Mid-century modern design is making a huge comeback in home decor and furniture collecting. Its clean lines, organic shapes, and emphasis on fine materials really transcend the decades. An iconic centerpiece in many mid-century homes is the sideboard. This long horizontal cabinet or buffet brings both storage and style to the dining room or any living space.
In this blog, we’ll explore some of the top mid-century modern sideboard designs from masters of the movement. We’ll also dive into tips for choosing the right vintage or contemporary mid-century inspired sideboard for your home. Discover how to incorporate this functional furniture in a way that showcases your personal taste and passion for retro style. Let’s get started!
The Classics: Top 5 Mid-Century Modern Sideboards
When you imagine mid-century sideboards, these names likely come to mind first. They represent the archetypes of the genre and make a bold statement in any space.
Nielsen Sideboard by Niels Otto Moller
Danish designer Niels Otto Moller created this iconic sideboard in the 1950s. Its long slim profile features beautiful teak wood grain and tapered legs. The surface showcases Moller’s craftsmanship with subtly rounded corners and precise dovetail joinery.
Two sets of cabinet doors with metal purse pulls open to provide enclosed storage. The mid-century obsession with clever functionality shines through. This harmonious combination of wood tones and gentle curves personifies Danish modern ideals.
The Nielsen sideboard has natural elegance. It also epitomizes exceptional quality with solid wood construction. This is a piece that would easily become a family heirloom. The only downside is that its fame comes with a hefty price tag. But for those able to invest, owning an iconic vintage Nielsen sideboard is a dream.
Lane Acclaim Sideboard
This American-made classic dates back to the early 1960s. The Lane Acclaim sideboard exhibits many trademark mid-century details. Tapered legs give it a sense of motion and flow. The walnut veneer body contrasts beautifully with lighter boxwood inlays around the drawer fronts.
The slim metal legs angle back slightly for a delicate floating effect. The Acclaim also features tapered drawer pulls with a dark wood rectangular accent. Versatility is a highlight, with two cupboards, two drawers, and an interior shelf compartment. This sideboard masterfully blends style, function, and fine craftsmanship.
The quality matches the high price point, which reflects the collectibility of Lane’s designs. Excellent condition vintage examples can sell for well over $3,000. While not cheap, this is a worthy investment in American retro style.
Milo Baughman Thin Edge Sideboard
Prolific mid-century designer Milo Baughman created this low profile sideboard with sleek details. True to its name, the Thin Edge showcases crisp slim lines from all angles. It features rosewood veneers and louvered drawer fronts with recessed black metal handles. Four drawers provide ample organized storage.
Baughman embraced minimalist principles in his furniture. He focused on seamless lines, maximum functionality, and impeccable construction. The Thin Edge exemplifies these ideals. It has an elegance that comes from simple, well-executed design. The quality matches Baughman’s reputation, making this sideboard a standout choice.
This mid-century maker specialized in clean Danish-inspired designs crafted from rich teak wood. The Plycraft buffet has an alternating grain pattern on the sliding cabinet doors. This adds striking visual dimension. Angled tapered legs give a light floating effect, contrasting nicely with the warm wood tones.
Everything about this sideboard speaks to Danish modern design. From the tapered legs to the minimalist hardware, form and function are fully optimized. Plycraft’s commitment to fine hand craftsmanship is evident in the dovetail joinery and smooth finishes. The buffet provides both open and closed storage, maximizing its use. This is a sculptural showpiece perfect for dining rooms or living spaces.
Kent Coffey Perspecta Sideboard
With its elongated body on an elevated base, the Perspecta makes a breathtaking statement. The slim profile seems to stretch into the distance, accentuated by dramatic tapered legs. The rosewood veneers feature Kent Coffey’s signature “breadboard” ends – a long continuous piece across the sides.
This sideboard includes two closed cabinets and two open shelves, providing a combination of display and storage. The spare styling reflects the mid-century obsession with simplifying design elements. Kent Coffey was acclaimed for his meticulous craftsmanship and innovative techniques. His custom furniture pieces are investment-worthy classics.
Choosing Your Mid-Century Sideboard
Once you fall in love with mid-century modern style, choosing just one sideboard can be tough! Keep the following tips in mind while browsing vintage stores and online markets:
Consider the space
Take measurements of where you want to place your mid-century sideboard. Make sure to account for traffic flow around the piece and any openings like doors or entryways. Mid-century sideboards range widely in size, but many standard options are between 50-70 inches long. Be sure to visualize the scale in your room. A long, low sideboard can accentuate the linear quality often found in mid-century spaces. Just beware of overwhelming a small room.
