On With The Show! How To Style an Open Display Cabinet

Display cabinets offer a creative and sophisticated way to showcase your style and interests, and they add lots of personality to your home. Go beyond traditional curio cabinets or glass door styles and choose open display cabinets; they offer an updated, casual feel that complements many of today’s lifestyles.

Here are a few ways to put your best style on display, right out in the open.

COLLECT YOURSELF

Mix and match your favorite curiosities or unique accents to create a curated look. Treat each shelf as a little vignette, combining artful pieces, books, and other decorative objects you love. Be sure to create a focal point in each space, playing with various heights and coordinating colors for balance. Love the well-traveled look? So do we! Decorate your display cabinet with treasures you’ve collected from your travels and globally inspired accents from our latest look, Passport .

Our Ming display cabinet, decorated with hand-sculpted vases and accents inspired by faraway places, becomes the perfect setting for an intriguing showcase.

GET ECLECTIC

Incorporate a variety of pieces into your collection, but choose a common theme for your cabinet, such as color, subject, type of piece, or material—this helps you avoid a cluttered look. Hand-painted porcelain jars and vases or ceramic platters make stunning choices. If your style leans more on the contemporary side, display one distinct piece per shelf to create a striking art gallery effect.

This themed display of dinnerware and entertaining pieces in our Christopher china and buffet cabinet makes a perfect complement to everyday dining style.

DO IT BY THE BOOK

If you have a ton of books lying around or in boxes, pick your favorites and display them for all to admire. Coffee table books are the best choices to create this look, and they make great conversation pieces! When arranging your books, play with proportion. Stack them vertically or horizontally, or organize them by color to create a curated look.

Unique artwork and dazzling silver accents add visual interest and dimension to stacks of books.

Whatever your style, opt for pieces that speak to you and you won’t go wrong. If you’re not sure where to start, just talk with one of our design pros. They can help you find pieces to complement your personal treasures or build your collection entirely from scratch, and their help is always on the house.


Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Art is personal. What moves one person may do nothing at all for someone else. Enter our custom art program, an opportunity for you to enjoy art—from landscapes, abstracts and pop art to portraits, geometrics, photographs and more—on your terms.

Shawn Lang spearheaded the development and launch of our custom art program while director of wall décor for Ethan Allen (he’s now a social media consultant for us). We asked him a few questions about how he conceptualized it—and what makes it unique.

How did you visualize the custom art program before you launched it?

Shawn: When we decided to update the existing custom art program, we knew we wanted to design a simple, user-friendly program for both our designers and clients. We wanted it to have a fresh look and offer a wide variety of artwork to capture all lifestyles, so we included traditional landscapes, contemporary abstracts, photography, and transitional pieces that can work in any room.

Did you work with artists who already have pieces in the Ethan Allen collection?

Shawn: We did include artists we’ve worked with in the past. At the same time, we also added new artists to the mix—we thought they would provide the new assortment with a fresh update. All in all, we added more than 180 new images to the collection.

From your perspective, what makes the new program special?

Shawn: I think the best thing about it is that we can refresh the assortment quickly. We can easily add new imagery as trends evolve, so the collection is always relevant.

 

How does it work?

Shawn: We designed the process to be easy for anyone to do in just a few quick steps:

  • First, launch the custom art creation tool.
  • Then browse our selection of works. You’ll find a wide array of styles and genres.
  • Choose to have your work printed on either paper or canvas.
  • Decide on the scale that works best for your room: small, medium, or large.
  • Preview your art in dozens of frames, in a wide range of styles to match your décor.
  • Add options like mats, pen lines, bevels, fillets, or liners to really make it your own.
  • Preview your artwork so you can see exactly what the finished piece will look like. You can even view it against different wall color samples to get an idea of how it will look in your room—before you buy.

What happens once it’s ordered?

Shawn: Once your custom art piece is created, it’s sent to our Passaic, New Jersey, workshop to be framed by hand. In the workshop, mats are cut by hand, and pen lines are drawn by hand. Our artisans have learned and honed their skills over many years, and I think the quality they produce really differentiates us from other custom art programs out there. No detail is too small for them.

If you have any questions about our custom art program, visit a Design Center, or chat with a designer online. At the end of the process, you’ll have a piece of art that’s truly your own.

 


We’re so in love with these pressed botanicals, we decided to repost this again for everyone to enjoy!

Julie Franklin’s classic botanicals are naturally lovely. Natural, because they’re made from genuine sprigs, leaves, and stems—and lovely, because the artist chooses the delicate specimens carefully, then preserves and presses them herself.

Julie started gathering flowers and leaves in her native Georgia with her cousin, a botanist who collected specimens for research, and soon learned how to preserve her pretty finds. First, she places a fresh botanical specimen between leaves of paper in an old-fashioned wood press, then hand-tightens the press as the specimen dries. When the press is opened, it often reveals exaggerated curves and colors—unexpected beauty captured in two dimensions.

We frame Julie’s botanicals in our New Jersey workshop—as befit these distinctive works of art. Our artisans mount a pressed specimen onto deckle-edge archival paper, along with an identifying card, and float it in a solid wood frame with an aged gold fillet, under museum-quality UV glass. Our botanical collections include 26 unique specimens set against a white background, and 12 set against black. Hang them alone, in pairs, or in groups to create a stunning gallery wall.

 


We’re still holding on to every bit of summer, including all things coastal. Take another look at our sea life inspired accents that can work in any room, all season long!

Sea life is a natural curiosity. It’s dimensional, otherworldly, intriguing—and it’s been inspiring artists since the first clam washed up on shore. From coral and critters to shells, starfish, and sand dollars, there’s a virtual sculpture garden under the sea. For those of us who don’t see an underwater expedition in our futures, we have the next-best thing: enchanting accents that capture the beauty of marine life.

 

Who knew that shells, starfish, and sand dollars could look so good on land? Independent artist Dawn Wolfe did: She meticulously glued them to a six-ply indigo mat to create a contemporary design she calls Shell Circle II.

Create a curated tablescape with these oddities under glass. Something of a cultural obsession in nineteenth century England, fascinating sea creatures like these were displayed by collectors, scientists, and hobbyists under glass cloches like these.

A simple shell collection is transformed into a work of art: the Mia table lamp adds texture and an instant beach house vibe to any room.

This statement piece will steal the show wherever it is displayed. The molded Gold-Plated Clam Shell captures the artistry of the real thing with its dramatic gold interior finish.

This whimsical Oedipus table lamp is crafted in a multi-step process: First, a potter throws the body of the lamp, which is then left to partially dry. Next, a second artisan creates the octopus directly on the lamp, building up the clay to give it texture, shape, and detail. Finally, two glazes are carefully applied, and the piece is fired. The result is stunning.

Staghorn coral is a favorite among underwater photographers—with good reason. We’ve captured its beauty in this meticulously detailed poly resin cast of a coral branch; it’s finished in white for a contemporary feel.

 

 

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