Our possessions are more than just things… they are extensions of our selves. When people look at our items, they can learn a little bit more about who we are as a person. 

So why shouldn’t you show off some of your favorite items in a display case? However, before you do, you need to know the dos and don’ts involved in setting up your display. 

We’ve put together this guide to help you get started, so keep reading below!

1. Think About Who’s Viewing It

Before you start setting up your display case, you have to think about who will be looking at it. While you want to enjoy your display case, of course, the people you should really gear your display case toward are your guests. 

After all, if no one else is enjoying your items, they’re no different than any other collection in your home. A display case gives you a way to share you collection with your friends and family. 

So you need to think about setting up your display case from your guests’ perspective. 

Start by picking a location in your living room. Make sure you put your case in a place where your guests will immediately spot it, and clear enough space in front of your case that they can walk up to it and see what’s inside. You may need to move some furniture around to do this. 

After all, what’s the point of a display case if you cram it into a corner behind the couch?

2. Decide What You’re Displaying 

After you have a space picked out for your case, you need to think about what you’re displaying. This may seem like an obvious tip (you probably already know what you’re displaying), but you need to consider the size and weight of your items. 

This will impact the type of display case you need. 

If you have heavy items, make sure the case you get can hold all the weight. If you want to create a challenge coin display, you’ll want a case that has a lot of shelves.

It’s also a good idea to find a display case with adjustable shelves. This way, you can change things around if you have a lot of different items in different sizes. 


3. Make Sure There Is Enough Lighting 

If you don’t have enough light around your display case, you (and you’re guests) won’t be able to see what’s behind the glass. That said, you don’t want to have too many lights pointed directly at the case either. Otherwise, the light will reflect off the case and make it difficult to see your collection. 

The best thing to do is find a display case that has lights installed inside of it. Or if you’re good with tools, you can do this yourself

This is also a good way to add a soft, background light to your living room. It will not only light up your collection, but it will also create a layer of depth to the entire space. 

4. Arrange Your Display

Take some time to think about the items you want to put in your display case. How you lay these items out in your case will either draw people in or turn them away. 

Here are a few tips you should follow: 

  • Keep like items on the same shelf 
  • Spread out large items
  • Don’t be too symmetrical

You don’t want to put all your large items together on one shelf or one side. This can make your display case feel unbalanced. You also don’t want to make each shelf too symmetrical. 

Asymmetrical designs will better catch the attention of your guests and encourage them to give your case a look. 

5. Add Some Description 

You want your guests to know what they’re looking at when they walk up to your display case. 

Let’s go back to the challenge coin display example. Your guests will understand the items are coins, but they might not know what a challenge coin is or what it represents. Add some description about the items in your case so your guests understand the importance of them. 

You can talk about the age of the items, the history, what they do, or even why they are important to you. 

Make sure you use font sizes that are large enough to read from a distance. It’s also important to tilt the description so your guests can read it easily. For example, you’ll need to tilt the description on the bottom shelf farther back than you will the description on the middle shelf. 

6. Don’t Overcrowd Your Case 

Make sure you don’t overcrowd your display case with too many items. Otherwise, your guests might feel overwhelmed when they look at it. You also might not be able to see the items you put in the back of the shelves if there are too many things in front of them. 

If you have a lot of items, it’s better to get two different display cases instead of trying to cram everything into the same one. 

7. Remember to Be Flexible 

If you plan to keep collecting and adding to your display case, make sure you stay flexible. You might have to add more items to your display case in the future, so leave some room for growth. 

How to Set up a DIY Display Case in Your Home

Before you start shopping for a display case, make sure you think about these seven tips. They’ll help you create a display case that’ll show off your items and wow your guests. 

Want to learn some other helpful home decor ideas?

Make sure you take a look at the rest of our blog!