Glass Display Cabinet: Living Room Style Ideas [2024]

Are you looking for display cabinet ideas, or maybe asking yourself’ “What are the best styling tips for living room glass display cabinets?”

In this post, we’ll explore some of the best ways you can use style display cases to showcase your favourite treasures whilst still following the latest trends and home decor schemes.

Whether you’ve got a bookcase, china cabinet, curio cabinet or a glass display cabinet, making it look good can add to the ‘edited’ feel of a room.

Using your skills and creativity, you can make a focal point from the entire cabinet, and it’s a perfect opportunity to show off your favorite pieces, so make sure that you take the time to style your shelves well.

Follow our tips for the BEST ways to style your glass display cabinet (in living rooms and the rest of the home).


A stylish green and purple display cabinet with a mirror on top.

Image: Webb and Grey

1. Add Your Treasures

While it might seem like an obvious tip to style a display cabinet, filling it with treasures, whether it’s books, vinyl, artwork and ornaments, will make sure your display cabinet doesn’t look too sparse. Adding different heights to your shelves will make it much more interesting to look at, too.

Having all of your pieces in one place will make it easier to find. Remember, your cabinet displays are an important storage space, so you need to use them wisely.

If you want to add a pop of colour to your display cabinet, consider wallpapering the back of the unit, behind the shelves. This will draw the eye in and add dimension.

2. Remember the Old Design Rules

Style a black glass display cabinet next to a chair and a potted plant.

Image: Rose & Grey

Group things in odd numbers when you style a display cabinet. You might have heard it one million times before, but things really do look better in odd numbers – and three is the magic number at all times!

If you’re going for a co-ordinated hue look, don’t have more than three different colours or shades (told you it was magic.)

Arrange according to size. Place small items at the front and the larger items behind.

3. Storage Opportunities

Style a wooden display cabinet with glass doors and shelves.
Image: JYSK

A little bit of sneaky storage always comes in handy on your shelves – they seem to be clutter collectors. From keys to sunglasses to homework, something that was never supposed to be there will probably end up there.

If you need more ideas on how to style a display cabinet, a pretty tray or a bowl is perfect for this purpose. Nestled between some books or between ornaments, you can at least put this clutter somewhere where it looks like it’s supposed to belong.

What do you put in a display cabinet?

A glass display cabinet is an elegant showcase for things like:

  • China sets
  • Artificial Plants
  • Glassware collection
  • Favourite photographs
  • Decorative ornaments
  • Personal Items
  • Books and Stationery
  • Tableware
  • Table mats, candles and matches

Some of the best things to put in a cabinet are those connected to the room in which it lives.

The are ornamental cupboards, a storage cabinet that allows you to show off pieces you love from the largest items at the back to the smaller items at the front.

Whatever type of living space you have use these glass-front cabinets as a great way to arrange useful and practical items as well as the more decorative types.

It’s a good idea to ensure this decorative cupboard isn’t overshadowed by other pieces of furniture, particularly in a small living room, so allow it space and let it shine.

What are the different ways you can style a glass-fronted cabinet?

Take your set of family china and arrange it in groups of similar items – so plates, cups, bowls and so on.

Group items together as you arrange them on the shelves. If you have glass shelves, remember to clean them well to allow maximum light to flow through the space.

Alternatively use lots of different items in your glass cabinet display.

Start with the larger items and place them around the cabinet, beginning with the top shelf, working your way to the bottom shelf.

Add a set of puck lights to your cabinet. Set them to come on automatically if possible to highlight the display areas in the evening, and to add extra artificial light to the living space (a particularly good idea in a small living room). It’s a great idea to light your glass cabinet in this way.

Positioning your Glass Display Cabinet

A stylish display cabinet in a living room with a vase on top.
Image: Rose & Grey

A glass cabinet is a versatile piece and an attractive cupboard, often with glass doors made of solid wood, that works beautifully in either a modern or traditional living room.

Where do you put your cabinet furniture?

The perfect way to position your cabinet is opposite a window, in an alcove (often quite awkward spaces to fill) or on a back wall.

  • If you’d like to look at the cabinet often, make sure it’s in your eyeline.
  • If you want it to fill a corner, buy one with glass doors so you get a good view of the contents.
  • If it contains items you need to use on a regular basis, ensure it’s easily accessible.

They’re also perfect for the home office and can make the room feel more organised, whilst keeping your documents, books and files easily accessible.

