3 Expert Tips To Choose A Display Case

Display cabinets are great for use in most rooms in your house. Valuable or important items can be stored away, protected yet still enjoyed.

Selecting the perfect type and style of case from the absolute mountain of available options can be a daunting task.

Here we will provide a little help by outlining some of the key things to consider when looking to purchase a display case and offering up some advice about each one.

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What type of display case should I opt for?

Display cabinets are often a key part of living and dining room interiors. They can be used to brighten a space and add a touch of personality.

As covered above, there are so many options available to you here. In choosing the right display case, you will want to consider what kind of items you wish to display, what additional storage, if any, you require, and the space you have available for placing the piece.

  • Want something bigger with plenty of storage?

China cabinets and dining hutches perfectly combine display and alternative storage options. Both of these usually have open or glass-fronted shelves at the top and drawers and enclosed cupboards at the bottom. They are great for displaying dinnerware and flatware, among other things.

The main difference between these two similar pieces lies in the fact that china cabinets are one single structure. In contrast, dining hutches are usually two -- a display cabinet placed on top of a drawers and cupboards unit.

Another difference is that hutches tend to have more variability when it comes to the display section, combining glass-fronted cabinets and open shelves in interesting configurations.

Gray Solid Manufactured Wood Lighted China Cabinet
White Solid Manufactured Wood Standard China Cabinet
White Solid Manufactured Wood Lighted China Cabinet
Medium Cherry Solid Manufactured Wood Dining Hutch
Antique White Solid Manufactured Wood Dining Hutch
Pine Solid Wood Standard Dining Hutch
  • Prefer something smaller to beautifully display your objects?

If you have less available space, but still wish to display your collectibles or ornaments you may consider either a display stand or a curio cabinet. These are often narrower, and some are even specially constructed to slot nicely into the corner of a room.

Unlike the two types of cases above, neither the display stand nor the curio cabinet comes with any form of enclosed storage. Instead, they are comprised of open or glass-fronted shelves from top to bottom.

The display stand is constructed in a similar way to the china cabinet, having three enclosed sides, but the curio cabinet usually has glass or acrylic most, if not all, the way around. This an excellent option for displaying objects that are great when viewed from various angles such as figurines.

Burnt Oak Solid Manufactured Wood Lighted Curio Cabinet
Brown Solid Manufactured Wood Lighted Corner Curio Cabinet
Brown Solid Manufactured Wood Lighted Curio Cabinet
Antique White Manufactured Wood Display Stand
Beige Solid Wood Lighted Display Stand
Ebony Solid Manufactured Wood Lighted Display Stand

Which are the best materials for a display case?

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.

Black Metal Standard Curio Cabinet
White Black Metal Standard Display Stand
Black Metal Glass Display Stand
Mango Solid Wood Display Stand
Brown Solid Wood China Cabinet
Pure White Manufactured Solid Wood China Cabinet
  • 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.

Clear Tempered Glass Curio Cabinet
Glass Solid Wood Standard Curio Cabinet
White Solid Manufactured Wood Acrylic Dining Hutch
Dark Walnut Manufactured Wood Acrylic Dining Hutch
White Clear Glass Metal Curio Cabinet
Cherry Solid Manufactured Wood Glass Curio Cabinet

How can I ensure my display case suits the room?

There is no 'perfect' display cabinet to complement every kind of space. You will need to ensure that it works well with the other furniture and the overall style of the room.

Metal, glass, or acrylic cases are a quick and easy choice for contemporary feeling places. Still, there are significantly fewer styles to choose from when compared with wood. They also probably wouldn't work so well in more traditional or natural feeling rooms.

With wooden furniture, many people assume that they need to select items constructed from exactly the same type of wood. But actually, these days mixing rather than matching is considered to be more stylish when it's done in the right way.

For the very best results you want to try and select hues that complement one another. A great way of doing this is to look to the color bias of each wood to see if it is warm or cool and then pair like with like.

Woods with warm undertones include cherry, mahogany, and hickory (look for hints of red or yellow), whereas ash, maple, poplar, or pine have cool ones (they can seem a little grey). Some woods such as walnut are considered neutral because the soft purple undertones and can subsequently be paired with anything.

Rustic Taupe Pine Solid Wood China Cabinet
Mahogany Solid Wood Buffet Dining Hutch
Antique Platinum Solid Manufactured Wood Lighted China Cabinet
Espresso Manufactured Wood Lighted China Cabinet
Brown Solid Wood Lighted Curio Cabinet
Metallic Platinum Manufactured Wood Display Stand
Rubbed Linen White Solid Wood Display Stand

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.