20 Things to Put in a Curio Cabinet

20 Things to Put in a Curio Cabinet - Home Bars USA

Do you find it challenging how to decorate a glass front cabinet? Whether you own a curio cabinet, a china cabinet, or glass-fronted kitchen cupboards, Home Bars USA compiled 20 styling ideas to elevate the beauty of your cabinet displays.

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What Is the Purpose of a Curio Cabinet?

A curio cabinet is a specialized type of display case made largely of glass with a metal or wood frame. Display cabinets protect your treasured items from dust and damage and allow you to showcase them in a way that elevates their beauty and significance.

Curio cabinets, with their elegant glass doors and carefully crafted shelves, offer a delightful opportunity to transform your living space into a personal museum of cherished memories and valuable collectibles. Whether you're a collector, an antique enthusiast, a world traveler, or simply someone with a passion for curating a beautiful living space, a curio cabinet can be the perfect addition to your home.


What Are Curio Items?

Curio items, also known as curiosities or curios, refer to small, interesting, and often unusual objects or collectibles that are typically displayed for their aesthetic, historical, or sentimental value. These items are often chosen for their uniqueness or the stories they carry and are showcased in curio cabinets or on shelves to be admired and appreciated.

Curio items can encompass a wide range of objects, including figurines, antiques, vintage memorabilia, collectible coins, seashells, miniature sculptures, decorative plates, and more. The term "curio" is derived from the word "curiosity," highlighting the intriguing and captivating nature of these objects.


What Do You Put in a Display Cabinet?

What you put on the glass shelves of your display cabinet depends on your personal preferences, interests, and the purpose of the cabinet. Here is a list with some ideas that can go on display.

What Do You Put in a Display Cabinet? - Home Bars USA


Display figurines, action figures, model cars, dolls, or any other collectible items you have. When displaying collectibles, consider thematic grouping to enhance visual appeal.

China and Porcelain

Show off delicate wedding china plates, teacups, saucers, porcelain figurines, or a vase. Prioritize favorite pieces, placing them prominently visible through glass fronts.


Display elegant glassware, such as crystal vases, wine glasses, or decorative glass bottles. Achieve visual balance by varying heights and sizes, creating an engaging and captivating display in your cabinet.

Art Objects

A curio cabinet is a perfect storage space for art objects like sculptures, small paintings, or pottery. When arranging items, don't leave empty space that will look awkward.


If you have antique items like pocket watches, vintage jewelry, or heirloom pieces, a curio cabinet is an excellent place to display them. They will create timeless appeal to your dining room, living room or any other space where you place them.

Minerals and Gemstones

When displaying items, such as polished gemstones, minerals, or fossils, consider the weight, especially if you have glass shelves. It's better to avoid placing them on the top shelf.


Highlight souvenirs from your travels. Miniature landmarks, cultural artifacts, or keepsakes will look great on the curio shelving.

Medals and Awards

Fill the shelves with medals, trophies, and awards in a dedicated section. Adjustable shelves are especially useful to store medals and awards.

Themed Collections

Organize your curio cabinet around a specific theme, such as maritime, sports, or holiday decorations.

Fine China

Displaying fine china dinnerware, serving platters, tea sets or vases is one of the favorite collectibles that can be placed in a curio cabinet.


If you have a collection of wristwatches or pocket watches, they can look great behind the glass doors.

Ceramics and Pottery

Display decorative ceramics, painted pottery, or handmade pieces. Group pieces by style, color, or artist for visual harmony.

Musical Instruments

For smaller musical instruments like miniature guitars, violins, or flutes, a curio cabinet can provide protection and visibility.


For smaller antique books or rare editions, consider displaying them in a curio cabinet. Books look better on the open shelves.


Vintage or decorative clocks can be showcased to enhance the cabinet's aesthetics. Arrange them to complement your overall aesthetic, positioning them to catch the eye.

Tea and Coffee Sets

Antique or decorative tea and coffee sets bring an elegant touch to your curio cabinet. Position them prominently, perhaps on a glass shelf or within a dedicated section. Use lighting to highlight intricate designs or unique features.

Family Heirlooms

Preserve your family's legacy by incorporating heirlooms like jewelry, vintage photographs, or historical documents into your curio cabinet. Display these cherished items with reverence, sharing their stories and significance.

Small Artifacts

Display small artifacts or relics from different cultures and time periods. Use appropriate lighting to accentuate details, creating an inviting ambiance that highlights the craftsmanship of each piece.