A small office will benefit from white cabinets with glass fronts so the room doesn’t feel overcrowded. The pale colour helps bounce the light around the space whilst still offering great storage.

Learning What to Display in a Glass Cabinet

Here are 5 ways you can get inspiration for what to display in a glass cabinet, particularly if situated in your living room.

  1. Explore Home Decor Magazines and Websites: These resources are filled with professional home styling tips and photography, offering a plethora of ideas on how to curate items in a glass cabinet. Look for articles and features on living room decor to see how designers arrange objects, mix textures, and choose items that complement the room’s theme.
  2. Social Media and Pinterest: Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are treasure troves of inspiration for home styling. You can find countless images of living rooms and display cabinets styled by both professionals and enthusiasts. Use these platforms to search for specific themes, color schemes, or even the type of items you’re interested in displaying. Creating a Pinterest board can help you visualize and plan your cabinet’s look.
  3. Visit Museums and Art Galleries: While museums and galleries display items of historical or artistic significance, the principles of display can be incredibly inspiring. Notice how items are grouped, how lighting is used, and how different textures and colors interact. These observations can offer fresh ideas on how to present your items in an engaging way.
  4. Consult Interior Design Books: Books on interior design often delve deeper into the principles of arrangement, color balance, and thematic styling than some online resources. They can provide valuable insights into how to choose what to display based on your living room’s style, size, and color scheme.
  5. Attend Home Tours or Open Houses: Seeing how others style their living spaces in person can offer real-world inspiration. Home tours, open houses, and designer showrooms allow you to see a variety of living room setups and display cabinet arrangements, giving you a sense of what appeals to you and what might work in your own space.

What do you put on top of glass front cabinets?

A stylish display cabinet adorned with plants and a planter.
Image: Cuckooland

We would always recommend adding items that you don’t need to move often, on top of your glass front cabinet – for practical reasons.

Plants are the obvious choice. From artificial plants to real greenery, they add a touch of colour and life to the display.

Stacked books and storage boxes can also complement the design of your cabinet and the contents. 

If it’s a lower glass cabinet then vases work well, as do small vignettes for display items and decorative pieces. 

Display Cabinet Ideas:

Display cabinets are a fantastic way to show off your favorite items while keeping them dust-free. Here are five ideas for integrating display cabinets into your living room or dining room, designed to be both stylish and functional:

  1. Traditional Wood Cabinet with Glass Doors: Choose a cabinet made from rich, dark wood with clear glass doors for a timeless look. This type of cabinet works well in both living and dining areas, providing a sophisticated space to display your fine china, heirlooms, or collectibles. The warm wood tones can complement any traditional or rustic decor.
  2. Modern Minimalist Display Cabinet: Opt for a sleek, minimalist cabinet with clean lines and a simple design. Look for features like frosted glass or metal accents to fit a contemporary space. This style is perfect for showcasing modern art pieces, sculptures, or a minimalist dish collection. Its simplicity allows your items to take center stage.
  3. Corner Display Cabinet: Make use of unused corners with a corner display cabinet. This space-saving solution can add visual interest and functionality to awkward spaces. It’s an excellent choice for smaller rooms, allowing you to display your treasures without sacrificing precious floor space.
  4. Built-In Display Cabinets: For a seamless look, consider built-in display cabinets that match the rest of your room’s architecture. This custom solution can be tailored to fit your space perfectly, from floor to ceiling or as part of a media center. Built-ins are great for blending storage with your living environment, offering a cohesive and integrated appearance.
  5. Vintage or Antique Cabinet: Incorporate a piece of history into your room with a vintage or antique display cabinet. Look for unique features like intricate wood carvings, leaded glass doors, or ornate hardware. Not only do these cabinets add character and charm, but they also serve as a conversation starter. Perfect for eclectic or traditional decor, they can house anything from vintage collections to contemporary novelties.

