Open Shelving in the Kitchen?

by Paul Valeri 02/11/2019

Among the upgrades most sought in a kitchen are new cabinets and appliances, granite, marble, or even concrete countertops, and the ubiquitous farmhouse-style sink top the list. If the expense of these renovations is out of reach, however, there are some simple changes that can give your kitchen a new look. Open shelving, for example, can breathe new life into aging wood cabinets.

If you spend much time flipping through decorating magazines or watching home-makeover shows on TV, you’ve probably seen kitchens with open shelving. As part of a kitchen remodel, it’s probably not the first thing we think about … but as an inexpensive way to upgrade the busiest room in the house, it probably deserves consideration.

The trend of open shelving creates an elegant place to display dishware, crystal, antiques, your cookbook or wine collection, dry goods, or even your canning jars. With a little time and effort, you can create this look in your kitchen.

Here’s what to do:

  • Remove the doors to some (or all) of your upper cabinets. The look is especially attractive with cabinets that line a single wall. Note: you won’t want to do this to lower cabinets that store cleaning products or that hide plumbing.
  • Carefully remove hinges. Fill any remaining holes or gouges in the cabinet faces with wood filler or a product appropriate for your cabinet material. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve the best results.
  • Sand and smooth the cabinet faces. Wipe them down with a degreaser cleaner. For primer and paint to stick, the surface should not have any oil or grease.
  • Prime the entire cabinet (inside and out) with a high-quality paintable primer. Priming is important to cover darker colored wood or paint, stains, discolorations, and to hide any repairs you’ve made to the surface.
  • Paint your cabinets with a paint designed for the surface of the cabinets. Use a satin, semi-gloss, or gloss finish. Apply your paint with a small flat roller designed for smooth finishes. You’ll probably need more than one coat, so give plenty of drying time between coats, and take care to avoid drips as they will mar your elegant finish.
  • Create a new look with crown molding or specialty trim. Add a subtle geometric wallpaper to the shelf back for an interesting effect. For a farmhouse motif, use a print with fine, vertical stripes or chicken-wire design.
  • Install lighting in the cabinets to highlight your special display. If there is no power outlet nearby, use battery-operated puck lights.
  • Paint lower cabinets a complementary or contrasting color to finish out your look. Lighter upper cabinets with darker lower ones add depth and dimension to a smaller kitchen.

Finish out your look by filling the shelves with artful stacks of dishes or pottery, books, and jars of colorful nuts, seeds, peas, and beans.

If you’re upgrading your kitchen to place it on the market, seek the advice of your real estate professional on popular and trending color choices for your project.

About the Author
Author

Paul Valeri

Put my record as the longest standing Certified Residential Specialist in all of Western Connecticut to work for you today. Licensed broker in CT since 1973, REALTOR Emeritus, I remain at your service, full-time and vital as ever, specializing in Fairfield and Litchfield county residential & serious commercial activity. My picture on the porch of my current home speaks to the fact that I, also, specialize in the design, sale, and construction of classic full log homes, carefully crafted out of specimen full logs originating from First Nation forests off the west coast of British Columbia. Scandinavian scribed, these full log homes are rarely, if ever, available in the eastern United States.

Paul Valeri: born In 1948, married, resides in Bridgewater, CT in their lodge of full log western red cedar. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Bronze Star decorated Vietnam Veteran. Owner-Broker of Paul Valeri, REALTORS since 1975. President of the Non-Profit Development Corp of Danbury since 1981. Founder of Danbury’s Vet House, home for ten previously homeless veterans. Canadian Board of Directors for the Miramichi Salmon Association, and founder of its First Cast MSA, a mentorship program that introduces new blood to Atlantic salmon fly fishing. Trustee with the Danbury Museum & Historical Society and its Moderator for The Hat City Ball.

Hobbies include mountain hiking, fly fishing, and playing golf (badly), walking preferred!