If you've been on the hunt for a simple way to spruce up a drab corner in a room, look no further than a curio cabinet, also known as a corner curio cabinet. This cabinet style is designed for displaying curios, which are simply collections and treasured items. It's typically crafted of wood, and features metal shelving along with glass panels.
For inspiration on how to use curio cabinets, we invited New York-based interior designer Alexander Doherty to offer his top tips, including which styles work best for this piece, to the smartest way to organize items within it.
While curio cabinets are usually found in traditional design schemes, don't fret if that's far from your decorating style. "I have designed them into spaces that are a bit more modern and used them as a historical and traditional element to the room, as the collectibles on display tell a story," Doherty says. "While the term 'curio cabinet' is a bit old-fashioned, these display cases are appearing more often in modern home designs. They are ideal for living spaces or dining rooms on display for guests and a source for family stories."
With curio cabinets, the beauty is in the mix. They are perfect for displaying a range of sentimental items. "It is a great display solution for anything of value to a homeowner, especially for items that have a story to tell," Doherty says. "Curio cabinets are a little more orderly and contained than a traditional bookcase or open wall shelving."
Doherty recommends showcasing the following items in curio cabinets:
- unique travel mementos
- small antiques
- vintage books
- family heirlooms
- mineral stones
To add visual interest (and prevent a cluttered look), Doherty suggests grouping items and playing up the variety among your collectibles. "Display your items in small groups or arrange collections by year, style, or theme," he says. "Stacking books with a small item on top also provides varying heights. And collections look good when there are overlapping objects that give density and varying heights."
And if you're interested in a curio cabinet with a more elevated look, Doherty recommends one solution: lighting. "Installing internal lighting is a sophisticated way to give a curio cabinet a high-end appeal that will simultaneously highlight antiques and valuables," Doherty says.
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