Seasonal Decorations

Enhance your curio cabinet's versatility by rotating items seasonally. For example, during holidays, feature festive decorations or themed centerpieces. This dynamic approach keeps your display fresh and aligned with the spirit of the season, adding variety and excitement to your home decor throughout the year.

Sports Memorabilia

For sports enthusiasts, curio cabinets provide an ideal stage for showcasing signed memorabilia, jerseys, and sports collectibles. Arrange them to create a sports-themed display, highlighting the pride of your collection.


Practical Considerations

Curio cabinets are more than just showcases for your prized possessions; they are investments in preserving the beauty and value of your cherished items. To ensure your cabinet continues to enhance your living space and protect your collections, it's essential to consider practical aspects. It's important how you clean your curio cabinet, what lighting you choose, and how you organize curious and other items.

Practical Considerations - Home Bars USA

Cleaning and Dusting
  • Regular Maintenance: Establish a cleaning routine to keep your curio cabinet and its contents free from dust and debris. Dust can dull the appearance of your collectibles.

  • Gentle Cleaning Tools: Use soft, lint-free cloths or specialized cleaning brushes to gently dust and wipe both the cabinet's interior and the displayed items.

  • Glass and Mirrors: Pay special attention to the glass or mirror surfaces, ensuring they are clean and free from streaks for clear visibility.

Lighting for Brilliance
  • Effective Illumination: Invest in proper lighting to enhance the visibility and presentation of your items. LED lights or adjustable spotlights can be particularly effective. Many contemporary curio cabinets have in-built LED light.

  • Avoid Heat Buildup: Ensure that lighting fixtures do not generate excessive heat, which could potentially damage delicate items.

Organizational Strategies
  • Grouping by Theme: Consider organizing items within your curio cabinet by theme, color, size, or era. This can create visually appealing displays and help you locate items easily.

  • Labeling or Tagging: Use labels or tags to identify specific items, provide context, and share information about your collections.

Temperature and Humidity Control
  • Stable Environment: Maintain a stable indoor environment with controlled temperature and humidity levels. Extreme fluctuations can harm delicate collectibles.

  • Climate Control: Consider using humidity control devices or dehumidifiers if you live in an area with variable humidity.

Security Measures
  • Locks and Safety: If your curio cabinet has a locking mechanism, use it to secure valuable or fragile items, especially if you have young children or pets in the household. A curio cabinet adds security to your items.


Personal Touch and Storytelling

A curio cabinet is more than just additional storage, they also offer a unique opportunity to infuse your personality and personal stories into your home decor.

Personal Touch and Storytelling - Home Bars USA

It's important to personalize your curio cabinet by displaying your favorites items. Select items for your cabinet that resonate with your personal interests, hobbies, and experiences. Your glass front cabinet should be a reflection of you.

If you a traveller, a curio cabinet is a perfect space for showcasing your adventures and travel memories. Incorporate souvenirs, photos, and mementos from your travels into your cabinet, creating a visual travelogue that tells the story of your adventures.

Arrange items in a way that encourages guests to ask questions or share their own stories, fostering engaging conversations and connections. Enthusiastically share your interests and passions with others, offering a glimpse into the depth of your personality and experiences.


How Tall Should a Corner Curio Cabinet Be?

The height of a corner curio cabinet can vary depending on your specific needs and preferences, as well as the available space in your room.

How Tall Should a Corner Curio Cabinet Be? - Home Bars USA

  • The height of the cabinet should be proportionate to the room's overall size and ceiling height. Taller cabinets work well in rooms with high ceilings, while shorter ones are better for smaller rooms.

  • Ideally, the main viewing area of the cabinet, where your most important or prized items are displayed, should be at or near eye level. This ensures that your collectibles are easily visible and can be appreciated without straining.

  • If you plan to use the top of the cabinet for additional decor or extra storage, consider a height that allows you to access and use this space comfortably.

  • Ensure that the height of the corner curio cabinet complements the heights of other furniture pieces in the room. It should not overwhelm or appear out of place.

In general, corner curio cabinets can range in height from around 60 inches (5 feet) to over 80 inches (6.5 feet) or more. It's essential to measure the available space and take into account the height of the cabinet, including any decorative crown molding or additional features.


Style Your Cabinet Display With a Color Theme

Infusing a color theme into your cabinet display is a creative way to bring cohesion, elegance, and visual appeal to your cherished collectibles. Whether you're organizing a display of vintage ceramics, action figures, or family heirlooms, using a color theme can create a striking and harmonious presentation.

