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Do you have a maid? And other Q & A’s about open shelving

by | Sep 21, 2010 | Creative Before & After, Decorating Inspiration, Details

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Do you have a maid? And other Q & A's about open shelving

After cabinet doors were removed (**Kitchen has since been UPDATED!** See the open shelves I have now)

I happen to love open shelves. They might not be for everyone, but they work for me. I am not in love with my kitchen, but even little updates make me happy. I’d love to go back to a white kitchen but that will have to wait for awhile. As a quick change when we bought the house, I decided to remove several of the existing cabinet doors. It took about 5 minutes.

Removing a few cabinet doors was a quick and simple way to break up some of the wood and show off my favorite white dishes. It didn’t solve the fact that I don’t love my kitchen, but at least I can look at the dishes I love every day. Someday I’ll paint my cabinets white, get new counters and back splashes and add new knobs and glass doors to my open shelves (oh how I miss my old kitchen!) But for today, I’m content. I can live with it.

Do you have a maid? And other Q & A's about open shelving

before we moved in and before cabinet doors were removed

See what the cabinets looked like when I was looking at the house, prior to buying it? Not much else has changed yet about the room, but the removal of the cabinet doors gave the kitchen a little more interest, charm and personality.

Ever since I took the cabinet doors off, I’ve received quite a few questions about the open cabinets. I already wrote a post about open shelves last year, but I still get the same types of inquiries.

Here are the answers to the most common questions I get on having open shelves in the kitchen.

1. Don’t your dishes get all grimy from the stove?

No. The dishes do not get grimy because the dishes I put there are every day dishes meaning, we use and wash almost all of those particular dishes every day or every week. They are constantly being washed. If these shelves were filled with decorative items only, I’d be a crazy woman cleaning all the time.

The upper dishes that do not get used as often are simply cleaned up as needed, or just prior to use, which is actually what I would have to do even if we had cabinet doors. Dishes that don’t get used get dusty or grimy, even if you have doors! Yes, it is true! It takes about 30 seconds to wash a dish so having to wash one every now and then prior to use isn’t a big deal to me.

2. Do you go out to eat instead of cooking?

No. We cook at home. Really!

Do you have a maid? And other Q & A's about open shelving

the refrigerator chalkboard project

3.  Do you have a maid that takes the dishes down and washes them for you every day?

No, I have never had a maid or a housekeeper.  Somehow we manage to wash the dishes we use every single day. It is a MIRACLE! We have super human powers.

4. I love the look of open shelves but mine would never look that organized. How do you keep them looking neat and pretty?

Again, we have super human powers. Just kidding! Seriously, how could you mess up a stack of white dishes? Is that even possible? Notice how my dishes are all in shades of white. they never clash with each other or get messy because they stack easily and they coordinate. They always look good, no matter how I put them in the cabinet. I like to make life easier for myself, not more complicated. I would not choose to put ugly boxes of Saltines or Metamucil on open shelves because they would not look good. Ever.

5. What happens when your kids or husband put away the dishes? I bet the shelves look awful unless you style them!

My kids and husband all understand that you stack dinner dishes together, salad plates together and bowls together. That is the extent of my need to “stage” a shelf. All of our every day dishes go in the same two cabinets. The only way I can imagine my family messing up my shelves would be if they tried to stack plates teetered on top of cereal bowls or decided at random to put our Tupperware or fruit snacks where the white dishes go. But they don’t do that. I’ve trained them well.

6.  What should I put on my open shelves, I never know what to put in them?

If you don’t know what to put on open shelves: here is your tip: White or other coordinating every day dishes, metal or glass baking dishes, baskets = always pretty. Boxes of crackers, medicine bottles and plastic food containers = always ugly.

On my baking shelves I use baskets to corral the unsightly and on other shelves I put canisters, baking dishes and muffin pans. They never look messy. Even when when one is “out of place” or slightly askew, it still looks charming. In fact, I think they make me look like I must cook. The Pioneer Woman would be proud of me.

7. How do you cover up the holes where the cabinet screws were?

Ahhhh, I don’t? The holes are small and I don’t even notice them. I could fill them with wood fill but I just haven’t bothered. Sometimes you just live with imperfect and yet somehow, life goes on.

