6 Ways To Decorate Sideboards and Cabinets

The sideboard is more or less a must-have in any dining room (or even the living room or entryway). Not only does it provide low-level surface space for ornaments, pictures, plants, and more. But there is under-the-counter storage for crockery, dishes, and other useful but usually unseen serving items.

Sideboards have also evolved over the years, turning from a mere storage unit to a style item in its own right. But it’s not just the sideboard itself that needs to be stylish or in keeping with the design scheme of the room, it’s also about the way you style it.

It’s not enough to have a beautiful sideboard but leave it sitting there unadorned by beautiful ornaments or family photos. Any more than it’s enough to have a chic piece that’s covered by phone chargers, weeks’ old mail, and all sorts of other assorted clutter. To really make your sideboard work – both aesthetically and practically – you need to think about how you decorate it.

We have compiled 6 top tips and tricks for sideboard decor. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to turn either an empty space or a cluttered catastrophe into a charming, elegant, and 100% functional sideboard unit. These ideas will work whether your style is modern, mid-century, rustic, or anywhere in between.

Light it up

As a countertop surface space, this is also the perfect place for a lamp. Not only does this provide light for the rest of the dining room but can also be used to light the surface of the sideboard. That means any ornaments or photos will be well-lit. And if you have occasion to use your sideboard as a service station during a dinner party or other social event, people can see what they’re putting on their plate. Think soft tones and low wattage for the most pleasing effects.

Match to tableware

The sideboard is not the dinner table and the dinner table is not the sideboard. But there is no reason why these two close cousins can’t work in harmony. So, why not dress them the same by matching the tableware to the ornaments and features on the sideboard?

Keeping a tray of drinking glasses on the sideboard, using the same style of serving and display bowls across both pieces, or simply matching the color scheme are all top ideas for decorating on top of cabinets.

Big botanicals

There aren’t many items of countertop furniture that aren’t improved by a big burst of green, so use your sideboard as a place to create a mini-rainforest, with a selection of varied houseplants. Mix up the leaf types, heights, and foliage density to add depth and interest, and add a calming effect to your dining space. Or, if you’re feeling really bold, then add a burst of color with some flowers or a flowering plant. These make really eye-catching decorations for cabinet tops.

Use the space above

Of course, it’s not just the sideboard itself that needs styling but also the wall above it. Here is the perfect place to display artwork, family photos, or other eye-catching images. Adding an artwork or mirror placed centrally against a sideboard helps to invigorate the space. The sideboard itself will frame the wall above it, making it an ideal viewing gallery where you can also reflect on the style and color scheme of the piece itself. This will create the effect of a feature wall, with the added bonus of tabletop and under-the-counter storage options.

Display table and serving ware

Yes, back in the day, the sideboard was the place to keep the ‘best’ crockery or the serving dishes you didn’t necessarily want people to see. Well, things have changed and both table and serving ware can now be style items in their own right. Why keep nice crockery hidden away when you can have it on display? And, big and bold serving dishes can also double up as tabletop ornaments.

Create a conversation starter

Sideboard decorating can also be the ideal time to show off your conversation starter. This can be anything from a funny photo to an unusual travel souvenir. Placing something on the sideboard that piques interest is a great way to get your guests talking and a great top of cabinet décor tip.

As you can see, there are plenty of sideboards decorating ideas to help you make this most useful of furniture items do a lot more than just stashing the plates. With a careful choice of tabletop decorations or practical pieces, some organic influence, and a carefully curated wall, you can really bring the sideboard into the center of attention.