What is Credenza and How is it Used Today

When planning the interior design of a home, a common furniture choice is the credenza. Often used in living or dining rooms, it is essential to differentiate a credenza from similar furniture pieces. This article delves into the definition, origin, and current applications of the credenza.

Without wasting any more time, let’s answer the primary question, which forms the basis of this guide: what is credenza?

What Is Credenza?

A credenza is essentially a dining room sideboard. Traditionally, it features glass display cabinets on either side of a central cupboard. Historically, credenzas were simple tables draped with a cloth. They later evolved into burnished wood constructions adorned with marquetry, boasting tops made of marble or other decorative, heat-resistant stones. In modern times, a credenza primarily serves as a wooden sideboard in homes and restaurants for buffet meal service. Stainless steel versions are also prevalent, offering a side surface and storage in restaurant kitchens.

The Origin Of Credenza

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Tracing back its roots, the credenza originated as a basic table with a cloth covering. It began to take a more structured form in the early 14th century in Italy. The term “credenza” relates to the English word “credence,” signifying belief or trust in Italian. This association stems from the 16th-century practice where the furniture was used for food and drink tasting by servants to ensure lords and aristocrats weren’t served poisoned items.

Early designs lacked legs, but over the years, the appearance and purpose of the credenza underwent significant transformations.

How Is a Credenza Used Today?

Modern credenzas are versatile pieces of furniture and they are often referred to as sideboards. In homes, they can serve as storage units, display spaces, or even as media stands in living rooms. In offices, credenzas often accompany desks, offering additional workspace and storage. In restaurants, they continue to be used for buffet setups or as functional additions in kitchens. With a blend of style and functionality, the credenza remains a popular choice in contemporary interior design.

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  1. Sideboards

Sideboards usually have short legs, while in some cases, they go all the way down to the floor. Traditional units featured a hutch at the top to display china and other items. However, modern sideboards have very little in common with the original designs. They are only used to keep the spirit and charm of this piece of furniture alive.

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In fact, we now have several stylish pieces that sit on elegant legs and offer generous storage compartments while displaying the typical characteristics of a credenza.

These units are used in living rooms and dining rooms to display things and store essential items; like the Aponi Collection, for example. It features chic leather handles and displays a distinctive wood grain pattern, symbolizing the symmetry of butterfly wings.

  1. Buffets & Servers
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You’ll definitely find some of the modern designs impressive after seeing their multifunctionality. For instance, the Giencoe collection includes servers or buffets that can be more accurately defined as drink bars.

Buffets are similar to sideboards placed in dining rooms but sit on higher legs, providing ample storage for keeping dishes and other items. On the other hand, servers were originally smaller and more formally designed than sideboards. That’s not all; they included drawers and open storage spaces along with taller legs.

But today, servers are quite similar to the Uluru unit, inspired by the Uluru Mountain in Australia, which keeps changing its beautiful color throughout the day. And the unique standout point of this lightweight credenza is its sculptural design and rust color.

  1. Console
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The Symphony unit is one of the most popular consoles built using polished brass tubes with reference to church organ tubes. The handcrafted credenza, with its exotic appearance, serves as a great storage piece that blends well in a variety of decors and settings. 

Since its origin in Italy’s early 14th century, credenza has come a long way in terms of use and design. Designers are leaving behind the traditional concept of what a sideboard should be; instead, they’re more focused on aesthetics.

That said, no matter what you call it, a modern credenza is an eye-catching accent piece that enhances the aesthetic appeal of your living room, dining room, or even your bedroom decor. Depending on its design and construction, it also offers sufficient storage space for keeping all your dishes, books, and other essential items.

On that note, we now come to the end of our informative and comprehensive guide. Here’s hoping we were able to help you gain valuable insight on the topic.

With this, we’ll take your leave. Till next time!

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