Do you have a maid? And other Q & A's about open shelving

8. What are you going to do with the cabinet doors you removed?

I immediately made “shutters” out of them for over my fireplace! Here is the post about covering the fireplace niche with the cupboard doors.

I solved two problems in one by removing those kitchen cabinet doors. I fancied up my kitchen a little bit AND I re-used the doors (after painting them) to hide the awful “giant TV hole” above my fireplace. I’d say it was worth it!

Do you have a maid? And other Q & A's about open shelving

If you want to know about the wall paint, you can find the paint colors here.

9. I like everything behind closed doors, don’t open shelves stress you out?

The look of open cabinets is not for everyone. I know some people prefer the tidy look of all closed cabinets.

I don’t want every cabinet door in my kitchen to be removed, I like a mixture of open and closed storage. I do not get stressed out by real life stuff at my house and so having a few things I use that are visible just make me feel like I am living an authentic life. I also LOVE to be able to easily grab what I need right off the shelf!

If you love a little more eclectic kitchen, can handle every day clutter from things you love and if you love the look of a real working kitchen, give open cabinets a try! I promise, you won’t have to hire a maid.

Have you tried open cabinets? Are you afraid to try? What do you have to lose? {You can always put the doors back on if you don’t repaint and reuse them as shutters, that is. Although, I actually could put them back on since I am planning on painting my cabinets someday anyway!}

Do you have a maid? And other Q & A's about open shelving

And here is how our open cabinet looks today! :-)
You can see the whole kitchen remodel here.

Do you have a maid? And other Q & A's about open shelving

Do you have a maid? And other Q & A's about open shelving

Related kitchen posts:
White kitchens
Kitchens: 5 Take Away Tips
How to have open shelves without daily staging


  1. Liz

    Yay!! As you know I’m just about to do this in my kitchen. It looks fantastic in yours so I’m much happier now :) Thankyou x

  2. Sarah

    This post is hilarious!! Did you really get these questions?? Crack me up! Well, your cabinets look awesome. We live in a spec house, so I’m thinking I will have to do this to make my home look more original! Thanks girl!

    • Melissa

      Yes, those are real questions from real people. I love real people.

  3. Lynn from For Love or Funny

    You read my mind! I’ve been thinking of just taking a couple of my kitchen cabinet doors off, and after the seeing the results in your kitchen, I’m even more convinced that it’s the right thing to do!

  4. Tracey

    We had one full wall of upper cabinet doors taken off for several years and loved it! Then, we painted our cabinets black and decided to put them back on again. We are now considering removing just a few again.

  5. Jess

    Great Q&A! I am glad to know that you have super human powers!! Lol! Actually I think your tip about making sure the exposed dishes are ones you use everyday makes sense! (P.S. – we eat at home too! And wash all our own dishes! I wish I had a maid but I can’t justify it since I know I can actually do it all myself!)

  6. Julie

    Love your open door shelves! We have 3 cabinets in our kitchen with glass doors and we get the same questions and comments. It’s easy tho – all those cabinets hold glassware (yes, we have a lot).

  7. nanci

    I love that look. I have several cabinets with glass doors and just love love love them. It really adds charm and character. All the cluttery stuff is behind the regular doors. Yes things still get dusty in the glass door cabinets too. I had a good friend whose husband installed new cabinets in her kitchen probably 20 years ago and never got around to putting doors on a couple of them. At the time I thought, “How weird! How can she stand that!?” now I know she was years ahead with her decor. Very european…ha!

  8. Trish

    I giggled at your title – here in the South – no one will admit to a maid. You have to ask “do you have someone who helps you clean?” That is the only way to get a straight answer. And sometimes they avoid answering that one. I guess a maid lives IN your home and “someone who helps you clean” just comes once a week and “helps YOU” clean -HA! – as if the women I am referring to actually ever use a toilet brush!
    Have a great day!

    • Melissa

      Ha, that is hysterical.

  9. Sharon

    I love the open shelves and the “shutters” over the fireplace! Really smart and prettty!

