Shelves instead of cabinets is the latest trend in kitchens, I suspect because of the Fixer Upper show on HGTV.
Our poor long-suffering realtor, Trudy Tassin, whom we dragged everywhere, from Spicewood to San Antonio, once made a comment that “farmhouse look” is very popular. I’m guessing open shelving is part of the “farmhouse look.” That’s all great, but cabinets were invented for a reason.
If you look in the shot above, the stove is in between the two sets of shelving. When you boil anything on this stove, the vapor is going to condense on the plates. When you cook with oil, whether it is sauteing, stir frying, or plain frying, the hot air will rise, carrying the grease with it, and the plates will turn into a greasy mess. Then, dust will stick to the grease for an encore, and after a month or two, you’ll have this impenetrable greasy glue-like substance. This is a recipe for rewashing the plates every week. Not to mention the underside of the shelves.
Am I crazy, or this is a ridiculously labor-intensive set up?
Jamie Josserand-Miller says
You’re not crazy.
You’re not crazy. I’d rather have cabinets.
Jeffe Kennedy says
Also, open shelves means that all your dishes are pretty to look at. I think about this with those clear purses. I have SOME pretty things, but not everything is meant to be looked at.
This is what I thought when I first saw the photo, before reading your words. Maybe if somebody would only use it as a decorative place, this setup would be acceptable but if you actually need to cook and clean it yourself, no thank you.
Amen! That’s what I was thinking. We already live busy lives, unless you have nothing else better to do everyday and lurve dusting Every Day, cabinets please and thank you!
I grew up in California, aka earthquake country. Unsecured heavy things on high shelves make me nervous. It took me six months of living in Louisiana to figure out that was why I was so jumpy in a friend’s living room — he had a shelf with a bunch of stuff right over the couch.
So that’s a big nope from me. Also, I’d constantly be trying to wash the dust off. And the cats would probably just knock things off because they felt like it.
You’re not crazy. Aside from the cooking side effects, you (like me), have pets and that dog or cat hair is going to wind up all over your stuff because it manages to do so no matter what.
Kim McDougall says
Clearly designed by someone who has never done an ounce of cooking or cleaning in their life.
You’re not crazy. I live with this set up done by the previous owners of my cottage. I hate it. When I can afford to redo the kitchen the shelves will be history.
Open shelving isn’t great with pets. I live in a teeny studio so that’s a contributing factor, but I always find myself washing cat hair from anything stored on the open shelves before using it.
Couldn’t agree more! Also I would rather have my sink under the window than the stove.
You are not crazy. It is also disturbing to my eye. So many reasons this fad will die very soon
You are not crazy. Another thing to add to the to-do list.
Open shelving also only works if your plates, etc all match and look nice. And those are invitations for cats to walk across everything and knock stuff down.
Open shelves look great in pictures/Pinterest, but give me cabinets any day. ? I live in Albuquerque & the dust is crazy. Can’t imagine open shelving for that reason.
Cabinets, but a few shelves by the sink or baking area might be cool. You could put some special pottery pieces or pieces that you use everyday. I put shelves at the end of my island and a set of drawers and a cabinet underneath. I love the drawers and the shelves.
If you love to spend your time dusting, if cleaning grease off plate gives you the tinglys downstairs, if pet hairs on plates are your jam, then this look is for you.
Just Me says
The shelves instead of cabinets is impractical and meant for folks who mainly eat out or microwave.
kat w says
I love the look. I wanted it at one point. I read observations about the dust, grease, etc. And it made sense. Soo much sense that’d as pretty as it is, I prefer pretty cabinets instead. Besides, who has tinge to make the shelves look as pretty the internet? Lopsided, mismatched stacks of cups, bowls, and plates will not look aa pretty as these shelves do…..
I do love the “farmhouse” style white open apron (I think its what it’s called? ) single sink since I am a dishwasher. People like my hand washing mother prefer a double sink……
kat w says
Time, not tinge
As, not as
Phones….. not as accurate as keyboard…..
Chris T. says
It all comes down to fashion and trends. Some are good, some are stupid. As a woman, now being able to wear dress pants anywhere is good. High heels are bad, unhealthy and dangerous. Cabinets are good, keeping out dust, grease, critter hair, etc. White kitchens, in my opinion, look cold and boring. Tile backslashes will date your kitchen in 10 years . Go for utility, safety, and easy clean up and your kitchen will make you happier, and you’ll have more time to write . . .
If you have cats, the dishes would be on the floor. I live in an old farmhouse, there are cabinets.
No kidding. I grew up in the land of old farmhouses. There were no open shelves in the kitchens. The kind of dust you get on a pig farm is definitely not the kind of dust you want on your dishes.
Exactly. I don’t even live on a farm, but there are commercial tomato fields 1/2 mile to the south of me. Even when I don’t do something stupid like leave the windows open on a beautiful windy day when they happen to be discing the fields, I still get a lot of dirt blowing in.
This is like a farmhouse set up for people who have never seen a farm or taken care of a house.
Growing up in a household that stir fries a lot, that gluey grease (polymerized) thing is a proven fact and is impossible to get off. Get an industrial updraft hood. No hood or even downdraft is not sufficient to deal with the grease vapors. Also Ican just imagine the cars jumping up in shelves…
Also, from a builder’s point of view, shelves are cheaper.
Patti McGhie says
I would never have open shelves. The dishes get dusty, splashed with food from frying, beating, whacking and anything else you do with food. Also, unless you organize everything on the shelves obsessively, they don’t always look good. I have one cabinet with glass doors in my kitchen that I keep my pretty, seldom-used china cups in; however, the glass is frosted. Sometimes the family shoves other things in there and I don’t want those to be seen. Sometimes home styles are just plain dumb. Fit for show homes that nobody lives in, but not for real people who actually use their kitchens.
You are exactly correct. Not only would you have the dust/grease/pet hair issue, you also have to contend with having a set of dishes/glasses, etc. that look nice being displayed. Additionally you have to contend with making sure every dish and glass are positioned to look good out in the open. One more thing, this is a current trend. How long will that last? In a few years at the most, it will no longer be the trend. What then? Trends, whether it be how you outfit your kitchen, what clothes you buy, or God forbid what kind of pet you have, are always temporary. Decide what you like. Not what everyone else likes.
Actually, it’s been a minor trend with the design clique for decades. It works in a large kitchen with household staff. But then you wouldn’t be in it as often, so why bother?
My vote would be pro-cabinet, I had shelves, they require a lot of dusting for anything to look presentable, I can’t imagine them immediately next to stove for the issues you describe, plus the potential for something to fall into an open flame. My guess if you’d have to be more than a bit OCD for shelves to be a good choice.
We are getting our kitchen renovated after the holidays, and I can’t wait. From experience, things that sit out and aren’t used frequently get dusty if nothing else and have to be washed before you can use them. I can’t wait for our renovation so I can have proper cabinets to put these things away in, rather than the large shelf unit they are on now!
Andrea A says
Cats would LOVE shelves like that. This is a house for people without cats, kids (mismatched plates), real cooking, dust, dog hair, birds, bugs, and so on. There are reasons cupboards were invented, lol.
if you want to have more of an open look you could have glass fronted cabinets (or some glass front and some solid). that would give you a very ‘farmhouse look’ without the extra work.
Lisa M says
Open shelving is great…in a commercial kitchen where everything is stainless and set up to be scrubbed and hosed down regularly. And even there, unless there are unusual space constraints, you don’t have shelves right next to the stove. Too many potential issues with flames.
Personally I don’t mind one or two glass front cabinets, but no one needs to see everything we own. Who wants to clean and dust constantly. ?
I love your profile picture!
Rob Westfall says
Nope, open shelves are crazy. I have a glass fronted cabinet in the dining room to show off the pretty stuff.
My kitchen cabinets are over stuffed with things – food, mugs, glasses, dishware, serving stuff.
