Room with curio cabinets

Possessions that you would consider “prized” belong not in a box in the garage or on a dusty shelf, but on display so everyone can enjoy them. Though some larger items might need to be mounted on their own (that Picasso that’s been hiding in the attic might require an entire room to itself), a well-placed curio cabinet is just the ticket for smaller treasures, especially for those that are a part of a set.

Traditional Curio Cabinets

A traditional curio is generally made of hardwood and glass. They come in many forms, from tall to short, cylindrical to rectangular, but all are meant to display and accent whatever you decide to put into them. Though it is quite easy to find traditional looking curio cabinets that are brand new, it is often worth the effort to shop around online and in secondhand stores. You may be able to find one that not only suits your purposes, but has a bit of history to it, as well.

Contemporary Curio Cabinets

If your home décor is a bit more on the modern side, you might do well to opt for a curio cabinet that is more contemporary. Though they can still be made of wood, many of these curios are fashioned of metal and mirrors to truly accentuate the pieces they hold. The mirrors are generally positioned in such a way as to offer a good view of the objects in the cabinet from multiple vantage points. They are also quite helpful for viewing the side of the object that is not facing outward, without the need of actually taking the object out of the cabinet. Unlike a traditional model, a contemporary curio cabinet will most likely need to be purchased new.

Curio Cabinet Lighting Design

Try to optimize how your prized possessions look with wise curio cabinet lighting choices. This process is not nearly as easy as it sounds. The best lighting fixtures and placement can be significantly different for a mirrored-back, glass-back, or panel-backed cabinet. Curio cabinet lighting design is also a tough thing to get right, if you’re looking at imported or custom-built cabinets. More specifically, if you’re looking at one of these types of cabinets, you better off narrowing your search to units that already have curio cabinet lighting included. Indeed, many contemporary curios come complete with all the lighting you’ll need, but if you are going for the traditional look, you may have to come up with your own lighting scheme.

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Curio Cabinet Installation

No matter what style cabinet you purchase, it is important to make sure that it is fixed solidly in place. Since they are most often used to hold things of value, curios need extra stability. You don’t want your valuables falling down if the cabinet gets bumped into (not to mention the fragility of all the mirrors and glass). Curio cabinets with flat backs can usually be anchored to a stud in a wall pretty easily, and often come with hardware designed just for that purpose. Round curio cabinets might be a bit more tricky, but with a little imagination, they can usually be fixed to a stud using just a few nails or screws, and a little bit of wire. Curio cabinet installation is something most homeowners can handle, at least in terms affixing the cabinet to a stud. More complicated installation might require the services of a professional. Built-in curio cabinets are one interesting possibility to add a wrinkle to your cabinet.

Curio Cabinet Placement

On a similar note, curio cabinet placement is something that definitely boils down to personal preference. If you have a lot of space, you might consider putting the curio in a room that needs a touch of flavor. Those with limited space and no opportunity to create a built-in nook for curio cabinet placement could easily make use of a cabinet that hangs on the wall or a model that is designed to fit into a corner.


  1. Greta Garbo, June 23:

    I’m thinking of putting my Curio cabinet in my entry hall. Wondering how that would work? I have an open floor plan & don’t really have much wall space. This might be my only option

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