  10. Grace

    This summer when I painted our kitchen, I removed the doors from one of the cupboards and I love it. It looks so much lighter and more interesting in the kitchen. I have baskets to corral things and still look pretty. I’m still pondering what to do with the back of the open cupboard as I think it would look pretty with some different coloured paint or some wallpaper.

  11. Kathleen

    I put glass on two of my cabinet doors to show off my pretty dishes when we first moved into our home. I have been tempted to take the doors off the cabinet over my microwave and display other dishes too. I might get brave and try it now. LOVE the doors over the mantle.

  12. Lisa

    Melissa, I love this post and especially this line: “Some times you just live with imperfect and somehow, life goes on.” That is my mantra (to an extreme fault…my walls could use a little spackling here and there). I am so inspired to remove cabinet doors right this moment! If it doesn’t work I can always put them back up right?

    • Melissa

      Right! It isn’t a permanent thing! :-)

  13. Rebecca

    My kitchen is teeny and I had a freestanding plain white pantry up until recently. I finally decided to take the plunge (have wanted to for a long time- there’s lots of blog inspiration out there) toward open shelving…..I moved it to the garage and set up a chrome shelving unit on casters. I put my pretty dishes—everyday dishes, anthropologie bowls, glasses, serving dishes, cake stands, nesting bowls, etc. on the shelving. On the bottom shelf I filled one of those large rattan baskets from Target with the chalkboard tag on front with cookie sheets, muffin tin and cooling racks.
    I’ve got a large antique barnwood pine table in the middle of the kitchen that compliments the utility look of the chrome in a fun eclectic way.
    I love the look of open shelving as long as everything displayed looked purposefully placed there, not cluttered. Our shelves are full, but because everything has it’s place, it works. I also find that I use my cake stands more now that they are out in the open:)
    I’m very happy with the result.

    • Melissa

      Sounds awesome, love that look!

  14. Erin

    I love the look of open cabinets and have considered it, because like you, we use everything that’s stored in there anyway and I think my dishes are pretty.

    But in the end, I knew I would go batty! ;) There are alot of things I like the look of…in a magazine or someone else’s home. But I know me, and I prefer things behind closed doors as much as possible. So, I can’t imagine it’s a look I’d ever be able to live with for long.

    I have to really think about trends sometimes and come to terms with, no matter how much I love the look, it won’t work for me.

    Oh…and I have a maid! She’s 10…and I pay her a nice ‘fee’ every week to put dishes away, vaccum and dust! ;) (I don’t think I’m getting my money’s worth. LOL)

    • Melissa

      Yeah, isn’t that what children are for? :-)

  15. Melanie

    I love the open look. I am organized enough to have it but I understand when people don’t like it. It just adds some dimension to the room.

  16. Cindy S

    Great answers, I love the looks of your kitchen now, it looks much better, just removing a few doors and putting some nice accesories in. I also like your counter top, it’s a nice alternative to solid granited. I wonder how it compares in price. That is what I wanted in my new kitchen, but my hubby wasn’t interested. Too bad.
    Thanks for all the great info.
    Hugs, Cindy

    • Melissa

      Granite tiles are way cheaper than a slab. I would prefer soapstone or wood or something other than granite, but that is what was in the house so I’m living with it for now!

  17. Kasey

    What a fantastic idea. I have always wanted an open shelf or two but all of the ‘inspiration’ I have seen involves glass front doors or cabinets removed for basic ‘floating’ sleves. I never thought about just removing a door… I have a corner cabinet that I might try this on to see how it looks, and maybe even the doors above the fridge. -My cabinets are the same shade/color as yours and although I would also love white cabinets, ours are brand new custom [they were installed right before we bought our house 7 months ago] SO new cabinets are out of the question and painting them is ALSO out of the question since they are so new.

    Thanks for posting this and I think your kitchen looks great with the exposed shelves! :)

  18. Sheila

    This post made me laugh out loud. LOVE the open shelving…and yes, when you have time, DO paint your cabinets white. I like them just as they are, but I am soooo partial to white cabinets. And if I had nothing else to do one day, (wheeze, choke…ain’t gonna happen for this pastor’s wife) I would go through your blog and count how many times you hate on your “swine walls”….so stinkin’ funny!! Keep up the great work!

