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Opinions About Cabinets Without Doors

Recently, while browsing through a kitchen cabinet design magazine, I noticed many cabinets that did not have doors. In just about every instance I thought; “that looks unnatural, unorganized and UGLY.” Why would anyone want a dominant unfinished look to their design? There’s nothing attractive about seeing the Cambell’s Soup cans and pickle jars on display all over the kitchen.

One set of cupboards I witnessed was made so that “none” of the uppers had doors on them. To make things worse the cabinets were four different colors,. Could somebody please tell me what people are thinking these days. It’s almost like they are thinking; “the more extreme I can make my kitchen the better.” This could not be further from the truth. I mean, if you want your kitchen to look like the backside of a bar, then go right ahead and leave the doors off.

Cluttered CabinetsCreating a cabinet set that has a unique flavor can be done without over bending the rules. Open cabinetry should always be used in moderation in your cabinet designs.

Here’s another thing I saw in the design book. Someone had designed an entire island that was eight feet long and installed all base cabinets having roll-out shelves and “NO” doors. It had the most unfinished appearance I think I’d ever seen in a kitchen that was completely done. Literally, it looked like the cabinet company either got fired or the installer just walked off of the job and never returned.

Honestly, who wants to see your pots, pans, cereal boxes, bags of sugar and flower on display? Even if you are showing off a lot of fine crystal and china, to not have doors on the kitchen cupboards is NOT acceptable in my design book. I don’t care how much the display is worth, it makes things look too cluttered and messy.

unorganized looking cabinetsCabinets without doors should be used in your kitchen design sparingly. Having one or two cupboards without doors is really plenty in my opinion.

The standard styles of kitchen cabinets without doors are:

  • Wine rack cupboards
  • Book shelves
  • Glass shelf cabinets with puck lights
  • Plate display cabinetry

Now, please don’t misunderstand me! I am not talking about glass door cabinet designs. Cupboards designed this way have a more formal appearance than no doors at all. Glass door cabinets are OK in my book! I’ve seen entire kitchens with all of the upper cabinets designed with mullion (picture frame panes) cabinet doors. A little too much in my opinion, but more attractive than a bunch of cabinets without doors.
My opinions have been formed through manufacturing, designing and installing cupboards for the past thirty years.

Where do open cabinets look the best?

  • An angled open cabinet at the end of an upper cabinet or base cupboard run looks great
  • Balanced on either side of a range, window, microwave, or around a base cabinet pushed-out-area
  • One the ends of island cupboards

Just use my rule of thumb, design kitchen cabinets to have open cabinets sparingly. They are to be used only as accents in my opinion. If you get too many cabinets without doors, then the kitchen looks too cluttered, a mess and unorganized.

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