How to Arrange Dishes in a China Cabinet

A china cabinet is typically used to display fine china or collections of fragile items. Unlike a hutch, which is intended for both display and storage, a china cabinet is usually not equipped with solid doors so that you can hide your silverware and table linens; instead, its glass doors allow open display of the contents. Arrange your dishes in a china cabinet to show them off to their best advantage.


Prop up platters on the back of the cabinet wall. Your cabinet may have grooves to hold dishes in place, but if not, invest in plate holders, stands designed to hold plates upright for display.

Layer large to small. If the shelves on your china cabinet are deep enough, stand up dinner plates in front of platters and smaller ones, such as bread or dessert plates, in front of them. Alternatively, display only one example of each piece, including bowls, to form a place setting.

Suspend teacups on small hooks from the shelf above or below the plates.

Display serving pieces -- soup terrines, gravy boats and large bowls -- on a shelf by themselves.

Arrange your tea service on a shelf by itself, if desired. Include the cups and saucers, creamer, sugar bowl, coffeepot and teapot.

Don't crowd the shelves. Leaving space between items allows viewers to see and appreciate each piece.