Actually design solutions like this are typical for people who had never had to do any housework or cleaning themselves. If, among other things, you are also a “housewife” you would never come up with an idea like that because you would instantly perceive (just like you did) how much extra work this would cause. But if, on the other hand you have a live-in housekeeper the extra work (which naturally won’t fall on you) never even enters your head!
I have been in dozens of actual farm houses, and none had open shelving. Grease, dust, flies… yuck.
The running joke is “People in [name of trendy suburb] don’t cook, anyway.” But I can’t picture open shelves in a working kitchen.
Glass front doors, if you have fancy stuff to display.
Leigh Ann says
I have only done one kitchen, but when I did – I worked HARD to make sure it didn’t look “dated” too quickly. Whatever is popular, or what “everyone” is doing — run the opposite direction.
Honor the house. Choose updated / current versions of what would have been in there originally. Choose what you love.
Just don’t do what’s popular. Because in 5 years, it will look “so 5-years ago”, and “Agh! Remember when everyone had shelves and farmhouse sinks? Ugh!”
Most farmhouses I’ve been in have cabinets. LOTS of cabinets. A true farm usually needs storage, functionality, durability with pretty a secondary concern. Oh pretty is there, but – can’t stack cups well with open shelving. What would you do with any cheap-o plastic cups ( gas station 32 oz er, the reusavle zoo cups, ANY cup made for a kid )? Hide them in a closet?
Any cockeyed dishware will drive you crazy.
Tasha A says
Totally not crazy. My sister had that set up on her apartment. Everything gets covered in dust and dirt and she constantly has to rinse everything before using it! Totally not worth it!
The open shelf look is good for people who constantly use their dishes. If you use all your dishes in a week anyway, then it makes sense to have them easily accessible on an open shelf. If you get open shelves only use them for the things that you use daily like cups, plates, etc. I found them very useful when I had little kids, because I could put their plates and cups on lower shelves where they could grab them when they wanted to set the table. Anything I used infrequently, I would put inside a cabinet.
Nope, not a great combination, and where’s the hood or vent?
In the previous apartment we lived in we had cabinets, a high kitchen ceiling, and not enough storage space. So things that were not used very often ended up on top of the cabinets. After the first few times of having to wash things before using them all the stuff ended up wrapped in cling film. If you have some dishes you want to display or like the more open look I would go with glass doored cabinets. I hope you are having fun with your new home.
No one mentions the window in back of the stove. It will definitely get greasy as well. I wouldn’t want to wash the window leaning over a gas stove.
You are not crazy at all. My feeling is that if you have beautiful stuff that you have a burning desire to display, go for a glass fronted cabinets instead of open shelves. Gives you the best of both worlds.
But it looks great in the showroom!
B mcnichol says
We keep rarely used crystal glasses in the cabinet above the stove. Even behind closed doors they need to be washed before using them. The upper cabinets farther away also gain a film. I suspect people who use shelves for everyday dishes don’t get to the point that the film is noticeable but I’d know it was there so not gonna happen.
Stove location, bare window, & shelves = why I would never let someone else design my home!
Definitely a case of looks over practicality, and give me practicality any day. My in-laws have shelves all around their open-plan larder that hold glasses, plates, food, cookware, the lot. Having stayed with them several times has just persuaded me further what a bad idea it is.
And then there’s dust. You’re not crazy.
Shelves = pretty, cupboards = practical. If you want pretty + practical you could install some clear-fronted cupboards…
*shudders* the underside of the cabinets, yuck.
Catherine Swartz says
You have just squashed my plans. Recently bought a fixer upper and pulling out the old cabinets and replacing them with shelves was one of my planned projects. You are making a very valid point.
A small corner shelf for a plant or potted herbs sure. But if you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, West coast, having cabinets gives you an added benefit of possibly saving you dishes if an earthquake does happen. During the ’94 Northridge quake, just about all my grandparents dishes were saved because they were in cabinets with doors. So no, you aren’t the only one who thinks open shelving instead of cabinets is ridiculous.
That is what I think every time I see open shelving in a kitchen. Who has time and energy to dust all of that?
You are sane and reasonable. I have shelves in my kitchen. They are not over my stove but they get dusty from pollen and ash from the woodstove and on occasion I have chased a moth or a fly around to have them take refuge behind a row of glasses. Cabinets are much better.
Four letters: D-U-S-T.
Hanging spots for pans and fun stuff makes sense. But plates, dishes, cups, glasses… in a cabinet.
Susy Parrott says
And those of us who have cats will be forever picking things up from the floor.
Fan in California says
Truer words . . .
So very true. And all the hair balls they would “deposit” out of love.
Monina Cabanada says
Dust adhering to greasy plates and other items on the open shelves are ewww! 🙁
Even the HGTV shows mostly use cabinets. The times when they seem to use shelves is for small kitchens. I agree with everyone else, cabinets are best
Carrie F says
I grew up on a dairy and cash crop farm. No farmhouse I’ve been in had open shelves. Between dust and the potential for critters, no one had their dishes out in the open.
Alex R. says
Crazy. But correct.
A mix of both can work though.
I really don’t get the shelves. They’re just too much work; not only do you have to keep everything clean and dust-free, it also has to be organized. No thanks.
When we redid the kitchen a few years ago (everything in the kitchen when we bought the house was some form of broken), we went with cabinets up top and drawers underneath. I can’t recommend drawers enough—did you know under counter space can actually be fully useable and easy to get to and find everything?? It was an epiphany. I’ve converted to the Church of Deep Kitchen Drawers.
Jennifer R. says
Oh yes. My mother did this and when I get enough saved to redo my kitchen it will be drawers all the way. No more getting down on the floor trying to find that pot that got shoved to the back.
Kelly M says
You are so right. Even the tops of cabinets collect nastiness in a kitchen – I can’t imagine how bad it would be with shelves and dishes exposed. **shudder**
Fan in California says
Which is why my cabinets extend to the ceiling.
You’re not crazy, this is a HORRIBLE setup. Also the window right behind the stove, with the range hood SO far above will be a nightmare to come.
We’ve had this really old, big kitchen cupboard, where the doors weren’t made from one continuous, closed piece of wood, but rather dozens of lamella. EVERYTHING in the cupboard was greasy and grimy, because the hot oily cooking vapors got everywhere —> nightmare!
My apartment has shelves, I would prefer cabinets. Go for cabinets please.
I am fully Team Cupboard. Open shelving would drive me crazy.
Also in this photo – where is your hood fan to suck up all that steam? I would not want my range in front of the window!
The hood is WAY up top .. at the top of the window. I wonder if that thing manages to suck out anything?
Team cabinet all the way. Also–no more of that 18″ of space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling nonsense! Talk about a dust, sticky mess! *Maybe* some funky doors on the cabinets with some kind of deco glass that can still be easily cleaned, but that’s pushing it. Besides, without cabinet doors, where do all the pictures, coupons, recipes, and sticky notes go??
Shelves are cute. But total dust catchers. And every word you said about them being around your stove is spot on. Take this from a professional cook. Cabinets.
Besides the high potential for life destroying filth, there’s also the constant soul crushing pressure to be completely neat and tidy at all times. Open shelves are a recipe for either misery or live in cleaning help.
Tracie Siemsen says
Totally not crazy! This is a staged kitchen… Never lived in or used… no families, with kids and pets ????
Tiger Kite says
I agree completely! My kitchen cabinets are pretty neat but if you had to put everything out for display on shelves it would look so cluttered and disorganized. No one (ABSOLUTELY NO ONE) could work/cook/use a kitchen like that.
Team Cabinets, all the way. I know someone who lives in a farmhouse. We’ve talked about this and she thinks shelves are a terrible idea. She has enough to do without dealing with the grime and dirt of shelves. If you really have a pressing need to see your dishes there are glass doors. I’d never use them because I am not using valuable time keeping my dishes tidy. If they are in the right place and not going to fall out, it’s good.