    • Melissa

      LOL, you can save the counting of the “I HATE SWINE WALL” posts for some day when you are bored out of your mind.

      And yeah, white kitchens are MY FAVORITE too. I have NEVER bought a house with wood cabinets before but at least painting them is a project that is doable in the future so I’m looking forward to that change someday!!

  19. Erin

    As you know, I am a big fan of open shelving :) It is such an easy and quick and FREE way to transform a kitchen! I can’t say enough positive things about it. A step between doors and open shelving would be glass front doors. I did those at our two prior houses-it is a doable DIY with the right kind of handsaw and a steady hand. Your kitchen looks truly lovely. It’s just amazing what a set of white dishes can do. Well done!

    • Melissa

      Yes, my old kitchen had glass doors (link is in the post) and I loved them. Of course, the glass needed to be cleaned frequently from all the finger prints and splatters ,but they were so pretty I didn’t mind. We were going to have just regular doors put on when we remodeled and our contractor told us that adding glass was not that much more than a solid wood door so I was THRILLED!! I love the look of glass front cabinets!

  20. Abbie

    The closest thing I have to open shelves is a glass-fronted hutch in my dining room. I do like seeing some of my favorite things in it, and a few are used regularly. I think I might like an open cabinet or shelves in my kitchen, but my cabinets are not normal-sized and I can’t reach the top shelves without a stool so the only things that get used are on the bottom shelves. Oh, and when I removed the wallpaper last winter, I didn’t do behind the cabinets so I would have some work there … :)

  21. Catherine

    I love it so much! We have open shelving in our kitchen, but it is not so pretty…. we actually have 2 large bookshelves that act as a “pantry” because we have very little storage and I love to stock pile non perishables. I would love to move to having everything either a) behind a curtain or b) in mason jars, but it will be a while until I get that many mason jars! Some day! When I have my *own* kitchen (we are in a rental now) I can’t wait to just take doors off of cabinets and go for the open shelving look.

  22. Cathy

    I’m a huge fan of open shelving…the first thing I did when I moved into our farmhouse was remove the doors, paint the back of the cabinets and then wallpaper the shelves inside….it was instant “like”!! I want my kitchen to feel like a family room and not “kitcheny” so anytime I can avoid looking at those “boxes” on the walls makes me happy:)

    • Melissa

      YES! That is how I feel too. I want my kitchen to be a part of the house!

  23. Vee

    Ever since I “met” you and you began talking about open shelves, I’ve wanted to try. But, I don’t have white dishes yet…a little task I’m working on… Some fine day, I will give this a try.

    • Melissa

      Yay for you Vee, you’ll love it!

  24. Tara G.

    I saw your title and I wondered why you were taking a poll on who had maids! I have some interesting Euro type cupboards here and the doors swing upwards, so I can have open shelving when I want! Your kitchen is so lovely!
    Tara G.
    P.S. I just discovered my maid uses toilet bowl cleaner in my kitchen sink- another thing on our culture list. {sigh}

    • Melissa

      ha, never thought of toilet bowl for the kitchen sink…hmmmm…. lol

      • Melissa

        toilet bowl cleaner, i mean..

        • Tara G.

          The mystery {strong} smell is now no mystery and I also know why I have a headache every Monday and Thursday!

  25. Karen

    We live in our kitchen even though it is so small. Thank you for sharing these pics cus the open cupboard might open mine up a bit.

    Ok girl, now I have some questions after looking at these pictures of your kitchen.

    1. What type of baskets are on your shelves cuz they fit perfectly?
    2. Do you have lamps on your counters?
    3. And the coffee/espresso machine…what kind. I see syrup on that counter and I love to make a latte every day but I need a new machine!
    4. What do you put on top of the cupboards? I can’t decide.
    5. My kitchen is the exact same layout of counter and cupboard on the stove side and the sink side and that is it…no more….I have a hard time figuring out where to work cuz have no room.

