Choosing Between Open Shelving or Upper Cabinets

Remodeling your kitchen can be an exciting time. It can also be a time of major decisions. The type of cabinets you choose is something that will be with you for years to come. If you are considering having open shelving or open cabinets, here are a few ideas about both.

Open Shelving: Pros and Cons

Open shelving has become a popular trend in recent years.


There can be certain advantages to using the open shelving concept beyond your personal taste.

Great For Small Kitchens

Open shelving gives the sense of more space. You still have storage space, without the bulk of the cabinets.

Easy Access

You can place all the items you use all the time handy to where you use them. It’s easy to find everything out in the open and easy to put away.

Looks Cool

You can display certain items you want, colored glass, bottles, or arrange dishes by color or size. It allows you to get artsy with your dishes, pots, and pans, or other kitchen items.


Not everyone will be sold on using open shelving.

Looks Cluttered

For those with limited space, the shelves will likely get full very quickly. This can give the appearance of your kitchen being cluttered and messy. In particular, if you are storing cereal boxes, stained or damaged dishes or pans, it can be overwhelming.

If you have to store food items, it can start to look like a grocery store, rather than a kitchen. It might mean having to display certain food items that are your guilty pleasure that you don’t want everyone to know about.

Harder to Keep Clean

Shelves will gather dust, as will the items sitting on them. It can be a lot of work to have to remove the dust, grease, and grime that will settle there. It might mean removing everything every other week or so to clean everything just to clean it.

No Protection

Stacking your grandmother’s wedding dishes on an open shelf might look great but they are very vulnerable there. A strong breeze, someone slams a door, a kid doing their kid-like things, or any number of accidents can make a holy mess of them in no time at all.

Upper Cabinets

The more traditional way to go, the upper cabinets may have some other their own pros and cons.


For most people, there are no real downsides to having cabinets in your kitchen.

Better Storage Space

The upper cabinets allow you to get everything you have to be stored neatly away. This cuts down on the clutter and makes everything look neat and streamline.

Cans, bottles, glasses, and smaller appliances can be stored away. If left out, they need to be cleaned more regularly and take up a lot of counter space.

Custom Options

While open shelving may help with space concerns, custom cabinets will take that to the next level. You can have any color, type of wood, the types of handles and hinges, and your own choice of style.


No one really hates their cabinets unless they are rather shabby and worn down.


Cabinets cost more than simple shelving but they also provide so much more.


Large cabinets take up a lot more space, and that can be a problem if you don’t have much.

Custom Cabinets

You could always consider one wall with just shelving, as more of a statement and artistic flair.

Contact Custom Cabinets by Lawrence and find out what they can do to make your kitchen look and function perfectly.

Schedule a Consultation

Call (913) 208-9797