The lower drawers seem like a good idea. I forget about some of my kitchen equipment because it’s so far back in bottom cabinets.
Hilly Grieshaber says
Agree totally! Not a fan of the farmhouse look, it’s nice…for someone else 🙂
I do like some of the designs with glass front cabinet, not near the stove though. Pinterest is your friend!
NO! NO, No, No! There may be a ‘look’ to it, but the people who have to keep it clean want closed cabinets. If you want to show something off, put glass in the doors!
Right! No. I don’t want to wash my “clean” dishes to use my dishes. eeew..
Not to mention it makes the room look that much more cluttered ..
Dee Ann says
I have had similar thoughts about those shelves. Add a wood burning fireplace in an open floor plan to the mix. I heard one hgtv host say shelves were less expensive and could help a budget if upper cupboards aren’t used. On another note, it drives me crazy when they put ovens next to refrigerators. The designs look nice, but aren’t practical.
Pan drawers (deep kitchen drawers) all the way! You can get to everthing but it’s hidden and out of the way, cabinets up top for sure.
I like open shelving… waaaaaay away from the cooking area.
Laura Crowley says
We remodeled our kitchen this summer. I hemmed and hawed about whether to replace the cabinets or paint them. In the end I took out several small upper cabinets to open up the space, and took out one whole upper and lower wall of cabinets. In place of the cabinets, I put in a big rolling chrome rack. I was really worried about whether it would work or not, but figured I could always put in cabinets later if I wanted. I LOVE IT. I have pots and pans on the top and bottom shelves, and dishes and bakeware in the middle shelves. I have Fiestaware dishes, so it’s a great pop of color. I can see exactly what I need and don’t have to root around at the back of a cabinet looking for something. There’s no need to worry about being neat and tidy, because the stacks of dishes pretty much organize themselves. I have a dedicated microfiber/chenille dusting wand thingy (that can be washed) and dust the shelves/dishes once or twice a week (takes just a minute to wipe the duster over everything). I also hang a pretty seasonal or holiday-appropriate dishtowel from a hook on the shelves that can be used to wipe off a dish if necessary. I’ve really had no problems at all with dust doing this, and I live in a semi-rural area and have two cats. It’s worked out great. (That said, I definitely wouldn’t have this right next to a stove.)
Dunno if anybody threw pets into the equation…especially cats 😀 You might have the best behaved cats in the world but an open shelf is just too big of a lure. Cabinets are a much safer bet. Though I used to have a cat who could & would open my upper cabinets, making himself right at home on my dishes :O. I had to get child locks for my cabinets.
I agree. Cabinets are best. If you want to showcase some cute dishes or bowls get a glass door for the cabinets.
Nope, not crazy at all. With own shelves, unless you are using the items shelved everyday, you’ll have to clean before each use. Then there’s the shelves themselves. I have one set of stainless steel tall professional wire shelves in my kitchen. They hold the things I use all the time. Everything else, in a cabinet or pantry.
Laura Crowley says
Yes. My wire rolling rack has just the items (pots & pans, dishes, and bakeware) that I use regularly. I haven’t had a problem at all with dust, clutter, or cats. Everything else is in my remaining lower cabinets and drawers and in the pantry. I also got a rolling kitchen island that has a few drawers in it, so that is additional storage. Canning equipment and jars are in the garage. I probably wouldn’t have gone the shelf route if I didn’t have the pantry. It really all comes down to the space, your style preference, and how you use your kitchen.
Omar Mtz says
Nope, you’re not. The grease in the air was my first tough when I saw the image.
Open shelves like these are pretty and also pretty damm useless. I have two and they look great but need to be wiped down at least once a week.
The best thing I did when I redid my kitchen was install big deep drawers instead of cabinets. No more stooping down trying to find anything. It is truly amazing. Also on big tall cupboards get ones where each individual shelf can move out. It was also a very good idea.
But a definite no on the idea of many open shelves!! ?
My mom likes to point out that things always look nice in the magazine… and six hours of reality will remind you that kids and husbands make messes no matter how tasteful your design concept is.
Maybe it’s because I’m from California, but my first thought is everything is going to crash to the floor in an earthquake.
But I completely agree. It’s just a recipe for dust amd frequent rewashing. On the other hand, my mom has shelving opposite the stove, not in place of cabinets, where she puts baskets of misc kitchen detritus, and on top pitchers, large bowls, and whatnot that take space abd you don’t use often.
Haha, you can tell all the people from California in this comment section. It gets so ingrained that you can’t figure out why anyone else would even _think_ about putting heavy or breakable things on a high shelf.
According to the USGS every state in the union has experienced earthquakes so maybe they should start thinking about it 😉
That’s true, but I think it only really sinks in after you’ve spent a few nights crouched in a doorway while listening to the house sway around you.
Totally agree, never could figure out why anyone would go that direction. With the bomber of poets you have dust already had to be an issue. I would feel compelled to wash each plate before using even if it looked clean!
I’m guessing that was supposed to be “number of pets”, but I’m going to refer to one of my cats as the “bomber of poets” from now on. It’s an excellent phrase! 🙂
Bomber of poets! ?
“Bomber of poets”
Auto correct at it’s best!
I love the bomber of poets so much.
I prefer cupboards for avoiding dust as well, it’s also hard for me to see the top shelf and thus, dust it very well.
I’m team cabinets all the way. Besides the keeping dishes cleaner point, there’s also the point that if it’s out on a shelf, I’ll feel obliged to try and keep them looking neat. In a cabinet, I can just put all the cups in the same area, but not in neat rows.
I agree- cabinets were invented for a reason!!! My husband and I sit on the couch and watch them install shelves and wonder WWHHHHYYYYYY???!!!!! ??♀️
That and a fancy backsplash behind the stove with abundant grout lines…who wants to have to clean that?!
All that said- I sure wouldn’t cry over having that stove in the picture ?
I had cabinets throughout and one day decided to take the doors off the ones over the sink and counter. I painted the inside an accent color and saved the doors in case I change my mind. I honestly really do like the way it looks, but people are right about the dust. The dishes usually aren’t much of a problem because those get moved frequently, but I have boxed and canned goods on the other side and it tends to get pretty dusty. So far I haven’t had many issues with the cats, but the cabinets are small and usually too full to get in. They do occasionally pull some stuff out of the food side, mostly tortillas and bread that they can easily sink their claws in.
Try daily re-washing. My cat would find the idea of climbing on those shelves irresistable, so at the least they would be furry and more than likely broken. :/
If you want to show off your dishes, pay out the money for glass fronted cabinets?
Linda B says
Couldn’t agree more. I once lived in a house with open shelving and it was grime, grime, all the time. When we put the house on the market it detracted from the sale price as well. Nobody had told the prospects that it was a popular trend at that time.
Fan in California says
Cabinets all the way!!! For all the great reasons stated above. If you really want it to look a bit more open, you can always have glass doors on the cabinets.
Wise, very wise. Not to mention the hazard of getting something off the shelf while cooking and knocking it into a pot.
I’m with the cabinet idea. Less to dust and clean.
Shelves are good for the picture.
I agree about the open shelving next to the stove and any anything on it becoming almost instantly shmutzy. Ugh. Trying to remove that sticky film defies science and solvents. (Though baking soda combined with some effort seems to cut through it.) And, the open shelving needs to be mounted properly to avoid sagging or worse detaching from the wall.
You can get the farm house look, if you want it, without sacrificing your upper cabinets. It’s a look with lots of different elements to it. Just pick and choose what works best for you. It’s your house, do whatever you wamt 😉
I’ve moved a lot and my favorite kitchen had deep drawers next to the stove and a row of glass upper cabinet doors on the opposite side next to the sink. I could easily reach/put away my pots & pans and I liked seeing my pretty dishes and glasses in the cabinets. If I ever build, I will copy that design.
