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How to Set Up a China Cabinet

by April Sanders

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Dining room with dining set and china cabinet

Things You Need:

  • Duster or soft cloth
  • Glass cleaner

China cabinets or china buffets are used by most people to elegantly display a china collection. For some people, however, buffets become a catch-all for all kinds of odds and ends, from that homemade mug your niece painted for you to a dried-up flower bouquet you got at a wedding and that is now slowly turning to dust. Organize your china cabinet and restore its rightful place as a fine piece of furniture that will also show off your china and crystal treasures.

Setting Up a China Cabinet:

  1. Clear the cabinet. Remove everything from the china cabinet and set it aside on a table or on the floor. Dust the china buffet thoroughly and use glass cleaner to clean any glass-front cabinet doors. Clean the inside of any drawers as well.

  2. Organize your items. Go through the items you removed from the china cabinet. Make piles of things to give away, items to box up, things to dispose of and objects you would like to return to the hutchto be displayed or stored.

  3. Start at the top. On the top shelf of your buffet, set up groupings of crystal wine glasses, vases or other attractive glassware. Many china buffets have a light set above the topmost shelf. Placing crystal items on the top shelf will allow the light to sparkle on them, creating a beautiful display.

  4. Add the plates. Set up some decorative plates along the back of the second shelf. The plates should appear to be "leaning" against the back wall. Your china hutch should have a ridge along the shelf for just that purpose. If not, you will have to invest in some plate holders.

  5. Organize some teacups and saucers in front of the plates. To keep the teacups from rattling when someone walks by with a heavy tread, place a coffee filter between the cup and the saucer. Cut it to fit so that it does not show underneath the tea cup.

  6. Finish it off. Display artistic bowls, vases or other large and interesting items on the bottom shelf. Finally, set up the china hutch to be functional. Fill the drawers, if any, with placemats, tablecloths and linen napkins. If you have the room, you could also store your flatware in the hutch.

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