Our kitchen cabinetry is the basis for any kitchen and is a significant home investment. We stack and store everything in there, from dishes to food and other small appliances. So why are we seeing upper kitchen cabinets disappear from so many kitchen designs?
Are low kitchens with no upper cabinets one of the kitchen trends to pass us by or is this design sticking around?
Can You Have A Kitchen With No Upper Cabinets?
Yes, you can and many kitchen designs are ditching the upper cabinets for positive reasons. Including styling, wall colour, and textures in the kitchen and open space.
Of course, without the traditional hanging wall cabinetry, it poses the most important question… Is there going to be enough storage space? And where are you going to put everything that you do have? And what storage solutions we can use instead?
no Upper Cabinets kitchen inspiration
This gorgeous kitchen is by Parisian blogger Carole via her Instagram of Greenpatchouly.
A long wooden shelf on brackets showcases and stores her dishware. But keeps a light and airy kitchen space. A mixture of warm-coloured whites, neutral tones, and a glazed tile backsplash bounce the light around. Creating a spacious and inviting kitchen space.
Nathalie has styled her kitchen perfectly according to her everyday needs. A mini peg rail sits directly underneath a floating shelf hosting her food essentials. And little rattan decor baskets fill up some of the wall space. I love the beautiful homey cottage feel she’s created in her kitchen.
Kitchens: From Top Cabinets To No Upper Cabinets
A kitchen with fewer cabinets, some people might call it minimalist. It is of course a personal preference for a kitchen design. These kitchens tend to be of a modern aesthetic, organized and streamlined, and with lots of space to style the kitchen to your liking.
Over the years we’ve seen many kitchen design trends. And although some of us are more than happy to keep our kitchen in the traditional format (the usual wall cabinets and lowers) there has been a gradual change in the kitchen layout.
The introduction of glass cabinets offered a lighter and more open feel to heavy solid wood cabinetry. Glass-front cabinets were initially popularized as a way to showcase beautiful dishware while still keeping them protected from dust and damage. Especially if the windows are small and there’s limited natural light coming in.
As homeowners embraced this airy look, we began experimenting with open storage solutions. The rise in popularity of cooking shows featuring professional chefs working in sleek, modern kitchens inspired many homeowners to recreate these spaces within their own homes.
Often referred to as “chef’s kitchens,” these designs typically feature large islands, ample counter space, and high-quality appliances. All with minimal upper cabinetry so that everything is easily accessible at arm’s length.
Kitchens without upper cabinets provide an opportunity for personal expression but also helped create a sense of spaciousness in smaller kitchens. To the point where now some minimalist kitchens have just opted for clean storage-free walls.
Keeping everything in your kitchen at eye level and below can make a small kitchen feel a lot bigger. But that really depends on how you style the rest of the kitchen.
To see if this type of kitchen design is ideal for you, here are the advantages of having a kitchen without upper wall cabinets you should know about…
no upper cabinets advantages
1. Enhanced Natural Light in the Kitchen Area
The biggest advantage of losing upper cabinets in the kitchen is the increased amount of natural light. Without bulky cabinetry blocking windows or casting shadows on countertops, sunlight can stream in unobstructed, creating a brighter and more inviting atmosphere.
Without upper cabinets, natural light can easily enter the kitchen space during the day. Reducing reliance on artificial lighting. Creating a more inviting atmosphere and an open space feel even in small spaces.
2. Potentially Lower Kitchen Cost
Removing or avoiding installing upper cabinets may result in lower renovation costs compared to traditional full-cabinetry designs. Kitchen cabinetry is one of the most expensive items in any home even when you’re on a budget and decide against custom cabinets.
By focusing solely on base cabinetry paired with open shelving options above counter height levels, accessing everyday essentials becomes easier than reaching up high into overhead cupboards.
Especially helpful for those who have mobility issues or shorter stature. This approach allows you to personalize your space with unique pieces while making it easy to access frequently used items when cooking or entertaining guests.
4. Kitchen Styling
This is where you can have fun with your kitchen design!
Without upper cabinets, you have the freedom to experiment with various design elements such as stylish tiles or cladding on walls, pendant lamps, or chandeliers for additional lighting.
Even to the point where artwork is often used in styling the kitchen open shelving and kitchen countertops for decorative accents. Something that in previous years would have been saved for the living spaces only.
This flexibility allows you to create a truly unique kitchen space that reflects your personal style.
Kitchens without upper cabinets provide an excellent opportunity to showcase your beautiful dishware collection through open shelving concepts. Instead of hiding dishes behind closed cabinet doors, proudly display them as part of your overall kitchen design scheme.
5. An Organized Kitchen
By reducing the streamlining of your kitchen storage you’ll be forced to bring in kitchen essentials only.
This might sound counter-intuitive but the loss of storage can focus you on making the most use of space in your kitchen. No more kitchen junk drawers!
In this sense, a kitchen with no upper cabinets can be considered a minimalist design. But if it reduces the clutter then that’s a good thing. And with less storage, you’ll think about what you need to buy rather than filling up empty storage space.
What Type Of Kitchen?
This minimalist aesthetic with no upper cabinets can work for different styles of kitchens.
With open-plan kitchens getting rid of upper cabinets can help you achieve a more cohesive look going into your living room space. And a small or narrow kitchen like a galley kitchen can help the space feel larger.
Storage Solutions for Kitchens Without Upper Cabinets
If you’re thinking about forgoing upper kitchen cabinets for a modern look you’ll have to get creative with storage solutions. It’s best to have a serious declutter and strip your kitchen gear down to your absolute essentials.
