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Hints & Ideas For Customising Your Glass Display Cabinet

The glass display cabinet has enjoyed a revival in popularity in recent years, as the trend for vintage furniture and more individual approach to interior design continues. As well as being elegant items of furniture that can bring style and charm to your home, they can also be used to display favourite items that add warmth and personality to your room.

You may be happy with your display cabinet in its original condition, but it can be made into a more unique feature with a few creative alterations or additions. Here are a few ideas. 

Consider the back panel

If your display cabinet is made from a high quality wood, then you will probably already have beautiful back panelling that you don’t want to cover up. However, in some cases it might benefit from a more inspiring backdrop to display your items to best advantage. You might want to experiment with textured wallpapers, mirrors or decorative tiling, for example. 

Add vinyl decals

If you use the cabinet for the storage of more functional items such as paperwork or spare crockery, then you may want to add vinyl decals to the glass panels to add visual interest and obscure the contents of the cabinet. These can be bought online from craft stores or creative marketplaces, and offer a huge choice of designs, from floral to geometric patterns.

Upgrade the handles

Changing the handles on your display cabinet can instantly transform its appearance and improve functionality. For example, you may want to replace the existing handles with vintage retro brass handles, or add a contemporary twist with chrome, glass, or even a light bulb door knob

Install lighting

Adding lighting to your cabinet can highlight your favourite display items and make it a real focal point of the room. Use LED lights that provide a soft warm light if you have delicate vintage items to showcase. If you have more contemporary items, or objects with intricate shiny surfaces such as crystal glasses and ceramics, you may consider a crisp cool white.

LED strip lights are a popular solution for cabinetry, because they provide flexibility and can be installed as uplighting, downlighting, or around the edges of the cabinet for an even distribution of light. They are energy efficient and available in a range of colour temperatures, from cool blue tints to neutral or a warm glow. 

Alternatively, you could install small battery operated lights, sometimes known as puck lights, which may be a solution if your cabinet is not within direct reach of a power outlet or you want to avoid the need for extra wiring. Place the lights to highlight particular objects, or use them to provide an ambient light with areas of shadow and brightness.

If you do not want to install internal lighting, you might want to use external spotlights to highlight the display case. These can be ceiling mounted to light the cabinet from above; mounted directly on top of the cabinet; or wall mounted to direct light to a specific area. This style of lighting might be suitable for displaying cups and trophies. 

Replace wooden shelves with glass

If your cabinet has removable shelving, then you may wish to consider replacing opaque wooden shelves with transparent or semi-opaque glass shelves. This allows more light to flow through the unit and really shows off the contents to best advantage. 

The display will look particularly stunning when lit up by natural sunlight, so consider its positioning in the room and try to install it near to or opposite a window if possible. It will also add an extra dimension to artificial light sources such as LED strip lighting. 

If you have a carefully curated collection of beautiful objects to showcase, then glass shelves combined with interior lighting will display them to the fullest effect. 

Paint the frames

The decision as to whether or not to paint your display cabinet will probably depend on its age, materials, condition and value. 

If it’s a beautiful vintage hardwood cabinet then it will probably be more suited to a wood treatment or polish to bring it back to life. However, if it is made from more average materials, then you can freshen it up by lightly sanding it down and giving it a coat of paint.

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