Kitchen Shelves vs Cabinets

Kitchen Shelving

When remodeling your kitchen, you are going to find yourself deciding between open shelves and cabinets. While both are popular choices among homeowners, open shelves have been taking the world by storm for years.

Transparent Shelves

There are several styles of open shelves that could meet your needs more than cabinets. One example is a transparent shelving unit on the wall between your kitchen and dining area. You may feel like you are sacrificing your privacy with transparent shelving, but you are really creating the illusion of more space. The shelving also creates a display that could not be created with cabinets. You just need to be sure to straighten up and dust your items. You also need to be careful around any breakables, as there are no cabinet doors to protect your decorative dinnerware, but you do not have to worry about the cabinet doors hiding your beautiful display.

To the Ceiling

Another idea is to install open shelving all the way to the ceiling. The space between the cabinets and ceiling is called “dead space” because it is usually ignored. Open shelves that reach the ceiling allow you to make the most of that space. You may have a problem reaching items on the higher shelves, but there is plenty of space to store the items you use frequently on the lower shelves. There is also more space to work with in terms of organization, and a cluttered mess is not going to be hidden inside your cabinets. The open shelves also clears the floor space and draw the eye upward to create more visual space.

Open Pantry

You can also incorporate open shelving into your pantry, which gives you a way to use that unused corner in your kitchen, or you can place it between your kitchen and foyer. An open pantry may feel too busy or cluttered because of the packages, but you can always organize the items in glass containers and attractive baskets. If you enjoy hanging organizers, the lack of a pantry door may put a damper in those plans, but you can use taller shelves to store your snacks, ingredients and cookware. The best part is it gives you quick access to the ingredients or supplies you need for cooking.

Focal Point

If you want to create a focal point, consider painting the wall with your open shelving in a color that pops. The open shelves allow you to see the color that would normally be hidden behind bulky cabinets. Of course, this also means a color that turns out to be an eyesore would be out in the open for everyone to see. The good news is you can re-paint the wall in a different color. You can also pair it with decorative pieces to enhance the look, but you want to be careful to choose items that flow with the color rather than clash with it.


If you enjoy more visual space, creating focal points and accessing your items with ease, you may want to choose open shelves over cabinets.

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