This is going to depend on the size of your kitchen. How often do you cook? And if there are any additional spaces that can be used like a kitchen pantry? Other storage areas close by or attached to the kitchen can help massively by reducing the things in your kitchen.
The first step in organizing a kitchen with limited storage options is decluttering. Take the time to assess which items are essential for daily use. And which ones can be donated or discarded? By eliminating unnecessary clutter, you’ll create more room for the things that truly matter in your cooking space.
Here are some organizational ideas to help plan out your kitchen organization.
Utilizing Drawers and Pull-Out Organizers
Having deeper base cabinets is going to be important for this style of kitchen. Incorporating drawers and pull-out organizers into your base cabinetry can help you maximize space while keeping everything organized and easily accessible.
Customizable drawer dividers allow you to create compartments tailored to your specific needs. Often times it’s better to keep heavy items such as dishware and pots in deep drawers instead of reaching up for access.
How To Maximize Base Cabinetry Space
- Drawer Dividers: Installing drawer dividers within base cabinets helps separate utensils, cutlery, and other small items efficiently. This prevents them from getting mixed up and ensures easy access whenever needed.
- Metal Shelves & Wire Racks: Adding metal shelves or wire racks inside lower cabinets provides additional layers of storage for pots, pans, dishes, and other essentials. These versatile solutions allow you to make full use of the available vertical space within each cabinet.
- Store Items Strategically: Place items you use most often within easy reach. And store less frequently used items in more remote locations. This will ensure a smooth workflow while cooking or preparing meals.
Alternative Storage Solutions
With careful planning and creative thinking, you’ll enjoy the benefits of this modern design trend while maintaining order in your culinary haven.
In addition to these organizational tools, consider the following tips to further optimize your kitchen space:
A Kitchen Island: A kitchen island is a great way to keep the kitchen organized with storage drawers underneath providing you have the floor space available.
Having an island or a slim breakfast bar can double up as seating and storage and with another work surface for cooking. And also keeps storage below eye level if you’re wanting a really clean look.
Bar Carts or Mobile Island: A small bar cart or a trolley on wheels is a great storage solution. Handy to move around the kitchen to wherever you need. And will also lend to keep the minimal look above the countertop level.
A Pantry: If you have a separate pantry space that will reduce some of the storage loss from having no upper cabinets in the main kitchen area.
Ideas For Empty Space
What to do with the empty wall space where the cabinets would have been?
Most of the time it’s better to have alternate storage solutions to make up for lost cabinets above the countertops. These are some storage-based ideas for your kitchen that are practical and pretty. Functional ideas but won’t impose too much on the walls of the kitchen space.
Wall Storage-Based Ideas:
Floating Shelves: Floating shelves are an excellent option for kitchens without upper cabinets as they offer extra storage while also adding visual interest to empty walls.
These sleek shelves attach directly to the wall without visible hardware creating a clean look in any kitchen design style. You can display decorative pieces alongside frequently used cookware on these stylish yet practical additions.
Metal Brackets: For those who prefer an industrial aesthetic in their kitchens consider using metal brackets that pair well with rustic metal or wooden shelves.
Hanging Rail: A practical solution for those who love cooking. A metal hanging rail keeps your kitchen utensils close by and gives an industrial look.
Pegboard or Rail: A wooden peg rail is a simple way of storing some essentials and can be used for styling purposes too.
Single Ledge Shelf: Incorporating one long single shelf on one level is a way of keeping storage simple. This single ledge can be a separate piece attached to the wall.
Or it can be a part of your kitchen backsplash or countertop ledge to make it look like a seamless all-in-one fixture. This is a great option instead of mounting higher shelves in the kitchen for shorter people who would like everything within reach.
Clear Kitchen walls
If you’d rather keep your walls simple and clear then there are lots of different options. Including tiling this can be a full-height tiled wall with added lighting. Or a natural marble slan backsplash or simply just a smooth wall paint finish to compliment your kitchen style.
FAQs to Kitchen No Upper Cabinets
How Do You Deal With No Upper Cabinets?
To compensate for the lack of storage, homeowners can utilize open shelving, large drawers, or wall-mounted racks for storing dishes and other items.
Why Are There No Upper Kitchen Cabinets?
No-upper-cabinet kitchens have become popular because they create an open and spacious atmosphere in the room. This design choice also allows more natural light into the space. While providing opportunities for creative storage solutions such as floating shelves or pegboards on walls.
What Are the Pros and Cons of No Upper Cabinets?
The advantages of having no upper cabinets include increased openness, better access to natural light, flexibility in layout choices, and unique aesthetics.
However, drawbacks may consist of reduced storage capacity compared to traditional designs with overhead cabinetry. Also the cleaning and maintenance of open shelving in the kitchen.
Where to Put Dishes in a Kitchen With No Upper Cabinets?
In kitchens without upper cabinetry:
- Dishes can be stored on open shelves.
- Pegboard systems can hold plates vertically.
- Floating shelves provide additional display options.
- Larger drawers accommodate pots and pans efficiently.
How to Have a Kitchen With No Cabinets?
If you want to forgo upper cabinets in your kitchen design, consider incorporating open shelves or floating shelves for storage. You can also use larger drawers and wall-mounted racks to store dishes and other kitchen items.
With a little creativity, you can have a functional and stylish kitchen without upper cabinets.
What do you think? Stick to the traditional kitchen with cabinets on top and bottom. Or get rid of the clutter up top? I definitely love a modern kitchen that minimizes the bulk on top but it always comes down to your personal preference!