Also assess the overall decor style. If you want to maintain a consistent retro vibe, stay true to key mid-century details. Simple tapered legs, teak or walnut wood tones, and clean lines are trademarks. If your space leans more eclectic, look for a versatile piece that balances modern and traditional attributes.
Think about your needs for storage, display, and serving. Closed cabinets provide concealed storage forbarware, table linens, or dishware collections. If displaying cherished items is the priority, open shelving creates a charming vignette. For dining rooms, sideboards with self-closing drawers and expansive countertops excel at meal service.
If your main goal is increasing storage capacity, prioritize pieces with drawers and cabinet space. Just be sure to take measurements so awkwardly deep cabinets don’t become black holes. The right mix of closed and open storage creates a sideboard that both serves and shows off your style.
Assess authenticity and condition
With vintage mid-century furniture, authenticity and condition greatly impact price. Study examples online to recognize true hallmarks of mid-century style versus adaptations or fakes. Details like real wood joinery, tapered legs, and manufacturer labels help date pieces.
Evaluate condition based on the wood grains, hardware, and finishes. Some owners refinish sideboards to protect veneers and restore luster. While this can be beautiful, original patinas have nostalgic value. Stripping pieces to bare wood often decreases vintage appeal. Carefully consider condition and weigh the costs of any restoration needs. Imperfections just add character!
Set a budget
Mid-century collectors know that prices for iconic designers and brands can easily hit five figures. But more modest vintage finds also abound if you know where to look. Define your budget to narrow options while still getting the features you want.
For investment-level pieces like rosewood Milo Baughman creations or teak Danish imports, expect to spend $3,000 and beyond. You can uncover great vintage deals in the $1,000-$2,000 range from lesser known makers or those needing light restoration. Affordable contemporary companies also offer mid-century inspired sideboards for under $1,000. Know your priorities between modern function or vintage allure.
Identify the must-have features
Create your wish list of ideal sideboard features to guide your search. This helps you evaluate options more objectively. Do you adore the look of sliding cabinet doors? Is a set of drawers non-negotiable for your needs? Are architectural angled legs a must? Rank these priorities from required to just nice-to-have.
You likely won’t find every single trait on your list in one sideboard. Defining the primary make-or-break features helps you filter options and identify top contenders. Consider making concessions on lower priority style points if you find a piece that delivers on your core must-haves.
Avoid obvious red flags
Like any antique shopping, look out for obvious warning signs of low quality reproductions or fake branding. Generic hardware, amalgamations of wood types, and laminate finishes are some giveaways. Unnaturally distressed paint treatments and “shabby chic” embellishments are not truly mid-century.
Authentic labeling from reputable manufacturers gives you confidence, as do display tags from trusted vintage dealers. Some buyers even consult vintage furniture price guides to validate estimated date ranges and fair market value. Trust your gut if something seems fishy. Stick to styles that align with iconic mid-century design principles to avoid disappointments.
The marks of renowned mid-century designers increase value, especially for sideboards featuring rare materials like rosewood. Study signature traits of creatives like George Nelson, Milo Baughman, and Paul Evans. Search archives like Design Addict online to identify maker’s marks.
Even if big names are outside your budget, understanding their influence can inform smarter buying. Lesser-known designers at companies like Lane Furniture, Glenn of California, and Plycraft also made quality pieces. The right brand pedigree combined with fine materials and craftsmanship are hallmarks of a sound investment.
Take a long-term view
Finding a true gem of a mid-century sideboard may take patience. Scout estate sales, vintage shops, and online auctions regularly, since new inventory continually pops up. Let dealers know what you’re looking for. Expand searches beyond your own area to increase options.
Setting Google alerts for desired brands and designers helps you act quickly when coveted pieces turn up. Always ask about shipping costs and policies before falling for a faraway find. Be prepared to act decisively when your perfect sideboard emerges. The hunt for that missing furniture piece makes finally bringing it home even sweeter.
Mid-Century Sideboard FAQs
Let’s dive into some common questions about selecting and styling mid-century modern sideboards:
What types of wood were typically used?
Teak, walnut, and rosewood were premium woods prized by mid-century designers. The rich grains and smooth textures complemented the sleek lines and sculptural shapes. Pine, oak, acacia, and ash were also common. High-quality joinery and finishes elevated more affordable woods.
Were most iconic mid-century sideboards made in America?
