Out of Curiosity:: Open Kitchen Shelving?

This weekend as I was working on John & Alice’s kitchen cabinets, priming all 32 cabinet doors, I was pondering open shelving in a kitchen. I admit, I absolutley LOVE the look. In fact, I even considered in my own kitchen leaving a couple of the cabinet doors off and leaving the shelves exposed.

Unfortunately for me, soon after I removed the cabinet doors while I was painting the cabinets, I realized that open shelving simply wouldn’t work in my condo.

It didn’t matter if the cabinet was full or not. She would find a way to climb up in there. Don’t worry. Soon after I realized she was doing that, I started storing the dishes in the dishwasher, and we didn’t use the cabinets until the doors were back on…and the shelves were thoroughly cleaned.

But anyway, while it doesn’t work in my kitchen, I still love the look. I’ve never talked to John & Alice about leaving some open shelving in their kitchen, but they have one cabinet that would be perfect for it!

There’s just something about open shelving that I find so charming, whether it’s a cabinet with the doors removed, or whether it’s actual shelving. I like all of it!

via House Lovely

via Sugar Pie Express

via Charles and Hudson

via Remodelista

source unknown

via Southern Living

I definitely love the look. Too bad it won’t work for my kitchen.

So what about you?



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  1. I love the look of open cabinetry, and think it would work if I had all coordinated dishes, etc., but I don't think it would really work, at least not as the only option (for example, I stack my serving dishes and corningware and it would look too messy to have it on display all the time).

    I think it might work in a vacation home, where you might not be doing a lot of cooking, so don't need to have as many utensils, serving dishes etc.

  2. It's so crazy that you would write a post about this…
    I've seen a lot of pictures of kitchens with the open shelving done and and always loved it. Yesterday at 11am I picked up the drill and took all the doors off 🙂 With a little re-arranging, a little purging and a little help from some espresso shaded wicker baskets, it's all coming together and looking rather amazing! Even my husband commented on how he thought I was crazy but how he loves the look! And he's hard to please!
    Thank you for this post 🙂 It just made me realize that what I did was so right! Now if I can only get him to say ok to a ruffled curtain for under the sink 😉
    thanks again!

  3. When I first moved into my kitchen, it seemed so oppressive — until I pulled a few doors off a few of the upper cabinets. I love it now! It's a lot more airy and my bright red plates and shiny silver espresso stuff is instant decor. I really like it. Oh, and my dog can't jump up in there — not that she wouldn't love it. 😉

  4. I love the look! I just don't feel like I have dishes worthy of display. Plastic kid dishes don't make much of a statement!

  5. Get glass doors. They are SO worth it. I'm terrible with dusting, but I love the look of open shelves. So go with glass. Get the look without all the work to maintain it.

  6. I have thought of doing this, but I don't think it will work. The wall I think it would look best on has six door and I would want it in the middle. But the middle doors go to two separate cabinets. Does that even make sense? There are basically two cabinet with three doors each, with the two middle ones opening away from each other.

  7. I want to do some rearrangment of cabinets from a bathroom to the kitchen and open cabinets above the base would be GREAT. Just have to get the "powers that be" to agree. LOL

    Have a God Filled Day

  8. I agree with Nancy U… I'd rather see glass fronts versus open shelving. To me, open seems like an "unfinished" look.

  9. I love the look, but couldn't do it in my kitchen. My shelves would always be empty, cause the dishes stay in the dishwasher most of the time! I'm not nearly neat enough for my disorganization to be on display.

  10. I like the look, but it's just not practical. You would have to have matching, nice plates, etc. And, you would have to keep it arranged in a way that would look nice. I like the look of the green kitchen above, which combines cabinets with shelves with cabinets without. That way all your stuff isn't exposed.

  11. I love the look, but I have too much to dust already! I would feel like I needed "display dishes" that I wouldn't use regularly because I would mess up the display. I really love it, just not practical for my house.

  12. Ohh, I LOVE the kitchen courtesy of Charles & Hudson! It is so charming. I love the contrast of the bright white room against the light shades and dining suite.
    I am with you….I love the open shelving. It can be carried off nicely and is a great way to display all the goodies and cute crockery etc.

  13. Oh how I would LOVE to do open shelves…. Only problem is that my cabinets are never organized enough for open shelves. :o)

  14. I love open shelving, but have two problems. The first is a similar problem to yours, the cats would end up mucking around in there.
    The second is that we don't have dishes that would look nice with the shelves off! 😉

  15. I totally love the look although I'm not sure I have enough "nice" stuff or coordinating stuff to even fill the shelves. Maybe when my kids are older and I have less sippy cups and plastic plates?! haha =)

  16. In one word "Tupperware". Somehow, I just don't think I can accomplish the look I'm after with some clear plastic, some somewhat foggy plastic, some white plastic, some blue plastic lids, red plastic lids, CoolWhip lids, green Ikea plastic lids + cups with Superman, Grover, Mickey Mouse, and last but not least coffee cups with every kind of company, advertising, Santa Claus, and tropical coconut trees.

    I NEED cupboard doors/closed shelving to HIDE all that crap, not display it, lol!

  17. I love the look of it, but I am afraid my house would look odd with it. I prefer if it is actual open shelving versus doors being left off. I guess I am on the fence with this one.

  18. I don’t care for the look of the open cabinets, but I do love your kitty! She is beautiful!
    Love the green cabinets!