Stemware stays spot free by occasional cleaning with a linen dish towel.

How to Display Glasses in a Hutch

by Joanna Hughes

Fragile glasses and stemware are vulnerable to cracks and breaks. By arranging these pieces securely in a hutch, you protect your collection from damage, minimize dust and debris, and add glistening visual interest to a room.

1. Safety First

Weighed down with heavy glasses and other collectibles, a hutch can become a hazard, particularly in earthquake territory or in homes with active children and pets. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends securing large free-standing furniture such as china cabinets with "L" brackets, which are used to affix top-heavy furniture to the wall. Additionally, large or heavy objects should be placed on lower shelves to reduce the risk of the hutch toppling when compromised.

2. A Debate for the Ages

The debate rages on regarding whether glasses are best stored upside down or right-side up. Proponents of storing glasses with rims facing down suggest this keeps out dust and bugs while preventing stability issues that can lead to the formation of small cracks in fragile glasses. Many crystal experts, however, favor storing glasses upright because of ease, aesthetics and the peace of mind that comes with knowing rims remain uncontaminated. If you have a small hutch or a large collection of glassware, an alternating pattern offers the most efficient use of space. For many people, the decision whether to store glasses upside down or right-side up is a matter of family tradition. For others, the solution is different: Opt out of the hutch entirely and use a hanging wooden wine rack instead.

3. A Matter of Taste

There is no right or wrong way to arrange glassware in a hutch; it ultimately is a matter of personal taste. Grouping champagne flutes together creates a practical and accessible display. Another technique relies on design; same-patterned glassware is arranged together for an appealingly cohesive display. As a general rule of thumb, tall glasses and other large pieces should be positioned toward the back of the hutch with smaller glasses placed in front. Once you have an acceptable arrangement, use double-sided, nonslip shelf liner to help hold delicate glassware in place. Some crystal experts also recommend using a pea-sized amount of museum wax to secure glasses to the shelf.

4. Maintaining Your Showpiece

A beautifully arranged hutch brightens up an interior -- but only with the proper maintenance. Dust and dirt can penetrate glass doors, so even if glassware is protected, it may become dull or dingy with the passage of time. While weekly dusting keeps debris at bay, occasional hand-washing is the best way to keep glassware looking its best. Wash in warm soapy water using a mild dish detergent, and let glasses thoroughly dry before returning them to the hutch, wiping away water spots with a linen cloth as you go. While contemporary glassware may be dishwasher safe, washing by hand minimizes the risk of damaging fragile pieces -- particularly antiques and those rimmed in silver, gold and platinum -- while maximizing sparkle and shine.

About the Author

Joanna Hughes received a Bachelor of Arts from Johns Hopkins and a Master of Fine Arts from Cornell, both in writing. She loves writing about style, fashion, entertainment and home decor, and will take a can of spray paint to just about anything. She has written for "Baltimore Magazine," "Scottsdale Living Magazine" and many others.

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