Removing cabinet doors

I have to admit, I have never been a fan of this look.  I always thought it looked as if the doors were taken off as an easy way of NOT doing demo and putting up shelves.  BUT more and more i am warming to this trend.

I mean if its good enough for Sally Wheat (below) and EmersonMade (above)…maybe i should reconsider;;

And this below is amazing from

So now I am going to show y’all my kitchen and what I am thinking…

Recentlly, I reworked my shelves and finally got rid of my mish mash of colorful college dishes It’s about time since I am 36! 

Now that it looks prettier i dont mind it being open.  I am also over the hardware on the doors, and never painted the inside of the doors..taking them off would solve a lot of problems.

Yes that is my kitchen with trash on the counter!

I think I am over the fork, knife and spoon hardware on the doors but i thought they were brillaint 12 years ago (and honestly i still think they are sorta cute;;)

Notice how i took the doors to the glass place BEFORE i painted the backs..uh hello Holly once you have glass in a door you cant paint it from that side..what can i say, i was in my 20s when i did this project.  no offense to you twenty year olds but i was beyond impatient to get this done..its always bugged me. Another reason to take the door off..i also think the glass has a tint and isnt clear clear???

But i think it might look a little funny to have open on one side of the gallery and then all closed on the stove side…

I would have to do something above the stove to balance..shelf? But it would get gross!

When I mentioned to my husband he just shook his head and didn’t even say anything. Poor guy.

I love this look  below, this might work over my stove, except i use it an need a vent hood..perhaps i could put a shelf above the future hood!

via the Green Street Blog

Notice how the brilliant Sarah Richardson built her shelves to look more cabinet-ish..

Sarah Richardson Design

There are a zillion wonderful images out there of gorgeous kitchens with open shelves whether they are new shelving or the doors were simply removed…what do YOU think? Have you removed your doors? loved it or hated it? Just a fad you think or a new classic?!

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. Another timely post from you Miss Holly! I too have always been indifferent about removing cabinet doors…..but just before we moved back to the west coast I was at a friends home in Minnesota and was inspired by her open shelves in her butler’s pantry and knew I could do something similar in the kitchen of our new house – heck, we were already painting the perfectly good maple {yuck!} BM White Dove, why not ask my contractor of ‘tweak’ one of the cabinets. I bet you can guess the reaction from my contractor….something along the lines of “you want to do what?!”…..but when I showed him photos he got it.

    I ended up removing the doors of one set of cabinets, backed them in bead board then added spindle plate racks on the lowest shelf so I can just slide a BUNCH of white plates – such easy access for my kiddos! We have just been in the house a little over 2 months and I have struggled with what I have in those cabinets? YES! But would I change anything? NO! I feel like it has made my kitchen more ‘me’.

    Oh, and for hardware, I did antiqued brass, yep I did! From Restoration Hardware and I love it!

    Unfortunately, I have not blogged about my kitchen yet – too busy with kiddos this summer. But soon…. Let me know if you would like to see a picture. BTW – my contractor charged me an extra $150 for the bead board and plate spindle inserts.

    Go for it!

  2. I love the look, too, Holly. In fact, my idea notebook for my someday dream kitchen is full of pics just like you posted-white cabinets, open shelving, white dishes. So far, I have the white dishes! I am no designer, but I don’t think you would necessarily have to balance out the other side with open shelves.

  3. kelly in georgia says

    I love your glass front doors, but the open look is good, and I definitely think it updates your kitchen. I took the doors off of only 2 of my upper cabinets and love it. I have glass doors in 2 other areas, and the rest are solid wood. Guess I must like a mix! I love how you have styled your cabinets, and I say go for it. The one thing I do worry about is “open above the stove”. As far as symmetry goes, that would be the perfect place, but I know that the area above my stove gets dirty with steam and grease from cooking…so the practical side of me says just be sure it is something that can handle getting dirty.
    Hope this helps!

  4. I love this look Holly! Your kitchen is beautiful!

    My husband and I were toying with the idea of open shelving and could never commit so we decided to first take of the doors just to see if we would like it. We are keeping it this way now and love the accessibility we have to our everyday dishes/glasses. I painted the back the same as the wall color for contrast to the white dishes. My favorite part is it didn’t cost a dime 🙂


  5. I think you should go for it! I would not worry about the cabinets by the stove, I would keep the doors on the cabinets on that side. One thing I would suggest (in my humble opinion) is removing the curvy wood detail above the sink. I think by removing that it will modernize your kitchen a great bit! Can’t wait to see what you do!!

  6. I love the look. I have been collecting post 86 Fiestaware for 10 years. It would be a great display opportunity. We are moving in September, and some of the military housing in that area has those awful laminate 80s cabinets. Maybe I can remove those doors and skirt the bottom cabinets or something?

