal.

For the Contemporary Dining Room

If you’re choosing a sideboard for the dining room, you need to ensure it pairs well with the current furniture in terms of size. Consider it in relation to your dining room table. For balance, the sideboard should stand higher than the table and be in step with the size of the table. A huge harvest table and a narrow, compact sideboard are going to create some visual dissonance. Same goes for a petite dining table and a massive sideboard. If you’re not purchasing them as part of a set, you’ll want to pay attention to scale.

We love how CityFarmhouse has displayed some of her favorite things atop her Madera sideboard.

We love how CityFarmhouse has displayed some of her favorite things atop her Madera sideboard.

And if you’re into a matchy matchy look, many of our sets come with a matching sideboard. Check out the mid-century modern marvel, the Seno. With its Danish flair and an air of quiet confidence, it’s here to store your liquor collection, your records, and anything else you need for a perfect dinner party. A matching sideboard can be the perfect complement to your dining set. Or you can choose ones that contrast styles and create some tension (the good kind).

Living Room Storage Ideas: There’s a Sideboard for That

A staple piece of the mid-century modern era, sideboards can add an instant mid-century vibe to a room. And today, they’re popping up in just about every corner of the house … in unexpected ways.

As a Media Console

Looking for a tidy home for your flat screen? The low-profile silhouette of a modern media unit makes it a great choice to house the TV. And choosing something with ample storage like the roomy and rustic Madera means that it can also hide the various cords and other electronics, like the WIFI box.

Home Office in the Living Room?

Adding a sideboard to a home office area can clear up paper clutter—and ground the room. If you have a home office that is on the bland side, you can opt for a sideboard with a lot of visual interest, like the decorative and angular Geome. It has a nice amount of visual weight. Which can add a sense of completeness to a room that needs a little something.

Pair Two Smaller Cabinets to Create Repetition

You can create some interesting symmetry by pairing two smaller cabinets side by side. Like the compact, sturdy Oscuro. Opting for a pair instead of one long piece, you can double down on the storage space while adding a surprise element to the room.

As A Mini Bar

Serve up a new take on a traditional piece by creating a cocktail station on your sideboard. You can choose one with the right mix of elegance and swagger, like the V Bar, which also comes with its very own built-in (and removable) wine rack. Bottoms up!

Toy Storage

Instantly organize the toy pile with something sleek and streamlined. The Bios pairs smooth, glossy-white lacquer with rugged wild oak, transforming the play area into something stylish. And with a mix of spacious cupboards and smaller drawers you can further sort toys by both size and type.

We love a good garland. Colleen from The Good Drink adorned her V Bar sideboard with her very own homemade garland.

We love a good garland. Colleen adorned her V Bar sideboard with her very own homemade garland.

To Define Your Space

Working with a large room? Not your typical layout? Sideboards can work to delineate space in these rooms. By pairing it against the back of a couch, you can ground the furniture and create a cohesive sense of space.

As a Display Piece

Beyond simply providing that all important storage for the living room, sideboards create a display surface for lamps, photos, and collections. Just picture the perfectly proportioned Seno Oak as a home to your new and doing double duty as it anchors your favorite wall art.

For a fresh take on living room storage ideas, the modern sideboard is a great choice. From the utility of extra storage to the decorative style of your favorite look, by rethinking its uses, you’ll be seeing sideboards in a whole new light. Leading to an endless supply of possibilities.

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