How to Style Glass Front Kitchen Cabinets

If you’re like me, then you love glass front kitchen cabinets. There’s just something about seeing all of your pretty dishes and knick-knacks on display that makes me happy.

But sometimes it can be tough to style them in a way that looks good and is also functional. So I decided to put together a few tips on how to style glass front cabinets so that you can get the most out of them!

Styling glass front kitchen cabinets.

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Table of Contents

Through the Looking Glass

Alice’s Wonderland turned upside down when she went through the looking glass.

Honestly, sometimes (ok, often), our kitchen cabinets look upside down and topsy turvy inside.

But, spaces like our pantry or our Tupperware drawer (Eek!) can be hidden away if untidy with a quick closing of the door.

However, if you have glass front cabinets…UH OH!

When You Dream of Kitchen Cabinets…

Eighteen years ago, we bought the house of our dreams.

And the kitchen cabinets of my dreams!

I was beyond ecstatic with the kitchen and the glass front cabinets. I could not wait to dig in and display all of my dishes, pitchers, glasses, etc.

Glass front cabinets have always felt so classic and lovely to me.

So European.

So “Oo La La!”

Careful what you wish for!

The Dream Darkens

This was prior to our kitchen renovation and the cabinets were dark wood and the glass front cabinets resembled dark caves.

And I was new to the whole idea of how to style glass front kitchen cabinets.

A dark kitchen with glass front cabinets before the renovation.
Do you see the dark cave behind the glass?

I learned quickly that, while it is lovely to see a pretty plate through the glass…we had to keep it looking lovely at all times!

Not so easy with two kids and a husband who doesn’t appreciate a well-displayed cabinet as much as I do. (Sorry, dear!)

Color consideration is very important in order for things to be seen.

How do you style glass front kitchen cabinets so they are functional and still look good?

How to Style Glass Front Kitchen Cabinets

In some ways, it is similar to how we style a bookcase.

Or, decorating a kitchen baker’s rack.

Here are 5 easy tips on how to style glass front kitchen cabinets:

#1 – Decide Exactly What Will “Live” Behind the Glass Front Cabinet Doors.

These cabinets take up valuable real estate in your kitchen so the items you store should be FUNCTIONAL.

While your Aunt Zelda’s tea set might look lovely behind the glass, it is probably not something you use every day.

Furthermore, items that are not used become museum relics that gather dust, take up space, and would be better displayed elsewhere.

Tip: USE what is in the cabinet and you won’t need to dust them!

On the flip side, this is probably not the best place for your Tupperware, freebie glasses covered with the latest ads, or small appliances with irritating, long cords.

What does work?

Everyday dishes, serving pieces, glasses, barware, vases, etc. are excellent choices.

I will also encourage you to display your best china…and then USE THE CHINA!

An array of blue and white white that have been styled to be seen through glass kitchen cabinets.

#2 – Create a Cohesive Look

You may have matching dishes or you may have various pieces that have been picked up here and there.

Actually, vintage pieces that were handed down to you or discovered in a vintage shop are some of the most fun to display in a glass-front cabinet.

The key is to find the common thread…

It could be a similar color or pattern.

Or, it could be a total lack of color or pattern.

I love blue and white dishes and have accumulated various pieces or sets through the years.

The color combination does create a cohesive look.

However, I do have my grey swirl dishes stacked under the blue dishes.

And, I have a stack of pure white plates and pasta bowls that sit in the corner.

Find the commonalities in your pieces (they are there!) and let them be your guide.

A glass kitchen door swinging open to revealed the styled shelves.

#3 – Let Color and Pattern Be Your Guide

The beauty of a pattern is that it will POP through the glass.

Like any graphic on a tee-shirt, the eye goes to color and to the pattern.

Pattern gives your dishes a voice that, like the Whos in Whoville shout “We’re Here! We’re Here! We’re Here!”

I have only two of these polka dot soup bowls but they demand attention on the shelf!

Blue and white polka dot soup bowls.
Who doesn’t like polka dots with their soup? You can see some similar ones HERE.

These tapas plates and small bowls are all different patterns but their color gives them cohesion.

Blue and white dishes.
Love the movement energy in these plates and bowls.