    I am sure I will have more ?’s. I just love the open cupboards. Sorry so many ?’s I told you I needed you to come to my house. I am seriously going to talk to my hubby about paying for you to get here!!! I need you!! :)

    • Melissa

      Ok, questions in the comments about the post on questions…we are a chatty group today! LOL.

      1. The baskets came from Pier One.
      2. Yes, lamps on counters are a must in my mind :-)
      3. {just a sec, gotta go look at the coffee machine…ok, it is a Jura Compresso, Impressa S9}
      4. I don’t put anything on top of the cabinets.
      5. Could you use a rolling cart to give yourself a little more surface to work?


  26. Myra

    I totally just giggled my through this post! LOL! Totally made my day. ;)

  27. Carmen

    This makes me want to try open cabinets! :) You’re lucky to have such a nice kitchen, my kitchen is not nearly as nice and new.

  28. teresa

    I had open shelves for the first time at the Hamlet and I love them….it was truly the first time my husband didn’t have to ask where a certain dish was….and he knew exactly where to put it away….
    I’ve opened up a couple now with the cottage.
    I Love, Love how your kitchen’s personality totally changed with the open shelves…you are a genius, or something better like a “Genie ” from I dream of Genie….now I’m really dating myself.
    (sorry for the rambling}
    Happy day

  29. Melissa

    I have several open shelves in my kitchen and LOVE them. They are so easy and assessable. I like to be able to see my beautiful dishes, too.

    This post cracked me up! Do you have a maid to stack your plates?? :)

    • Melissa

      I can think of a lot of reasons I’d like a maid, but stacking my dishes for me is not at the top of the list. lol.

  30. Jenni

    I really like this idea, and was glad you addressed so many questions I’ve always had about designers who have gone this route. My issue is that we have little children, and we often store their sippy cups and other dishes up there with our own, so yes, it would be ugly if we took those doors off. However, I am inspired at least to think about moving the sippy cups to somewhere more accessible for them and reorganizing the dishes so that I could take off the doors. Unfortunately, we are renters so there is no way we could paint over the doors, though :).

    • Melissa

      Yes, when my son was small (in our old house) we had glass cabinets for our main dishes. But we kept all of his plastic dishes and cups in a lower drawer where he could get them, and no one else had to see them! :-)

  31. Anita

    Those were some pretty funny/odd questions! I am going to be removing doors myself in hopes of lightening up my kitchen. Along with some paint. I might be adding glass to some but just removing them for a bit will give me a better feel for it. And a gook excuse to get rid of some ugly casserole dishes!

  32. Fiona's Mosaic

    I did this in my kitchen too! I had some cupboards with doors, some without. It was great! I painted all the cupboards white (even the inside). I took one of my pieces of china to the paint store, matched the two main colors on my white china, and stenciled the inside of the now open shelves with a victorian stencil, just a bit of trim around the top of the shelves. SO PRETTY!!!

  33. kathy h

    I see you have granite tile countertops. For the longest time I could not figure out why all of my shirts had little holes in them…all in the same area. Low and behold I figured out it was from my belly leaning agains the counter while doing dishes and other things! Do you have that problem?

    Also, do you clean your tile grout regularly? If so, what do you use? And, one more question if I may.. do you have to seal or regrout ever? I’m noticing the grout in my granite is quite low and I’m thinking I may have to regrout??

    Thanks, love your site!

    • Melissa

      Hi Kathy. That is funny, I actually HAVE seen some little holes in a few of my shirts. Maybe that is why?!

      We don’t treat our grout any differently than the counters at this point, but I know you can seal the grout which would keep it looking good and easier to clean over time. You can also re-grout tile if it is looking bad.

    • Tsh

      Oh my goodness, this is bizarre. At the last house we lived in, I had marble countertops, and ALL my shirts grew little holes in them, right at about where the counter hit them when I leaned over. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why. And now we’re back to plain old laminate counters :(, and my shirts have been fine. This might explain something, because I thought I was going crazy….


  34. pamela

    This is a great idea. We are moving in a couple of weeks and the kitchen is nice but I think removing the cupboard doors will make it look better. My big question is- Did you make the framed chalkboard on the fridge? And how do you get it to stay without falling every time you open the door??? I love it!

