When my husband and I renovated our former home, we completely gutted the kitchen (not a frivolous endeavor, but a necessity—it was a grungy, wood-paneled, 1970s nightmare). But instead of installing kitchen cupboards in every nook and cranny, we left the overhead space bare. Practically, it worked for us, as we were fortunate enough to have a large pantry and minimal kitchenware. And aesthetically, we loved it—the absence of overhead cabinets gave the space an open, airy, and serene look.
At the end of next month, we’ll be moving into our fifth “home” in less than a year (and another temporary one, at that). In our parade of apartments, sublets, and extended stay accommodations, I’ve lived with a variety of kitchens. They’ve invariably had an overhead bank of cabinets, which is starting to look ponderous, oppressive, and a bit tired to me. I’m once again craving a simple kitchen, with open shelving and the barest of necessities.
To see what I’m dreaming about, check out the photos in these links (and mentally subtract 75% of the stuff!):
Limiting kitchen storage space probably goes against every renovation, design, and real estate rule in the book. I love it nonetheless, and plan to do something similar the next time I own a home. Kitchen cupboards make it too easy to hide things (the freebie glasses, the extra plates, the tower of takeout containers you’ll never reuse). When your kitchenware is on display, it’s wonderful motivation to keep it to a minimum. :)
Here’s a few tips for making a cupboard-less kitchen work:
1. Pare down to the stuff you love. If you have open shelving, you’ll be looking at your plates, cups, and glasses all the time—better make sure they make you smile! It’s a great excuse to get rid of that ugly dinnerware you inherited from Aunt Edna.
2. Group similar items together. It’s an elegant and visually-appealing way to display collections, and works just as well with your kitchenware. A stack of white plates, or line of simple glassware, can look quite elegant.
3. Have a place for everything, and return everything to its place. This simple strategy will keep things looking neat and organized, with minimum effort.
4. Use mason jars for foodstuffs and supplies. Pasta, beans, rice, and tea bags look much lovelier in glass containers than supermarket packaging.
5. Keep only what you use. When your kitchen storage is open, seldom-used items will surely acquire a layer of dust. On the upside, this will certainly make you mindful of what you need, and what you can do without!
If you’ve edited down to a minimalist kitchen, ditching the overhead cabinets is a wonderful way to lighten and brighten your space—as well as show off your fabulous decluttering skills. It also keeps you honest, and provides a powerful disincentive to acquiring non-necessities in the future.
Anyone else smitten with a cupboard-less kitchen?