In a [(tight)] kitchen and on a tiny budget, I think mixing open shelving and cabinetry is a sensible solution for the space and price. To be sure, I’d want a window and stove hood that vented outside. That film builds up on the walls, even if you don’t fry food very often.
I have open shelves in the panty. Good storage but the dishes also have be be rewashed before each use (dust) and the shelves double as a cat highway. The sight of shelves over the stove makes me think cat perch (high space plus heat from the stove) and all I can see are busy cats with things to do dropping down on the stove on the way down and the risk of fur igniting do to a tail swish over a burner.
Your instincts are 100% spot on. My first career was as a kitchen and bath designer and I pointed out the pros and cons to a lot of clients who wanted open storage. Nice look vs. tons of dust, grease, and dirt. It never made sense to me. Plus, you have to remember that nearly any photo you see in a magazine has been staged, with special accessories and additions that don’t actually live in the real room. Get glass doors if you want to see your pretty dishes!
Inga Abel says
Open shelves are only for show-kitchens – or for people with lots of money for a house-cleaning staff ?!
Jocelyn Malone says
Not crazy. Open shelving in a kitchen is not a good plan.
Adrianne Middleton says
You are so totally right. Ridiculous cleaning required, not to mention having to look at all the clutter. Maybe someone has a dishes cabinet with an 8 serving dish set, but not me. I have my 86 serving dish set, but the cups don’t match the dishes because coffee cups should be substantial enough to warm cold hands. I have the cereal bowls, but also a set of Chinese soup bowls and a set of double sized bowls for soups and stews. And then there are the sauce dishes, of which I use 3 different sets depending on what the sauce is/what I’m dipping…. And where did they put the glasses? I could put all of my dishes and the glasses in one cabinet, leaving the other for coffee/tea+cups+storage jars. But they wouldn’t all fit on those shelves.
Connie Kirby says
Our cupboard doors were off for months while they were being painted and we loved the ease of unloading the dishwater onto the shelves inside the open cupboards (especially my husband who has reduced use of his hands due to spine damage) so when the doors returned we left them off of three cupboards. The shelves do get dusty more often, but the dishes are in daily use so it hasn’t been much of a problem.
While I can see the attraction, I really believe the cons outnumber the pros. Unless you are totally OCD about cleaning, re-cleaning, and re-re-cleaning everything that is exposed in which this might be the perfect concept.
Pat Sciarini says
Yep, cabinets and glass doors if you want to see your stuff!
K.A. Burton says
That window behind the stove gets me. Who wants to try to keep that clean!?!?! Definitely set up to be photographed not used.
Well duh, you shouldn’t put shelving right over the stove.
I rehabbed 15 houses over the course of about 7 years, from 2008 to 2014 or thereabouts. Please believe me when I tell you that upper shelves anywhere in a kitchen is a great idea if you NEVER cook. If you cook, it doesn’t much matter where you put the shelves: they are going to attract microscopic grease droplets, dust, and bugs. If you don’t believe me, pick the cabinets furthest from your stove and check out what’s on top of them. That’s what’s going to be filtering down onto whatever you put on open shelves. If your cabinets go all the way to the ceiling, then spray a paper towel with windex and wipe it along the tops of your cabinet doors. When you inspect the paper towel, any urge you might have had to install shelves will instantly evaporate forever.
As far as bottom cabinets go, I prefer cabinet doors hiding slide-out trays for pots and pans. Drawers have high sides, making the contents more difficult to access than the low-sided sliding trays.
Best of luck with the design, and most of all, have fun with it. I sure did!
I completely agree! Even if you dont cook – fly poop people!
Agreed that cabinets for uppers are best with maybe 1 shelf for cookbooks (far away from the stove)
I am also a big fan of drawers for lowers
Barbara Elness says
It would work for me because I don’t cook, LOL. Otherwise, it’s definitely a no.
We just did ours . We have one cabinet set with glass and butcher block. Quartz is nice low maintaince.i need the storage so open shelves weren’t optimal. Pull out drawers are also great and pull out shelves in the pantry.
Love the blue island!
And the lack of gravity! 🙂
Just kidding, I really like the layout of this.
Thank you I wanted to only buy one slab for the island but for it to stand out.
It took me a second, hehe. I was like, why are there weird metal things sticking out of the floor.
This was a photo just before the oven and stove top went in . Do yourself a favor and have the kitchen layout be one that works for how your family uses the kitchen .
The Other Margaret says
Labor Intensive. Those items placed in the open like that wouldn’t necessarily be ones I use on an everyday basis. I consider them more Junk collectors. Or Plant collectors. Still, if you wanted a sparkly kitchen that sort of stuff would have to be cleaned regularly.
Do you have a cat? No shelves. If I have to explain why, you don’t have a cat.
Well said. And as the beautimus Spooky cat demonstrates here, having cabinets doesn’t help unless you actually close the doors. Those are indeed my coffee mugs behind her.
Gail G says
Never understood the popularity of open shelves in the kitchen. A couple of glass cabinets, okay, for the pretty stuff but well away from the stove…as far as the dining space? ’cause we don’t want no damn dining room of course. Really we don’t. If Joanna used a bit more color here and there? Do love me some Fixer Upper though. Last season coming up…bah humbug…. Happy Thanksgiving now and when actually move in.
Even without the grease, dust is a big enough nuisance to make me hate that setup.
Most homes seem to have a lack of planning when using space. I like to utilize space to the max and I definitely want cabinets with doors versus open shelving. First, what’s in the cabinet may not be neat but it’s organized for me to use. Second, do I really want all my stuff out where everyone looks at it? And finally as you say, everything on the shelves will get dirty faster. My daughter-in-law had a cabinet with clear glass doors and even hated that as people could look at her disorganized shelves. My talented hubby made stained glass to put instead of the clear and the problem was solved in an elegant manner.
The nearest I ever got to open shelves was a cabinet which sat directly ocer the sink. The bottom shelf was an open drainer. The idea was you washed your plates then stacked them to drain above the sink. A bit pointless if you have a dishwasher and even with a cupboard front it collected dust and grease.
Got to agree with the drawer suggestion, those deep drawers are huge, I also like the idea of cabinet that go up to the ceiling – brilliant
I think the same thing every time I look at those things. I hate dusting. Why on earth would I want open shelving??
You are right. Fashion is wrong. All your objections based on grease and spotcleaning are right on
Besides, it is hard to make all your kitchen stuff look nice enough to be on display. Do all your glasses and mugs match? Your pans? Do you have enough additional storage to fit all the stuff that you wouldn’t want on display
There is already some backlash against “open concept” I hear because which of us really keeps all rooms clean all the time? Some openness good. Extreme openness bad for most of us non-persnickety, extremely busy people who never have as much time as they’d like to clean or do anything.
Amy Ann says
I couldn’t agree more. I have never understood “open concept”. If you have someone who comes in to clean a couple of times a week– which most of those who spend $50,000 to remodel 1 room probably do–you can do that. For the rest of us, your untidyness is on display to the world, you are compulsively neat or you are running yourself ragged trying to keep it neat. Not me. Life is too short for all that!
Looks pretty (barely) but so stupid!
Cupboards, drawers, everything away from dust and grease!
(and dreaming of a summer kitchen, where I would put a fryer, for the moment, no frying!).
No, you are not crazy. Open shelves are ridiculous anywhere in the kitchen. Islands with those open shelves on the side you have to run everything through the dishwasher every week. And you have pets so you’ll have even more dust than the average no pet home. Not to mention if you open your windows to let in fresh air, dusty Texas, gotta clean those exposed dishes again. Just saying. Recipe for constant dishwashing. Not only labor intensive, but what a waste of water. It’s not like Texas has a plethora of the wet stuff.
