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Buffets and Cabinets: Masterfully Blend Style and Function

With kitchen cabinets, wine racks, and other types of buffets and cabinets, you do not have to choose between augmenting home storage space and enhancing your décor. These fixtures are available in an array of designs, finishes, and prices to suit practically every taste, need, and budget.

What Are Cabinets?

'Cabinets,' in this context, is a catch-all name for practically any box-like furniture piece with doors or drawers used for storing and displaying household items. The term includes buffets, cupboards, sideboards, and more. Cabinets come in every size, shape, style, finish, and installation option imaginable.

Wait, There Are Furniture Pieces Named Buffets?

Buffets are longish, waist-high or lower, somewhat long-legged pieces mostly used in dining rooms. They have flat tops for placing dishes of food or displaying decorative objects, and storage space below for linen, extra utensils, and other items. Buffets are usually placed against walls. They can also be used in living rooms where they can be referred to as sideboards.

Like ABBA, meatballs, and the Muppet's Swedish Chef, buffets are a Swedish cultural export. Sixteenth century Swedes used these pieces to lay out buffet-style spreads of food known as smorgasbords. The practice - and the associated furniture - caught on in France and, eventually, the rest of Europe. Like other cabinets, buffets come in a wide range of shapes and styles. From French provincial to urban contemporary and everything in between, there is virtually no end to your options.

What Are Some Notable Cabinet Features?

Despite their jaw-dropping variety, cabinets do have some features in common. Most are fabricated from solid wood or a mix of solid wood and wood laminate, while the rest are made from stainless steel, acrylic, lacquer, thermofoil, or melamine.

Doors, where they are a part of the design, are usually made from the same materials as the rest of the cabinet. However, some, like food pantry cabinets, come with glass doors to provide a clear view of the interior and its contents.

Because they are primarily used for storage, cabinets feature drawers, compartments, shelving, or some combination of the three. Short cabinets—buffets, kitchen cabinetry, nightstands, and others—usually have flat tops that are used for displaying objects or as working surfaces.

The installation type for cabinets can vary too. They can be built in, as is the case with most kitchen cabinetry; attached to ceilings, floors, or walls, like most medicine cabinets; or freestanding and movable, like buffets and cupboards.

Could You Provide a Little More Detail on Cabinet Styles?

French provincial cabinetry is usually stained or painted, but its standout feature is intricate, almost extravagant, detailing on doors, bevels, and corners. This ethos extends to the top surfaces, which are ornamented with painted landscapes or other artwork.

In comparison, mid century style cabinets have a more restrained aesthetic. Signature features include flared legs, geometrical shapes, and sleek lines.

Modern cabinetry features clean lines and open spaces. Defining characteristics include minimal-but-bold embellishments, smooth surfaces, sleek lines, and sharp angles.

Early American cabinetry is clean and uncomplicated. Notable characteristics include simple lines, minimal ornamentation, plain feet, and turnings that are split vertically. Early American cabinets are usually painted in a wide variety of colours.

Mission style cabinets are similarly uncomplicated, although lines are bolder and the overall aesthetic far more rustic. Defining features include simple stile-and-rail frames, flat recessed panels, a stained wood finish, and visible wood grain.

Shaker style cabinetry is characterised by five-piece doors with recessed centre panels. Some shaker-style cabinets have a clean look while others feature decorative edging within the stiles and rails of the door.

Scandinavian style cabinets are simple to the point of being austere, making them particularly suited for minimalist spaces. Given their Zen-like aesthetic, the primary defining features are straight lines and crisp angles.

In contrast, rustic cabinets are characterised by a wealth of organic detailing. Typical construction materials include unfinished, distressed, or pre-used wood, which lends these cabinets raw charm.

Oriental style cabinets feature materials such as rattan and bamboo, which gives them an aesthetic midway between exotic and rustic. Defining features include a rich red finish, landscape art, and Asian calligraphy characters.