The Pros and Cons Of Open Kitchen Shelving When Remodeling

The Pros and Cons Of Open Kitchen Shelving

Open Kitchen Shelving Is A Design Trend But Is It Right For You?

One trend in kitchen remodeling that has been gaining in popularity in recent years, with both designers and homeowners, is open kitchen shelving. Open kitchen shelving is a great way to display cherished pieces. It also keeps often-used items within reach and allows a stunning backsplash tile to shine through.

But open shelving is not for everyone. Those who dislike it say that dust and clutter are significant problems. Others feel that open kitchen shelving is a wonderful addition in the kitchen. It can create a stunning visual focal point and enhance your design. So who's right?

Let's take a look at the pros and cons of open kitchen shelving vs. traditional closed upper cabinets. This article will help you understand the trend and decide if it's right for you.

The Pros and Cons of Traditional Cabinetry

Traditional cabinetry designed with upper cabinets is the standard in kitchens for a reason. Whether it's minimalist shaker cabinets or custom exotic wood cabinets, there is a wide range of styles and materials available. Your kitchen design expert can point you to a look for any kitchen style or preference. Here are some of the pros of traditional cabinetry in the kitchen.

The Pros

The main reason that most homeowners opt for standard upper cabinets in the kitchen is that they provide wonderful functionality. They offer several benefits that make them the perfect choice for many homeowners, including:

Storage: When properly configured, upper cabinets can meet the needs of most homeowners. They give you plenty of storage space to hide away small kitchen appliances and rarely used kitchenware to provide you with a sleek, uncluttered look.

Aesthetic Cohesion: With upper cabinets, you get to choose the material, finish, and hardware, which can create cohesion with the other elements of your kitchen design.

Style: Cabinets can look great in any style design from minimalist, to contemporary or traditional, upper cabinets are visually beautiful as well as functional.

The Cons

There are plenty of advantages to upper cabinets; in fact, it can be hard to find a downside. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when designing your kitchen.

• Traditional upper cabinets can take up a lot of space in a smaller kitchen, which can make the room feel smaller or darker than it actually is.

• If you're on a tight budget, upper cabinets can be a significant expense. This is particularly true if you want any customized features, sizes, or materials.

The Pros and Cons of Open Kitchen Shelving

Whether you choose a single shelf or tiered shelving on every wall, open shelving is making a significant impact on kitchen design. Open kitchen shelving offers a sleek modern look that combines functionality and aesthetics to create a unique look. However, there are several things to keep in mind before you transition to open shelving.

The Pros Of Open Shelves

The biggest advantage of open kitchen shelving is its ability to open up the kitchen visually. While traditional cabinetry can create a stark, solid look, open shelving can lend a fresh airy look to your kitchen design. Open shelves also a great place to display treasured pieces, artwork, cookbooks, or frequently used ingredients like pasta, rice, or cereal in colorful canisters.

Upper cabinetry can be expensive. Open shelving is a less expensive way to create storage in the kitchen. Conserving funds by using open kitchen shelving can free up your budget for “must-haves” like an upgraded stove, or a more intricate backsplash.

Open kitchen shelving is also a great look if your taste runs toward a more modern or contemporary kitchen style.

The Cons Of Open Shelves

While open kitchen shelving is a growing trend and can open up a smaller kitchen, they do have some cons you should be aware of before you start tearing out your upper cabinets.

• They Can Look “Busy”: Sure, access to all of your kitchen items can be convenient, and a lack of upper cabinets can make your kitchen look brighter and airy. However, if you're not organized, having all of your kitchen items exposed can look busy, cluttered and frankly, a quite messy.

• No Privacy: If you have chipped dishes, dirty appliances, or unattractively packaged food, with open shelving there's no place to hide. Who wants to look at cereal boxes all day? It's definitely something to consider when weighing your options.

• Maintenance: Open shelving is exposed to indoor air and as a result will need more frequent dusting and cleaning.

Creating a “Hybrid Design” For Your Kitchen

One option that many designers and homeowners have embraced is a “hybrid” design that incorporates both open shelving and upper cabinets into their kitchen design. With creative planning, it's possible to have the best of both worlds, without the downsides. Work with your designer or design-build contractor to think outside the box and combine the features you love about both options into your kitchen design.

• Designs that skip the upper cabinets and shelving and only feature lower cabinets may be one creative solution.

• Consider installing a single shelf in a key area of the kitchen, like above the backsplash to hold treasured items. This can create an interesting focal point.

• Customize upper cabinets doors with glass inserts to create a more open look without losing the functionality.

• Try adding upper cabinets in a floating, shallow or extra-high design.

The bottom line is that whether you choose traditional upper cabinets, open kitchen shelving, or a combination of the two,  it's a personal style choice. Work with your contractor and look at your budget, needs, aesthetic, lifestyle, and kitchen layout when making your decision. Looking at these elements of your remodel is essential to ensure you end up with the storage features that enhance the aesthetic beauty and provide the functionality you want in your new kitchen.

If you're planning a kitchen remodeling project, and you live in the greater Tuscaloosa, Alabama area, give the design experts at Toulmin Cabinetry & Design a call at (205) 366-0807. Their design team will work closely with you to help you choose the perfect storage options for your new kitchen!

View Our Portfolio of Luxury Kitchen Designs