If you’re a pop culture fanatic, it’s likely you’re already working on your collection of action figures, comics and memorabilia from your favourite TV shows, films and anime. With stores like EB Games and Zing Pop Culture bringing nerdy goodness to the mainstream, these items are easier (and cheaper) to come by than ever before.
While pop culture paraphernalia can make for great desk accessories or book shelf bling, there are items that you may want to put behind glass or in a fancier display. Luckily, there are plenty of options for great cabinets and lighting that’ll help you show off your shiny wares.
Whether you’re looking to display a $300 Loki statue or just a rare pop vinyl, here’s everything you need to know about the best nerdy display accessories on the market.
Cabinets & Shelving
You can store your action figures any way you like, but the best shelving solutions come from IKEA.
For storing books and action figures (like the display above), you can’t go past a windowed Billy Bookcase. They’ll cost you between $45 – $600 depending on what size you’re looking at and how much you have to display. If you’ve got a lot of items, the larger ones are a great investment and yield plenty of excellent display storage.
You’ll want a doored model however, because there isn’t enough room between shelves to line a set of strip lights.
If you’re looking to create a straight memorabilia/action figure display, the Detolf is the perfect plain shelving you want.
This $99 cabinet has no fancy accents, so it fits anywhere. There’s enough room on each shelf to display larger action figures like Hot Toys, and the cabinet is specifically designed to fit all kinds of lighting solutions.
You could also consider wall-mounted shelving like the Hemnes or Bergshult/Granhult if you’re able to drill holes in your living space. These will gather dust more easily, but they’re great for spicing up your displays.
All of the above are great options to make your nerdy displays sing, but for the best results you’ll also need to grab the perfect lights.
Strip lighting is absolutely the way to go if you’re planning on creating the perfect nerdy display. When applied successfully, strip lights create an even glow around your items and a distinct sense of style. Normally, these lights are reserved for fancier displays like crockery or museum pieces, but there’s no reason why you can’t treat your action figures with the attention and lighting they deserve.
The strip light I’m currently using to show off my games display is the new Nanoleaf Essentials Light Strip, which will set you back around $80. That’s fairly expensive as far as strip lights go, but for that price you get brilliant, vivid colours and the ability to control your lighting via the Nanoleaf app. (You can also stick these to your TV for a colourful entertainment experience, but the 3M tape wasn’t powerful enough to stick to the back of mine.)
The new Nanoleafs are fantastic quality, easy to apply and simple to set up. They’re a great quick addition if you’re looking to create a brilliant, colour-soaked display.
If you’re on a tighter budget, you can also grab a set of strip lights for around $20 on Amazon. These are generally controlled by a flimsy remote, are less reliable and have fewer customisation options, but they work in a jiffy.
You could also consider a single downlight (or one for each shelf) like this $30 LED puck light. You’ll want to make sure each shelf is lit for the perfect illuminated display.
Designing your perfect nerdy display is a matter of playing around with what you want to store, which shelf is best and whether you want to go for ‘themed’ shelves.
You’ll need to use your creativity here, but your display should also stick to these key points:
- Don’t overcrowd shelves — this will lead to a messy display
- Vary the heights of your figures and objects — always keep larger items to the back of the cabinet
- Make sure your lights are spread evenly across the entire cabinet, including the bottom shelves
- Consider purchasing secondary lighting to illuminate lower shelves
- Secure your cabinet with wedges if it’s on carpet or a bracket if it’s on wood or tile
- Make sure everything in the cabinet is still accessible, just in case (action figures are prone to falling, particularly in the dead of night)
Outside of these tips, it’s best to experiment with what works for your display.
Theming each shelf is a great way to create an attractive display (DC or Marvel shelves can look stunning), as is setting the mood with lighting. Above all, creativity is key.
We’d love to see how your nerdy display shelves look. If you’re not a member already, pop on down to the Kotaku Australia Discord and share yours in our lovely general chat.