Dwell On This: Take Off Your Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Dwell On This: Take Off Your Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Welcome to the wonderful world of open shelving.
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At a Glance


  • Some basic tools will do the trick.


  • No need to purchase anything!


  • Removing cabinet doors doesn't take a lot of time, but you might need to spend a few hours organizing everything inside.

Every kitchen has a dirty secret or two, and more likely than not, you’ve been hiding them behind a cabinet door. The mismatched, chipped, and the hopelessly stained. Appliances used once or twice, then exiled, soon to be forgotten. The highest kitchen cabinets are the worst offenders, since we tend to store our least used items out of sight and out of mind. If you want to play an archeologist for the day, venture into the recesses of your highest cabinets, and get ready to be surprised.

The open-shelving kitchen trend has been criticized by vocal detractors (can it even be considered a trend this many years later?). But, frankly, they’re wrong. Kitchens with open shelving tend to be kept cleaner and more orderly because everything is left out in the open rather than hidden away.

Well...at least if you believe everything posted on Instagram.

Even if it is more fantasy than reality, removing a few cabinet doors offers an opportunity to refresh a kitchen’s form and function, only calling for a tablespoon of effort and a teaspoon of cost. The only tool you’ll require is a flathead screwdriver, along with the mettle to reorganize the kitchen to showcase, rather than hide, your best assets. If you identify as more of a peacock than pigeon, exposed kitchen cabinets also offer a ripe opportunity to introduce color with paint or wallpaper within.

And remember, removing kitchen cabinet doors doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair. In fact, it’s probably best to start out with just a single section where you already keep bowls and plates you regularly reach for, valuable cookbooks, and your most beloved coffee or tea preparation tools. Don’t be afraid to introduce items outside the cooking world into the mix, but treat them like saffron: a little goes a long way.  

Illustration by Sophia Yeshi

More Dwell On This:

Ditch Your Extraneous Kitchen Gadgets

Get Behind the Bidet

Don’t Be Shy—Paint Your Ceilings

Gregory Han
Co-author of Poketo's Creative Spaces: People, Homes, and Studios to Inspire Find me at @DesignMilk /// @Wirecutter /// @dwellmagazine /// @dominomag


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