The Trick to Organizing a Kitchen with Glass Front Cabinets
If you are fortunate enough to have glass-front cabinets, what you keep inside them should reflect the look you’ve chosen for your kitchen.
By Lea Schneider
I’m personally only on my seventh kitchen, but as a professional organizer, I’ve helped move into kitchens too many times to count and it is still one of my favorite things to do. Even if we’re just organizing or remodeling, everything comes out of the cabinets and goes back in, much like a move.
The possibilities for arrangement are endless. They are often like an intricate puzzle where you want all the pieces to fit, but you also want them to be in the most useful location. Glass-front cabinets are a real treat to organize. Instead of just being utilitarian and holding the necessary supplies, they become art. Sometimes, they even become the focal point of the kitchen.
Glass Cabinet Doors Are Naturally Neat
Occasionally, someone will be daunted by the idea of glass-front cabinets. “I’m so busy. I’m just not neat,” they will say, but you don’t have to be a super neat-nik to have great looking glass-fronts. They actually help you stay tidy. Choosing items that are naturally neat without effort, such as stacks of dinner plates or rows of pretty drinking glasses, will help. The items are both useful and pretty on their own. It won’t take any special effort on your part.
There are a number of themes you can use in glass fronts. You’ll want to have a plan for them so as you sort and organize your belongings, you can set aside the things you want on display.
You almost can’t go wrong by choosing white dinnerware. Rows of coffee cups, bowls and stacks of plates look pretty on their own. Display larger pieces such as white trays, serving bowls, lidded casseroles or creamer and sugar bowls. Line up clear glasses. They sparkle when the cabinet light shines through them.
Glass-front cabinets are the perfect spot to show off the treasurers you’ve acquired over the years, such as great-grandmother’s Depression glass or your mom’s favorite pottery vase she gave to you.
Choose dishes that are in the same color family. In this case, soft pastels create a pleasing-to-the eye scene. Mix in some white so your favorite colored pieces stand out with a splash.
Homes with an open floor plan may have fewer walls to support big pieces of furniture. You might not have a spot for a china cabinet, but you can use glass-front cabinets to hold and display your lovely wedding china. Use plate stands to keep a few of the plates upright and arrange the rest in varying heights.
Don’t Be Afraid
Utilitarian items, like this shiny, bright red mixer, can look great behind glass when paired with serving dishes and a pretty green salad bowl. Don’t be afraid to organize things you actually use into glass-front cabinets.
Some of our prettiest things often remain hidden behind doors. Some of the ones that come to mind are cookbooks with covers of fabulous art, stainless steel appliances, gelatin molds and beautiful serving trays.
Even pantry items can look great in glass-front cabinets. Sugar, flour and coffee in pretty canisters are a perfect item to display. If your cabinets have frosted glass, you’ll get a hint of bright colors from food labels.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for working with your glass-front cabinets:
- Since they are so visible, be sure they are clean. Wipe them down. Shine the glass inside and out.
- Line the bottom shelf with a clear plastic shelf liner to protect the wood floor of your cabinet. Since the wood will always be visible, you don’t want it marred with water rings from damp glasses. This way, the color of your wood or paint will show through, but won’t be harmed. It also won’t be distracting like patterned shelf paper and is easy to clean. You don’t need any shelf liner on the upper glass shelves, because they are already easily cleanable with a squirt of glass cleaner.
- Place items you seldom use but want to keep, such as a beautiful teapot or company-size salad bowl, on the top shelf that is hard to reach.
- As you arrange items in your cabinets, close the doors and stand back to check item placement. You may want to shift items to the left or the right, rather than dead center, as they will be blocked by where the two doors meet.
- Aim for a mix of vertical and horizontal items. For example, you can stand some cookbooks like you would on a bookshelf and lay others down in a stack to show the fun titles. You can also stack plates, but put a few in plate stands to be upright.
All it takes is a little creativity to style your glass-front cabinets. Whether you use them to store dishware or small appliances, they’re an easy way to bring color and interest to your kitchen.
Home organizational expert Lea Schneider has been helping homeowners organize their living spaces for many years. Lea has a particular fondness for kitchens, both her own and those of her clients. She writes on kitchens and kitchen cabinets online for The Home Depot. To research many styles of cabinets, you can visit Home Depot online.