Kitchen without upper cabinets

Kitchen upper cabinets: necessary or not?

Wall-mounted kitchen cabinets offer convenience and ample storage space. However, contemporary interior design trends suggest moving away from them entirely. Whether this shift is advantageous or detrimental remains subjective. Do kitchens truly require upper cabinets? And if not, what alternatives are available?

The benefits are clear: a contemporary, distinctive design, a lot of air, and increased openness. The kitchen appears bright, roomy, and inviting.

Downsides include limited storage capacity and the inability to discreetly integrate built-in appliances.


Upper cabinets typically serve several purposes:

  1. Concealing range hoods.
  2. Providing space for a dish drying rack.
  3. Illuminating the workspace.
  4. Offering additional storage organization.


Hence, the convenience and functionality of kitchen upper cabinets should not be underestimated. However, if desired, they can be omitted.


What alternatives can I consider instead of upper cabinets?

  1. Open shelves: Whether floating or secured, they provide easy access to items and create an open, airy feel in the kitchen. 
  2. Countertop ledge: Similar to shelves, these ledges are made from the same material as your countertop and sit atop the backsplash, offering a seamless look and additional storage space.
  3. Hanging rails: Available in various styles, from classic to contemporary, hanging rails can be a visually appealing option for those who prioritize kitchen aesthetics.


Where can I store my dishes instead of using upper cabinets?

  1. Base cabinets: Ensure you have ample base cabinets, particularly drawers, as they can accommodate most kitchen essentials efficiently.
  2. Full-height cabinets: Tall pantry cabinets or cabinets with ladder access can store a significant amount of dry goods or dishware. Additionally, they may provide space for small appliances or built-in appliances, like ovens or microwaves.


Upper cabinets aren't a must-have. Removing them can create a brighter, more modern kitchen. However, thoughtful storage solutions are essential. Consider your needs and explore alternative options to create a kitchen that's both stylish and functional.

Find more inspiration for designing your kitchen in our modern kitchen collections.

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