What Is A Credenza? (And What Is The Purpose Of A Credenza?)

"As an Associate of Amazon I earn from qualifying purchases made from links in this post."

Even though credenza is one of the most popular furniture pieces these days, it has no exact definition and it is often confused with other furniture items such as… servers, sideboards, or buffets, all of which share similar features.

What is credenza furniture? A credenza is a piece of furniture that has a long flat top and a lot of storage space underneath. This furniture design is commonly seen in homes, offices, and restaurants and it has various potential applications.

What's a Crendenza?

Originally, credenza furniture started as a rough table covered by a cloth. Then it evolved into a piece of furniture without legs and featured cabinets that reached to the floor.

However, credenzas nowadays have legs and they also often feature sliding doors. These are some of the details that differentiate them from other furniture items in the same category.

Credenza Origins

The origins of the word “credenza” are quite interesting. It is a Latin word that means “trust”. The meaning of the word may seem a bit odd for a furniture item.

Etymologists suggest that it may refer to the fact that food was served and displayed on a credenza in the past so that the aristocrats could be assured that the host had honorable intentions.

In some households, credenzas were used to store food that would be tasted by a servant to prove that it wasn’t poisoned.

What Is The Purpose Of A Credenza?

Credenzas can be used in a wide variety of ways including…


Using Them in Homes

The credenza is generally used as a storage unit or sideboard in a family room in homes. In the living rooms and family rooms, the top can be used to display house plants, photographs, etc., while things like games are stored inside the credenza furniture so that the room looks and feels uncluttered.

As a sideboard, credenza furniture can be used to display plates, food, and other materials, and the storage space below can be used for different accessories of the house e.g. silverware, placemats, napkins, etc.


Sauder Cannery Bridge Credenza, for TVs up to 60", Sindoori Mango


Using Them in Offices

The credenza is generally used as a secondary workspace in an office setting. Since it provides a lot of storage space, the area underneath can be filled with drawers, cabinets, and shelving for additional storage.

The additional space can be highly convenient for individuals who like to spread out working materials when they work. Apart from this, credenza also creates an easy-to-access storage area that can help keep the workspace organized.

Using Them in Restaurants

The credenza is used in restaurants to make sure that the extra place settings, as well as other supplies, are readily available without making the environment look obtrusive.

This piece of furniture can cut down on the time for bussers and waitstaff as they don’t need to run to the back for extra glasses, plates, and other items requested by the customer.

Furthermore, when a customer leaves, they can use the items from the credenza to quickly reset a table for the next patron.

As just a brief glance at the above list reveals the credenza is being used in a wide variety of places and for multi-functional purposes such as: Behind the couch, entryway, for an office, for the TV, dining room, living room, bedroom, apartments, small spaces, bathrooms, boardrooms, as a bar, buffet, bookcase, cabinets, dressers, entertainment center, mini-fridge, wine fridge, in the kitchen, as dog kennels, and for additional storage.

What is a Credenza Cabinet


What is a credenza cabinet? A credenza cabinet is basically a spacious, long cabinet that sits low to the ground. Typically, it has sliding doors and very short legs.

Originally made for the dining room, this versatile, chic piece of furniture works in virtually every room of the house.


Style and Design Ideas for a Credenza

Credenza cabinets are available in a wide variety of styles and designs. So, you can find one to match nearly any aesthetic.

There are certain things you can do to make a credenza cabinet fit your space. For instance, you can change the hardware to modify or update the vibe. You can even paint the cabinet to match the aesthetic of your room.

Although credenza cabinets are a stylish piece of furniture that is ideal for large rooms, these cabinets also work great when it comes to filling empty space in smaller rooms.

There are compact credenza cabinets available on the market that add storage to your room without occupying a large footprint.

What is the Difference Between a Buffet and a Credenza?

Because of the similarity in their overall appearance, the terms buffets and credenzas are often used interchangeably to describe the piece of furniture that is used for storage and serving.

What is the difference between a buffet and a credenza? A credenza is more likely to be a longer and lower style cabinet with no legs or very short legs and a sliding door while a buffet is more likely to stand taller on long slender legs with drawers and traditional cabinet doors.

However, these days they make credenza buffets and buffet credenza so the difference is becoming less obvious. The key difference between a buffet and a credenza is in their history.

What Are Buffets?

Buffets originally came from Sweden for laying out huge feasts of drink and food, commonly known as smorgasbords. After that, they became popular in France and then the rest of Europe caught on to the concepts of this piece of furniture.

Interestingly, many furniture makers and retailers seem to differentiate buffets as being pieces with lower storage units and higher legs.

Origins of the Buffet

“Buffet” is a French term that means “sideboard”. The word is closely related to a buffet-style meal that is spread out for self-serving on a narrow, long table.

The origins of this piece of furniture go back to the 16th century. At that time, Swedish schnapps tables were used to hold the pre-dinner drinks.

These tables then evolved in the 18th century into the smorgasbord tables, in which drinks and food were laid out for guests.

Typically, buffets have some kind of drawers or cabinets for storage and a flat surface for décor and food. Some of them also feature long legs.

What Are Credenzas?

Although credenzas also often serve the same purpose as the buffets, what characterizes them is a narrow, low profile, long cabinet with a flat top, and multiple storage compartments.

Typically made from wood, credenzas originally had no feet or legs. They were basically cabinets that sat flat with the floor. The newer models of credenza were made in the middle of the 20th century due to their popularity.

These new models were longer and lower cabinets designed atop slender legs. Some of them also featured sliding doors.

Origins of Credenza

The term “credenza” is Latin that means “trust”. This is appropriate because credenzas played a key role in the dining quarters of high-ranking noblemen and kings.

The food placed on this decorative piece of furniture had to be tested by servants to make sure that it wasn’t poisoned. The later models of credenzas feature sliding cabinet doors and very slender legs.

Making a Decision

Even though the terms buffets and credenzas are used interchangeably and they are often confusing to some, everyone can agree on one thing; these decorative pieces of furniture are both attractive and functional. So, how do you decide on the right one for your space?

It’s quite simple. When deciding between a buffet and a credenza, you simply need to think of its purpose. What will you use it for? Where will you place it? The answer to these questions will influence your decision.

For instance, if using as dining room furniture, the depth and height will be important factors in your decision. On the other hand, display capacity and storage will be the driving factor for the living room.

In case you are wondering how to pronounce the word credenza? You can hear the pronunciation here.

The credenzas are an amazing addition to virtually every space. They are available in a variety of styles and finishes, with both functional and decorative use. Choose the one that suits your style and needs and you can’t go wrong.

You may also be interested in… Is Modway A Good Brand? Quality Furniture With Excellent Ratings and What is a Hoosier Cabinet