  35. Maya

    I love mixed in open cabinets in the kitchen too! It makes the place so lively, as it should be. It’s really no big deal…, yet I see, people do have lots of questions! Interesting.

  36. Katie

    So I have a question about lamps on the counter…. how do you work out the cord situation? Every time I bring on out, the cord flopping all over the place just kills it for me.

    • Melissa

      Ahhh yes. I could write a whole post about that issue, I guess I will because I do have a lot to say on that subject, lol. For the lamps on the counter, I always plug lamps in near the outlets so they are not draped all over the counter, and I try to set footed bowls or trays or plate stands over the cords or objects in front of them to minimize their effect. I hate seeing cords!

  37. Sherry

    Hi Melissa, I love your open shelving and I have been thinking of doing this myself. Some of the questions you were asked cracked me up!
    Hugs, Sherry

  38. Handy Man, Crafty Woman

    These questions (and your answers) cracked me up! :-) thanks for the laugh today!

  39. Nita

    I took some of the doors off my cabinets about three years ago and it immediately opened the room up. Way better in my opinion to have a mix of closed and open shelving. I am thinking about taking a few more doors off. I love the way the open shelves look. It instantly transforms the look of a kitchen.

  40. franki paarde

    Twenty years and counting…I have had my “every day” dishes on a bakers rack…in the open…and no one has died from using them. You use them you wash them you put them back in their places. I guess it’s what you get used to doing…

  41. Merritt

    After months (literally) of toying with the idea of open shelving, I finally went for it. My hesitation was that I didn’t have white dishes, and I really didn’t want them. I have Fiestaware, 2 blue, 2 red, 2 yellow and 2 green. They match absolutely nothing, they’re not soothing or calming and make it look like I’m throwing a 5-year old’s birthday party and I don’t care, I REALLY love them. I only used things I loved in my open cabinets, and I made them totally functional (a shelf for cookbooks, etc)for our family. Maybe it’s because I love my stuff so much that the open cabinets work, I don’t know, but I love them (and I still love my Fiestaware!). Thanks for the inspiration and the push to stop seeking perfection by someone else’s definition!

    • Melissa

      Yay, yes I totally agree. You can have colored objects or whatever it is you love. I love my white dishes but I actually started thinking recently about putting colored dishes on my shelves and how pretty that would look. If YOU love how it looks, and it makes YOU happy, then isn’t that what matters? I sometimes get nervous putting myself out there in front of thousands of people, it feels a bit risky because not everyone will love it, but as you pointed out the point isn’t what other people like, it is that I am HAPPY with what I see every day. Glad to hear you are enjoying your Fiesta ware!!! You go girl!

  42. Ashley

    So in one of the photos there was a glimpse of (what looked like) a magnet board in a frame on your fridge. I’d love to know more about it. Magnetic? Did you make it? Thanks!

    • Melissa

      Ah, yes….I’ll post about that so you can see what it is and how I did it! Thanks for asking!

  43. Darlene

    love your open shelving!!! I think it is a great and inexpensive way to open up a kitchen!

  44. the domestic fringe

    I have open shelves in my kitchen for all my dishes, not just the everyday ones. Yes, I live on the edge. ;-) Seriously, I like the open look enough to wash things every so often. Like you said, the stuff we use everyday doesn’t have time to get dirty. The rest is wash as needed.


  45. Kristin

    I used to loathe the idea of open shelves–I thought people were crazy for doing it! :D I would have asked all of those same quesitons about ten years ago…but I’ve changed my thinking and as soon as we’re out of our townhome and into a house, my kitchen will have some open shelving! ~K

  46. Marie

    I just took some doors off my kitchen cabinets to give it a try and I love it. It is our everyday dishes, so like you said – they get washed daily or weekly. It’s so much easier when cooking to just grab a plate without a door in the way.

    Sally Lee by the Sea
    Celebrate Coastal Living with Sally Lee! Shopping. Decorating. Crafts. Travel.

