The Versatile Credenza: More Than Just a Storage Solution

Beautiful geometric-shaped Chinese Chippendale fret work overlay allows a peek into the four doors of this credenza.

A credenza is a versatile piece of furniture that combines storage and style. Often found in living rooms, dining rooms, and offices, credenzas are low, long units with cabinets and drawers. Want to know how a credenza can solve your storage problems while adding a touch of elegance to your home? This post will guide you through everything you need to know about choosing and using credenzas effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • Credenzas are versatile storage pieces that can be used in various rooms like dining rooms, living rooms, bedrooms, and offices for both functional and decorative purposes.
  • There are different styles of credenzas, including traditional, mid-century modern, Scandinavian, and industrial, each offering a unique aesthetic to suit different tastes and home decors.
  • When choosing a credenza, consider the intended use, room style, and available space; don’t forget to measure, set a budget, and speak to experts at your local furniture store to find the right fit for your needs.


If you’re new to the term, a credenza is a storage design recognized for its stylish look and practical storage features. Picture this: a long, low piece of furniture, typically made of wood, with cabinets, shelves, and slide in-and-out drawers for storage. Credenzas, typically designed with no or short legs, project a solid and enduring presence due to their grounded appearance.

Historically, credenzas were used in kitchens or dining rooms primarily for serving and displaying food. In fact, the term ‘credenza’ is derived from the Italian word for ‘belief’ or ‘trust,’ referring to a practice of tasting food to ensure it was safe to eat. Today, they have evolved to become versatile pieces adorning:

  • entryways
  • hallways
  • bedrooms
  • offices

Glass storage solutions are the perfect addition to any space, adding a touch of class while offering functional storage.

What is a Credenza?

A credenza is not merely a piece of furniture; it represents a testament to human creativity, embodying a timeless blend of design and function. With its roots in the 14th century, credenzas were placed in the kitchen or dining room, serving as a platform for food display. The term itself is a nod to an old practice of tasting food to ensure it’s safe for consumption, a sign of trust or belief.

Today, the credenza still retains its low-to-the-ground appearance, with no or short legs. It’s a long, low-profile piece that often features cabinet-style sliding doors, providing an elegant storage solution that fits perfectly in any room. Credenzas have found their place in modern homes, serving various purposes such as:

  • Storing dinnerware in the dining room
  • Serving as consoles in the living room
  • Providing additional storage in home offices
  • Acting as media cabinets in entertainment rooms

With their versatility and stylish design, credenzas are a popular choice for adding functionality and aesthetic appeal to any space.

Popular Credenza Styles

Just like any piece of furniture, credenzas come in a range of styles, each with its unique aesthetic appeal. Traditional credenzas from the mid-19th century often borrowed from the Louis XIV, XV, and XVI eras, exuding a sense of regality and timelessness.

Over time, mid-century modern credenzas, with their short or no legs, have gained popularity, embodying the charm of the past with a modern twist. Scandinavian credenzas, with their simple, streamlined wood designs, are a hit among minimalists, while ornate credenzas featuring antique Italian hand-carved cabinets add a touch of grandeur to any space.

If you’re after a more industrial feel, consider credenzas made from materials like metal, steel, and wood, exuding a rugged, raw aesthetic. Glass doors can be an option for those who prefer a touch of modernity.

Choosing the Right Credenza for Your Home

Media Credenza with a vintage flair, with decorative iron plates depicting "Jupiter Iron Works" dated 1925 on both of the sliding doors

The selection of an appropriate credenza for your home calls for meticulous consideration and planning. Prior to settling on a piece, it’s pivotal to take measurements of the intended placement area to guarantee a comfortable fit.

Credenzas serve as more than just storage units; they can also be decorative focal points in various home settings. Therefore, considering its intended use is crucial. Moreover, the style and color of the room should be taken into account to ensure the credenza complements the existing décor and fits into the rest of your home’s aesthetic.

Furthermore, here are some tips to help you in your search for the perfect credenza:

  • Establish a budget before starting your credenza hunt
  • Explore sales or used options to find a more affordable option
  • Speak to experts at your local furniture store to get insight into the quality, durability, and functionality of the credenza

These tips can assist in adhering to your financial boundaries and provide valuable insight into finding the right credenza for your needs.

Versatile Uses of Credenzas

Black distressed credenza in a Colorado Springs living room

A remarkable feature of credenzas is their adaptability. Seamlessly merging practicality and aesthetics, these versatile pieces offer essential storage while elevating the decor of diverse rooms. Whether in the:

  • dining room
  • living room
  • bedroom
  • office

A contemporary credenza, also known as a sideboard, can adapt to its surroundings, serving both functional and decorative purposes in spaces where sideboards are commonly used.

But what exactly does this versatility look like in different rooms? Let’s explore.

