Top Tips for Stylizing Your Buffet Table With Two Lamps

First introduced around the 16th century, buffet tables have evolved to be a pretty versatile piece of furniture. 

When placed in kitchen areas, they’re often used as serving tables.

And when placed in a living room, they provide a platform to place in and out the door items like wallets, keys, and handbags. 

They can also be used to enhance the lighting of the space where they’re installed. Speaking of lighting, many wonder about the number of lamps that ought to be placed on buffets. 

Do you really need two lamps or is one enough? The truth is, you can place either one or two lamps.

It all depends on the amount of space available and the purpose of adding the fixtures.

Here’s an in-depth overview of buffet tables, their applications, and a few tips for decorating them.

Do you need two lamps on a buffet?

Before we delve into the number of lamps, it’s important to describe what a buffet lamp is.

It’s a tall light fixture whose height can extend up to 36 inches. It has a narrow base, giving it a shape that resembles that of a candlestick.

Now, there aren’t any hard rules on how many lamps ought to be placed on a buffet table. Often, this typically boils down to the length or size of the table. 

If the table is long enough, you can place two lamps, one on either end. But if you want to add a few other accessories such as a giant piece of art, then one lamp will do just fine. 

On the same note, you may want to think about the purpose of adding the lamp. Are you using it as a decorative element or for illumination purposes? 

If it’s for decoration, then you can add just one giant lamp with an aesthetically pleasing design. But if you’re trying to enhance lighting, two lamps will work better than one. 

What is a buffet lamp used for?

The most common application of a buffet lamp is at parties, where it’s used to illuminate a buffet or serving table. 

Apart from illuminating serving tables, buffet lamps are also used to provide low-level light. 

Let’s say there’s one corner of a room that tends to be too dark because it has no access to natural light.

Or perhaps your home office desk doesn’t receive that much natural lighting. You can add a small buffet lamp to provide low-level lighting. 

Lastly, buffet lamps can also be used to provide mood lighting. As implied in the name, this entails leveraging lighting fixtures to give a space the ideal atmospheric feel. 

In fact, you’ve probably seen buffet lamps being used for mood lighting at restaurants and hotels.

Think back to the dinner dates that you’ve attended in the past.

Some hotels prefer to dim the overhead lighting and make the most of buffet lamps; adding a romantic element to the atmosphere. 

How tall should a lamp be on the sideboard?

If you’re looking to install a lamp on your sideboard or buffet, you might be wondering how tall it should be. 

Based on their size, buffet lamps can be divided into two categories.

We have tall ones, whose height ranges between 32 and 36 inches, and short ones that are 24 to 30 inches tall.

That said, it’s not unusual to find a few fixtures that have a much shorter height than this.

Speaking of height, this measurement is usually estimated from the lamp’s base to the top of its shade.

So just how tall should a buffet lamp be? This depends on the intended application.  Here are a couple of ideas on how to use it:

Task lighting

If you’ll be using it as a source of light for specific tasks- like say when you’re reading- then a lamp of medium height is the best choice. 

This way, it will be tall enough to provide efficient illumination. But it won’t be so tall that it becomes difficult to reach when you want to turn it off from a seated position. 


On the other hand, if your console is located right at the entrance of your house, you’ll want to get a much taller lamp; preferably one that is 36 inches tall.

Here’s the thing, your sideboard is the first stop you’ll make when you enter your house.

It’s the fixture that you turn on so that you can see where to place your keys or hang your coat.

For these reasons, it should be large and bright enough to serve this role well. 

Decorative purposes

Will you be using the buffet lamp to spruce up your living room?

If so, the height of the fixture will depend on whether it’s being used as a focal point or to complement other accessories.

If you don’t plan to add anything else on the sideboard other than the lamp, then don’t be afraid to go big.

For such an application, consider putting a lamp that is at least 30 inches tall. 

On the other hand, if you already have a tall art piece on your sideboard, then pick a small-sized lamp.

This way, the fixture won’t steal the show by drawing attention away from the other decorative elements. 

How to decorate a buffet hutch?

Before we get to decorating it’s important to note that a hutch is different from a sideboard or buffet.

So what’s the difference between the three pieces of furniture? The main traits used to distinguish them are placement and height.

A buffet and a sideboard are pretty much the same thing.

They are both low-lying, long, and narrow pieces of furniture. Their design allows them to fit in very tight spaces.

You may find these items being referred to as console tables or credenzas.

