Inspiration & Ideas

How do you prefer a display cabinet: with or without glass?

Kingsbridge Display Cabinet in Dining Room

It was a big question. But we asked it. And you answered.

It was a dead heat. Half of you who responded to the question “how do you prefer your display cabinet, with or without glass?” said with glass and the other half were clear in their conviction: the only way forward is without glass.

With this in mind, we examine the pros and cons of glass display cabinets with those without glass.

Kingbridge Large Glass Display Cabinet

With Glass

There is something undeniably beautiful about glass, whether it is as a glass door on a display unit or a shelf. Why do we love glass display cabinets so much?

  • Reflective – glass is a reflective material and so in any room, large or small, it allows natural and ambient light to play.
  • Elegant – this reflective ability means it adds a sense of elegance to any space or any interior design scheme.
  • Versatile – glass fits any interior design scheme. There is the traditional appeal of the farmhouse style display unit or the non-fussy finish to the modern style.
  • Protective – glass doors (any doors from any material) mean an extra layer of protection to the items inside. This is why most farmhouse or rustic style cabinets and dressers will have at least one section with glass doors.

The Con

We struggled to think of any, but we did come up with one…

  • The Glass Cleaning Dilemma – the smears, the annoying bits of dust and fibres left behind, the sticky finger marks… we could go on, but this is the only real bug we have about glass. And yet, it is not a ‘real’ one, is it? As well as homemade glass cleaning remedies (warm water with white vinegar, a lint-free cloth) or high-quality shop bought glass cleaners, keeping the glass doors of the display sparkling takes no more than a few minutes, if that.

Without Glass

Maddox Industrial Reclaimed Elm Display Unit

Of course, we recognise that there are times when a cabinet without doors is the order of the day but what pros do these open display cabinets bring to a room?

  • Functional – there is a pleasing sense of utilitarianism about an open display cabinet. You can see its structure, the skeleton of the pieces that is just as beautiful as the reclaimed wood shelves of the industrial-style cabinet.
  • Openness – for many, it is the openness of the shelving that is appealing. Items are not hidden away behind door frames and glass but allowed to shine in their own right. In some ways, this is a testament to the history hidden in reclaimed wood furniture. Why wouldn’t you want to see it and admire it?
  • Easy to Access – and for many, it is the fact that when you need something, you can grab it off the shelf. No need to open doors and shut them again; a case of ‘grab and go’, perfect for when you need things quickly and frequently.

The Con

Again, we struggled because it is a personal question of style, likes and dislikes…

  • Look too bare? – depending on your style, likes and dislikes, the utilitarian feel can be too much. It lacks character, some might say but we think that in the right setting, with accessories to bring it out of its shell, the open shelving of a display unit come to life.

The Answer?

It depends on your style and what statement you want your display cabinet to make because with or without glass doors, both types pack a stylish punch.

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