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No more cabinets: we chose shelves and this is how we have changed our kitchen.

I told you in the blog post “9 things that I want to change to renovate my kitchen”, among the great changes of our home during the renovation, maybe the one that raised most questions was the choice to remove the cabinets in kitchen and put shelves instead.
How will you do with space? The drainer? What about the dust? Where will you put all the stuff? How are you going to handle the mess with a new baby? 

All legitimate questions that prompted us to think very carefully about our choice. First of all, we evaluated the space. We are lucky enough to have an entire wall equipped with cabinets that can contain everything. Yes, just everything we have in the kitchen.

Once we decided to remove the cabinets, the next question was: what kind of shelves do we choose? A single shelf? More shelves?

Kitchens without cupboards are lighter, more airy: the space visually widens.

Here are the questions you will ask yourself if you want to take the path of a kitchen with shelves:

Super thin metal shelves or thicker wooden shelves?

Pinterest is full of examples! The thin metal shelves are certainly more modern and light (pay attention to the weight that you can put on them!). Wooden shelves can be thicker and have some advantages:

  • They can have a built in LED  
  • They can have visible supports but also be anchored to the wall without leaving anything visible
  • You can play with the thickness

Our shelves are 4 cm thick.

Photo Sliik

Single shelf or multiple shelves?

If you have a wide enough wall you can consider the single shelf solution. In this case the thickness will give importance to the structure. A unique shelf that runs along the entire wall will give horizontality to your space.

You have to also consider another important element: where is the hood? If it is central to the wall, you can place shelves on both its sides or you can choose the single shelf solution.

Too high shelves will not be practical, you can use them to store decorative objects or tools that you never use.

Photo Decordots

How deep are the shelves?

Consider that deeper the shelves are, more space you’ll have, but at the same time it will be more complicated reaching things.
To choose the depth of our shelves we made some tests, measured the dishes, considering the size of what we would have put on them and in the end we chose to have them 28 cm deep.

At what height do you hang the shelves?

Stand in front of the kitchen counter and mime your movements, so you will easily realize how much space you need and what height will be most comfortable for you.
I am 1.73 tall, I have long arms and I wanted to reach everything without using ladder or chairs: from the worktop our first shelf is 55.5 cm while the highest one is 84.5 cm. Consider all the measures at the bottom of the shelves.
N.B .: if your shelves are above the sink, consider the faucet height!

What distance do you keep between shelves?

This was maybe the most difficult choice and the one that will help you choose the right height. Decide what you want to put on the first shelf: the oil bottle? Measure it. A stack of dishes? Measure it. A pitcher? Measure it. Your saucepan collection? Measure it. This is the only way that will get you the true idea of the space you need.
There are 25.5 cm between our shelves.

Photo Mattie Tiegreen via The Every Girl

Which color?

The color you want, consider the space and all the colors you already have.
For me the choice was between: natural wood, white or black. In the end I chose white, white lacquered shelves on a white wall. The result is even lighter, airplane!

Can’t visualize the result? Use renders

Take a picture of the wall or the kitchen and try to play with collages and drawings. If you are not familiar with renders or Photoshop, use a simple sheet of paper!


This was our kitchen before, and the one below is the same photo after I retouched it in order to visualize the final result.

Happy? Absolutely yes!

Do you have any other questions about kitchen shelves? If you have, write them to me, we will think about together!