Now, the main difference between buffets and sideboards entails placement. Buffets are meant to be placed in a dining room, where they’re used for serving buffet-style meals.

Sideboards, on the other hand, are meant to be placed in a living room or hallway. In this case, they’re mainly used for storage or to display decorative items. 

A hutch bears a striking resemblance to a buffet/ sideboard. The difference with this furniture piece is that it has a set of shelves or cabinets added to it on top.

This makes it taller and offers more storage.

Due to the extra storage space provided by cabinets and shelves, hutches can be placed in bedrooms as well; not just the living or dining room.

Are you looking for tips to decorate your hutch? Here are a couple of ideas:

Consider the color palette

When you start decorating your hutch, you may feel overwhelmed by the range of items that you can add to it. 

To avoid this, choose and stick to a specific color scheme.

In fact, you should be guided by the color palette present in the rest of the space.

If you’re placing the sideboard in a living room, then look for items whose colors match the shade of your chairs and other furniture. 

Using this approach makes it easy to narrow down your options as you can only pick items whose colors match or contrast nicely with what you have already. 

Height is key

Another hack that’s really useful entails buying items of varying heights. 

For instance, buy big pieces like pitchers and tureens, medium-sized ones like cake stands, and tiny items like spice jars and gravy boats.

This will make it easy to mix and match items of varying heights on each row or shelf. 

Start with the middle shelf

If you’ve ever decorated a hutch before, there’s a good chance that you started from the top as you worked your way down. 

But the best approach to use is to start with the middle shelf. This will help to set the tone and style for the whole hutch. 

Speaking of the middle shelf, this is where you’ll want to display your grand masterpiece. That one item will be a head-turner and make a bold statement in your entire dining room.

What can you put in a buffet?

Is your console table looking a little empty? Well, here are a few ideas on how to spice up its look:

  • Fixtures that provide illumination such as a lamp shade
  • A mirror 
  • Art pieces 
  • Large serving platters
  • Photos
  • Family heirlooms

Is a buffet table necessary?

Given how expensive a buffet table can be, you may be questioning the need to get one in the first place. 

Is it all that necessary? In our opinion, it’s a handy piece of furniture that’s worth the investment. Here are some of the benefits you stand to gain from buying a buffet table:

Provides easy accessibility

If you’re like most homeowners, there are a few cutlery and crockery sets that you set aside to use on special occasions.

For the better part of the year, these items remain tucked away in a remote cabinet inside the kitchen.

But what happens when your friends pay you an unexpected visit?

Will you spend half an hour trying to access those stashed away utensils? It is where a sideboard comes in handy.

It doubles up as a storage unit for serveware items you’d love to have easy access to.

Acts as a display area

The top section of your console table makes the ultimate display area. Make the most of this space by showcasing your most treasured items. 

These could be your favorite designer accessories, framed family pictures, trophies or certificates you’ve been awarded, antique items, and other collectibles. 

Improves your organization

Wondering how you can keep your home organized when you have little kids who run around making messes all day?

Well, a console might just be the solution you need. 

You can use it to store kids’ toys, comic books, magazines, stationery, and more.

This will significantly reduce the amount of clutter in your home whilst also providing a safe storage unit for your kids’ items. 

Offers versatility

Another reason that warrants buying a sideboard entails the level of versatility it offers.

Unlike a dining table or office desk, this piece of furniture fits perfectly regardless of where it’s placed; be it a toddler’s playroom, at the entrance, the hallway, bedroom, or dining room. 

Can you use a dresser as a buffet?

Sure, you can. If you have a dresser that is low-lying, long, and narrow, you can easily convert it into a buffet. 

In fact, this is a fun DIY project that you can do over the weekend. That said, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. 

For one, if you’d love a part of the buffet to have open shelving, you’ll likely have to get rid of some of the drawers. 

Secondly, a dresser may not have the kind of hardware you’d want in a buffet. So you may have to do a bit of shopping to find those vintage glass knobs you’ve always wanted.

Once you have all its parts assembled, the only thing left is the paintwork.

Check the color palette in the dining room or the space where you intend to add the buffet. 

Does it blend with the existing color of your dresser?

If it’s a far cry from it, consider painting your dresser-turned-buffet a new color that complements the decor.  


You do not need two lamps for a buffet. If square footage is at a premium, one lamp will suffice.

But if you have ample space and are looking to use the fixtures to enhance the lighting of a given space, using two lamps is a better option.

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