  7. Honestly, I think you have the best of both worlds with your glass doors. The open shelving is pretty, but I think it is dirtier. You are going to get dust in any house, and a kitchen gets more grime than some rooms (depending I guess on the amount/type of cooking you do). I personally think it would be hard to keep dishes clean – or at the very least, not dusty with the open shelving.

  8. Looks good, Holly! I don’t mind the open on that side and closed on the other … maybe it’s ’cause I’m not standing in your kitchen … but I don’t think it’s bad. I actually really LOVE all those cabinets around your stove. Very unique-looking.

    I was dying laughing at you talking about your impatient, 20-something self … haha, so have those projects myself… Too funny…

    THe tureen you have (in the cabinet above the trash on the counter — haha- again, your making me laugh), I have the creamer and sugar bowl to match it.

    Now I have to go find some more of the Sarah Richardson kitchen … Very pretty…

  9. I’m with Tina. It’s more work to keep everything clean esp since your shelves will be directly across from your stove top.

  10. I love the look of open shelves…in other people’s houses! I could never pull it off in my own house. I feel like removing my doors would require me to be the one who puts all the dishes away (so they looked pretty) and frankly I’m not willing to accept that position. But aesthetically it is beautiful!

  11. I personally like the way it looks. When we redid our kitchen I really wanted to remove ours and my husband was so adamant against it, it started an argument! I instead went with the glass front hutch and I love the open look. It’s really easy to keep organized and looks so clean. I think if you just kept your doors if you ever changed your mind, you could just plop them right back on. Go for it!!!! 🙂

  12. I think the “no doors” would give your kitchen some “contemporary” flare. I also don’t feel like the closed cabinets on the opposite side would look bad together.

  13. i redid our kitchen 6 years ago and i wish i’d thought of no doors then! i might have to wait a bit before i take a few off, not sure my husband would like it! i’m sure whatever you decide it’ll look great, your kitchen is really pretty already!

  14. i’ve considered this but have always chickened out. i’ve always worried about the dishes and glasses looking dusty. love the look soooo much though! your dishes look great. love the latte bowls. anthro?

    ashley @ hookedonhickory

  15. I removed the doors from my largest cupboard 2 years ago and never looked back.
    We did finish it out with moulding and brackets.
    It holds every day glasses and “special” ones on top.
    The daily ones get used so much, I never worry about dust or grime.
    The special ones, I always washed before using anyway, so for me, it is the same work.

    Looks like you are ripe to try it!


  16. The look of open shelving is so pretty and you can do so much with the background and with styling the dishes. The photos of french and british kitchens with their open shelves and a jumble of dishes is So Charming. But, I am so practical and know that I do not want to deal with any additional cleaning. So I have mostly closed doors and some glass doors. I have to wipe down the doors of my white cabinets – dust collects on the little ridges – so I know that dust would be on everything inside were the door not there.

  17. I think it’s a great look. We have an open shelf thing-y that comes off the ceiling in our kitchen that I thought I would remove right after we moved in – but I really love it. I like having my colorful dishes on display. It does get dusty quicker…but it’s not a big deal.
    I think your kitchen will look amazing! xo

  18. Janice Ratliff says

    I’m still trying to get used to the “no door’s look. Recently sold a home that was fabulous. she has painted the cabinets black and had all white dishes. So pretty. It made me think, if we have them open like that we are less likely to accumulate clutter…….so maybe after all, I think they are a great idea!

  19. I really love all of these kitchens! We made some changes to our generic kitchen and one of them was adding an open cabinet-style shelf. My husband built it, and it was actually a fairly easy project (i think) because he didn’t need to build a door on it. I actually just posted a link on our blog to our budget kitchen makeover this morning. xoxo

  20. I think you certainly could have open on one side and closed on the other. It would be too busy to have it open on both and I love those closed cupboards on the left… the trend is so alluring…but I think I’ll keep cupboards in tact for now. 🙂

  21. Whatever you put your talented, creative self to will be perfect, but I’m a fan of doors and like your part glass, part solid door combo in your kitchen. When open shelving is well styled, ai think it looks awesome, but then the realist in me kicks it into high gear…dust, grease, chaos, husband and kidsd who try to help put dishes away. That’s just how my brain works.

    Thought of you today and the way we met when I wrote my post today. Such a God thing!


  22. Love the look! I’m thinking about that in my own kitchen!! I did notice your platters over the stove, I just bought one from Pottery Barn and now am not sure about hanging it! It’s 15 X 19 inches and weighs almost 10 lbs! All the hangers say 7 lbs max! Any suggestions? I love the platter and would love to have it displayed!

  23. So funny! Like you, at first, I could not understand the fad…and I really wondered about how long it would last. I also thought about dust. I hate dust. Then I started looking at my own cabinets and wanting to remove the doors. My husband just shook his head too. I keep brining it up now and then. I mean, really what is the big deal…you can always put the doors back on easily, right? He is afraid he won’t get them back on correctly. Anyway I posted about this in March but still have not done anything…

    Would love your opinion on mine too!!! I do think it is a passing trend but isn’t all decorating?

