DIY: Not Your Grandma’s China Cabinet

I’ve always wanted a china cabinet. Like a REAL, grown up china cabinet.

I was given my paternal grandmother’s china years ago when she passed away and I’ve never had a place to display it. So, for almost exactly 10 years it was wrapped in newspaper and stored in the backs of closets, in my parent’s basement and then finally moved into my own basement when we did our last move about 2 ½ years ago.

Well, I finally have my very own china cabinet! It was in terrible shape when I first got it – the top portion needed some hard scrubbing, three coats of Old English cleaner and two more coats of Orange Clean dusting spray – but now it’s gorgeous!

I mean, it still smells a little, but it really is quite a hottie:

china cabinet - before

Once I had it set up in my kitchen and anchored to the wall (I highly recommend these: Safety 1st Furniture Wall Straps) I wasn’t really sure what to do with it.


I knew I wanted to store my mixer inside, because it’s cute and I like it to be on display. But other than that, all I knew is that I didn’t want some boring old set up of china that could have been taken straight from my grandma’s house. I imagined something fresh and eclectic that looked like it belonged with the rest of our house… so here’s what I came up with:

First I gathered all the china and some other stuff that I thought might work in the cabinet.

stuff spread out

Then, I started playing with different stacks of stuff. I wanted to include some silly stuff, some color and also make it balanced to the eye.

book stack




yellow owl


silver owl

I had to move things around a few times to make sure that it looked ‘right’ to me… I tried different stacks of plates, adding in random vases and trinkets, and at one point considered including a small painting or picture. When I thought I’d found the perfect setup, I realized that the door wouldn’t close with the large plates stacked by it, so I basically had to move everything around all over again.

Here’s a close up of where I ended up:

finished cabinet

Here is a wider view that shows you how my big, handsome china cabinet looks with the rest of the room:

after - wide shot

Also, here is what Jack was doing while I was moving things around in the china cabinet:

Jack angel

However, before you think he’s a little angel playing nicely with his grill… here is the other side of the room:


What do you think of my china cabinet? Am I weird for including my flying pig with my grandmother’s Millefleurs by Franconia china set? Do you assume that bloggers all have clean houses because of how they crop their photos?


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12 thoughts on “DIY: Not Your Grandma’s China Cabinet”

  1. I love it. Once I have a place to put it, I’m going to have my paternal grandmother’s china as well.

    The top of my china cabinet may end up looking more like my mother’s (with fine glassware), and I’d put the china on the bottom…

    I also can’t wait to store my Christmas dishware in the bottom of a china cabinet.

    I think I’m going to need a giant one. *sigh*

    Also the flying pig? Absolutely.

  2. Looks great! I will use this as inspiration for when I get my china cabinet. Right now, mine is wrapped in newspaper and sitting in an old cedar chest.

  3. The cabinet looks great in the room, and I love the owl peeking out of the bowl. I like the mix of stuff, it’s a nice change from what would be expected. And yes, I DO think all bloggers have perfectly clean houses!

    1. Thanks Jessy! It’s easy to look like you have a clean house when you can crop mess out of a picture. I can pretty much guarantee that if a blogger has a kid/kids and they have pretty pictures, the other side of the room probably looks like my mess! =)

    1. Thanks so much Ashley! I had to steal the owls from a couple other rooms, but I’m totally digging them peaking out of the china. =)

  4. Joules! It’s beautiful. I especially love the little silver owl peaking out of the china bowls. So cute!! I wish I had one of my own.
    As for Jack’s rearrangement of his toys, well I would call that creative play. Or maybe attempting to copy mom in her endevor to creat beautify in her home. Yeah, I know step on able go and it ain’t cute anymore, but I’m a Grammy now so it’s all cute till they go back to mommy and daddy.

    1. Honestly, I don’t mind the mess much. We try to throw everything back where it belongs at the end of the day, so it never really gets FULLY out of control. =)

      And thank you so much for your nice compliments! If you’re looking for a cute owl, I found the silver one at Homegoods and the yellow one came from West Elm a while ago.

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