What To Put In A China Cabinet [Besides China!]

Do you have a China cabinet that you want to use to display your belongings, but you're not sure what to put in it? Well, you've come to the right place. We've put together this helpful list to inspire you on how to use your China cabinet. 

  1. Knick Knacks
  2. Holiday Displays
  3. Trophies and Awards
  4. Collections and Collectibles
  5. Booze
  6. Linens
  7. Books
  8. Photographs
  9. Decorative Storage Boxes

Depending on the location of your cabinet and the size of its shelves, some of these items may make more sense than others. Keep reading to learn how to display each type of item, and which rooms of your home they will feel most at home in.

A wooden framed China Cabinet, What To Put In A China Cabinet [Besides China!]

How To Display Items In A China Cabinet?

Displaying items in a China cabinet is a simple process that will vary depending on your preferences and taste in decor. You don't want it to become too cluttered or busy, so it's important to consider the number of items accumulating in the display.

When placing multiple items on one shelf, it's also good to place larger items behind smaller items to increase visibility.

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Place your favorite knick-knacks in your China cabinet to add charm to your space. The cabinet will also help reduce the amount of dust that your knick-knacks will accumulate. If you have children, the cabinet will work to protect your belongings too.

What Room Should You Display Knick-Knacks In?

China cabinets used to display knick-knacks can go in almost any room, but the theme of the knick-knacks may affect this decision. The living room, dining room, and multi-purpose spaces typically work well for knick-knacks.

Holiday Displays

A huge China cabinet filled with China utensils

Use your China cabinet to create a festive holiday display. Fill it with holiday-themed decor and switch it out as the seasons change. Create a manger scene during Christmas, or stock it with fake flowers in spring. Use this option to get creative with your decor. 

What Room To Display Holiday-Themed China Cabinet In? 

Holiday displays in China cabinets are perfect for gathering areas like living rooms. If you have the space, placing the China cabinet in your entryway will surely make an impression.

Trophies And Awards

If you or your family members have some competitive accomplishments, why not put your achievements on display? Use your China cabinet to show off your family's trophies and awards, which also works as a great conversation starter when you have company over.

Where To Put China Cabinet Displaying Awards And Trophies?

A China cabinet displaying trophies and awards can be placed in the living room, dining room, hallway, or even a bedroom. If you want it to attract attention, station it in a busy room of your home.

Collections and Collectibles

Open divider for Chinas

Do you have a collection that you're extremely proud of? Action figures, crystals, rocks, trading cards, or stamps are all things that can be displayed in a China cabinet. The cabinet also provides your collection with an extra layer of protection from dust and dirt. 

What Room Should You Display Collections In?

Collections are another item that may depend on what you collect. If you have a collection of seashells that you want to display, the bathroom may be a good choice. If you have a collection of beer mugs, they might make more sense to show off in your kitchen, bar area, or dining room.


Turn your China cabinet into a liquor cabinet to store your bottles of alcohol. You can give it an extra boost of class by using fancy glass decanters to keep your booze in. Try using decanters of different shapes, sizes, and even colors to create a unique and sophisticated look.

Paksh Italian Glass Decanter Set

This beautiful decanter set is made from Italian glass and includes six matching glasses.

Click here to see this set on Amazon.

Where Should You Store Liquor In Your Home?

Safety should always be the top priority when it comes to alcoholic beverages. If you have children, you may not want to choose this method unless you have a lock for your cabinet. China cabinets that are used as a liquor cabinet feel at home in bar areas, kitchens, or dining rooms.

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You can use a China cabinet to store your extra linens somewhere out of the way. Choose this as a great way to gain some additional storage space in your home. Use decorative storage bins to spruce up the look and keep things organized. 

Homyfort Storage Bins

These storage bins are 11-inches by 11-inches, and they come in a pack of eight.

Click here to see these bins on Amazon.

Where Should I Put A China Cabinet Storing Linens?

If you're using storage bins to organize and hide your linens, you can put it just about anywhere without worrying about how it looks. If you plan on stacking the folded linens on the shelf, you may want to station the cabinet in a bedroom, laundry room, closet, or bathroom.

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Turn your China cabinet into a bookshelf to arrange your favorite novels and books. Choose special editions and collector's editions for an elegant feeling. It can be another fun way to strike up a dialogue with guests.

Where Should I Keep A China Cabinet Displaying Books?

Gorgeous Chinas at a China Cabinet

A China cabinet storing books will feel at home in almost any room of your home. For a mixed variety of books, choose the living room, rec room, bedroom, or office. If you're using it in your kitchen, display cookbooks to help incorporate it into the room. 


Present family photographs in your China cabinet for a touching way to dedicate the space to loved ones. Use unique frames to draw attention to the area and dress it up. Include some beautiful landscapes to add some variation to the display.

RiteSune Rustic Trifold Picture Frame

This picture frame holds three 4-inch by 6-inch photographs and offers a charming facade.

Click here to see this frame on Amazon.

What Room Should Family Photos Be Displayed In?

Family photographs are another option that will suit almost any room of your home. Living rooms, dining rooms, hallways, and rec rooms are great places to display family photos. Avoid places like the bathroom and the bedroom, which can make the space feel awkward.

Decorative Storage Boxes

Declutter and organize your home using the extra space provided by your China cabinet. Use decorative storage boxes to sort items and keep them out of sight. They'll keep the China cabinet looking chic and help minimize the mess in the rest of your home. 

Kate Spade Storage Boxes

These storage boxes are an adorable way to keep your clutter hidden, and they're available in three other patterns.

Click here to see these boxes on Amazon.

Where To Use A China Cabinet With Storage Boxes?

A China cabinet with storage boxes can be used in whatever room it will be most useful. The beauty of the storage boxes is their ability to hide the contents, which allows them to fit into any space.

Storage boxes are also available in tons of colors and patterns to help them fit into their settings. 

What Else Can China Cabinets Be Used For?

A kitchen filled with China cabinets filled with expensive Chinas

China cabinets can be used to store just about anything. You can put it in your kitchen and stock it with cookware to gain some storage space or make it into a pantry.

Put it in your office and use it as a place to store stationery, or put it in your rec room to hold board games.

How To Modernize A China Cabinet?

There are some great options for modernizing China cabinets. One of the easiest ways to do this is by adding peel and stick contact paper to the back or the shelves. You can also paint or refinish it to spruce it up and give it a more modern appeal.

CiCiWind Peel And Stick Contact Paper

This contact paper is a great way to add a modern pop of color to your cabinet, and it's available in multiple sizes.

Click here to check out this contact paper on Amazon.

In Conclusion

A wooden framed China Cabinet

Now that you're aware that China cabinets don't need to be limited to displaying China exclusively, you can plan how to use your cabinet most effectively.

They're an excellent way to create additional storage in your home or display your prized possessions. Have fun decorating, and enjoy your new storage space!

Made It To The End? Check Out These Helpful, Related Articles!

For help finding more storage space in your home, read our article "15 Types Of Storage Furniture You Need To Know About."

For some inspiration on living room storage, read our article "11 Great End Tables With Storage For Your Living Room."

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