  47. Amy

    What an interesting post! The previous owners of our place replaced the upper cabinet doors with a patterned plastic that is partially transparent. Our cupboards are ancient and I don’t think they could be updated in any other way at this point. I also think I’d need nicer looking dishes to have it open, but, I think it is a wonderful look. It’s really amazing how huge a transformation takes place with just taking the doors of!

  48. Holly

    looks that first picture you!

    and i love what you did over the smart!

    great post friend!

  49. Kim

    Thanks for making me laugh today. By these standards I too am a miracle worker with super-human powers – I’ll feel much better while cleaning my kitchen tonight!
    I think your kitchen looks fab, but we’re none of us entirely happy with with what we’ve got.

  50. Gail Moore

    Ok, this subject keeps turning up, so I guess I am going to have to try it. I have seriously been thinking about it. Thanks for all the cute questions and informative answers. Love your kitchen! Gail

  51. Tsh

    Love it, Melissa! We do this at almost every home we live in, because rentals have awful cabinets. It’s amazing how it instantly transforms a kitchen into some unique instead of something cookie-cutter.

    And yep, we do all white, too, and I have to answer the same questions you just did. Usually just from my mother, though. :)

    Awesome post!

  52. Tiffany

    That looks incredible. And I officially want you to come to our home and inspire me! Love the photos around the fireplace…it’s about time we put some art up on our walls here! Four years in the house is long enough to wait :)

  53. beth

    Oh yeah! I have removed some cabinet doors in my builder’s standard kitchen, and I love it!! I was inspired by Maria Garuti, from Vintage Simple, when I saw her kitchen in Kitchen and Bath Makeovers magazine. I saw her open shelf, and I immediately had my husband remove those cabinet doors!
    I say don’t be afraid, people!! Save the doors, and if you absolutely hate it, you can always put the doors back up. I don’t think you should ever be afraid to do something you love.

  54. Mary Joy

    Wow, Melissa! This is the most involved conversation I have ever seen about open shelves. LOL I would love to take the door off of one of our cabinets but we are renters so I am not sure my landlord would approve. Our everyday dishes are a creamy, yummy yellow and I would love to be able to just reach up and grab them when I need them and their warm buttery color would make me smile to see as i wash the dishes…yes I said wash the dishes…we don’t have a functional dishwasher and we actually do survive (without a maid)!!! LOL LOL Too funny! I guess I have the same super powers that you have!

    I personally love your kitchen. The colors are so warm and welcoming. The pretty area rug looks so good in there. I can smell the coffee brewing just looking at your photo! :)

  55. Sarah Howe

    Love your style of writing, information, ideas inpsiring, and makes me wanna decorate!!! Thank you

  56. Ashley

    This is too hillarious…I love that people have asked you these questions!

    I actually was just pondering doing this yesterday. I recently repainted our kitchen a light grayish blue and our cabinets our white. It looks very airy and beautiful but I feel like there is nothing that pops out quite as much anymore. And coincidently I already have a set of cabinets filled with properly stacked white plates! ;) Thanks for the tips…I think I am going to have to consider this a little more.

  57. leslie

    we have some cabinets I’ve considered ‘opening’ but I haven’t because our cabinets are old and ugly on the inside and I’d have to paint them! HA! not the dishes I’m worried about here!!

    as an aside- do all of your white dishes ‘match’ or were they collected over time- I think I recall you saying you added as you found them? That is totally what I want to do…

  58. Paula

    My name is Paula, & I’m addicted to dishes: now I want some white dishes!! :)

    Actually, my everyday dishes are white… but, they have a pattern on the flat part – that counts, right? I still need some SOLID white dishes… sigh!

    So pretty!

  59. Rebekah {honeyandcheese}

    I LOVE open shelving. My husband and I bought our very first home about two months before we got married and immediately started renovating it. We don’t actually have a kitchen yet (I have a refrigerator and stove, but no sink, cabinets, or cupboards) and I keep telling him that when we get to put the kitchen in, I. want. open. shelves. I think they make a room feel bigger, for one. And why would I spend money on gorgeous dishes, just to hide them behind cabinet doors?

