What To Put In Your Display Cabinet

Chester Grey Display Cabinet

From bookcases to dressers, standalone shelving to display cabinets, each offers the perfect opportunity for displaying a few of your favourite things. Not simply resigned to only holding books or crockery though, they open up an abundance of inspiring storage potential that can look stylish too. While it’s tempting to hide our clutter and belongings behind closed doors, sometimes it’s nice to have the very best on show to look at every day.

So, just how should you be styling your shelves?

Florence Grey Dresser

a few of your favourite things

This really should be the mantra for your entire home – to only fill it with things that you love or that are useful. The same applies to display cabinets too because most of what you have will be on show – hence why it’s important to display those items that will make you happy every time you walk past. From treasured photographs to artwork, favourite reads, nostalgic ornaments and special vintage finds – why not consider including a few plants, a vase of fresh flowers or perhaps a large scented seasonal candle in between more personal items too? Remember that your display can be as full – or as minimal – as you like.

Burford Painted Glazed Display Cabinet

If you’re arranging your possessions in a glass-fronted cabinet, then the chances are friends and family will peer in and take a peek when they pop round too, so think about items that might encourage a talking point – photographs or postcards are a brilliant example here. What’s more, a glass-fronted cabinet will mean less dusting when it comes to those items too.

Appleby Oak Glazed Sideboard


Just because an item has a particular name – a bookcase for example – this isn’t always a directive in what you should display. The beauty of these pieces of furniture is that you can be wonderfully flexible in your approach. Display books with photographs, or stand artwork alongside potted plants. They don’t always call for uniformity, but rather for creativity, personality, versatility and flair. If you change your mind one day, you can switch it up the next. If you take a beautiful photograph, simply replace it with another you’ve had displayed for a while – one simple change can inadvertently inspire a whole new display.

a pop of colour

While you may be an advocate for neutrals, there’s no reason your display can’t have a small injection of colour. If you’re using your display cabinet to exhibit a glassware collection, for example, inserting one or two coloured glass pieces can change the whole feel of the display. Or, if you’re one for organised clutter, much like our Burford Painted Wide Bookcase below, try grouping items by colour. Books make a particularly terrific example of how effective colour-coding is, or display matching ceramics for an equally striking arrangement. Don’t forget that plants and flowers are perfect for adding a splash of colour too – we especially love Craspedia.

Burford Painted Wide Bookcase

for storage

While a lone display cabinet or bookcase in the corner of your living room offers the perfect opportunity for displaying a few of your favourite things – the storage potential it offers is advantageous too. In fact, the two can go hand in hand – it’s just about blending style with practicality. If you’re looking for a display cabinet to go in the bathroom, why not add small wicker baskets to sit on the shelves for storing a few items in? Or, if you’re looking to add a little extra storage space in your kitchen and love the idea of one of our larders or pantry – decant dried foods like flour and pulses into clear jars for a country-inspired, accessible and practical display.

Oakland Glazed Display Cabinet

plants, plants, plants

We just can’t help ourselves – here at Cotswold Co we are big advocates for the ever-so-humble houseplant. Not only do they possess a surprising wealth of health benefits, but they’ll become your favourite accessory when it comes to styling shelves in no time. From succulents and trailing ivy to string of pearls and seasonal dried flowers, they’re perfect for filling awkward spaces and adding a splash of colour in-between more neutral hues. If you’re a true plantsman, investing in free-standing shelves or a bookcase for housing your plants alone can be an incredibly effective display for your home too.

Meera Shelf Unit | Portobello Painted Hook Rack | White Marble Shelf

From vintage-inspired ceramics, jugs and kitchenalia, our three beautiful stores have an extensive range of exclusive home accessories – perfect for your display cabinet, dresser or bookcase.

Oakland Tall Slim Bookcase

Above all, it’s important to remember that not everything you display needs to be useful – you have cupboards for those items – so put on show all those trinkets and memories you love.

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