How to Arrange a China Cabinet

china cabinet organizing

If you are lucky enough to own both a nice china cabinet and a nice set of china, you might want to know the best way to arrange your china for both display and storage. If you haven’t though about it all year, maybe a big dinner or special occasion is coming up. Looking for a little wow factor?

An empty china cabinet can be very imposing.

china cabinet organizing


The first step is to choose a focal piece. In fact, any good design of a room, bookcase, or a cabinet usually starts with figuring out how to best highlight the feature in your collection. In this case, the main dish platter was the largest item and the starting point.

china cabinet organizing


If you need to, be sure to reset the shelves before you start, based on the height of the plates and other tall items. Arrange plates on the plate rail on the rear of the shelves.

Once you know where your main pieces will go, start loading the rest of the pieces from the top. That way, you aren’t leaning over other fragile items.

Be sure to place items securely.  Purchase china easels or specialty cup and plate display stands like those below in order to group settings together.

china cabinet organizing

Avoid absolute symmetry, and avoid placing your most important pieces in the dead center. Too much symmetry is boring and stuffy. By displaying china to one side, the pieces will be clearly visible when the doors are closed, and not hidden behind the door frames.

Group items together, and create symmetry by balancing tall and short, wide and narrow forms. If you have colorful china, you’ll also want to pay attention to masses of color, balancing those as well.

china cabinet organizing


Store your glasses elsewhere. Avoid putting stemware, glass or crystal in a hutch, since there generally won’t be enough light to make them sparkle. Stick with substantial serving pieces and interesting pieces when you display china.

Stack the remaining pieces, but make sure there is enough for a small dinner party within reach. It is helpful to have service for four, six, or eight on the lower levels of your display. It’s nice to be able to use your china more frequently without feeling like you are ruining the entire china display during dinner.

Use these clever soft plate dividers, which you can just barely see in this picture, to minimize the rattles and clinks on a daily basis. Don’t have those special dividers? Use coffee filters.

china cabinet organizing

Last, and most important, don’t just display your china, use it. When you pass it on in your family, may it come with chips and scratches and lot of good memories.

Thanksgiving organizing

Want to see another way to arrange a china cabinet and display china? Check out this version of how to style a china cabinet, with coordinating sets all peacefully and beautifully coexisting.

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