7 Simple But Genius Alternatives to Kitchen Cabinets

—Sara Carpenter

If you’re looking to give your kitchen a facelift, look no further than the cabinets. Whether they store food, plates, appliances, or all three, cabinets often take up the majority of the real estate in the kitchen, both physically and visually. This means that your cabinets may be the most important decision you’ll make in decorating your kitchen—up there with the few other big-ticket necessities like the refrigerator and oven. So why not look for storage that sets your kitchen apart from the rest? Here, 7 alternatives that will keep feeling fresh and new, whether you’re sitting down to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.



Open Shelving
Best suited to organized minimalists who own coordinated or matching dishes, open shelving can help create an accessible kitchen atmosphere. Be sure shelves are securely hung—the last thing you want is to have to replace a whole set of broken dishes.

Related: 11 Reasons Metal Shelving Isn’t Just for Your Garage


Photo: freshome.com

Crates Repurposed as Drawers
Reuse vintage wooden shipping containers or farm cabinetry to create a warm and rustic kitchen. Enhance the look by using old fruit crates to organize items on the shelves.

Related: 11 Ways to Use Salvaged Wood in Your Home


Photo: countryliving.com

If you’re organized, but your dishes aren’t necessarily all worthy of display, open shelving is still an option. Use baskets to organize any items that might be an eyesore, along with foodstuffs that you want to keep handy but hidden.

Related: Basket Cases—13 Convenient Catchalls for Every Room


Photo: homedecorationadvice.blogspot.com

Vintage Lockers
Seemingly straight out of high school, repurposed lockers add industrial-style storage to this kitchen. Do you have a problem keeping snacks out of your children’s hands between meals? Just lock up the treats!

Related: Recipe for Success: 10 Easy Kitchen Storage Hacks


Photo: garrisonhullinger.com

Frosted Glass Doors
If you aren’t ready to commit to maintaining attractively organized shelves, an open shelving system outfitted with frosted glass sliding doors will let you get by with a little clutter. While some sections will be on display, plenty can remain artfully hidden.

Related: 16 Gorgeous Galley Kitchens


Photo: thekitchn.com

Hanging Boxes as Shelves
A collection of varied vintage wooden and metal boxes can be combined to create an unusual array of “cabinets” that pairs well with an otherwise understated kitchen. Containers of similar proportions help to pull this look off.

Related: Get Organized—25 Clever Ideas for Repurposed Storage


Photo: idealhomegarden.com

Modern Steel-Cut
A clean and modern look in the kitchen is pretty common, but laser-cut steel doors aren’t the usual way the look is achieved. If you go the steel-cut route, we recommend a simple pattern so your cabinets don’t appear too trendy.

Related: How To Clean Stainless Steel

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