Open shelves in the kitchen?

I admit it – when  photos of open shelves in the kitchen started appearing on Pinterest, I was decidedly not a fan. Don’t they get dusty? don’t they get messy? Who wants to look at a stack of plates and glasses, anyway?? Okay – you may now call me a convert!

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned needing to do a minor home improvement project. Yep, our cabinets at Away are falling apart. And while I would love nothing more than a full kitchen remodel, well, perhaps someday – I still need to figure out that whole work-life balance thing.
(I know – it’s an obsession)

old cabinets

The dreaded 1980s-cream-laminate-with-oak-trim-cabinet

Anyway – these cabinets – I know… If you also have these dreaded 1980s-cream-laminate-with-oak-trim-cabinets, I feel your pain. Although, if you have these (dreaded) cabinets and like them, I wish I shared your mindset. Please do not feel offended by this post. None intended, I promise.

Anyway – we felt fortunate to pull this dilapidated row of cabinets off the wall with minimal damage. A little patching, a can of paint, two shelves with hardware, and no swearing (truly, none), and I am as happy with the outcome as I can possibly be – considering I still have a kitchen full of cream-laminate-with-oak-trim-falling-apart-cabinets!

open shelves

We stand in the kitchen gazing at our new shelves, amazed with the difference one small change can make in a room. My tiny kitchen feels just a bit more open, a bit larger (though that may be stretching things). I actually like them so much that when we finally take that plunge into a kitchen remodel, I think I will incorporate some open shelving. I’ll let you know about that whole dust and mess thing.

My dream kitchen? Something a little more like this,

dream kitchen
David Heide Design Studio

Not that I’ve been spending crazy amounts of time pinning lots and lots of beautiful dream kitchens

forsythias and open shelves

Back in my early days of blogging, I posted about painting this type of cabinet – in my bathroom. If my kitchen cabinets weren’t falling apart, I would consider it. If yours are in good shape and you would like to give them a new look, you may find my old post helpful.

And – changing topics, I can happily report that all the snow at Away has finally melted – most, most, Christmas lights along our ride appear to have been taken down – and our forsythias are finally blooming.

Baby steps – it’s the little things!

What are your thoughts? Are open shelves in the kitchen a do? or a don’t?

I wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, aunts or anyone who takes care of anyone. Have a wonderful week!











9 responses to “Open shelves in the kitchen?”

  1. Sarah Avatar

    Happy Mother’s Day! I admit I love the look of open shelves, and I would consider them if I had a different husband 😉 We have that same cabinet design in our half bath, that is getting ripped out soon to make way for the flooring and the new bathroom vanity. I am happy to be getting near the end of our kitchen re-do, but it has been worth it, and will definitely make a difference when we sell someday. I love your shelves. I also love your taste in your dream kitchen.

  2. Lynne Avatar

    I think you have a winner . . .
    Looking wonderful . . .

    I don’t have the creamy white laminate but I do have dreary oak tan brown in a teeny, tiny kitchen.
    I would love a makeover of kitchen and bathrooms . . . and changing flooring too . . . and paint colors . . .
    BUT . . . like they say, “pick your battles.”

    My dream kitchen might look just like yours!
    Twenty years from now though we would be dreaming
    about another dream kitchen.

    You have created the “best new dream ever,” with dollars leftover!

    Happy Mother’s Day Karen . . .

  3. Lisa Gordon Avatar

    Karen, I love the way these shelves turned out. I especially like the rustic wood you used.
    When we designed the kitchen in House #2, I actually had a space designated for open shelving, but at the last minute (almost literally!!) decided to put a fireplace in the area instead. I too thought about dust on dishes, etc., but figured I’d just throw everything in the dishwasher periodically, or just put everyday dishes/glasses, etc. on those shelves so that they’d always be dust-free. 🙂

    Happy Mother’s Day, my friend, and have a wonderful week ahead!

  4. Debbie Avatar

    hi karen, i adore the open shelf look, i really love it. BUT like you, i worried about how sensible it would be – and like you, wouldn’t everything get really dusty. let’s face it, we are empty nesters and we don’t use that many dishes. but what you have done looks amazing. the wood, the brackets – everything looks really beautiful!! i like the addition of forsythia, they always look amazing just like that. and that pinned kitchen is not too shabby either.
    happy mothers day, i hope the family and precious grands are good – 2 i think!!!

  5. Jeevan Avatar

    Ours is open shelves and being a rental house we didn’t make cabinets as we could shift house anytime. But our own apartment has closed shelves and maintaining neat shelves isn’t easy task. I like your shelves both closed and at open state.

  6. Michelle B Avatar

    I love your open shelves! You will have to update us on the dusting and caring for ‘open shelves’ in a later post. 🙂 I have a tiny galley style kitchen and I need cabinets to hide all my ‘stuff’. So open cabinets will not work for me in this house. The dream kitchen is very dreamy. I am glad all your snow is melted. It was a long winter. I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  7. Carola Bartz Avatar

    I love the look of the open shelves very much, but I’m also thinking of the dust and dirt. Since I am not a fan of cleaning (to put it mildly) I prefer the cabinets. My dream kitchen is a kitchen I saw at IKEA, it’s all white (and I’m not a fan of white either, so go figure) with glass in the cabinet doors. Nice compromise between cabinets and open shelves.

  8. Beatrice P. Boyd Avatar

    Yes, those 1980s cream laminate cabinets were exactly the type in the apartment when we moved in 2 years ago. Yes, we really disliked them especially since we had put nicer ones in our VA home! After we asked management for replacement doors, we were offered a kitchen remodel with mocha cabinets and stainless steel appliance fronts. The updated look is so much better even if a bit higher maintenance. That said, your open cabinets look great,and I also would wonder about dust and other issues, but then with fewer items on the shelves perhaps it would then be a non-issue.

  9. Barb Avatar

    I love open shelves if they are neat and uncluttered and hold interesting dishes or pottery. I’m not sure any of those things applies to our household! I do like my kitchen cabinets though. They are old but have a pale pickled wood effect that I still like. I like the change you made and it’s spare uncluttered look.

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