Displaying Collections

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shell cabinet glass shelves

An avid shell collector needed display shelves for her collection of shells. This is the upper shelf unit of the floor to ceiling cabinets. Rope lighting was installed inside the cabinet. These are the glass shelves fully loaded and illuminated.

Curio cabinets are a wonderful way to display your collections and antiques. However, displaying collections in your cabinet can be tricky. You want to display things but you also don’t want to appear to be shoving clutter in your cabinet. Here are some ideas to help you display your collections beautifully. 

Most display units have glass doors, glass shelves, mirror backs and glass sides that allow for a clear viewing of your collections. Some even have lighting installed at the top to spotlight the contents of your collections. If you want to spruce up your curio cabinet, you can use some wallpaper or paint to freshen up the inside backing. When doing this, be mindful of color. If you have a light-colored collection, use darker colors for the backing and light colors for dark objects. You can also place bunched fabric on the shelves to provide further contrast and make your items pop. 

It is always a good idea to measure the inside of your cabinet first to help with the placing of your collections. You can also use glass or acrylic props, blocks and stands that will help display smaller things so they won’t get lost when grouped with larger collectibles. To give small items character, you can even set them on children’s wooden blocks, velvet ring boxes, or even visually appealing shells. Another way you can display items is by attaching cup hooks under shelves to hang things, such as cups or jewelry. 

When placing your collections, set a larger item on each shelf for balance, alternating the placement along each shelf at the middle and ends. This will help your cabinet from appearing lopsided. Grouping all of your midsize items in threes also helps create balance. Placing your small trinkets on any props or displays such as the ones mentioned above will prevent them from “getting lost” in the mix of collectibles. No matter which way you choose to display your collection, it will certainly be heightened and appealing in your curio cabinet. 


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