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Curio Cabinets

A guide to displaying your prized collection using curio cabinets. What's best for you, and what to look for.

Curio cabinets are specially designed to display collections. Do you have a collection? I mean any type of collection. Lots of people collect things, some of them silly (I have a friend who collects airsickness bags from airlines-unused, of course!) but some collections are really impressive. Antiques, glass figurines, hand-made dolls, sports paraphernalia, pins, autographs, pottery, even PEZ dispensers, you name it. Part of the fun of collecting things is the ability to display them in your home, and show them off to visitors. This is where a curio cabinet comes in handy. A curio cabinet allows you to show off your collection while protecting it at the same time. It will keep dust, vermin and wandering fingers well away from your collectibles.

All curio cabinets are designed with glass doors and sides in order to maximize viewing of the contents. Some have large panes of glass with wood framing only along the sides, while others have smaller plates of glass within a wooden framework that cuts across the viewing area. It's important, therefore, to match the cabinet to the collection that you want to display. If you have larger items to display, you might prefer a unit with more wood throughout. However, smaller items might be blocked by the wood. Keep this in mind as you look for a cabinet.

Another feature is optional lighting. This is an added expense, and you'll have to place the cabinet near a plug (or have one installed). If you're got a convenient space for a lighted cabinet, however, the light will certainly highlight the collection inside, and make the cabinet a real eye-grabber.

Which size of cabinet is for you? Well, keep in mind that the object is to display your collection, not just to store it. You don't want to crowd your collection on the shelves, since this would take away from the enjoyment of each individual piece. On the other hand, 2 or 3 small items alone on a large glass shelf would look a bit lost, so you need to find the right balance in order to spread out the collection and maximize its display. Don't forget to take into account the future. Unless your done collecting, you'll need space for more as the collection expands. A way around this if the collection is small today and you don't want a full-size cabinet is to look into bunched curio cabinets.

Corner curio cabinets are a great option. They "kill 2 birds with 1 stone," in that they make good use of empty corners and allow you to display your collection at the same time.

What To Look For in a Curio Cabinet

There are so many types of cabinets available it can be confusing. In order to understand more about them, and how to choose a unit that meets your needs we've provided the following list of terms and definitions.

  • Adjustable Shelves: shelves that allow for better fitting inside the cabinet. This allows you to fit larger and oddly shaped pieces inside.
  • Beveled Glass:where the edges of the glass shelves are angled, giving them a more attractive look.
  • Bunching Curio Cabinets:designed to be used separately or to be positioned together to expand storage capacity.
  • Cabriole Legs:A leg shape of Queen Anne and Chippendale designs that bends outward on top, and tapers as it goes downward into an ornamental foot.
  • Color Matching Splines:Cushion glass around the edges, stabilizing the glass to prevent rattling or possible breakage.
  • Distressed:An aged wood finish created by scratches, dents and wear.
  • Dowel:added strength joints utilizing rounded pieces of wood.
  • Fitted Custom-Hung Doors:this allows for the best possible look with the custom fitting of all the doors.
  • Fitted Screwed-In Backs:This diminishes the protrusion of nails along the back of the curio cabinet.
  • Front and Side Locking Doors:locks on all of the doors of the cabinet.
  • Glass Mirrored Back:Positioned against the back wall of the cabinet, this reflects the collectibles allowing the viewers to get the full view of the item.
  • Halogen Lighting:These energy efficient lights illuminate the collectibles that are kept inside.
  • Leveler:These can help level the curio cabinet to even it out. There is one under each corner of the cabinet and are adjustable.
  • Lock Pull:A decorative addition that makes opening and closing the door easier.
  • Pad-Lock Shelf Clips:These lock shelves in place for added stability and are padded so they do not do any damage to the shelf.
  • Plate GroovesThese are built in grooves that are designed for the vertical display of plates or china within the cabinet.
  • Triple Reinforced Joints:This extra durable design provides unequaled stability and longevity.
  • One-Way Sliding Door:Doors slide only to the left or the right, not both.
  • Two-Way Sliding Door:The doors slide both ways making the inside of the cabinet more accessible.
  • Veneer:Thin leaf of wood applied onto panel or frame of solid wood. It displays richly grained effects inexpensively.

Where To Find Curio Cabinets

Okay, now that you have an idea about what curio cabinets are and what features they have, it's time to take a more in-depth look into what's available, and what will suit you. Take a look.

Traditional Styled Curio Cabinets. Here you'll find a huge variety of standard cabinets in a many differen designs, colors and styles.

Console Curio Cabinets are half-sized cabinets for smaller collections. These also allow you to display things on top of the cabinet.

Corner Curio Cabinets allow you to take advantage of unused corners of your home. They add a striking attraction to any room.

Wall-mounted Curio Cabinets are a great solution when you are lacking floor space, or you have a small collection that you want to display at eye level.

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