Dining Room

In a dining room setting, a buffet credenza is a perfect companion for your culinary adventures. It efficiently holds snacks, beverages, and overflow dishes during meals, ensuring that everything you need is within arm’s reach.

But the functionality of a credenza in a dining room goes beyond meals. Its cabinet space can be used to store china, crystal, linens, serving dishes, and even seasonal kitchen decor, offering a practical storage solution that keeps your dining room clutter-free. The drawers, on the other hand, are perfect for storing smaller items such as silverware, cocktail napkins, and other table linens, keeping everything organized and easily accessible.

Living Room

In the living room, a credenza takes on a different role, often functioning as a media console. It provides a place for your TV and offers storage for:

  • remotes
  • cables
  • DVDs
  • gaming gear
  • other essentials

This keeps your living room neat and tidy.

But a credenza in a living room is more than just a storage unit. It can also serve as a display piece, providing a platform for:

  • books
  • framed photos
  • houseplants
  • coffee table books
  • small sculptures
  • other conversation pieces

This way, a credenza not only enhances the functionality of your living room but also contributes to its aesthetic appeal.


When it comes to the bedroom, a credenza is like a trusted sidekick that helps keep things organized. It can provide storage for extra blankets and pillows, ensuring that you always have a warm, cozy blanket within reach.

But that’s not all! Credenzas in a bedroom can also serve as a dresser, helping you store off-season clothing, thus maximizing your wardrobe space. And if the credenza has drawers, bins, or cubbies, you can use it to store shoes, scarves, and other personal items.

In a child’s room, it can even transform into a changing table with storage for diapers and toys, proving that credenzas indeed offer a world of possibilities.


When placed in an office, a credenza can be a game-changer, boosting your productivity and efficiency. The top surface of an office credenza can be used to place objects that don’t fit on your desk, thereby freeing up workspace.

Moreover, credenzas in the office are perfect for extending desk space and can comfortably hold printers. They offer a practical solution for storing paperwork and files, with a combination of open and concealed storage options. This way, you can keep your important documents neatly organized and easily accessible, helping you stay on top of your work.

Styling Your Credenza

Credenza used in interior design project

The process of styling a credenza is intriguing, as it involves striking a balance between functionality and aesthetics to create a piece that genuinely mirrors your style. One can start by adding a lamp to the credenza. Not only does it add height, but the warm glow also creates an inviting atmosphere.

To add a touch of personality to your credenza, try the following:

  • Stack coffee table books on the surface
  • Mix accessories like candles, vases, artwork, and trays, ensuring varied sizes, shapes, textures, and a consistent color palette for a balanced look
  • Add personal items like framed photos to make the credenza feel more homely and unique
  • Remember, you can always re-style your credenza to reflect seasons or personal tastes

Compact Credenzas for Small Spaces

Illustration of a compact credenza in a small space

For inhabitants of compact spaces, small-sized credenzas can be a boon. These pieces, despite their dimensions, supply essential storage without overpowering the room. They can be used to store items such as:

  • Books
  • DVDs or BluRays
  • Office supplies
  • Small electronics
  • Table linens
  • Extra dishes

This helps to maintain an organized and spacious look in small living spaces, ensuring a comfortable living space with a touch of blue.

Compact credenzas are not just about functionality; they’re also about smart, space-saving design. Using multifunctional furniture like compact credenzas can save space while offering storage solutions, allowing you to make the most of your small living area.


To wrap it all up, credenzas are more than just pieces of furniture; they’re versatile, stylish, and functional additions to any home. Whether you’re looking for a storage solution for your dining room, a media console for your living room, a dresser for your bedroom, or an extension of your office desk, a credenza can fit the bill. And with a range of styles available, you can find one that perfectly suits your décor and personal style. So why not consider incorporating a credenza into your living space? It might just be the perfect piece you’ve been missing!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a credenza?

A credenza is a long, low-profile piece of furniture usually made from wood, with cabinets, shelving, and drawers for storing various items. It’s commonly used in entryways, dining rooms, living rooms, or kitchens.

How is a credenza different from sideboards and buffets?

A credenza is lower to the ground, usually without legs, and used for storage and display, while sideboards are taller and may include a hutch, and buffets are longer and designed for buffet-style food service.

What are some popular styles of credenzas?

Popular styles of credenzas include traditional, mid-century modern, Scandinavian, ornate, and industrial. They can be made from a variety of materials such as wood, metal, glass, rattan, and woven options. Choose a style that suits your decor!

How can a credenza be styled?

To style a credenza, you can add a lamp, hang a mirror, use art, stack books, include a candle, arrange picture frames, and incorporate trays. It’s all about adding different elements to create an aesthetically pleasing display.

Can credenzas be used in small spaces?

Absolutely! Compact credenzas are a great way to add storage to small spaces without taking up too much room.

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