To Display or Buffet, that is the Question

I am about to start redecorating my dining room soon. Currently we have a hand-me-down dining set with matching table, chairs, and china cabinet with hutch on top. The whole set has certainly seen better days, but has very much served it’s purpose. Recently I was at JC Penney and walked through their newly designed home section. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so. Very modern and stylish, yet still very affordable, a big plus in my eyes! You wouldn’t think that a store like JC Penney, that sells $6 sweaters and $12 jeans, would  have such a cool home section, but they do. Jonathan Adler, Michael Graves, Conran, and Martha Stewart (among other designer names) have even signed on for exclusive lines with Penny’s.

So the question is, do I stick with a hutch style cabinet, or do I go with just a buffet cabinet with no hutch/display shelves on top? The dining room isn’t very large, only about 10 X 12’ish. The problem with EVERY cabinet/hutch that I’ve ever seen is that they are way too large. Usually they come in two pieces and weigh about 3 tons each. It takes a team of oxen to carry the furniture in to the house. They require an entire wall dedicated to propping them up with barely any room on either side. For these reasons, and the fact that my dining room is so small, I think the buffet style cabinet alone is enough. It will open up a whole wall essentially and still give me about the same amount of storage as I would have had with the giant hutch. Granted, I will have to find other places to display some items that are currently living in my hutch, but you can always rotate them in and out of whatever ‘display’ space you end up using, weather it’s on the table or buffet top, or in another room altogether.

So, back to JC Penny. A new dining room set can cost you thousands, or hundreds depending on the quality. I say thousands before hundreds because when it comes to wood built cabinets and tables you truly do get what you pay for. Yes, I could get a complete dining room set, table chairs, cabinet, hutch for as little as $900 at some discount furniture store (I mean you Value City, more on them later). But it will be made out of pressed board with laminated wood grain, and maybe it will last for a couple years before the shelves begin to sag and the ‘wood’ begins to turn color. But if you spend your money on quality constructed items made from REAL wood and made by REAL manufacturers who know what they are doing, that set will last a lifetime, quite literally!

Here’s the buffet cabinet I am thinking of at Penney’s. It’s designed by Conran and is currently $1,275. Of course there are always coupons and credit offers that can knock this price down a few hundred bucks, not to mention the perpetual sale JC Penney’s always seems to have going on. I like the lighter oak wood veneer finish with the geometric squares along the front. This will add a great contrast to the walls behind it which will probably be painted a dark royal blue with white walls and trim above.


Design by Conran Icarus Grid Sideboard

I’ll keep you posted on the progress as we begin to start redesigning the whole dining room. Next up, table and chairs!

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