Sideboards, servers and buffets extend space during Holiday gatheringsby Country View Woodworking Ltd on 2018-12-13 16:56:16
When you host a holiday gathering, space is a precious commodity. Even if you have ample counter space in the kitchen, once guests start showing up it's amazing how quickly that space can disappear before your eyes. One minute your kitchen looks like something right out of Pinterest, and the next minute you're scrambling to squeeze in a couple extra trays of appetizers or a few platters of Christmas cookies that mysteriously appeared upon your counter.
That's where sideboards, servers, and buffets can help. These gems are often underestimated and overlooked when it comes to furniture, but once you have one, you'll wonder how you ever got by without it. If you think you don't have space for a sideboard, server, or buffet, you might be surprised to learn that many aren't much more than a foot and a half deep and usually between four and five feet long. If you can find room for one, they can definitely save the day when your counters or dining room table become too crowded.
You may be wondering what the difference is among these three pieces of furniture that look similar but have different names. Generally, there's not a lot of difference. They're similar in size and they all serve as a place to sit, display, and store items—typically in your dining room. Of the three, a buffet tends to have the most storage space beneath it because the “body” is taller in proportion to the legs, stretching from the top of the buffet to nearly the floor. Though a buffet is about the same height as a sideboard or server overall, the legs are much shorter, and the taller “body” accommodates taller, cabinet-like doors beneath it. Sideboards and servers have a much shorter body and longer legs than buffets, which makes them a good option for those who wish to store or display items on the floor beneath them. Though sideboards are a staple in the dining room, of the three pieces they are typically the ones also used for other areas of the home, such as entryways or living rooms.
Here are some ways to use sideboard, servers, or buffets for your next holiday gathering. For the sake of brevity in this article, we'll simply refer to them as servers in the dining room and sideboards elsewhere in the home.
Appetizers. If your home has an open floor plan with a dining area that's easily accessible as guests are visiting before the main meal is ready, a server makes the perfect place to display appetizers. Set out appetizer-sized plates and napkins and encourage your guests to help themselves, and they'll start to feel right at home. Not to mention that they (hopefully) won't be as impatient for the meal to be ready, which takes some of the pressure off you as the host!
Serving dishes and platters. If you prefer to serve your guests while they're sitting at the dining table, or if your family has a tradition of passing food around the table, a server gives you a place to store extra serving dishes and platters if there's limited room at the table. Keeping the serving dishes near the table also makes it convenient if someone wants seconds.
Coffee bar. A dinner that's served buffet-style from the kitchen means you likely won't need a server to store food, so why not use it for a coffee bar instead? Guests will appreciate not having to go very far to get a comforting cup of coffee after their meal, and having warm drinks available makes a great opportunity for guests to sit around and catch up once the meal is over. Servers provide enough space for a coffee maker, a couple of carafes, cream and sugar, and an assortment of coffee mugs. If you have a single-serving coffee maker, there's no better way to accommodate all your guests' preferences than by providing a variety of hot beverage options such as regular and decaf coffee, hot cider, hot cocoa, and an assortment of tea flavors.
Dessert bar. Depending on how large your gathering is and how many desserts you have, you may have room to use a server as both a coffee bar and a dessert bar, which makes it convenient for guests who enjoy a cup of coffee with their dessert. If you don't have room for both, a server can still be a great place to set up a dessert bar, complete with serving utensils, extra silverware, and dessert-sized plates.
Extra storage. Regardless of what you choose to put on top of your server, the drawers and doors provide extra storage for serving utensils, hot pads, linen napkins, silverware, candles, lighters, and more. Having all those items in one convenient location means less running back and forth to your kitchen drawers and cabinets before or during the meal.
Entryway landing place. Whether or not you already have a server in the dining room, a sideboard in your entryway or foyer serves as an excellent landing place for guests to sit their keys, gifts, food, or other items as they remove or put on their coats and shoes. When located in an entryway, a sideboard will be one of the first things guests see upon entering your home, so it's a great piece of furniture to use to make a good impression.
Display hub. In an entryway, a sideboard can help make a good impression by serving as a place to display your favorite décor, a vase of fresh flowers, or family photos. In a dining room, a server provides a great location for a wireless speaker so your guests can enjoy soft music while they eat. This is an especially valuable tactic if your family is on the quiet side, as the music nicely fills lulls in the conversation, and can also liven the atmosphere, making guests feel more comfortable being themselves in your home. Of course, in a lot of families there are so many lively conversations going on that you'll never pay attention to the music.
If you don't have a sideboard, server, or buffet but are interested in adding one to your home, the first thing to do is determine whether you have space in your dining room. A general recommendation is to allow for at least three feet around your entire table, which will accommodate the chairs when people are sitting in them and allow for smooth traffic flow around the table. Learn more about measuring and choosing the right size furniture for your home in one of our previous blog articles here. If you're ready to get started, browse sideboards and servers or buffets on our website, or stop in to your nearest CVW dealer.