From a purely aesthetic view it’s gorgeous however it’s not practical. It’s actually very cluttered looking when everything is set out like that, it’s dirty, and it’s really just not conducive for people who have stuff. I love looking at those pictures in magazines and on the internet but in real life I would never ever have a kitchen like that. I would prefer Cabinetry and lots of available shelf space away from the oven because like you said the dust and the dirt gets really disgusting once the grease gets added on. My mother had her crystal above her oven on top of the cabinet and it got disgusting every few months. We always had to clean it and it never quite came clean even with all the extra chemicals used on it.
I like to look at such open shelves – but only in design magazines or in someone’s else kitchen. In my own kitchen – I have only cabinets (I love very high cabinets – reaching up to the ceiling). I don’t care too much for the trends, they change to often. My home is for me and my family, so we choose what’s the best for us – in line with our tastes, timeless, comfortable.
Obviously designed by people who do not cook and never clean! All designers of equipment and space should be required to clean the equipment and the space at least once.
We just redid our kitchen. Not a fan of open shelves.
Hey, nice kitchen StacyUFI!!!
Liz S says
This is like that idea of arranging a library of books according to cover color. It may look nice, but it makes no logical sense.
Cupboards all the way. And no grout anywhere near the kitchen. I put formica on the walls in the work areas of my kitchen – wipe down any stove grease and no mold traps in back of the sink . When my folks even did formica walls around the bathroom including the tub/shower area in their beach house. Much easier to maintain. No bathroom mildew. And no painting. Ever.
No you are not wrong! I am a lazy housekeeper and when we redid our kitchen I said I wanted cabinets to the ceiling I don’t want to have a dust collection on top. Plus if you have open shelving then you want all your dishes to match because you are looking at them all the time.
Scott Drummond says
Cabinets in California! With door locks on the high cabinets! We have these little things called earthquakes…
Same on Okinawa. Typhoons blow throw and shake the house a little as well.
It makes a pretty picture, but I bet it’s a nightmare to keep clean.
I bought a house that has glass doors in the upper kitchen cabinets. Not much fun to clean, and you can SEE EVERYTHING, so the pretty part is fine – but that shelf where you put the odd stuff? Not so much.
I knew I had seen a photo of that kitchen somewhere! Given the island location, it will probably end up being someone’s 2nd or 3rd home, and not see much hard use.
People with open shelves in the kitchen do not have cats.
Alisa Hylton says
Proof that designers don’t have to live with their own work.
I’m with you. Cabinets are a must. Since I only dust in leap years, my dishes need protection.
They dont have cats either. Mie would be on those top shelves knocking everything in their way to the floor.
I agree with the other glass fronted are the way to go.
R Coots says
I like my cabinets. They hide the random mess that my cupboards become. Also, yes, cleaning stuff is a pain!!!
Yes! And why would I want to put all my mismatched plastic bowls and ugly Tervis on display? Who are the people that live in these kitchens? I bet they only eat take-out!
Lovely concept, correct placement is key. I considered doing something like that for all of 5 seconds. My cats love heights and pushing things off to see them bounce. 🙂
Lorna Toolis says
Cabinets above the counter by all means. Below the counter, pull out drawers make retrieval a lot easier.
I’ve always felt that way about open shelving. I do not need more to dust or clean. Cabinets to the ceiling (hey, no dust!) And deep drawers are awesome. Easy way to keep your small appliances, rather than having to reach into the back of a cabinet for the toaster or blender you use maybe once a week. I keep my plastic containers in a drawer, too. Organized, easy to find, easy to reach.
Tiger Lily says
I grew up on a farm and the kitchen had cabinets. I visited lots of friends on farms and kitchens had cabinets. I am going to redo my kitchen and it will continue to have cabinets.
Looks pretty but not practical – for the reasons you suggest as well as losing storage space. Unless you have an insanely large amount of storage elsewhere in your kitchen I wouldn’t recommend it.
Ms. Kim says
if stove and sink were reversed (sink under window) it could work. But only if wall to the right is filled with cabinets.
Shelves next to the stove would definitely be horrible. I have a display shelf along the top of my 9-foot-high cabinets, all the way around the room. Yes, it does get covered with sticky grease-dust grime. Above the stove and about three feet on either side, it can be so thick that it has to be scraped off with a spatula. That’s with a vented hood over the stove. With no hood and lower shelves,… I don’t even want to think about it. If you must have open shelves, put them as far from the stove as you can.
Simon Lyon says
Insane. Not just the shelves but drawers right next to the stove?
And the cooker centered at the end of the kitchen rather than the side,
Whoever put this together was either:
a: Someone who doesn’t cook;
b: A blithering idiot; or
c: Most probably both
As a cook I’m fairly certain that photo’s going to give me nightmares.
Rip out and replace – your sanity is at stake 😉
Yuck, that grease build up is always so hard to get off.
Wonder who thought this design would be a good idea?
Maybe there is hidden force-field around the shelves we don’t know about. 😉
in my house, we put the stove and dish shelves (which stay above and around the sink) on the opposite end of the kitchen. We don’t have cabinet either.
Shelves are great aesthetically, but you have to keep them clean and organized. I know that seems like no big, but personally I am too lazy to deal with that. I would keep them organized and looking nice for maybe a month, then it will be put things where they fit and move on. It also means that you have to keep your dishes in good shape. That being said, if you like the look and are willing to do the upkeep go for it.
I completely agree. I like the look of the shelves but I have 3 dogs and a cat and the dust/hair/dander goes everywhere as it is so I can’t imagine it all being stuck in cooking grease.
Shelves are cheaper than cabinets and they want to sell the house without sinking a lot of money into the renovation. Also, only a person who actually cooks would know the drawback of shelves RIGHT NEXT TO the stove.
Not enough data to determine crazy, but in this case, you’re spot on. One of my frequent rants is around brainless designers who have clearly never used that which they seek to design. That kitchen is designed to (I guess) look pretty. Anyone attempting to use it would have lots of bad words.
I don’t get people saying shelves are “farm house.” I grew up in a 100+ year old farm house, which had/has gorgeous oak cabinets. My friends all lived in old farmhouses. Farmers are practical people. Cabinets, no shelves.
Kat from Australia says
This is my rant! This is my exact rant about kitchen shelves and things collecting oil when they live on benchtops in the kitchen!
I love the cabinet next to my stove. I have sheet metal tacked up inside the door and I use it to hold magnetic spice jars. A closed cabinet with easily reached cooking spices right next to where I use them works for me. I do have one small space that wasn’t practical for a closed cabinet on the opposite wall from my stove that we left as open shelves for cookbooks, but it’s only about twelve inches wide. I also vote for lower drawers instead of cabinets. I’ve had both, and the drawers are more practical and easier to use.
My theory has long been that kitchens like these are designed by people who don’t actually cook. They’re the same ones who give us no counter space next to the sink (for dirty/clean dishes when we wash up). Who have never heard of “the work triangle” and strive to give us the longest distance possible between the sink, refrigerator, and stove. Who give us NO PANTRY SPACE in homes large enough for 4-6 (or more) people. Seriously? Where do you think we’re going to store food for that many people?
It’s all about looks, not about function.
Lyssa Sue Shaffer says
We converted the formal dining room into a pantry.. we all eat at the ‘nook’ table. Then we converted the formal living room into a hobby craft room with wall mounted folding shelves. The smaller ‘media’ room that is open to the nook and kitchen serves as a lovely living room family room space. Upstairs we turned a double room into a library, spa, office space, with massage table. We still have 3 bedrooms set up.
By changing from standard definitions of how the space is seen we turned our home into something that is a living breathing community. I would absolutely love to rip out the wall between that formal dining room and kitchen so I could get my dream double ovens, as well as triple the counter space. But that is expensive. So far we accomplished our changes with IKEA bookshelves and cabinets, a second fridge and a minifreezer. Rolling racks act as faux walls. You work with what you have in small steps. Since I am disabled my handy husband is building an open air steam punk dumb waiter alongside the stairs. I am not allowed to carry things on the stairs, so food trays, laundry baskets and or my Kindle etc, will go on the waiter to be brought up or down as needed.. this way I feel like I’m helping and still safe navigating the steps. Define your space and adapt it to you.
