This DIY Hack Can Make Glass Cabinets Softer, Chicer, and Neater-Looking

published Aug 7, 2023
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Living room with white sofa, white and green botanical wallpaper, white coffee table with black legs, zebra rug, white wood floor, white armoire, crystal chandelier
Credit: Liisi Väli

Glass cabinets provide a stylish way to add storage to any room in your home. Similar to open shelving, though, cabinets with glass doors can be hard to keep clean and organized; they truly shine best when they’re not overflowing with items or in disarray. A simple DIY solution, though, can make it easier for you to store more behind your glass doors, and the best part? This idea can soften up a space and introduce a pop of color and pattern, too. 

Liisi Väli runs an interior design blog and owns a 248-sqaure-foot studio apartment in Tallinn, Estonia. “At first, I was looking for a space at least 350 square feet, but when I saw this tiny space, I felt like this was it,” Väli says. “I saw the potential.” So, she did what any design-lover and creative would do: filled her apartment with thrifted furniture, curated decorative touches, and DIY projects to truly make the space feel her own. 

Inspired by traditional French, English, and Swedish interiors, Väli describes her design style as timeless and romantic with a classic twist. “My taste used to be quite monochrome, but in the past few years I have really started to appreciate colors and beautiful patterns,” she says in her house tour. One place Väli was able to double down on pattern in her home — and add extra utility to a prized vintage Italian cabinet — was by upgrading its glass panels with fabric coverings.

Credit: Liisi Väli

When figuring out how to maximize such a small space, Väli says one of her biggest considerations and challenges was how to incorporate storage, as the studio didn’t offer much. This vintage cabinet provided an immediate place to stash things in the living room area of the apartment, but the glass doors meant its contents would be on display for all to see. So gathered fabric was added behind the glass. These panels function like curtains, discreetly concealing items. That way the room, as a whole, appears visually quiet. 

You can be very strategic about the fabric you choose for this kind of project, too (and even better if you source a cabinet that already has this feature — they’re out there but not as common). If you want to draw attention to the cabinet as a focal piece, pick something bold. Or, as Väli did, you can make your cabinet a little sweeter with a simple floral or smaller-scale pattern. Pairing fabric with glass cabinetry also introduces another texture to a somewhat angular piece, which can warm up the cabinet’s overall look.

If you have a glass cabinet that’s starting to look a little disorganized or you just simply want a way to conceal what’s inside, consider adding fabric panels. You can copy this gathered look by using small rods to hang the panel from, or you can simply tack or velcro up fabric for a looser, more relaxed look. What’s great about this kind of a project is that it’s fairly easy to reverse if you rent, and you can even switch out fabric seasonally or anytime you are looking to refresh your room.

A lot of small-space dwellers will tell you that smart storage is the key to making the most of a space, and Väli’s no different. “Hiding all the not-so-pretty, but still-necessary stuff has helped me a lot to keep my space uncluttered on a daily basis,” she says. “And I have been able to create a home that looks and feels perfect to me.”