Closed cabinets vs open shelves

Often referred to as the center of the house, the kitchen is a multipurpose area where families congregate and culinary wonders are brought to life. The decisions made in the vast fabric of kitchen design add considerably to the overall ambiance and beauty in addition to being purely functional.

The age-old question of closed cabinets vs open shelves is at the center of this decision-making process. In this investigation, we seek to disentangle the complexities of kitchen design, highlighting the significant influence of selecting closed cabinets versus open shelves.

Closed Cabinets

Closed cabinets are enclosed storage units that usually have sliding or hinged doors. They are made to hide the items inside, giving the kitchen a tidy and well-organized appearance. There are several varieties of closed cabinets, such as wall-mounted, base, and tall cabinets.

Wall-mounted cabinets are perfect for keeping dishes and pantry goods because they are fastened to the wall. Base cabinets are perfect for hiding bulkier goods and providing support for surfaces. 

Conversely, tall cabinets are vertically extended cabinets that are frequently utilized as integrated extensions of appliances like refrigerators or for pantry storage. Because they are available in a variety of forms, finishes, and materials, closed cabinets are renowned for their adaptability and let homeowners personalize their kitchen storage to suit their tastes.

Types of Closed Cabinets

  • Wall-mounted cabinets: Dishes, spices, and pantry goods are frequently stored in these space-saving solutions, which keep necessities close at hand while still looking elegant.
  • Base cabinets: Base cabinets provide surfaces with the support they need and provide plenty of hidden storage that’s perfect for pots, pans, and larger equipment.
  • Tall cabinets: These towering cabinets, which are a powerful storage option, look smooth and integrated when used as an extension of the refrigerator or to hold pantry goods.

Advantages of Closed Cabinets 

  • Clutter concealment: The pinnacle of organization, closed cabinets hide kitchen necessities behind chic doors to provide a tidy and uncluttered look.
  • Protection from dust and grease: Closed cabinets shield your priceless possessions from grease, dust, and other kitchen elements and prevent damage.
  • Design versatility: Closet cabinets can be infinitely customized to match a wide range of design tastes because they are available in a limitless variety of styles, finishes, and materials.

Disadvantages of Closed Cabinets 

  • Limited display options: Closed cabinets keep a spotless appearance, but they also make carefully chosen kitchenware and décor less visible.
  • Potential closed-off feel: Many closed cabinets might give the impression that a kitchen is cramped and smaller than it is.
  • Maintenance challenges: Frequent cleaning adds another level of upkeep to the kitchen routine by preventing the accumulation of dust and oil.
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Open Shelves

As the name implies, open shelves are storage areas devoid of covers or doors. These shelves offer an accessible and aesthetically open storage option, usually installed on walls or supported by brackets. There are several varieties of open shelves, such as built-in shelving units, floating shelves, and shelves supported by brackets.

Floating shelves have a sleek, contemporary appearance because they are fixed straight to the wall. Bracket-supported shelves provide a balance between support and openness by using brackets for stability. Custom-designed built-in shelving units offer a unified and unique storage solution by blending in seamlessly with the kitchen.

Because they make it easy for people to reach and display objects, open shelves are appreciated for their accessibility. By displaying cookware, they help enhance the kitchen’s aesthetic appeal by giving it personality and flair. However,, compared to locked cabinets, open shelves might need more organizational discipline because their contents are more visible and exposed, and they could also collect dust more easily.

Types of Open Shelves

  • Floating shelves: These remarkably contemporary shelves mount straight to the wall, giving the display of cookware a minimalist touch while also generating an open and spacious atmosphere.
  • Bracket-supported shelves: Bracket-supported shelves, a balanced combination of firmness and openness, provide an alternative to the robustness of closed cabinets and the sleekness of floating shelves.
  • Built-in units: Built-in shelf units give your kitchen a unique and well-organized appearance while showcasing your personality through carefully chosen displays. They are custom-made to fit into your space smoothly.

Advantages of Open Shelves

  • Accessibility and organization: Accessibility is enhanced with open shelves, which make it easier to find and get products while maintaining a neat and orderly appearance.
  • Aesthetic appeal and visual interest: Open shelving has a natural aesthetic appeal since it allows you to display your most treasured kitchenware, giving your kitchen personality and flair.
  • Space perception and brightness: Open shelves give the impression of greater room, which makes the kitchen feel lighter and cozier.
  • Disadvantages
  • Dust accumulation and cleaning: Because open shelves are more likely to collect dust, you should regularly maintain them to keep your displays spotless.
  • Limited privacy for storage: Compared to closed cabinets, open shelves provide less privacy because everything is on full display.
  • Organizational discipline needed: It takes careful planning, organizing, and curation to make open shelves appear neat and appealing.
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Considerations for Choosing Cabinets

  • Lifestyle and cooking habits: Start by assessing how your kitchen is used regularly. Do you have a lot of kitchenware and are a passionate cook, or do you want things simpler?
  • Kitchen size and layout: The practicality of either closed cabinets or open shelves depends heavily on the dimensions and design of your kitchen. While bigger kitchens may accommodate the storage provided by closed cabinets, smaller kitchens benefit more from the openness of shelving.
  • Design preferences and aesthetics: Think about your taste and your home’s overall design concept. While open shelves can add to a modern, eclectic, or farmhouse-inspired look, closed cabinets may go better with a more classic or minimalist style.
  • Storage needs and organization priorities: Determine which things require storing and think about your preferred method of arrangement. Closed cabinets give hidden storage, while open shelves let you show off your carefully chosen items.

Decision-Making Tips for Cabinets

  • Combining closed cabinets and open shelves: You can benefit from the best aspects of both alternatives if you can strike a balance between them. For practical storage, use closed cabinets; for ornamental and often-used goods, use open shelves.
  • Material and finish selection: Make sure the materials and finishes you choose complement your overall design. While open shelves might include materials like reclaimed wood, metal, or glass for added visual flair, closed cabinets offer a variety of possibilities, from slick laminates to natural wood.
  • Personalizing storage solutions: Make decisions that are specific to the demands of the organization. For simple access, think about adding pull-out shelves to closed cabinets. Alternatively, mix and match materials to add a customized look.


The choice between open shelves and closed cabinets in the ever-evolving realm of kitchen design is a personal one that is closely tied to your rhythms of lifestyle and sense of taste. The secret is to strike a harmonious balance that showcases your style and improves the focal point of your house. Each solution has pros and cons of its own.

Allow your uniqueness to come through as you go out on the thrilling adventure to create your culinary sanctuary. Let your kitchen be a true expression of your likes, preferences, and the warmth that defines the center of your home, whether you go for the understated elegance of closed cabinets or the carefully considered openness of open shelves. I hope your culinary travels bring you as much joy as the kitchen you design.

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