Open shelving looks pretty, but as you pointed out the mess would be a problem. It’s not just the steam and the oil. It’s the dust. Now imagine the dust caked in oil…
You may be crazy, but you are spot on in your assessment of open shelves near the stove. If you want to view things and open the space a little, put glass in the cupboard doors. Not only do your plates and such get the grease/dust glue, eventually the shelves will soak up grease which will become rancid, and flavor/aromatize anything stored on it.
FWIW, one of the things I get paid to do is help people design their kitchens from a practical standpoint colored with 40 years experience working in restaurants.
For it to be the perfect setup, all you need is domestic help that is there six days a week who doesn’t mind cleaning the kitchen surfaces, glassware, and anything else that’s just smudged or given your glistening surfaces that tacky feel–like you get on any cabinetry that may exist over the stove after say browning the pot stickers.
insert “daily” after surfaces
Diane D says
Amen! That kitchen is the home-decor version of a haute couture catwalk show: not something meant for ordinary, everyday living, just to look cool for five minutes!
a sippy cup would be a fashion disaster. And, how often is the owner of the house supposed to dust the cake stand on the top shelf? Cabinets protect the dishes from dust as well as from spatters.
I don’t think shelves by the stove would work for me. I like cabinets. However, I think it might be interesting to have some shelves in a different location away from the stove. You could keep your counters clear that way if you store small appliances that you use frequently. Maybe you could use one shelf for a tablet for computerized recipes.
Agreed, don’t forget to install lighting both in the top and under the shelves if you are displaying nice stuff in glass fronted cabinets.
Simon Lyon says
You can get away with shelves in a commercial kitchen – which I’ve worked in – but they have no place in a domestic kitchen. If you even boil an egg on that stove it’s going to screw with whatevers on the shelves. Just … no. Everything needs to by either in a drying rack (not sure what your call them in the US) or in a cupboard. Shelves bad.
We did our small house last year (we stay in Singapore), you can imagine we have to make use of every space that we have. Good thing my hubby let me have free reign in designing our kitchen. We have small kids & storage is always an issue. Selecting good materials is also important because this kitchen will be heavily used.
Quartz tabletop is selected (the challenge is using black top will make scratches more visible, but i find quartz is hardier than solid surface so until now is still good!) We use laminate a lot in Singapore as we are limited with natural resources so it is more expensive, we selected this scratch resistant, hand print free & nano tech (something) for our black cabinet doors but it is not oil resistant free so I see the oil hand print on some doors (because we didn’t wash our hands while cooking then opening up the doors to get some things so the oil stain is from our hands) but overall is good. Because my hubby & I are interior designers in trade, we are blessed to have our little house featured in the magazine… so yey! (off my bucket list)
It was a pleasure doing our house & we were surprise that we love it! I know that sounds funny coming from us but having 2 main designers doing 1 house is like pulling teeth (hubby & I have been planning for a year & arguing all that time too – I came to the point where i tell my hubby, next time I will buy my own house & design what i want with it hehe). I don’t expect to do this again for many years to come. Now is peace time for my family.
That is amazing!!! I wish I had an artistic eye like that.. although I’d have to wait to own my own house first! haha
i do forgot to mention, when placing the stove/range, please avoid the window area. Either your window is wasted because you will hardly open when cooking as the wind will play havock with the fire, oil stains on the windows (which you keep cleaning this), also possible that the heat might get your window to crack (if it’s too hot). Placing sinks on the window is fine.
Whoever do that kitchen design might not be a seasoned designer or as mentioned in this thread, is just for aesthetic purpose but not so much on function. but then, it’s a waste of money because kitchen is still considered a working area & not for display purpose.
Dave Sperry says
You will notice that the woman who puts shelves instead of cabinets in the reworked kitchens is doing OTHER people’s kitchens, not one she has to work in and live with. Sure, put in shelves — but plan on cleaning everything on those shelves and the shelves themselves at least once a week!
You won’t survive cleaning just once a week because oil film will set into a tacky, hard to clean mess so at the latest, the next day. 😛
You are absolutely spot on with the problems of having those shelves any where near active cooking. I suspect the shelving is popular because it makes the room feel more ‘open’ and thus larger, and I could see using something like that, but only in certain areas of the kitchen. I also think anyone who did this would have to be a very organized person, or your shelves would end up telling guests alot more about you than you’d like. Cabinets are nice because they help hide the clutter of us less organized folks.
I agree with everyone about the grease on the shelves & anything placed there. Besides, I have a mishmash of plates & bowls and the “eye clutter” would drive me nuts.
I suspect that all plates, cups etc on the shelves in that picture are just for show and the things that people actually use are hidden in one of the cupboards.
All those pristine white surfaces though, (shudders), even if they only do a minimal amount of cooking those white walls are going to need repainting every year.
I’m from earthquake territory and my first thought when I saw the picture was what a hazard it was to have open shelves
I’m also in an area that gets earthquakes practically every month. I thought exactly like you!
Carrie Romero says
Farmhouses, in my experience, always have cabinets. In older kitchens, they weren’t always attached to the wall or built-in, but they were there. Sometimes, shacks in rural areas didn’t have cabinets, and only had shelves, but those people couldn’t afford cabinets or even more dishes. The people who lived like that often didn’t even want to live like that, why would we?
That mini little rant out of the way, I do agree that cabinets are far better than open shelves for kitchen storage. But, as I was sitting here thinking about it, I remembered that in a previous kitchen, I did have a set of restaurant quality storage shelves against one wall of the kitchen. They were purely functional, though. Not for pretty 😀 Held stuff that didn’t fit in the cabinets and/or that I didn’t want to store in the walk-in pantry (cold in the winter and not adjacent to the kitchen). Like my grain mill, and buckets of wheat berries. It worked for me in that time and place and I’d do it again if I were once again faced with a kitchen in a rental house that had far more space than cabinets. Still prefer to keep cups and dishes in closed cabinets, though. We did have a cat and a dog at the time and they both left the storage shelves alone.
That window behind the stove is going to have the same problem: steam, spatter, and grease on the glass turning it into a smudgy mess. Some interior designers do not cook themselves and do not realize the problems. Or they want to try out ideas, but do not want it in their own house.
Lyssa Sue Shaffer says
I want the glass front cupboards and kitchen from Practical Magic (movie version). I dream of that kitchen and butler’s pantry.. sigh. Double ovens, room to dance and work together. Magic space with room to create magic memories.
We built out house in 2003 and that was the inspiration for my kitchen. I still get compliments on it when new people come to our house and I haven’t changed a thing in the kitchen in 14 years.
Always nice to have a dream, but I had a huge kitchen at one time. Good for dancing, but boy, was it inefficient for any form of cooking. I’ve had a galley kitchen too. It was very efficient, but for me, something in the middle is just right. I like my current kitchen, but right now my dream is an island with an electrical outlet and storage for coffee making stuff so I can keep hubby out from under foot. Dance and dream on, kiddo.
I say go with cabinets. Everything you said applies, but my main reason is, knowing me, I am a cluts and shelves to me are a recipe for breaking my plates and other appliances. With cabinets I at least know there is door to prevent any unnecessary accidents. If you them to feel more one then just get cabinets with glass doors.
Open shelves are anathema for storage of clean stuff.
Absolutely fine if you are (political incorrectness coming up) OCD and need or want or love to scrub and clean at least once a day, but other wise closed cupboards are both cleaner and easier to clean.
I loathe housework with a passion, but love cooking, so no way is any kitchen I work in having open shelving if I have to be the one cleaning up after myself.
So it look like it is all a just a visual style statement, and damn the practicalities huh?
Spot on re greese, even the tops of cabinates by cookers will get a deposit of greese which had to get cleaned off – my job as a kid- it’s disgusting and hard to get rid of as it’s in a placeyou don’t normally see or reach- so it used to get really thick in my house.