Many came from the U.S., but influences crossed between America and Europe. American makers included Lane Furniture, Jens Risom Inc., and Kent Coffey. Danish imports from designers like Niels Otto Moller were also popular. Tracking where each brand or artist crafted pieces provides insight into traditions and trends.
How can I determine if a vintage sideboard is high quality?
Study the joinery, hardware, materials, and construction. Mortise and tenon joints that fit seamlessly, dovetail drawer construction, and tapered legs all indicate meticulous craftsmanship. Look for solid wood over veneers which can delaminate over time. High-end designers used premium woods and miles of hand-tied joinery even on interior parts. Markings from respected manufacturers point to authenticity.
What’s a typical price range for authentic mid-century sideboards?
For iconic designs in excellent original condition, prices easily reach $3,000 to $5,000 or above. Beautiful examples by renowned designers start around $1,500. More common vintage pieces can cost $500 to $1,200. Reproductions run from $500 to $1,500. Set your budget, evaluate condition, assess rarity, and compare fair market prices.
Should I refinish a vintage mid-century sideboard?
This is an ongoing debate! Some people prefer the aged warmth of original patinas. Others want to repair scratches or lighten stain colors. Refinishing risks reducing vintage value but protects surfaces. One compromise is lightly sanding and resealing existing stain. Removing paint or laminate to reveal wood grains below can be worthwhile. Consult a furniture restoration expert for best practices.
What’s the best way to incorporate a mid-century sideboard into my existing decor?
This statement piece deserves the spotlight! Clear away clutter and simplify decor around the sideboard to let it shine. Use spare accent pieces like pendant lights, geometric ceramics or sculptural bookends to reflect mid-century style without overwhelming.
Repetition of key materials (ex. rosewood tone) and shapes (tapered legs) creates cohesion. Incorporate organic textures like jute, wool, or real wood for contrast. Your sideboard will instantly become a conversation starter as the aesthetic focus.
Are mid-century reproductions worth considering?
If your budget can’t accommodate original vintage, quality reproductions merit consideration. New production methods allow more exact recreations of iconic designs. Just carefully inspect construction, materials, branding and pricing. Some reproductions artfully capture mid-century style at 20-50% of vintage costs.
The downsides are loss of antique uniqueness and unknown long-term durability. Compare specs like solid wood vs veneers, mortise and tenon joinery, and finishing. While not equivalent to owning a true vintage piece, the right reproduction still evokes mid-century flair.
Where are the best places to shop for mid-century sideboards?
Online shops like Chairish, 1stDibs, and Etsy offer browsing by style, era, and budget. Estate sales and vintage stores require diligent searching but can yield hidden deals. Auction houses like Wright require close bidding attention but showcase thoroughly inspected pieces.
For new reproductions, retailers like Article and Joybird balance quality and affordability. Take time exploring to find options that fit your priorities. Comparing photos, descriptions, and vendor reviews helps build knowledge too.
How much clearance should I allow around the sideboard for openings?
A good rule of thumb is 30-36 inches of clearance from the edge of the sideboard to any wall, doorway or corner. This gives plenty of space to open drawers and doors without collision. If it will sit in a high traffic area, allow even more breathing room for easy circulation. You want to be able to access, admire, and utilize your sideboard easily!
What are telltale signs that a piece may not be authentically mid-century?
Generic hardware, laminate materials, plastic drawer glides, and overly distressed finishes are red flags. Look for high-quality real wood joinery and construction. Branding or makers marks that don’t match established mid-century designers raise doubts. Cross-check serial numbers, species of wood, and sizes when possible. Proportions that don’t align with the era’s style are also warning signs. When in doubt, consult vintage furniture experts.
The Perfect Sideboard Awaits
Whether you love the warmth of walnut or the sleekness of rosewood, your ideal mid-century modern sideboard is out there waiting. Now that you know what to look for in quality construction, iconic designs, and legitimate vintage details, you can hunt with confidence. Define your priorities for style, function and budget to make this significant investment in your home’s decor.
Soon you’ll be serving up dinner parties with flair and styling your library with a stunning showpiece. Let the thrill of the hunt begin – persist in scouting estate sales, auctions and shops until you bring home that dream piece. Then sit back and admire how your new focal point sideboard makes your space sing with retro charm.
The end! Let me know if you would like me to modify or expand this draft blog post in any way. I aimed to provide comprehensive information in an engaging writing style tailored to a design-focused audience. Please provide any feedback so I can continue improving my blog writing skills.