Modern Display Cabinets: Trends, Ideas, and Care Advice


A display cabinets is coming back in style, from chic and majestic to distressed and ultra-modern! Read the article for ideas, inspiration and care advice. 

A display cabinet used to be a must piece of furniture in many houses. From antiquity to the beginning of the 21st century there was barely a house without one. Then, for a relatively short period of time, we turned to minimalism, and cabinets all but disappeared from the view… only to make a glorious comeback to our IKEA-furnished homes. A modern display cabinet can be found anywhere. Major manufacturers acknowledge the interest, while the DIY fans buy vintage cabinets and give them a modern makeover.

In the article we shall briefly go through the most fashionable display cabinet models of today: their style and shape, materials and lighting. We shall also give some advice on how to take care of your display cabinet, eliminating dust and making sure it serves you a lifetime.

What Is A Display Cabinet?

A display cabinet is sometimes called a curio: it helps to showcase your treasured possessions, collectibles, or curiosities. Different from wardrobes or closed bookcases, cabinets usually have glass front panels. In the past, display cabinets were made of wood, but today there are a lot of models featuring a steel carcass or made entirely of glass.

Traditionally, the curios are used to store:

  • Dishes;
  • Collections of items, such as plates, cups, jugs, car models, or dolls.

However, depending on the room and design ideas, a cabinet space may be arranged to contain a really unique display. This article provides some advice on the subject.

Display Cabinets Models and Styles

Both vintage and modern display cabinets fall under three main models: traditional, corner, and built-in units.

A traditional cabinet is an incarnation of its historic predecessors. This model may stand fully on the floor or have small “legs”. It often consists of two parts: a closed lower part and an upper part with glass doors. You can use the lower part to store things you wish to hide from the view and use the upper part to display the more picturesque items.

One type of a traditional model is a shop-window cabinet with a glass back panel. It is ideal for smaller rooms, as it visually expands the place.

Modern display cabinets of traditional model boast a variety of shapes and materials. Designer curios often have fantasy silhouettes and lighting, and colored elements. Some are made entirely of glass, resembling the majestic museum displays.

A corner cabinet is meant to be placed in a room corner. It best fits bigger rooms, while in smaller ones it may actually consume a lot of space.

A built-in cabinet is very popular today. It is great at saving free space in the room. It may be re-arranged out of a real built-in wardrobe, or you may utilize a doorway to create a curio.

Nowadays, display cabinets are made of wood, plastic, steel, chipboard, glass, and other materials. A modern display cabinet usually comes with various illumination options, meaning that your collection will always be seen in the best possible light.

Fitting a Display Cabinet into Your Room

When designing a room with a display cabinet in mind, it is useful to consider the overall style:

  • In historical rooms, bulky cabinets made of noble wood species fit best. Alternatively, they can be wooden cabinets with gilded details and carved legs.
  • Provence and country-style rooms welcome cabinets that have vintage decorative elements, murals, or decoupage.

Note: Read a post by an Aberdeen-based designer and artist about his chinoiserie-style makeover of a vintage display cabinet.

  • Finally, in Scandinavian, Provençal, or shabby chic rooms you can put a light-colored cabinet. For big rooms, choose large cabinets with multiple doors. For a small room, opt for a one-door cabinet, possible a corner one.

Attention: When choosing a cabinet for the room, consider the room’s purpose and who lives there. A cabinet with legs will look nice in a living-room or in a kitchen and in most rooms used by adults. However, this model is not recommended for children’s bedrooms, as it is not robust enough. Glass cabinets are also not good for children’s rooms due to their fragility, but they will visually expand the living-room.

DIY Display Cabinets

It is possible to create a modern display cabinet yourself. Since some models may be hung on the wall, updating a kitchen cupboard is a fantastic idea that will not break the bank. A makeover of vintage cabinets is very popular: while some designers go for historic styles, others use more modern ideas: they remove the glass and use ribbons.

Another idea for making a modern display cabinet yourself is to use a doorway. Sometimes you do not want to put the door to its proper use, so you can turn it in  to a cabinet and use for storage.

How to Take Care of Your Display Cabinet

No matter what material a display cabinet is made of, it needs to be properly looked after. So, here are some dos and donts for taking care of your display cabinet.


  • Only use soft dry cloths and a cleaner suitable for the cabinet’s material
  • On vintage and distressed units use only special cleaner and flannel cloths
  • In particularly delicate areas, use feather-dusters.


  • NEVER use abrasives
  • Do not put a display cabinet next to heating units
  • To protect wood, do not put a wooden cabinet in direct sunlight
  • Do not use wet cloths
  • Use polishing products only once a week.

Is It Ever Possible to Have A Dust-Free Cabinets?

Closed wardrobes, cupboards and chests of drawers seem to be almost impenetrable by dust. Unfortunately, this is not the case with cabinets, especially if they have glass doors. If this is a real issue to you, then bear in mind that modern display cabinets sometimes have rubber fittings. They ensure that doors close well and do not let the dust in.

A modern display cabinet is a wonderful addition to any room. It is attractive and functional and can last a lifetime, providing it is cared for properly.