It certainty influenced my refresh of the same kitchen yrs later. When i asked the builder to add more cabinates above the existing ones where they could- to create ones that hit the roof- we just changed all the doors to make them all match.
The result is extra shallow storage which I just need a chair and a counter clamber to reach (old habits of never using a ladder in the kitchen) so all the not used often atuff gets up there.
And most imp no more thick greese layer cleaning from above those cupboards, just a normal clean off the vertical surfaces which is so much easier 🙂
Here’s a pic of mine where I’ve tried to show it from the door in- its alittle place –
no tardis abilities- excuse the mess 🙂
Karen the Griffmom says
Oh, love the cabinets all the way to the ceiling – my current kitchen has 18 inches of wasted space all the way around the room. We’re buying used cabinets from Habitat Restore and fitting them in to get extra storage.
Nope nope nope nope nope to the concept of open shelving. That setup is for people who own maybe two cups, a plate, and a single bowl.
You’re absolutely right about condensation and I refuse to imagine the consequences of stir-frying anything.
Susan Linch Ravan says
No open shelving and who in their right minds puts a window there? Cabinets!
No you’re not crazy. I have fitted cupboards and I wouldn’t even contemplate changing to shelving.. Even though I only have a gas hob (gas oven = nightmare condensation problems), wiping down cupboard doors to keep them free of sticky residue is a regular chore. I have two sets of small shelves in the kitchen to display my antique blue and white china collection. To be honest it always needs dusting and the china needs to be washed every couple of months. The thought of having to wash everything before I use it is really depressing. Life is too short. Actually, apart from said display shelves, open shelving anywhere in our house is a no-no. It’s 300 years old (this year actually) and it’s a complete dust magnet. It’s difficult enough to keep on top of the household chores, so open shelving would only add to the work. I admit it can look attractive but unless one has an army of servants it’s not in the least practical. So no you’re not crazy Ilona – you just have better things to do with your time.
Ventilation? The window could already have been there. I think the question is, who puts a cooker in front of a window? If you haven’t got an open plan kitchen, the only appliance I would put in front of a window is the kitchen sink. It’s very soothing looking out onto my beautiful garden when I am working at the sink. In fact, I would hate to have a kitchen where the sink faced a wall.
Sorry my above reply was for Susan Lynch Raven. Not quite sure what happened there.
………and more apologies. I spelt your name wrong!
Short person reply – nope and nope.
It looks like there is a range hood embedded into the ceiling? If not, then that picture is a disaster. Even if there is one, it’s too far above the range to really do any good. In your own kitchen, if you have a good, powerful range hood, then having open shelving is doable. But I’ve always thought that shelving like that is a poor man’s attempt at good cabinetry. Cabinets…especially with a glass panel in the door…is a great option to showcase any beautiful showpiece you have.
Silly, silly girl, you just don’t use the stove and problem solved.
Exactly. These kitchens are designed for people who don’t cook.
I had a friend who embraced open shelving a few years ago. It was lovely for 2 weeks, then she began to notice eek, dust, and grit on her dishes. She liked to fry and though she was not a messy cook there is some residue from the act of frying. Needless to say, she eventually went to cabinets with doors that can be closed (and washed easily). I think ideas like the pretty pictures above are for meticulous housekeepers who have the time to (or the hired help) to maintain a high maintenance home.
Morag McDermott says
Sorry but I am a shelf fan. I think they work really well if you set a simple set of rules,
1. Don’t be a numpty and put them right by your cooker
2. Use them for everyday stuff because if you are using it pretty much everyday you don’t need to worry about grime build up
All I can say is thank goodness for the Swedish store for cheap matching everyday stuff which looks good
Also it allows you to free up space on your work tops where you would usually put stuff to be readily at hand e.g.: tea, coffee, knife block etc
I loved my last kitchen with open shelving. We did away with all the upper cabinets to open up a long narrow galley kitchen. The were successful because we only put every day dishes on them, so the dishes were all used and washed frequently. They also weren’t near the stove. Everything else was in drawers below the counter.
When you go for “cute” rather than “useful” this happens. I think you can have both, but this design proves that not everybody else believes it.
Monica Martin says
Not crazy! Lots of things wrong with this idea. It might look nice and interesting but it’s nothing but that. It’s non functioning for someone who cooks a lot. I can see dishes falling. I can see oil and foods sticking to the dishes. All kinds of things happen in the kitchen. Accidents included. Not a great idea. Imo.
I put in three glass front wall cabinets for my pretty stuff and use drawers to store everyday dishes and glasses, much easier to unload the dishwasher. I use oversize drawers to store flour, sugar and other baking supplies. Short person dream kitchen.
Shelves? No way! No how! I suspect they became designer trendy because they are much cheaper than cabinets. They also show off kitsch that we can be sold. And then have to dust. I bet you can tell that you open a closet door at your own risk in my house.
How are we not talking about that gorgeous range? Forget the shelves. The blue with gold accents just made my heart swoon.
I would love to know where that range came from. I love it.
I think the stove is an Ilve Nostalgie range.
I agree… no shelf… That’s just a stupid place to put them… and yeah, dust would be a pain in the ass.
As a fellow cat-owner, or, as a fellow human owned by a cat, shelves are a bad idea for the human-half of the equation. The cat, on the other hand, will approve. Just as long as nothing is set on the shelf. Because, if that is the case, the cat will have no other option but to casually knock the item off of the shelf.
Gloria Magid says
All cats are Newtonians – they have to retest the theory of Gravity every so often to make sure it’s still working. They go to great lengths to get to places I would have thought unreachable so knock things down, thus reassuring me that gravity is still in effect. (Sigh…)
No to shelves! Not to mention, if you have pets, then you know the problems of pet hair. Do you really want to deal with pet hair on your clean dishes? Add in any oil/ grease and it’s an OMFG nightmare. Cabinets are the way to go.
Kathy Martin says
I agree that open shelves in the kitchen looks great and is trendy. It is so impractical for the reasons you mentioned. Also, I don’t have all those pretty coordinating dishes. My mishmash of dishware is better stored inside closed cabinets.
Lisa Pepper says
You are spot on! I don’t cook a lot of things with oil, but dust, pet fur/dander, and anything else in the air gets on things in the kitchen. Without those doors, your adding to your cleaning (yuck!)
I’m with you, cabinet were invented for a reason. To keep the dust and grease off, but also so no one can see the mismatched things and the mess and ……. 🙂
Whoever did this clearly put the range where the sink was supposed to be! The range should be on the back wall (not an island, not in front of a window), with a nice hood over it. But yes, I am not a fan of open shelving. We recently moved to a house with all three: closed cabinets, glass front cabinets, and open shelving and I hate it. I don’t want to have to ‘style’ things in my kitchen, nor do I want to buy all new pretty things just so they can sit there on a shelf. I want functional storage that closes and hides the ugly but functional things I use to cook with. 🙂
I actually like my cooktop to be in the island. That way I don’t have to turn my back on my guests/hubby/kids while cooking and can actually visit with them instead. It also makes serving the food simpler, especially when doing it buffet-style for a crowd (say, at Thanksgiving). Not having a sink in the island gives me a heck of a lot more space to lay out the goodies.
I agree about the shelves- but I love the gas stove. Except it needs chrome knobs- they matched the gold handles in the kitchen to the knobs on the stove and I don’t like that.
If you want to show off your stuff just get cabinets with glass insets. I totally agree with the oil deposit on everything even though shelving does look pretty. I have 5 sets of dishes in my cabinets (we keep a Kosher Home) so I’d be washing dishes every 5 minutes otherwise.
Bill d says
Not a big fan of that ,the only advantage to shelves is seeing what you have (even glass fronted cabinets are not that visible in terms of contents).
The only thing where this arrangement might work is if the range has a down draft vent that vents to the outside (kind of like a vent hood that pulls the steam and oil down and out), but even that would likely not prevent what people are talking about.
