How (and Why) to Combine Open Shelves and Cabinets in Your Kitchen

A designer and her builder husband opt for 2 styles of storage. She offers advice, how-tos and cost info.

Houzz Contributor,  Lyndsye Felsman

I’ve encouraged clients and friends to step out of the box of traditional kitchen cabinets and try something different. I’ve offered suggestions such as bold cabinet colors, contrasting shades and a minimalist option: open shelving. It was time to put my money where my mouth was and mix it up in my own kitchen.

 Note: These photos are examples of different styles of cabinets. See the writer’s actual kitchen at the end.

Why I Was Drawn to 2 Styles

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be hard, but I had decided that during this remodel, I’d be open to a new look for me and my family.

During the planning stage, I realized that installing two styles of cabinetry would work in my kitchen, so I kept an open mind to the idea, and especially to open shelves.

I liked the fact that open shelves could add depth to my kitchen and provide a display space for my pretty dishes that I love so much. It brings me joy to stage items around the home, so while I realize that open shelves aren’t for everyone, I knew that I would enjoy them. I’m a designer and home stager, so I enjoy rearranging things, including those pretty dishes. Plus, I could also store other everyday items in a handy place for my busy family. 

Budget Matters

To keep costs low, my husband (a builder) and I did the cabinet work ourselves, from installing the open shelves to painting the existing cabinets. It’s definitely something you can learn to do if you have the time and patience. 

Open shelves: We built and installed our own open shelves, as I mentioned. This was cost-effective because the bill included only the cost of the wood, stain and urethane finish. If the DIY approach isn’t for you, find a cabinet professional in your area who can help you with shelves or any other type of kitchen cabinetry project. 

 
 

Sharon is the Digital Content Specialist for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. She lives in New Jersey and holds a BA from Syracuse University. She is passionate about giving back to the community and enjoys teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at the local Boys & Girls Club. She loves pun-ny jokes and she can watch adorable videos of puppies and babies all day.

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