Open Cabinetry

I get a lot of emails from folks asking me for my advice on open kitchen cabinets.

To remove the doors…or not to remove the doors.

That– is the question!

I think it’s really a matter of personal taste.

I, for one, happen to like the look.

I like it ahh-lawt…

To me, open cabinets aren’t a whole lot different than open bookcases.

Bookcases display books- open cabinets display dishes.

Here’s a photo of our cabinets that was taken back in October of ’07…


MAN there was a lot of doors on those things!

I suggested we remove some of them so that the room wouldn’t be quite as “door-ey”.

(Okay, fine. Besides loving the look, I also didn’t want to have to paint twenty four cabinet doors. Can you say “wrist fatigue”?)

Kevin was down with my idea, so we took the doors off the six upper cabinets on the left.

Why did we remove those particular doors, you ask?

Because if you’re going to remove some doors, you’ll probably want to display your prettiest pieces in the those cabinets, and conceal the “other stuff” in the ones that are closed, or that are closest to your stove and fridge.

Once you’ve figured out which ones you’re going to remove the doors from, you can decide if you want to add anything to them.

Here’s what we did…


Each piece of mirror was around ten bucks.
The “squishy shelf liner stuff” was about four bucks a roll.
And, for the record, the twelve little vintage wine glasses were SIX DOLLARS, not twelve.
(I don’t know why I said they were twelve. Silly rabbit.)

And, hey, as long as you don’t throw away the doors after you remove them, you can always put them back on if you decide you don’t dig the way it looks.

And remember,
decorative molding is your friend.
Use it, and no one will
ever know your cabinets had doors on them!

Unless you blog about it.



Think you can’t have open cabinets because it’s too dusty where you live? It’s dusty in Alabama too! (cough, cough) We use the dishes in our open cabinets every day though, so they usually don’t have time to grow sweaters. If something does happen to collect a little dust, we just give it a quick rinse before we use it.


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  1. says

    Hey Layla & Kevin! 😀

    omg … LOVE, LoVe, loooovvvve what you’ve done! … Looks amazing!!

    I have all my pretty dishes & glasses arranged pretty much the same way,
    mostly white, pink & yellows … although mine are still hidden behind doors! lol

    Have to say HEY!!! lol … the video was awesome & I really enjoyed the bloopers,
    thanks for the super-duper fantastic ideas & the laugh! You made my day!
    Hugs ~ Lynn – little cottage girl xo

  2. says

    You know I love love love it as well!! I don’t think I will ever go back to cabinet doors on my uppers 😉

  3. says

    Looove what you’ve done, my kitchen is the basic galley kitchen, and I’ve wanted to do the same thing. My real dilima is, that I had them refaced years ago, and they used formica a type material…ARGH! I worry the paint will scratch off. Yours is such an inspiration, it makes me want to dig right in! Thanks so much for sharing this project with us! The video is fabulous! Debbie @ Cottage Hann~Me~Downs

  4. Yevette LT says

    Your kitchen is beautiful !!!

    Removing those doors made your kitchen appear larger. The corbells take it to another level.

    Thank you everyday for sharing your wonderful ideas!

  5. says

    I was inspired to remove two doors today! I love it!!! What did you mean when you said decorative molding is your friend? Is there a different post with close up pics that I missed? Thanks!

  6. says

    I should clarify that where the after picture is supposed to be all I see is white, no picture. That’s probably why I asked the question…

  7. Tara says

    Where did you get the wall decor to the left of your cabinets (the three hanging slots). Love them and love everything about ykur kitchen.

    • Layla says

      You can find the herb crates by clicking on the red and gray Urban Farmhouse button in our sidebar! :-)

  8. says

    “HEY THERE!” lol … I just love your kitchen … I’d love to take off my cabinet doors, unfortunately mine are laminate which would make adding trim a bit tricky – booo – but maybe I could work around that. Love your blog.

    Suzy xxx

  9. Suzanne says

    Hey Layla and Kevin,

    Just going through the post. Don’t see the pics in the middle of what you did. Maybe it was taken out?

    Thanks a lot, love you guys.

  10. says

    I love the open cabinet look and was just thinking which door I’d take off when I kept reading and found your very useful advice on how you decided…which answered my question and sadly, since my kitchen is small, the wall with cabinets is the same with the stove and unless i get a super efficient hood I think my plates and other lovely items would start getting a bit greasy (note to self: need to learn to cook in the oven more!!)…and then comes the fact that i live in a HIGHLY seismic area…OK, so I dreamt of open cabinets for a few minutes… love your post and very useful info!!

  11. says

    HEY THERE- New follower from Catherine Elizabeth Creations! I stumbled upon your blog via Pinterest. I love your cabinets! They in no way look like there were ever doors on there you are absolutely right about that! I have been dying to do this to our kitchen at our new place but being a renter I am trying to figure out a way to do so! Looks great! And can you be any more adorable? I love the bloopers on your video! You guys remind me so much of me and my husband! I love real people like you! :)