Yeah, no. Down drafts sound like a great idea but the best of them is still way less effective than the worst vent hood. I have a great downdraft Jenn-Aire and still spend waaay too much time cleaning the ceiling over my cooktop.
I would have put the sink under the window instead of in the peninsula. But then I like windows above sinks for when you’re stuck doing the dishes for a long while.
Sarah Weir says
Shelves are great! ?
Just… not near the stove….
if you put shelves in I would put them anywhere but right above the stove.
Sarah Weir says
Actually, if the picture above is your house, I would switch the stove and the sink. It would be a pain, but ultimately it would flow better and work better. Everything else is great aside from that!
Years ago I saw a picture of a “farmhouse kitchen” where they had doorless cabinets. THAT I could totally do. I’m constantly leaving the doors open on my regular cabinets (and then, because I’m short, walking into said cabinet doors), so yah, I could totally just do away with the doors. But regular open shelves? Nope. Not happening!
I honestly rant at the television every time I see open shelving near the stove. I know how much work it is just to keep the cupboard doors near my stove clean. I can’t imagine having that all over my dishes.
Personally i think this is part of the trend to upscale kitchens but not actually cook at all! If these folks do cook, someone else is cleaning, that’s for certain. I was once in a gorgeous new house, owned by a woman with a baby and a toddler in the middle of a rural area. She had a ceramic cooktop that i had heard required utterly flat pans and was easily scratched. I asked how it was to work with and clean. She replied that she didn’t really know because she didn’t really cook. I was flummoxed. Whar did she eat? She was miles from any takeout!
That kitchen looks lovely and for terrible cooks would work well, just don’t use the stovetop. Oh course I can see Orro looking at this statement with extreme scepticism.
Hahaha, Orro would go on a rant!
Close shelving so you don’t have to wash all your dishes every week. Many shows go with open shelving because it is cheaper. Buyer beware.
We have toddlers. Open shelves like that sound like a disaster waiting to happen. I like cabinets because I can safety lock them.
Sheila Jacobson says
Absolutely not to open shelving in kitchen (or anywhere really unless you love to dust). But have a couple of glass-front cabinets. They look light and airy and can show off your pretty items.
My house does not have pretty matching everything, so it would just look tacky out on a shelf, not to mention living where we have earthquakes. Nope, I would have to replace more dishes if I had them on a shelf rather than a cabinet that closes and keeps them from falling over the floor.
Shelves are for books silly DYI people 😉
Gloria Magid says
I agree with everyone re the shelving, and its placement those who said it would work if the sink were where the stove is are spot on, EXCEPT if you are owned by one or more cats (I have 2). Closed cupboards all the way for me. The cats may be a little miffed, but the dogs don’t care and I am happy.
Gloria Magid says
Totally unrelated question: How close are we to seeing the Rogan POV? I have read the trilogy cover-to-cover 5 times, plus rereading favorite sections. I need more Hidden Legacy!
(Please don’t feel I am nagging – just asking. I want the next Kate, too. Just… I miss Rogan and Nevada and the Baylor family and Cornelius and Matilda and Bug and…)
The shelf kitchen is lovely but it would not stay looking that way for a week in my house. I live with a man. I love my husband, but while he can find whatever he wants to use in my kitchen, he is not very good at remembering just where it is to be returned. If I had shelves instead of cabinets with doors, it would just take days until the rest of the world could enter my kitchen to view the heaps of random stuff on each of my shelves and assume that I was the horrible housekeeper. This is the same logic I use to avoid cabinets with glass doors. Plus I agree, completely, with the thought that open shelves are just asking for everything on the shelves to be coated with what my mother and grandmother used to call “cooking film.”
Nopedy nope nope. I live in earthquake country. Everything would get broken.
I had gone to Tennessee and stayed in a cabin for a few weeks that had those open shelves. I absolutely hated them. It made stacking the dishes a bear. It had two sets of open shelving but only one set was near the stove (which was against the wall). I remember those shelves being like that. The shelves by the sink were fine.
All of the stove stuff plus, they’re pretty much earthquake magnets (nothing on those shelve will stay there).
My old workplace installed shelve like that when they rennovated and all I could think was that all the mugs were going to be toast at the next quake (as it happens part of the building fell down in the next quake so the shelves were irrelevant but it still wasn’t a good idea)
Leigh M says
Have to agree. And open shelving only works with attractive tableware and tidy families.
This is true. Those shelves are in a bad spot. Anywhere but by the stove would be fine. It’s hard enough to keep the cupboards by the stove clean from that build up. I recently remodeled my kitchen and the cupboards were just repainted. Underneath the paint were two applications of Killz which is a primer – really good primer for kitchens – and now the cupboards are easier to clean.
Ellen S. says
I have often thought what you wrote, Ilona.
Guess who designed this look. And than guess who does the cleaning.
I agree, open shelves are a mistake. Even if the shelves are not by the stove, dust, cooking crud, etc. will get on the items, especially ones you don’t use that often. I always think of that when I see the great displays of pots and utensils hanging from the ceiling in a kitchen. It looks nice, but….
I’ve seen farmhouse kitchens with solid wood cabinet doors, and even some glass fronted cabinets. Aside from that, you plan to stay in this house for a while. Do what you like. Even if you move in a couple of years, styles may have changed by then, and not everyone wants the current “in” thing anyway. It’s your house.
Enjoy it in good health, and happiness!
I am Asian (Pacific Islander) so by birthright I stir fry a lot (one of course does not have to be Asian to stir fry a lot). That set up in the photo is so ridiculous to me. I see pictures like that (including kitchen faucets with 2 handles – if you’ve handled raw meat and need to clean your hands without spreading salmonella everywhere), and I think, this kitchen designer/homeowner must only ever bake or microwave his/her food. It drives me bonkers to see kitchen designs like that.
Not to mention, and I know that maybe other people don’t have this problem, but I have a ton of not aesthetically pleasing to look at but still highly practical dishes I keep in my cabinets. Taking away even a forth of those cabinets for “open shelving” is a pain. Coffee mugs, tupperware containers, plastic mixing bowels, food processor, etc. When hidden behind a cabinet they are both easy to get to and not ruining the look of my kitchen.
Open kitchen shelves where I’d normally keep my not so pretty but still nicely seasoned cookware is a no-no
Melissa B says
Omg you crack me up!! I love how your brain works and totally agree!
Absolutely!Shelves are terible idea.If you want a real kitchen and not some show me off kitchen then it is def cabinets.Everything on diplay is fun untill you have to clean and use regulary.
I have always disliked the open shelve look for just that reason. Nothing stays clean!
Sandra Vale says
Hate to say it but I’m not that tidy. Do you always stack up everything tidily because when I’m in a hurry I don’t. Everything I only occasionally use is stuffed at the back (happens to my food storage as well). The photo looks like an ideal kitchen and not a practical one. I ‘m reasonably clean but white wouldn’t work. It would get scuffed and marked after a while
Open shelving in the kitchen is for unlived in model homes or people who have a live-in cleaning crew. It only looks good in magazine layouts. We have 3 dogs and 4 cats (2 don’t come in often). Combine all that loose fur with grease and dust and OMG the horror!! As it is, I wash the few openly displayed tchotchkes, which are far away from the stove, once a month. But dishes??? NFW.
Cat Kimbriel says
I think it’s the biggest con from designers since taking out all our ceiling fans (a must in most homes in Texas.)
I cook a lot, and cleaning those dishes before using Every Time, the oil or water buildup on the shelves, the cat getting up there and pushing stuff off the shelves (flying shrapnel, having lost my boyfriend’s collector bottles that way) ARRRRGGGGHHHHH
I’m looking for a home. These will NOT be a selling point to any real cook! Definitely not to me!
I think open shelving is a terrible idea. All the dust, grease, dirt, salmonella everywhere. But then again, my brain works like yours, very practical.