August 12, 2013

Open shelves vs Cabinets

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Open shelves vs cabinets.  It’s an old kitchen dilemma.  “Open shelves are so beautiful and opens up the space.  But cabinets are so much more practical.”  The PROS: Brings style into a functional kitchen.  Everyday dishes and cooking supplies are at arms-length in a kitchen work zone.  Shelves can be placed in tight spaces where cabinets can’t fit.  The CONS: Daily dust and grease.  Maintaining neat and organized shelves is a chore.  What’s your preference: open or closed?  Here, some ideas to tap you off the fence, and even a few that mesh the best of both worlds. 

{Above} These shelves are less kitchen-centric and more lifestyle.  In this photo by Chris Barrett, fewer plates and more decorative items, such as flea market prints, small floral bunches and a bowl of fruit add such visual appeal.  One or two shelves can be sufficient.  Use a low shelf for items used daily for an easy reach.

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Mesh doors on this cabinet hutch keeps items slightly out of the elements but in full display view.  Photo by Chris Everard.

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Who says shelves need to be horizontal?  Going upright offers more flexibility, and can fit into tight awkward nooks.  I love the stark contrast of white walls and dark shelving from The Style Files.  It’s such an artistic and beautiful look.  Ahh, the best of both worlds: open shelves hidden behind sliding barn doors.  I’d switch out a door on hinges for a stunning sliding apparatus any day.  Corbels and a back piece give these shelves a more substantial feel like furniture.

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A freestanding shelving unit means it can be placed anywhere, including the middle of a room making it an excellent divider.  It also frees up wall space for something else.

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If you’re handy or know someone who is, I think plywood shelves offer a refreshing Nordic aesthetic at a great price.  Venturing outside the kitchen boundaries works well in small spaces.  Straddling storage in-between two rooms, such as the kitchen and an adjoining room makes for a very nice transition between spaces.  

Comments

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You are right, open is pretty but closed is less work. I have glass doors with thin frames so it's a little of both.

So glad I ran into your blog and this story as I'm about to gather ideas for our kitchen. I think i'm going to do a little of both!

Thanks for the awesome designs of shelves and cabinets. Free standing shelves free some spaces on wall for other use. So mostly people prefer this.

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