China Cabinets: What To Look For When Buying

A china cabinet is a timeless piece of furniture that has many practical uses and will be a cherished item for years to come. China cabinets usually do not get replaced and often become family heirlooms. Buying a china cabinet online can be overwhelming but there are a few key considerations that will make the process easier. 

China Cabinet StylesTraditional China Cabinet

China cabinets are typically a traditional style because, historically, were used for storing and displaying fine china in a formal dining room. However, casual entertaining is becoming more commonplace and china cabinets are following suit. Transitional, country, and modern china cabinets can be found to complement different types of dining rooms.  

Traditional china cabinets often are made of solid wood and have intricately carved details. Also, traditional styles include glass doors and adjustable shelves. A traditional china cabinet is going to be heavy and will usually be larger than transitional or contemporary styles. Transitional china cabinets will have cleaner lines and less bulky ornamentation than traditional styles.

A contemporary style is going to resemble more of a curio cabinet than a china cabinet — these usually have glass shelves, sides, back and doors. If a contemporary style is made of wood, it is usually a lighter tone or more exotic type of wood.

(Pictured: Pulaski China Cabinet)

You will not be able to tell from pictures how much space a china cabinet will take up. After you choose a few options that you like, map out the measurements of each one in your dining room. This will help you visualize what each china cabinet will look like in your home and how it will flow with the rest of your dining furniture.

Modern China Cabinet

China cabinets are composed of two basic parts – the base and hutch. Every china cabinet is different but there are a few ways to determine what china cabinet is best for you. The hutch can either be open or enclosed in glass. Some hutches will be solid wood and others will have glass shelves. Shelves can either be removable or stationary and may have grooves for displaying plates. The base of a china cabinet is going to have different types of storage facilities. Most bases have one or two drawers and two cabinets. Others may also include wine storage or just open shelving. Depending on how you want to style the shelves of your china cabinet, you may want more or less base storage.

One of the main concerns from customers looking for a china cabinet is how easily accessible the china will be. This is especially a concern if you have young children in the house. If you are concerned about kids having access to your china, it is probably a good idea to get one with an enclosed hutch with locking doors. You can also get one with a base that locks or only store non-breakables, such as table linens, in the base.

(Pictured: A.R.T. Furniture Display China)

How to Arrange Dishes in Your China Cabinet

One of the biggest challenges people have when choosing a china cabinet is deciding on the best option for their china collection. The first step is to take your largest pieces that will need to be displayed. Serving dishes, tea trays, and punch bowls are usually going to be the biggest items in your set. From there you can arrange other items like dinner plates, salad plates, dessert plates, saucers, and teacups to display the entire set. Use plate stands or acrylic stands of varying heights for visual interest without distracting from the china set. Figurines or other small collectibles are fun additions to give extra dimension. Also, check out photos on Pinterest or for more inspiration on how to style your china cabinet.


Editorial Assistance by Home Gallery Stores Staff