Upper Cabinets vs. Open Shelving in the Kitchen: Pros & Cons

Upper Cabinets vs. Open Shelving in the Kitchen: Pros & Cons

A traditional kitchen is filled with traditional cabinets, but modern homeowners are breaking the mold by mixing and matching these standard storage options with modern designs. While there are many benefits to sticking with upper cabinets in your local home, open shelving is quickly gaining speed as a popular trend that is transforming kitchens into more open, functional spaces.

However, like any choice you make during a kitchen remodel, both cabinet and storage designs have their advantages and challenges. At Kitchen Cabinet Kings, we’re here to help you understand all the pros and cons of traditional kitchen cabinets vs. open-shelf options so that you can make the choice that best brings your vision for a beautiful new kitchen to life.

Traditional Functionality with Standard Upper Cabinets

traditional upper cabinets
From minimalist shaker cabinets to fully customized solid-wood styles, there are beautiful and varied options out there for traditional kitchen cabinets. Upper cabinets are available in big-box stores, online retailers, and from custom-cabinet manufacturers, so it is easy to find a style that works well for the needs and look of your kitchen.

Pros

There’s a reason that upper cabinets are the standard in home kitchens. Functionality is their best feature, and they can deliver several benefits that make them the right choice for many home styles:

  • Storage: With the right configuration of upper cabinets, you can have plenty of space to store and hide away kitchen appliances and rarely used items for an uncluttered look.
  • Cohesion: When you have upper cabinets, you also get to choose the hardware, finish, and color to create cohesion with all of the other design elements of the room.
  • Style: Ideal for a minimalist or traditional aesthetic, upper cabinets are as beautiful as they are a functional kitchen staple.

Cons

With all the advantages of upper cabinets, it can be hard to find a downside. However, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind if you are designing your kitchen remodel around new upper cabinets:

  • Traditional upper cabinets take up a lot of space in the kitchen, which can make the room feel smaller or darker than it actually is.
  • The cost of upper cabinets can be a major expense, particularly if you want any customized features, sizes, or materials.

Open Shelving for Modern, Streamlined Beauty

kitchen with open shelving
From single shelves to tiered shelving on all walls of the kitchen, open shelving is making an impact in the world of kitchen design. This modern design element combines storage functionality with a unique look, although there are still several factors to keep in mind before transforming your old kitchen into a sleek, open-feel space.

Pros

The biggest advantage to open shelving is its ability to open up the entire feeling of the room. Unlike traditional upper cabinets, open shelves avoid breaking up the space with stark, solid fixtures and lend to an airy, fresh look in the kitchen. They are also ideal for keeping frequently used items handy for use, and they make the perfect spot for displaying beautiful décor pieces.

Cons

While open shelves can open up a small kitchen, they do have a downside. Before you embark on tearing out all of your existing upper cabinets, consider the fact that open shelves can add to:

  • A Busy Look: Seeing all of your kitchen items can be convenient, and a lack of upper cabinets can create an open-air appearance, but having your items on display can also contribute to a busy or cluttered look in the kitchen.
  • Lack of Privacy: Those chipped, outdated dishes, grimy appliances, and unattractive packaged food won’t have anywhere to hide with open shelves, so keep that in mind when deciding if you need the closed doors of standard cabinets.
  • Maintenance: With open shelving comes more exposure to the indoor air—which can lead to a much more frequent need for dusting and cleaning.

Combining the Best in Standard Cabinets and Open Shelving

kitchen with upper cabinets and open shelving
Understanding more about the benefits and drawbacks of open shelving vs. traditional cabinets can leave you wondering how to get the best of both worlds—without all of the downsides. Sometimes the best way to get the kitchen you want is by thinking outside of the box, and you can combine all of the things you love about both options by considering:

  • Skipping the upper cabinets and shelving altogether to stick with lower cabinets
  • Installing a single shelf above the backsplash or in a key area of the kitchen
  • Customizing the cabinet door fronts with frosted glass or glass grids
  • Adding upper cabinets in a floating, shallow, or extra-high design

Whether you use your kitchen day-in and day-out or you only cook to entertain guests, storage and style are two of the most important factors that you need to consider when planning the layout of your space. While both upper cabinets and open shelving are excellent choices in the home, taking your budget, needs, aesthetic, and kitchen layout into consideration is essential to end up with storage features that add to the beauty and functionality of this heavily used room of the house.

The post Upper Cabinets vs. Open Shelving in the Kitchen: Pros & Cons appeared first on Kitchen Cabinet Kings Blog.

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