Perhaps my favorite “stack” in the cabinet, these bowls came as a set but each has its own crazy pattern.

A stack of blue and white patterned bowls.
Pattern on pattern can create cohesion.

Here are some similar bowls that are every color of the rainbow with a different pattern on each one. Yet, they are cohesive when stacked. (I love bowls that are turned every which way in a stack!)

#4 – Absence of Color

Glass or white items can look stunning in glass-front cabinets.

This stack of white bowls is lacking color but still has a graphic, almost sculptural look when stacked neatly.

A stack of white bowls.
There is something sculptural about a stack of white bowls.

You can see some similar white bowls here.

Make sure that any glass pieces are sparkling clean so they gleam through the glass doors.

Place items toward the front edge of the shelf so they are easily seen and grab the spotlight.

Blue martini glasses.
Barware can bring beautiful sparkle to your kitchen cabinets.

#5 – Give Your Family a Map

I’m not kidding.

Your family needs a map of the items placed on the shelves!

Once the shelves are styled, it is important to think of each placement as a “home.”

It is easy to toss dishes here and there.

In their growing-up years, how many times did I ask one of my kids to empty the dishwasher…?

…and discovered dishes in the STRANGEST places!

Has this ever happened to you?

Tip: Sketch a small “map” of where the contents in the cabinet are to be located and share it with your family. After a week or so, the family is “trained” as to where things belong.

Missy standing in front of styled glass front kitchen cabinets.
Tidy, well-styled glass-front kitchen cabinets make me so happy!

There you have it! 5 easy tips on how to style glass front kitchen cabinets. So much FUN to style!

Every once in a while, I take everything OUT and RE-display the shelves. It is like playing Tetris with glasses and plates! Different every time but SO satisfying!

So, enjoy those glass-front cabinets each and every day!


Don’t Forget to Pin It!

Pinterest Pin - How to Style Glass Front Kitchen Cabinets

While you are in the kitchen, here are a few more “rabbit holes” for you to go down!

Top 7 Must-Have Kitchen Decor Items

My Favorite Kitchen Island Displays

A Fall Simmer Pot to Make Your House Smell Amazing


    1. I’m so glad you like it! Do you use blue and white together in your home? I always love hearing what colors people use in their homes! Thanks so much!

  1. I love the aesthetic of the blue and white! So crisp and clean, and fun patterns. It’s such a happy vibe. We have a large sideboard with glass doors and have gone with the all white look. I may have to spice it up a bit!

    1. Hi Tina! Once we painted the cabinets white, I wondered why we hadn’t done it sooner. (I know why…kids in college! LOL) Have fun displaying all of your cool decor on your sideboard!

  2. The blue and white is very pretty! I went with all white on the top shelf of the china hutch; it’s more of a background look, allowing other parts of the dining room to shine through. I would love glass cabinets in the kitchen but the two cabinets where it would make sense are absolute work horses!! Visiting from An Organized Season Fabulous Friday.

    1. Hi Kristine, I love seeing a hutch with a beautiful display on top! And using all white is brilliant! Do you change it out with different seasons or for the holidays? I’m sure it is beautiful! Thank you so much for stopping by Sonata Home Design!

  3. I really appreciate these tips, Missy! I have light maple custom-made cabinets with glass fronts and am in the final design phases for a light kitchen makeover, which includes painting the wood. I love the clean look of white and the way you styled your plates, etc. to complete the look. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration!!

  4. I’m bummed because I don’t have any glass front cabinets in my kitchen in this house. I miss having a place to display pretty dishes! Your cabinets look fabulous! Thanks for sharing all your tips and participating in the Fabulous Friday Link Party! Blessings, Donna

  5. We recently bought a house with a lovely built in hutch that has cabinets that are open but the doors have been removed. I would love to add glass doors to give it that finished look but any I have seen to purchase are very expensive! Any clues on where to get glass doors at a reasonable price?

    1. Hi Sandy, I would agree that glass doors can be expensive. I’m sure you could get some from a large home improvement store, but I’m wondering if a smaller hardware store might be more reasonably priced. (and more personal customer service.) Also, if you have a ReStore or other salvage store nearby, you might be surprised at what you can find to fit your particular hutch. Keep me posted! I would love to see what you come up with!

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