Historically, display cases for use in the home were constructed from wood and glass. The former being used for the frames and the latter for the door and the shelves.
These days though, there are increasingly more options when it comes to display case materials with ones such as metal and acrylic being seen more often in homes.
- Wood or metal for the frame?
Each of these has its own set of pros and cons. For instance, wood can generally be more beautifully designed and elaborately styled, whereas metal frames are usually quite minimalistic, allowing the objects on display to shine.
Probably the main factor that will influence this decision is the overall style of the room. Metal naturally lends itself to more modern spaces, and wood is great in traditional and rustic-feeling places. Although this doesn't always have to be the case.
- Glass or acrylic for sides and shelves?
While the instinctive choice might be to opt for glass -- undoubtedly a classic. There are several reasons why you may want to at least consider acrylic as a possible alternative.
Obviously, acrylic is a safer option given that if it falls, the worst that can happen is it will crack rather than shatter as glass would. In addition, acrylic is much stronger, so you can be sure that your valuables would be absolutely safe on such shelves.
Furthermore, acrylic is, of course, much lighter than glass, which is a real plus when moving it about the room or the house. This is also a bonus if you are planning to place a smaller display case on top of something else -- weight won't be an issue.
Finally, acrylic is easier to shape and to mold than glass. This means there is more flexibility to be creative when designing cabinets. Surprisingly, acrylic is also clearer than glass, which has a natural green tint that could impact the appearance of the objects being displayed.
However, glass does have some advantages over acrylic. It is less susceptible to scratching and staining, it's easier to clean, and, to some people at least, it does still offer an overall higher-quality look.