What is a Hutch?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A hutch is a large, generally wooden, cabinet that can come in several varieties. Most hutches are purchased to provide extra storage space, though some may also be purchased to showcase keepsakes or china, or to use as a place to serve food. Most hutches are of three types, the kitchen hutch, the china hutch or the buffet hutch.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

A buffet hutch is the simplest of the three types. It is usually a short cabinet, with a flat top, upon which one can serve additional food, tea, or coffee. The top is also a nice place to keep a bowl of fruit. This type of hutch may have wheels, offering ease of movement from one place to another in a dining room or kitchen.

Beneath the flat top of the buffet hutch, there is usually a cabinet with a few shelves. The cabinet doors tend to be solid wood, although some are a combination or wood and glass. Occasionally, a large drawer sits atop the shelves, or the cabinet instead will more resemble a lowboy dresser on wheels. The buffet hutch tends not to have shelves above the flat top, though a few have small wire shelves set up higher so as not to minimize the food serving area.

A kitchen hutch adds a number of upper shelves to a buffet and generally does not have wheels. Usually a kitchen hutch cannot be moved because it is too tall. This hutch still has some available flat space beneath the upper cabinets. The doors for the cabinets tend to be made of solid wood. Sometimes one sees the upper shelves made without doors, or with glass doors.

The top shelves of the kitchen hutch, whether used in a dining room or kitchen, are usually wide enough apart to store unusual items like raised cake plates. A kitchen hutch with an open top might be used to place food out of the way, like cakes or pies, that won’t fit easily on counter space or in the refrigerator. Kitchen hutches can be quite tall, some measuring around 6 feet (1.82 m) in height. Some are also available to be used in corners, which can really help with storage needs, while not taking up too much space.

The china cabinet hutch is usually the largest of the three hutches. It almost always has wooden doors with glass panes in the top section so that china can be beautifully displayed. Upper shelves are often made of glass, and may be lighted. The lower shelves usually have cabinet doors made of solid wood. There may also be drawers in the lower section, which are perfect for storing silverware or folded tablecloths.

The china cabinet hutch tends also to be the widest type of hutch. Though sizes vary, they can measure between 4 and 5 feet (1.21 and 1.54m) across. However it is possible to custom order each type of hutch in a variety of sizes.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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