Small Lighting Options for Curio Cabinets


Curio cabinets make excellent showcases for china, collectibles and personal keepsakes. Many cabinets, especially antiques, are well-built and durable, but they were not designed to incorporate artificial lighting. However, there are several simple ways to illuminate your curio cabinets that do not require major furniture surgery.

LED Lights

  • Battery-powered LED lights are a simple and cost-effective lighting solution. The lights--many of which are quite small--can be mounted to the top or side of a cabinet, either with screws or with double-sided adhesive. These lights have a small toggle or pressure switch, and can provide hundreds of hours of soft, omnidirectional light between battery changes.

Goose-Neck Lamp

  • Mount a long-necked goose-neck lamp on the top of the curio cabinet, running its power cord down the back. Curve the neck so that it shines inside the cabinet. Alternatively, a clip-style short-necked lamp will work, as well. This provides the benefits of simple, direct illumination without the hassle of cutting a hole in the cabinet for the power cord.


  • Install a small spotlight on the ceiling or on an adjacent wall, and direct the narrow beam of light toward the curio cabinet. Many specialty spotlights can target a bright, focused beam on an object several yards away. Light from outside of the cabinet can sometimes be used to dramatic effect, and it calls attention to the cabinet and not to the light's source.

Cord Lights

  • Cord lights--small LED lights inside of a cord, similar in style to Christmas-tree lights--may be a helpful alternative, especially if your cabinet has access to a power socket. Run the lights around the upper corners of the cabinet, securing them with small hooks or double-sided adhesive tape, then plug them in. The cord lights will provide a soft, omnidirectional glow. This option may look especially good with a cabinet full of glass or crystal objects.

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