Styling an Antique Cupboard with Ironstone

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If you want to learn more about styling an antique cupboard with ironstone, then you are in the right place. I share some tips and tricks that I use to create an inviting display.

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Story of the Cupboard

Recently, Mr. Sky Lark House and I made a trip to Tennessee. It’s been a tradition of ours for the last 5 years. When you live in upstate New York, any chance to go south in the months of February, March or April is a gift you don’t pass up. Our winters are long, so I welcome any opportunity to see green grass and trees with leaves.

If you have been reading this blog, you also know that one of my favorite stores is City Farmhouse located in Franklin Tennessee, which is owned and operated by Kim and David. They always have the best inventory. They specialize in selling antique furniture made in France, however, they also have other beautiful inventory made in other places, including the United States.

It was on this last trip that we stumbled upon an antique step back cupboard. We had been looking for a natural wood, antique, step back cupboard for quite sometime. In the 2 years we had been looking, we came across some good possibilities but nothing that shouted “buy me”! The ones we saw could have worked, sort of, maybe. . .

Then when we went to Tennessee and when we walked into City Farmhouse, Mr. Sky Lark House quietly whispered to me “Babe. There is a step back cupboard over there.” His eyes darted to a corner near the front entrance.

Well, those were the only words I needed to hear! In less than 2 seconds I was over by the cupboard and I whipped out my tape measure (because -yes- I always carry a tape measure with me) to see if it would fit in the bed of the truck. Wouldn’t you know it? It would fit – well except for the last 12 inches which would hang off the tailgate.

Long story short, we purchased the cupboard, loaded it into the truck and drove 17 hours straight to bring it home. Then the next day, we unloaded the cupboard and brought it inside. Nothing will test a relationship like moving exceptionally heavy items together. It’s at times like this, I know Mr. Sky Lark House loves me.

So that is the story of the cupboard. However, the purpose of the post is to share some tips and tricks I use for styling an antique cupboard with ironstone. I use these same techniques when styling cupboards that I sell in Stone Soup Antiques.

Without further delay, let’s jump in.

Styling an Antique Cupboard with Ironstone

Cupboard with Ironstone

While it is easy to amass a collection of ironstone, it can be challenging to display it. Here are some of tips and tricks for creating an eye catching display.

Use a Variety of Shapes

Use a variety of shapes

Using a variety of shapes helps to keep a display interesting and the eye moving. So try to incorporate tall items, wide items, curvy items and those items with a simple design.

Add Natural Elements

Add natural elements

This is my biggest tip. Antique cupboards aren’t just for china! I like to add dried flowers, plants, corals, shells, bark, dried seed pods, dried wheat, birds nests, empty eggs and more to create visual interest. Adding natural elements brings a display to life.

You can see in the photo above that I incorporated dried flowers into the cupboard with ironstone.

Use Risers

Use books as risers

Risers make a big difference in displays by ensuring there is a variation in height and that there is a good balance among the items displayed. There are multiple items you can use as risers including books, candle pedestals, cake stands, architectural salvage, and wooden boxes.

Add Architectural Salvage

Use architectural salvage

This gets back to an earlier suggestion that the contents of a cupboard don’t have to include only china. I love incorporating architectural salvage into any display. It adds character and patina in addition to visual interest. Next time you are at an antique market and you see architectural salvage, you may want to buy it. These pieces seem to sell quickly.

If you look on the top shelf of the cupboard, you will see that I added a fairly large corbel.

Use some Anchor Pieces

Use anchor pieces in your display

Selecting 2 or 3 large pieces will help to anchor your display and give your eyes a place to rest. I used three anchor pieces in this display. The first is a large ironstone pitcher in the upper right shelf. The second, is the large architectural salvaged corbel on the upper left and the third is a large ironstone tureen that I filled with metal flowers.

When putting together a display, I put the anchor pieces in the cupboard first and then slowly add the other components.

Use Unexpected Elements

Finally, using unexpected elements keeps your display interesting. Some of the unexpected elements in this cupboard with ironstone, include an old license plate from Tennessee, metal flowers, gold fruit. Needless to say the fruit is artificial and I believe it’s made out of plaster.

Below are some images you can pin to your Pinterest board if you want to reference this post in the future.

Cupboard with Ironstone

Of course, this display will be changed with the coming seasons. I am always rearranging items in our home. Are you the same?

Cupboard with Ironstone

If you look carefully, you can also that some butter pats were added to the cupboard.

Cupboard with Ironstone

The little deer figurine with the birthday candle was given to me by my sister-in-law.

I found some ironstone pieces on Etsy that you could add to your antique cupboard.

Other Posts

If you enjoyed reading this post, you might also be interested in:

Collecting Butter Pats 2



Thank you for stopping by the blog today. I hope you find these tips helpful when arranging your china cupboard. Of course, these principals can be applied to any display you create, including open shelving.

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  1. NO WAY!!! GORGEOUS!!! Oh my gosh that was totally worth driving 17 hours back. It’s just stunning. You have your Ironstone displayed beautifully, Anna! This was super fun to always give me such neat ideas for new things to try!

    1. Thanks so much Rachel! It was nice to finally unpack some ironstone after being in boxes for almost 4 years.

  2. First, I LOVE this cabinet – what a great find! Second, can we just talk about how Mr. SLH is a total rock star for spotting, loading, and hauling this piece home for 17 hours straight? That is amazing and I am so excited you found this piece and that you have such a fabulous shopping partner too. Thank you so much for all the extra tips and tricks for styling cabinets like these. They’re not always easy but your tips really help. Every detail is just perfection and I am tickled pink for you! Hugs, CoCo

    1. Thank you so much CoCo! We definitely aren’t moving the cupboard anytime in the near future. I think it will stay where it is for the next 20 years . . . Glad you found the tips useful. Thank you for commenting and for stopping by.

  3. So glad your trip was a success and you found such a wonderful treasure! You know I love ironstone and enjoyed all the tips you shared on how to style it. Your pieces look so beautiful in the cabinet! Pinning now for future reference!

  4. For a woman who loves nature as much as I do, I don’t have any in my cupboard!?!? Thank you for the excellent idea! That’s exactly what’s been missing from it.

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