Living Room Display Cabinet Ideas:

Using display cabinets in the living room can beautifully blend functionality and style, turning your everyday items into part of the decor. Here are a few ideas tailored for living rooms:

  1. Create a Focal Point: Position a large, eye-catching display cabinet as the room’s focal point. Fill it with a mix of items like books, decorative pieces, framed photos, and artwork. This not only adds interest but also makes the room look organized and curated.
  2. Theme-Based Displays: Dedicate your display cabinet to a specific theme that reflects your interests or travels. For instance, if you love the beach, you could display shells, coral pieces, and photos from coastal vacations. A theme-based cabinet tells a story and adds a personal touch to your living space.
  3. Seasonal Decorations: Use your display cabinet to showcase seasonal decorations. Rotate items such as holiday-themed decor, spring florals, summer beach finds, or autumn leaves. This keeps the living room feeling fresh and in tune with the seasons.
  4. Lighting It Up: Adding lighting inside your display cabinet can dramatically change the ambiance of your living room. Use LED strips or puck lights to highlight your displayed items, creating a warm, inviting glow in the evening.
  5. Mixed Media Display: Combine various types of items to create a dynamic display. Mix books with vases, sculptures, and even small plants for a lively, textured look. This approach adds depth and interest, encouraging guests to explore your collection.
  6. Gallery Wall Alternative: Instead of a traditional gallery wall, use a display cabinet with open shelving to showcase your framed artworks, photographs, and prints. This allows you to change out your art display easily without having to put new holes in your walls.
  7. Memorabilia Showcase: Dedicate space in your living room to display memorabilia, such as sports trophies, musical instruments, or collectibles. This not only keeps these items safe but also allows you to share your passions with visitors in a stylish way.

Dining Room Display Cabinet Ideas

  1. Classic Hutch: A traditional hutch with glass-front doors on the top and solid doors or drawers on the bottom is perfect for a classic dining room. The upper section can display fine china, crystal stemware, or collectible plates, while the lower part conceals table linens and cutlery. Opt for a wood finish that complements your dining table and chairs for a cohesive look.
  2. Modern Floating Cabinets: For a contemporary dining room, consider installing floating display cabinets on the wall. These can be customized to fit the space and painted in high-gloss or matte finishes to match your dining room’s color scheme. Glass shelves and built-in lighting will highlight your items beautifully without taking up floor space, making it ideal for smaller rooms.
  3. Glass Curio Cabinet: A curio cabinet with glass on all sides is an elegant choice that allows for 360-degree views of your display items. These cabinets can fit into corners or against a wall and are perfect for showcasing heirloom dishes, glass art, or unique finds. The transparency of a curio cabinet adds a light and airy feel to the dining room.
  4. Industrial-Style Display Cabinet: Combine metal and glass for an industrial look that can add a modern edge to your dining room. This style often features metal frames with glass panels and can include details like rivets for an added industrial touch. The stark lines and materials work well in a space with minimalist decor or as a contrast in a more traditional room.
  5. Built-In Buffet with Display Cabinets: If you prefer a more integrated look, consider built-in cabinets that stretch the length of one wall. Include a combination of closed cabinets, drawers, and open shelving or glass-fronted display areas. This design can serve as both a buffet for serving food and a display area for your decorative items. Built-ins can be designed to match the architectural style of your home, providing a seamless look.

So whether you have a modern glass display cabinet or prefer a more traditional solid wood cabinet with glass doors, we hope you enjoy our display cabinet design ideas.

Display your treasured items, decorative pieces and china for the perfect way to add style and sophistication to your living room interior design


Learn how to effortlessly style your display cabinets with our expert tips and tricks. Discover the best ways to showcase your collectibles and decorative items, creating a visually appealing and organized presentation. Whether you have a

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Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. Life With Munchers
    July 28, 2014 / 10:34 pm

    I love a shelf unit which has hide away spaces. It serves it purpose and it allows me to keep it looking pretty 🙂

  2. Paulina Dragoeva
    August 1, 2014 / 11:14 pm

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. The Lex Chapter
    August 6, 2014 / 12:25 am

    I have just discovered this website and I am loving the tips.

    i have just moved into a new rental flat which has wall to wall shelves. The shelves out weigh any amount of books / nik naks we have. I have really loved reading these tips.

  4. Amanda
    August 14, 2014 / 12:42 pm

    I love styling things and reaaranging and grouping them. I really must buy a bookshelf for my living room so I could do this more.

  5. Alina
    August 14, 2014 / 6:44 pm

    Great ideas as always – as you said stick to the classic rules and add your personality and it will always look great 🙂

  6. Simon hall
    December 2, 2015 / 1:15 pm

    Great post .Its the first time I’ve been to your site which I just stumbled upon by accident! I’m a carpenter so shelving is something I have a lot of experience with ha ha. I’m sure people will love your tips. Storage is such a massive issue for people these days as we seem to run out of space. But with a little though and some good planning its amazing what can be achieved…

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