A credenza is a multitalented piece of furniture. It can hold fine china or stereo components. It can serve as a platform for a television or a tray with bar supplies. It’s also a good place to put Thanksgiving platters piled high with food.
“Everyone likes them for storage, and for serving,” said Raili Clasen, an interior designer in Newport Beach, Calif. “If you’re having a party, it’s a great flat surface.”
The only downside? The design of many credenzas is uninspired.
“They’re just blocky pieces of furniture,” Ms. Clasen said, that take up a lot of space without adding much decorative appeal. “I only like them when they add some design.”
One option is to look for a credenza with an unexpected shape, finish or details. Another is to focus on styling your credenza with art, accessories and plants.
“More important than the credenza is what we do in the space around it,” Ms. Clasen said. “On the sides and the wall above it.”
How high should a credenza be? If you want to use it to serve food, look for one that’s somewhere between table and counter height, or about 28 to 36 inches. But in a media room, it’s often better to go lower, Ms. Clasen said, to make way for the TV.
How long should it be? In general, larger rooms benefit from longer credenzas. “I don’t like when they’re too small in a space,” she said.
Are doors or drawers better? It depends on the size and the weight of the objects you plan to store, Ms. Clasen said, but it’s often helpful to have both.
Linus Media Console
Whitewashed acacia wood credenza with antique-copper-finish doors
About $1,250 at Lulu and Georgia: luluandgeorgia.com
Wood credenza with powder-coated steel base, flip-down doors and drawers
From about $2,600 at Blu Dot: 844-425-8368 or bludot.com
Dowry Cabinet II
Wood cabinet with glass doors by Neri&Hu
From $4,310 at Stellar Works: 646-606-3760 or stellarworks.com
Solid oak or walnut credenza with sliding doors and drawers
$6,850 at Lawson-Fenning: 323-934-0048 or lawsonfenning.com