    I’ve been working on re-doing our bathroom and the first thing I did was rip out the hideous medicine cabinet (it was ugly. really.). Then I went to Home Depot, got some shelf board, and put up two lovely, long open shelves, painted the same color as my bathroom wall. It looked so pretty that I just stood in there and smiled for ages and my husband asked if I was just going to sleep in there. :)

    Anyway, I’m done now. Just had to share my love of open shelves. :)

  60. Carin

    This post really cracked me up! Love what you’ve done with your kitchen (and by the sound of it you’ve got plenty other plans up your sleeve too). Our new kitchen was a huge compromise, mostly due to budget but also hubby and I having different views on kitchens, but this post has really inspired me to make a few small changes. Thanks!

  61. Amy Allen

    So I have to ask, if you covered up the tv spot with your cabinet doors, where is the tv? We have one of those tv niches above our fireplace, and I hate it! we have the tv in it, but I’m always trying to figure out out to cover it up so that you can’t tell there is a tv there. Nothing works yet that doesn’t risk knocking my things off the mantel. If I had real courage I would just get rid of the dang thing! The tv that is.

  62. Jeannine B.

    We just painted our cabinets white and are still working on the doors for the upper cabinets. The surprising result of not having cabinet doors on, is that I am really liking the look and the ease of putting things away. When we finally put the doors back on, I have already selected three cabinets that will stay “door-free”. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  63. April

    Ahhh…Those are the shelves I hope to have one day. But first we’ll have to outgrow the stack of Dora plates, plastic Ikea cups, and random hand-me-down table ware from grandma. I did get a set of white plates a few years ago but not everyone in the family is allowed to use them. One day though…one day.

  64. Chris

    Love your shelves. Definitely not a good fit for me, though. My beloved handyman, who has done wonders for our money pit of a house, said it best. He was building shelves for our computer room, and made the suggestion that perhaps I should consider adding some doors over part of the shelves. He’s been in my house enough to know that our level of clutter requires a cover up!

  65. Jenny

    I opened up this post and the very first photo really grabbed my attention. My kitchen has the same “big window over sink, around a corner with a bank of cabinets, and microwave hanging from the top cabinets” feel that yours has. What caught my eye was not the open cabinets, but the lamp by the sink! It never in my wildest dreams would have occurred to me to put a lamp there. But I love how it looks!

    I showed the photo to my husband, and then immediately grabbed a lamp from another part of the house, and rearranged my kitchen countertops to include the lamp. I scrounged a short, stout pot of ivy to place next to it. Result? Fantastic!

    I really love the new look of our kitchen, and my family does too. Thanks for sharing the results of your great eye and talents!

  66. Holly Rhodes

    I love this idea! I thought about trying to find an extra set of doors of our cabinets and putting glass in them and just setting the regular doors in the garage since we are renting but maybe I will just take them off!! We have enough cabinets!!

  67. (((((HUGS))))) sandi

    I am afraid of this, because we have not a matching dish in the house! BUT it’s on my selfish dream list, and I told my darling recently I’M GOIN’ FOR IT! The second I have the $$$… :)

  68. Dana at Cooking at Cafe D

    I never knew that the cabinets you removed…
    Were the ones you used to hide the TV hole!!!

    When reading that I literally said, “No WAY!” – out loud.

    That is so cool – re-using them. I would have put them in the basement for 10 years until we sold the home.

    You are so inspiring!

  69. Denise

    Yes… I removed the cabinet doors over the refrigerator and added a wine rack. Beside the stove, I took off the doors also. In matching jars with lids I store flour, sugar, oatmeal, rice etc. Both cabinets look great and I love them!

  70. Katharine Field

    I just came across this old post. I have lived with my dishes and glassware on open shelves for over 30 years. The ones that get used the most stay clean; I may have to dust or wipe down something that only gets used for Thanksgiving. Once a year or so I do some vacuuming around the tops, where spiders and dust bunnies reside. The secret is to keep your open shelves well away from the stove, and have a good exhaust fan for the stove. That way your dishes don’t get coated with greasy dirt. I see pictures of beautiful kitchen designs where the open shelves surround the stove, and I know that the designer didn’t really think it through and the people who live there are going to decide that open shelves are a terrible idea.



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