Kitchen Design: Shelving vs. Cabinets?

There are tons of decisions you need to make when you undertake a project to redesign or remodel your kitchen. Among the biggest is whether you even need to do a full remodel. Sometimes, just refacing your storage areas can make all the difference in the world.

This brings us to a big choice you’ll need to make: Should you go with traditional kitchen cabinets or a more modern, open-shelving design? Let’s examine the differences between open shelving vs. cabinets for your new kitchen design scheme so you can make the best choice for your project.

Open Shelving: Benefits and Drawbacks

Open shelving is a more modern approach to kitchen design that offers a clean, spacious look to your kitchen as well as instant access to whatever you store there. Perhaps the biggest benefit of shelves over cabinets is that your kitchen will look bigger and more open. If you have a lot of items that you reach for on a regular basis, open shelves will allow for easy access. Shelves can also be used as an additional decorative space.

On the downside, shelving storage has to be neatly maintained all the time. Otherwise, stacked items are going to make the space look cluttered. You’ll also need to dust your shelving periodically to keep up appearances. If that’s not an issue for you, then shelves are a great option.

Classic Cabinets: Upsides and Downsides

Cabinets, on the other hand, reflect a classic and traditional design. They are timeless and never go out of style. They provide tons of storage, and as long as you can get the doors shut, they don’t make your kitchen look crowded or busy. They’re minimalist and ultimately customizable — you can choose a wide range of facing and hardware for them.

This can also be part of the downside to cabinets, however. Depending on the materials and design you choose, cabinets can get more expensive than open shelves. They also take up more space than shelves and can make the space look a bit smaller. Cabinets’ ample storage and timeless appeal, however, offset these drawbacks somewhat.

Shelving vs. Cabinets: Try a Combination

Many people choose to go with a combination of shelves and cabinets, which for many is the ideal solution. You get the storage capacity and customizability of cabinets combined with the openness and decorative potential of open shelves.

Each serves their own purpose, and having both cabinets and shelves allows you the best of both worlds. You can place your regularly used items or decorative pieces on shelves where they’ll always be visible and easy to grab, while less-often-used items and a wealth of pots, pans and the like can be stored inside cabinets.

If you’re having a hard time choosing between shelves and cabinets, Kitchen Solvers is here to help. We are passionate about helping homeowners make the right choices for their kitchen design. Also be sure to check out our blog, Open Shelving vs. Traditional Cabinets: Which Is Right for Your Kitchen? and check out our guides on shelving vs. cabinets, then visit one of our showrooms to get started today!