F#24, 5555 2nd St S.E. Calgary, AB Canada T2H 2W4

Use Glass Cabinets to Showcase Your Fine China and Stemware

China Cabinet

Fine china and crystal look spectacular on the table but what do you do with them once the guests leave? Why not organize and display it in elegant glass cabinets. This ensures your pieces are in perfect shape for your next dinner party and the combination of decorative china and glassware, ornate shelving and special lighting makes your home shine. 

What is a china cabinet?

A china cabinet is a piece of furniture with glass fronts and sides, meant to hold and display china, porcelain, glassware and ceramics (cups, plates, bowls, glasses, platters, teapots, etc.). The glass panels reveal what is inside, drawing attention to the beauty and details found on the display items. Some cabinets have interior lighting to enhance the display. Sometimes this cabinet is a separate piece of furniture and sometimes it’s part of the kitchen cabinetry. 

Setting Up a China Cabinet:

Glass-front cabinets enable you to put your best-looking pieces on display. What is the best way to organize and set up a china cabinet? How do you go about creating a display?

  • Clear the cabinet: Remove everything. Dust the shelves and clean the glass. Clean any drawers as well.
  • Organize your items: Choose what you wish to display. Box up and store items not unique enough to exhibit. Clean all items that are chosen.
  • Start at the top: On the top shelf, set up groups of crystal glasses, vases and other attractive glassware. Since this is where most interior lights are located, this will make your collection sparkle.
  • Add the plates: There should be a ridge along the back of the second shelf. Place decorative plates along this ridge making it appear as though they are leaning against the back wall. If your cabinet does not have a plate ridge, purchase plate holders.
  • Teacups and saucers next: Organize teacups and saucers in front of the plates. Place a portion of a coffee filter between the cup and saucer to keep them from rattling.
  • To finish: Display bowls, large vases, platters and other large and interesting items on the bottom shelf. Fill drawers (if you have them) with placemats, tablecloths and linen napkins. You can also store your flatware in a drawer.

More display tips:

  • Use odd-numbered clusters: Placement is key and odd numbers of items work best. Vary the heights and place the tallest pieces at the back. Nestle small items between two taller ones creating a focal point. 
  • Use a mixture of shapes; short and curvy with tall and narrow works well.
  • Decide between a formal or relaxed style: Formal arrangements are less crowded and more uniform. Informal is a bit more cluttered and has more character, pattern and colour. 
  • Consider size and weight: Heavier-looking, bulkier or larger items belong at the bottom. Visually lighter, lighter coloured and more delicate pieces towards the top.
  • Think symmetry: Symmetrical placement creates a purposeful look. 
  • Display cups with caution: Never hang cups by their handles as this is often their weakest point.
  • Protect plates and bowls: If you can’t avoid stacking them, put a layer of folded acid-free tissue paper, a piece of polyethylene foam or a napkin between each plate/bowl.
  • Don’t forget to dust: Clean your collection once or twice a year. Dust can be damaging. Use a soft paintbrush to brush each piece lightly. 


Displaying your finest china and glassware in your glass front kitchen cabinets adds instant charm to your room. Stacking, layering and artfully positioning your favourite patterned plates, dishes, cups, glasses and platters transforms your kitchen into a decorative showplace. Make your china cabinet more than simply a storage piece. Showcase your valuables while protecting them from dust. Share the beauty of your collection 365 days a year!

Considering a custom china cabinet or glass cabinetry for your home? Looking for beauty, durability and efficiency? Call Calgary’s premier glass and mirror company, House of Mirrors & Glass. Visit our showroom. Our knowledgeable and efficient team provides excellent customer service with a focus on custom design. Call (403) 253-3777 or email us at info@houseofmirrors.com. Let us know what you’re looking to achieve and our experts will assist you!