What should I put in my china cabinet?
January 6, 2008 11:43 PM   Subscribe

I recently received a large, beautiful china cabinet/buffet, and it's now the focal piece in my living room. It's wonderful, but seeing as I have no china, I have no idea what to put in it.

What sort of things, other than dishes, work well when placed in a china cabinet? I initially thought to put my books in it, though the shelves inside of the six-foot long structure are made of glass and that sort of worries me. Right now, there's a few martini glasses in there, but they're awfully lonely.
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I keep books in my china cabinet, and it works quite well. One of the shelves in my cabinet has grooves along the back to display plates and the like, and I use it to display art books (face out).
posted by ocherdraco at 12:04 AM on January 7, 2008

I'd say that a healthy collection of liquor bottles and mixological implements would be good company for those martini glasses. Also, double rocks glasses, highballs, zombies chimneys, etc.
posted by mumkin at 12:14 AM on January 7, 2008

It's not a china cabinet, it's a display area. Do you collect? Miniature chairs, vases, small books, old family photos in stand-up frames, robots (?), small drawings, an air plant, etc. A few well-placed items, nestled, don't overload, will make an interesting display of your things.
posted by artdrectr at 12:29 AM on January 7, 2008

Sorry, it's late. I think I was channeling Martha there for a sec.
posted by artdrectr at 12:38 AM on January 7, 2008

Mugs are good too. Not just any kinds but if you have pretty wine glasses, different mugs from various cities and countries. I collect mugs and cups from my travels, so that's what I'd put. I also collect purses, but I don't think it'd look right...
posted by icollectpurses at 2:53 AM on January 7, 2008

I've seen these with sort of ribbed curtains installed inside the glass, which means you could use them to store anything. But that kind of defeats the purpose. I agree with the suggestions that you start a collection of nice-looking things: glassware, pottery, sculpture, art books, porcelain figurines, whatever turns you on. You can mix and match them into the cabinet. Flip through these photos for the general idea.
posted by beagle at 3:29 AM on January 7, 2008

We had the same conundrum with a beautiful china cabinet that my boyfriend inherited - we're slowly building a collection of Kokeshi dolls to display in it, as they're beautiful and have a not-too-old-fashioned collectible feel about them.
posted by ukdanae at 4:56 AM on January 7, 2008

If I were you, i'd be working on creating a really impressive wunderkammer.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 5:24 AM on January 7, 2008

70's motorcycle helmets, taxidermy, Star Wars models, microscopes, 50's barware, booze, Japanese hair pomade, Dansk pepper grinders - anything! I personally like the impact of using a classic piece of furniture to display something unexpected.
posted by suki at 6:17 AM on January 7, 2008

Maybe DVDs or old VHS tapes if this is conveniently located near your TV. Or music CDs.
posted by PY at 7:32 AM on January 7, 2008

can you replace the glass shelves with something the same size but sturdier, so you can put your books and anything else inside?
posted by mdiskin at 7:38 AM on January 7, 2008

You could put in cheap Ikea dishware as placeholders :)
posted by crickets at 8:23 AM on January 7, 2008

I have one of these pieces of furniture too. I'm not a big fan of knick knacks or china, so it sits mostly empty. One idea I had recently is to modify most of it into something useful, inspired by all the gadget charging stations. Seems like I could convert several of the drawers to hold a cellphone, gps, camera, ipod, laptop, cd & dvd cases, whatever- then grommet holes in back than run to a powerstrip. It certainly would conceal a lot of modern clutter while looking antique from the outside.
posted by tfmm at 7:36 PM on January 7, 2008

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