Vintage Credenza Style Guide
Perfect for serving, storing, and displaying, the vintage credenza is a kissing cousin of the original domestic goddess: the buffet (Our apologies, Martha!). Coming in a bold array of styles, vintage credenzas (or vintage sideboards, as they are sometimes known), are large-scale pieces with major statement-making potential. Pair one with a soaring mirror in an entry, or use one as a sky’s-the-limit bar cabinet in a main living space. No matter the locale, a used credenza’s ample storage space is sure to set your hosting playbook afire.
Thanks to its hosting pedigree, the credenza is already a regular in a good deal of dining rooms and living rooms, but what about using one in a family room, entry, or bedroom? We promise, whether you’re in need of a dining room surface that will catapult store-bought charcuterie and screw-top wine into five-star fair, or you simply need a place for your kiddos to stash the Fisher-Price, a vintage credenza has got you covered.
But rethinking the vintage credenza doesn’t come without a series of questions to seriously mull-over. While some used credenzas—like a modern, white lacquer box—might make easy work of room hopping, others—like a heavy Art Deco piece—might not be so light on their feet. To help simplify, we’ve broken down some of the more common styles of used credenzas below, along with ideal scenarios in which to use them.
Mid-Century Modern Credenza
Warm, honey-baked wood, sculpted drawer handles, pencil legs—what’s not to love about a vintage Mid-Century Modern credenza? As a rule, these minimal pieces exude an easy, relaxed vibe that gels perfectly with playrooms and family rooms. Monotone color makes them easy to integrate with kid-friendly color palettes like red, yellow, and smoky blue, while stylistically, they appeal to even the most design savvy of adults. Throw a TV on top of one and you’ll still have plenty of room for collecting framed artwork, cascading plants, and colorful, thrown art pottery vases.
As a bonus, vintage Mid-Century Modern credenzas tend to feature drawers more often than other credenza styles. This makes them perfect for little ones just learning to organize, or for easily accessing toys with smaller parts (think everyone’s favorite: Legos).
Art Deco Credenza
Nothing makes us want break out the bourbon and heavy crystal glassware like a vintage Art Deco buffet. Certainly no shrinking violet, vintage Art Deco credenzas are gallant, show stopping pieces that appear to be perennially dressed for cocktail hour. Among the most common black-tie details are exotic wood inlays, geometric motifs, and rounded corners. Shelved cabinet interiors are also more common the drawers, adding to their blue-blooded feel.
Although they’re often much too ornate to pass as a media console, we love the idea of an Art Deco credenza doubling as a bar in a living room. The rich woods will play beautifully off amber and green bottles, evoking a holiday-worthy aura year-round (and who wouldn’t want that?).
Contemporary Farmhouse Credenza
Consider an oversized, vintage farmhouse credenza comfort food for the home. Informal and breezy-feeling, these pieces don’t focus on picky details, instead opting for wide, box-like silhouettes covered in simple materials like wainscoting. Their simplicity makes them perfect for rustic kitchens, coastal bungalows, or any come-as-you-are space where bare feet, three-cheese mac, and ripe stone fruits on call for dessert are the norm.
A vintage farmhouse credenza typically features a large profile, providing it with ample interior space. In a dining room, use their widely berthed shelves to store dishes, extra vases (ever notice you’ve never actually come up with a good place to put those?), and table linens. We also love how a vintage farmhouse credenza doesn’t feel overly precious, making the dings and chips that come with age feel like welcome commodities for once.
French Provincial Credenza
A little frilly, a little rustic—a vintage French Provincial credenza is perfect for instating a sense of tradition, while keeping the overall feeling light and airy. Featuring key details like scalloped aprons, high relief carvings, and cabriole legs, these Parisian confections are undeniably feminine, yet they also exude a sense of solid substantiality.
The style-function pairing obviously makes a Provincial credenza spectacular in an entryway or dining room, but for a truly swoon-worthy moment, try repurposing one as a double vanity in a master bath. From the curvy, bombs-away like shape of the Bombe chest to the farm-style ease of a marble topped sideboard, a Provincial-inspired credenza will add instant architectural interest to a space that’s typically short on flourishes. Leave the case portion raw, or swath it a powdery hue that will perfectly complement a stone or marble slab top.