Stylish alternatives to upper kitchen cabinet

The cabinets are an important part of any kitchen remodel. They'll need to be functional, allowing you to maximize their storage, but you'll also want them to be visually pleasing and match other elements in the room.

But are they really necessary?

Upper kitchen cabinets can often be more trouble than they're worth. They might make the room feel more cramped—particularly if removing them allows you to open up the kitchen to another space—and you may find yourself pulling out a stepstool whenever you need to reach an upper shelf.

Removing these cabinets can open up the kitchen to a wider range of design options. You might also eschew traditional upper cabinets in favor of a more unusual choice.

If you completely remove the cabinets, you can choose how to use the space behind them. You may simply opt for larger windows, allowing more natural light into the kitchen. Amanda Sims, writing for Architectural Digest, says you can also improve the lighting by adding sconces or other decorative lights.

One possibility is to elevate the backsplash. It might be prudent to use a less expensive material such as subway tile since you'll have a larger wall area to cover.

Eliminating cabinets will naturally cut down on your storage space, so you may need to compensate elsewhere. Some materials may be moved to another area, such as a hutch set up in the dining room. Dabney Frake, writing for the home design site Apartment Therapy, says you can also add a large floor-to-ceiling cabinet to boost your storage capacity in one part of the kitchen while reducing it in another.

Another possibility is to use simpler storage solutions in place of the cabinets. While these won't be able to hold as many items, they can still have the effect of making your kitchen look more unique and spacious.

Open shelving, either through long ledges or a series of shorter shelves, can be particularly effective. You can also set up hooks and hangers to hold pots, utensils, or other items. However, you may want to be careful about how many things you store this way. Sims says limiting the items on the back wall will help keep the space from looking too cluttered.

You don't necessarily have to limit yourself to traditional cabinets. Sara Carpenter, writing for the home improvement professional Bob Vila, says some creative possibilities include repurposed wooden crates, reclaimed wooden cabinets, or open shelves with baskets.

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