How to decorate with a display cabinet

Maddox Reclaimed Wood Display Cabinet

Maddox Industrial Reclaimed Elm Display Unit

From a regal Welsh dresser to a modern, contemporary display unit, the display cabinet is a stylish means of extra display space. Whether you want to show off your prized sculptures and ornaments, or organise books and other accessories, the display cabinet is ideal. But how do you get the most out of it?


When it comes to displaying items, you need to ensure symmetry and connection between items. It is effectively this ordered approach that promotes harmony and stops things looking chaotic.

There is a clear pattern to how items are displayed on this Maddox industrial elm display unit, perfect for promoting harmony between items.

Complimentary Style

A display cabinet also works well when it has a connection to other items in the room. For example, the earlier mentioned Maddox unit works well with an industrial dining table. When there is a complimenting connection between styles and items, this too lends itself well to the symmetry within the room.

Open or Closed?

Windsor Large White Glass Cabinet

Modern, contemporary display units tend to be open shelving systems but there are times when you want an extra layer of protection for some items and that means opting for closed, or glass display cabinets.

Again, keeping in style with your farmhouse kitchen or rustic dining room, the large Windsor display cabinet is imposing, yet elegant and sophisticated. To help the display cabinet stand out even more, add coloured pieces to the shelves and enjoy the contrast between light and dark.

For a raw and more rustic feel, opt for Standford reclaimed wood and glass display cabinet, perfect because every notch tells a story. To tie everything together, use similar coloured pieces in the cabinet as to those in the room – for example, match pretty and delicate flower-patterned items with candle holders on the mantelpiece and so on.

Reclaimed wood furniture and crockery

Standford Reclaimed Wood Glass Display Cabinet

And this brings us nicely onto the items you have to display. If you enjoy the appeal of reclaimed wood furniture, then you will understand the appeal of trawling charity shops and second-hand emporiums for pretty porcelain pieces. Vintage or anything of age doesn’t mean your display unit has to be twee – like mixing patterns, keep colours similar and patterns similar too, and watch them enjoy a new life on your display cabinet.

Adding Detail

Wire Weave Fairy Light

You would think that all the ceramics and glassware would make the display cabinet look too cluttered and full, so why add extra details? But designers suggest that a great way of helping a display cabinet stand out is to add something ‘different’ that maybe you wouldn’t consider is in its ‘rightful’ place. For example, artwork in the kitchen or a dashing sculpture or two.

There is also an argument for adding pretty lighting to a display cabinet, such as fairy lights weaved into the mesh of lanterns or a larger table lamp to illuminate the display cabinet and its content.

In essence, adding light, items that link and connect not only together in the cabinet but across the rest of the room, along with a dash of symmetry will see your display cabinet, contemporary styled or otherwise, ooze with glamour and sophistication. Try it!