Monday 24 October 2016

Interiors: side of style - dramatic sideboards

Emily Westbrooks

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

Oak sideboard, €600 at Next.
Oak sideboard, €600 at Next.
Tip 2: Lighten Up
3 Storage solutions
Tip 4 Trinkets
5 Artwork
6 Height
Calligaris Sami Chair, €279 from Objekt (

No longer just a 1990s throwback, you can pack a punch with a sideboard.

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A sideboard isn't the most exciting piece of furniture; you can't sit on one and they're not typically visually stunning. But sideboards actually have a lot of under-the-radar benefits. First, added storage is always a crowd-pleaser. Second, a sideboard can anchor a room that's otherwise filled with furniture that floats in the centre. Finally, a sideboard provides a simple way to style an entire wall. Add art above it, trinkets and a lamp on the surface, and you have an easy and sophisticated focal point for a dining room.

Here are a few handy tricks of the trade to make sure your sideboard looks its best in your home.

1 Sideboard Situation

If you haven't had one since the '90s like many Irish homes, you'll need a great sideboard. Whether your style leans mid-century, country or modern, there are a lot of options out there. Keep an eye out for second-hand models, I once bought a 100-year-old wooden sideboard for €11!

Buy it: Oak sideboard, €600 at Next,

Calligaris Sami Chair, €279 from

2 Light It Up

In a dining room, the table should have the dominant light source usually with a chandelier or overhead light, but a sideboard is a great place for one or two lamps that can add functional lighting and ambience. For a more traditional look, opt for two matching lamps on either side, and for a modern take, stick with one statement light. When choosing a lamp, ensure it has a little height, at least 45 centimetres.

buy it: Teal table lamp, €59 from Littlewoods Ireland,

3 Awesome Artwork

A sideboard provides the perfect gallery space just above it. Consider hanging one special piece above your sideboard, then lean a mirror or smaller canvases against the wall. It will create a casual art collector vibe without leaving your wall littered with holes.

Buy it: 'I Like Your Bits' print, €35 at April & The Bear,

4 Trinkets and Treasures

I'll never recommend covering a surface with trinkets, but a sprinkling of well curated treasures can add a lot of personality. Think candlesticks or figurines, but try to keep a cohesive colour palette or stick with metallic finishes. Brass or rose gold are top trend for trinkets at the moment.

Buy it: Brass beetle paperweight, €100 from

5 Just Add Height

Once you've added your trays, lamps and artwork, take a few steps back and make sure there's enough height to keep the sideboard from looking squat. If your lamps are a little puny, take the edge off with a tall vase and add a flowering branch or long sprigs of flowers. If your sideboard accoutrements are all on the taller side, opt for a few lower vases to draw your eye back down. And if you've opted for a pair of matching lamps on either end of the sideboard, make sure to mix up the rest of the elements so the whole look isn't too traditional.

Buy it: Thelma geometric vase, €45 at House of Fraser

6 Storage Solutions

Sideboards pack a double punch when it comes to storage - you can stack dishes and linens inside, keeping them close to your dining table. And you can store a few pretty things on top. You'll just want to keep the sideboard from looking too cluttered, and the best way to do that is to corral similar items on a tray or in a bowl. Pretty glasses set on a tray or a bowl of napkin rings can add texture to your sideboard without looking too busy.

Buy it: Brass serving tray, €22 from Marks & Spencer

Choosing chairs


If you're not the type to choose a dining set that comes with matching table and chairs, finding separates can be a little tricky. We checked in with Aoife Hayes at Objekt ( in Newcastle, Co Limerick, for a few tips to make dining decisions a little simpler.

First, consider the shape of your table; a square or rectangular table matches well with more linear chairs. Aoife suggests: "If you are dealing with an oval or round table try have some softness or curve to the chair." If you're wary of adding too much colour to your table, she recommends a mix and match. "You can also pair a table with four to six simple side chairs and add colour or a funky shape chair to top and bottom."

And for families with little ones? Choosing chairs with wipe-able Teflon or removable covers.

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