  24. Holly, we love this look and think open kitchen shelving can be very timeless. Yes, it would be harder to keep clean but such a lovely look. We probably would remove the doors on two cabinets flanking the sink first and see how it looks. The symmetry on either side of the sink would look nice. We would leave the cabinet doors on the side with the stove. Can’t wait to see what you decide. Hope your having a great week! Angela and Renee

  25. lee ashley says

    Hi Holly…when I moved into my condo almost ALL of the cabinet doors had been removed. All that remains are the pantry doors and the 2 doors over my stove/hood. I have to say, I had fun “styling” my shelves and even buying extra baskets/glassware to fill them in, and I haven’t looked back. Things don’t really get dirty (as you’d expect) and it really is user-friendly in terms of getting dishes out/putting them away/etc. I would say go for it. 🙂

  26. Holly,

    I love your glass doors. I think it blends so well w/ your house. Your kitchen is so lovely!! I know whatever you decide it will look beautiful. I love your floors too!!

  27. I removed the cupboard doors and added beadboard to the back of my cupboards at my old home about 8 years ago. I personally think it is a classic look. It made me keep only things I used and it is really easy find what you need. I found it both practical and pretty. Save the doors though in case you sell the house. That’s the mistake I made; the next owners did not want the open look. Oops!

  28. Personally, I would not want open shelving; I can’t stand the dust and grime- I don’t even leave utensils out on the countertop. But I can appreciate the look in others’ homes! Looking forward to seeing your decisions!

  29. I love having no doors on my cabinets in my kitchen!! Dust & grime is never a problem at all! I only took off the doors to the cabinets flanking the stove. The other cabinets still have their doors. I get compliments all of the time on the look. I definitely like your kitchen better with the doors off. It opens it up & shows off your pretty white dishes! I say go for it!

  30. I love the look of open shelving in the kitchen. Especially if you have a collection of similar, coordinated, pretty items to look at. But because I live with a all boys I know they couldn’t keep it tidy and I would just add it to the list of things that make me crazy! 🙂

    PS ~ I love that you had “trash” on the kitchen counter….relieves some of the blog pressure to be perfect. Thank You for that!

  31. I took mine off about 8 months ago (they didn’t close and it was driving me CRAZY) and I “wallpapered” the back walls inside with a roll of wrapping paper from Target. My intention has always been to replace the doors, but I must say, life sure is easy without them!

  32. Holly- You know if you remove the forks and spoons your children will be upset. That is now part of their childhood (in their eyes). Mine do not care much for change. I can’t even relocate the Christmas tree from year to year. I have a black and white floor in my kitchen, too (from 11 years ago) – but I still like it.

  33. I’ve only done this once with a cabinet over our microwave when we were shifting things around. I displayed antique mixing bowls up there and loved the look. Didn’t love the slightly greasy film they acquired even with our heavy duty vent and so I probably wouldn’t have open shelves for glassware unless I wanted to wash everything before using it. 🙂

  34. I have been contemplating removing our cabinet doors on a few cabinets in our kitchen and you just pushed me over the edge with this post! Looks like I have a project for the weekend!

  35. Although I am hardly qualified to give an opinion I really really love this look. It looks fresh and clean and I love it. if you decide to do it please make sure to share with us!!

  36. love your kitchen as is, but totally digging some open shelving.
    whatever you do, I’m sure it will be todiefor.

  37. I had the same thoughts as you did, Holly. I liked the idea of open shelving, but thought if I took the doors off mine it would look cheap. I also thought:
    1. It will be too dusty.
    2. My stuff isn’t coordinated enough.
    3. I’m going to have to be clean ALL THE TIME.

    Turns out, none of that was true, and my cabinet doors have been retired to the basement. It saves time when cooking and adds a cottage feel in my 1940’s home. Thanks for being honest about your reservations!

  38. I’ve got a bit bored with the co-ordinated fitted look, and I love the look of open shelving in the kitchen. I have cookery books and ornamental plates and dishes on my shelves, but prefer to keep glass behind doors. I find a combination works well.

  39. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long, long time – my cabinet doors are wonky, have never closed well and date to the 50s if not the 40s. Since I can’t even afford an IKEA kitchen, I’m taking the doors off of some of the cabinets as we speak! I’m going to paint the inside a bold red to match the wall in my nook, and the sides white to match the cabinets. I figure I can always do a fun wallpaper someday in the back too. I had organized my kitchen cabinets months ago and am just now getting to be able to enjoy how neat they are! (I will say, 50+ yrs of paint is NOT easy to remove from old hinges. Those screws are the bane of my existence…)

  40. It’s an awesome piece of writing designed for all the online users; they will
    get benefit from it I am sure.


  1. […] not, though, here’s another idea: take off the doors. It’s kind of a radical idea, but in many kitchens it’s going to change the whole personality. […]

Leave a Comment