Style Your Cabinet Display With a Color Theme - Home Bars USA

Begin by choosing a dominant color that sets the tone for your theme. This color will be the primary hue that ties your display together. Complement the dominant color with one or two accent colors that provide contrast and depth to the theme.

Organize your collectibles into groups based on their color. For example, group red figurines, blue china, or green gemstones. Within each color group, vary the shades and tones to create a visually interesting arrangement. Light and dark shades of the same color can add depth.

Pay attention to the placement and distribution of color groups within the cabinet. Ensure a balanced distribution to avoid visual clutter or imbalance. Incorporate neutral-colored items or backgrounds to break up the color scheme and add contrast.

Consider using colored or patterned backdrops inside your cabinet to enhance the chosen color theme. Use lighting strategically to illuminate different color groups, drawing attention to specific items or hues.

Whether you prefer a monochromatic, complementary, or contrasting color scheme, a thoughtful approach to color can transform your curio cabinet into an artful and visually stunning showcase for your collectibles.


Use a Repeating Shape When Styling the Shelves

Repeating shapes are a secret trick to great styling. Use many different items with similar forms but different construction materials. Your eyes leap between objects and enjoy the balance, but never notice it.

Start by choosing a geometric shape such as circles, squares, triangles, or hexagons to serve as your repeating motif. Alternatively, consider organic shapes like leaves, flowers, or waves for a softer and more natural look.

The next step is to arrange your collectibles or items in a way that prominently features the chosen shape. For example, if you've selected circles, you can use circular bases or stands for figurines. Introduce decorative items like trays, vases, or frames that incorporate the same shape to reinforce the theme.

Incorporate the repeating shape in various sizes and proportions throughout the display. This adds visual interest and depth to the arrangement.Maintain a balance between the repeated shape and other elements to avoid overwhelming the display.


Best Howard Miller Curio Cabinets

Howard Miller curio cabinets are renowned for their quality craftsmanship and timeless design, making them an excellent choice for displaying your sentimental items in a family room. Here are some of the best Howard Miller curio cabinets to showcase your cherished collectibles, vintage items and keepsakes.

Best Howard Miller Curio Cabinets - Home Bars USA

Howard Miller Kane II Curio Cabinet

The Howard Miller 680624 Kane II Curio Cabinet boasts impeccable craftsmanship. Finished in Black Satin on select hardwoods and veneers, it brings sleek style to any space. Every detail has been meticulously considered, from the locking front door with beveled glass that slides in both directions to the two incandescent lights that beautifully illuminate collectibles.

A glass mirrored back enhances the view, adding depth and elegance. Practical features include a No-Reach™ roller light switch for convenient interior lighting control and an attached key holder. The cabinet offers flexibility with its adjustable glass shelves, plate grooves, Pad-Lock™ cushioned metal shelf clips, and adjustable levelers for stability on uneven surfaces.

Howard Miller Underhill Curio Cabinet

The Howard Miller 680533 Underhill Curio Cabinet boasts meticulous craftsmanship in a compact design. Finished in Cherry Bordeaux on select hardwoods and veneers, it exudes timeless elegance. The detailed design features side opening doors on both sides and crystal-cut grooved glass on the front. A glass mirrored back enhances the display, while incandescent lighting beautifully illuminates collectibles.

With one adjustable glass shelf offering two display levels and PadLock™ cushioned metal shelf clips ensuring stability, customization is effortless. The cabinet is also equipped with adjustable levelers for stability on uneven surfaces. Convenience is key with the No-Reach™ roller light switch placed conveniently on the cabinet's back.

Howard Miller Bradington II Curio Cabinet

The Howard Miller 680396 Bradington II Curio Cabinet is a testament to exquisite craftsmanship. Its elegant Silver finish on select hardwoods and veneers lends a transitional touch to this illuminated curio cabinet. The attention to detail is evident in the four curved front glass doors adorned with silver-finished hardware, offering a contemporary aesthetic. A glass mirrored back enhances the visibility of your cherished treasures.

Customization is effortless with height-adjustable floor levelers providing stability on uneven surfaces. The cabinet offers ample space with four glass shelves featuring plate grooves, one wooden shelf in the lower section, and Pad-Lock™ cushioned metal shelf clips ensuring stability. Convenience comes in the form of an interior cabinet light with a No-Reach™ Touch-Lite™ light switch, offering four lighting levels. Additionally, you can bunch two or more cabinets together for a tailored display.


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