The Pros and Cons of Open Shelving in Kitchens

by | Nov 14, 2021 | Kitchens

Trends come and go, but open shelving has been popular for years now and shows no sign of slowing down. It opens up your kitchen and lets you add more personal touches to the design, but it does also have some downsides that homeowners should take into consideration. If you’ve been thinking about cabinets vs. open shelving, here’s some points to factor into your decision.


  • They increase accessibility and visibility for storage. It can be easy to forget some of the dishes or appliances in your shelves when they’re stored in a closed cabinet. Plus, it can be easy to reach all of the contents on an open shelf vs a cabinet, depending on how high you have them go.
  • They’re ideal for displays. When you have dishes or other décor items you want to show off, this can really up the style of your kitchen. You can even add more pops of color through those items to brighten up the kitchen.
  • They can be easier to clean. Instead of having to clean the inside and outside of cabinets, you just have to clean the shelves.


  • Displays can look cluttered when used for storage. Sometimes minimalism is best when decorating open shelving. If you try to add too much to the shelves, or you treat it like your cabinets where you haphazardly stored items, then it can look messy. It’s important to keep the items styled to avoid looking cluttered.
  • They gather dust quicker because they’re not covered. Plus, if they’re near the stove, they can also gather some grease as well. While they are easier to clean than cabinets, they will need more frequent cleans because they’re open to the air where dust is more easily circulated.
  • They can look cheap if not properly constructed. Over time, the shelves can start to sag if they’re holding a lot of weight and are not properly supported. You want to make sure the shelves are made of sturdy hardwood, they’re appropriately thick to support the décor, and they are also properly installed.

No matter the style you want for your kitchen, you should always know what you’re investing in. To get the best of all worlds, we recommend a combination of cabinets and shelving—you could even go with a glass door cabinet if you don’t feel up to open shelving. Eischen Cabinets has been creating custom cabinet layouts since 1997, and we love bringing your kitchen dreams to life.