How to Style a China Cabinet

You know how some things are a complete mystery on the internet? This is one of them. Despite all of the room makeovers I show you, despite all of the closets we organize together, despite all of the great business advice shared here, my post How to Arrange a China Cabinet from a few years ago is still one of my top 5 posts.

If you can’t beat ’em, join em.

How to Style a China Cabinet

Here’s another way to arrange a china cabinet. This one is a lovely built-in. Just like the first organized china cabinet I showed you, it has doors that open in the middle, which means symmetry isn’t important, but balance is.

This client has several sets of china and a few sets of dessert plates, which are all lovely. Although there’s very little that matches, you can see how all of her pretty pieces can be arranged to look lovely and be ready to use for everyday entertaining.

Here’s the china cabinet before organizing:

China cabinet beforeDo you see the large candy dish on the top shelf, dead center? Now watch how it disappears when the doors close. That’s why we don’t do symmetry in a china cabinet.

china cabinet before, doors closed

Now we’ll set up the dishes, keeping a few tricks in mind. If you have china cabinet display pieces, like this one made to hold a cup and saucer (left), they can be a good way to show off a pattern and get some height in the display. You can buy china place setting displays online. Also, check to see if you have a plate rail in the back of your cabinet. We didn’t in this cabinet, but we were still able to display a plate (back right) by placing it behind a stack of plates for stability.

how to display cups in a china cabinet

Think coordinating, not matching. It might not hit you right away that there are three different sets of dishes in this picture.

how to show off pattern in a china cabinet

Thoughtfully chose how to highlight items when you arrange a china cabinet. Instead of a plate, we chose to highlight a serving bowl on this plate stand in the back. On the left, you’ll see some adorable hot-air balloon themed plates. We chose the blue one for the top, to keep with the blue theme. We added a taller vase in the back to give this area in the cabinet some height.

plate stands in a china cabinet

This shelf with blue and gold china has lots of plates, but the cups and serving pieces have yet to be unpacked. We created space here by stacking some plates together, then showed a few place settings stacked (front). Then we added interest by arranging the china cabinet with some coordinating blue-themed vases.

place settings in a china cabinet

Look for any chance to create height and interest. Here, we stacked some plates and topped them with a single cup, creating an area in the back to stash some items that don’t need to be highlighted (and you can’t see them).

lifts and stacks in a china cabinet


And here’s the styled china cabinet after:

china cabinet arranged- after

It’s hard to photograph through glass, but you can see that by offsetting the goodies, we can now enjoy them more.

Organized China cabinet- after

Most of all, remember to keep at least 8-10 place settings at a level that is easy to reach so you’ll use them.

Life is short, so use the good china every chance you get!

How to Arrange a China Cabinet

Did you see our other article on how to arrange a china cabinet? Click here.

china cabinet organizing, how to arrange a china cabinet


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Denise

    Darla…you rock. Shared on fb page yesterday. 🙂

    1. Darla

      Thanks, Denise! Glad you liked it.



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