16 Stylish Kitchen Cabinet Alternatives

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Store food, plates, and appliances in your kitchen even without the traditional cabinets by exploring these ideas and stylish alternatives to your kitchen cabinets.

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Gray kitchen with pot rack, ledges, open shelving, and an eat-in-kitchen island.

Minimalist, tiny spaces, and open concept kitchens are becoming trendier. Some of these kitchens are doing without the conventional upper cabinets which look bulky and consume much of the physical and visual kitchen space. No uppers also translate to more windows, a lighter and airier kitchen, and minimal renovation cost.

Kitchen storage space, on the other hand, remains a necessity no matter the design trend. Good thing your kitchen can still look stylish and be functional even if you don’t have space for kitchen cabinets or they’re simply not an option. Check out the following kitchen cabinet alternatives for your storage space-saving solutions.

1. Hutch

Wooden hutch

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Pros

An old hutch is a very versatile piece of furniture, and when used in your kitchen, as an alternative to cabinets, it will provide you with plenty of storage.

Hutches are unexpected and, when used in the right home, they can create a very interesting look in your kitchen.

You can either store items where they can be seen or tuck them in a drawer or behind a door.

Whether you want an antique hutch or one that is modern, you can easily find a piece that will fit the style and décor of the rest of your home.

Cons

Due to the large size of a hutch, this isn’t a viable solution for every kitchen. They take up a lot of floor space and can be difficult to work around.

When you do decide to move your hutch, you may have trouble due to how heavy and bulky it is.

Hutches can be very expensive depending on their size, their age, and what kind of wood they are made out of.

2. Open Shelving

Urban chic kitchen with exposed brick wall, floating shelves, and stainless steel appliances.

Pros

This is a great way to show off the dishes that you have collected.

In general, open shelving is a lot less expensive to buy than traditional cabinets, which is great if you are on a budget.

They make cooking incredibly convenient, as everything that you need will be easily accessible.

Open shelving is a great way to show off your creative side in the kitchen.

Cons

If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, then they can cause your dishes to shift and fall off of the shelf.

It’s important to dust on a regular basis to keep your dishes clean for cooking and eating.

If you are not great at keeping your shelving free of clutter, then your open shelving will not add beauty to your space. A lot of clutter will make your kitchen look too busy and can tend to look messy.

Cooks who do a lot of frying will end up with grease on their dishes. This can be difficult to clean off.

3. Vintage Lockers

A vintage locker in a tiny whitewashed room with potted indoor plants and wood flooring.

Pros

Vintage lockers will add an undeniably cool industrial appearance to your kitchen.

It’s easy to lock your vintage lockers if you want to make sure that certain items, such as sugary treats or alcohol, isn’t accessible all of the time.

They offer plenty of different shelves, which makes it very easy to separate items when storing them so that you can easily find them without having to look for a long period of time.

Metal lockers are incredibly easy to clean and you don’t have to worry about them being stained or damaged by bits of food.

Cons

Due to their large size, they can be difficult to move into your kitchen and to have them installed.

It can be very costly to find and buy vintage lockers, which means that they are not the best option if you are on a tight budget.

Depending on their appearance and how well they were maintained, they may take a lot of cleaning and preparation before you are willing to have them near food in your kitchen.

4. Shelving with Baskets

Storage shelving with baskets

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Pros

You can easily pull out a basket to remove the exact item that you want so you don’t have to dig through items stuffed on a shelf.

Baskets are attractive and can be updated when you want to change the appearance of your kitchen without having to commit to painting the walls or changing the countertop.

Depending on the type of basket that you use, you may be able to rinse it out or wash it so you don’t have to worry about it getting dirty or stained.

By removing a basket or two you can have some open shelving without having to fully commit to this look.

Cons

Having to lift down a basket every time you want to get something out can be annoying.

When not cleaned on a regular basis, baskets can harbor dirt and bacteria, making them unhealthy to have in your kitchen.

Over time, your baskets will need to be replaced, and this will add to the overall cost of your storage.

5. Bar with Hanging Storage

Bar with hanging storage above the kitchen countertop.

Pros

This looks great in a minimalist home and is sure to showcase the lovely items that you have chosen for use in your kitchen.

Depending on the material that you choose for your bar, you can create a stunning look and add warmth to your kitchen.

If you are worried about how long the bar will be, then you can have it custom made to fit the length or width of your kitchen.

It’s easy to add or remove hooks from the bar so that you have the right amount of storage for all of your hanging items.

Cons

Only ideal for items that can be hung, which means that you will need to find another way to store bowls, glasses, plates, and other kitchen items that need to be stacked.

Homeowners who try to hang too many items on the bar at once will end up with a kitchen that is very visually cluttered and doesn’t look as nice as it should.

May not increase the resale value of your home, as most homeowners are used to having more traditional options in their homes.

6. Suspended Shelves

Three-tier wooden shelf suspended by jute rope used for displaying trinkets.

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Pros

This is a very stunning look that is sure to draw attention as it hangs from your ceiling.

You get the beauty of open shelves without having to worry about attaching them to your walls.

Ideal for homes where the walls are not high quality or are made of plaster and you are worried about trying to anchor shelving or cabinets securely into the wall.

Creates an industrial feel in your kitchen that can improve the appearance of your home.

Cons

Need to be installed by a professional so that you don’t have to worry about whether or not the ceiling can support the weight.

If not properly secured to the ceiling, this type of shelving can fall, breaking everything that you have stored.

It can be difficult to keep the items on your suspended shelving clean, as grease and dust will tend to collect on the dishes that you have stored.

7. Bookcase

Wooden bookshelf used for storing crockery.

Pros

This is a wonderful option for anyone who is looking for kitchen storage and doesn’t have a large budget, as it’s easy to find bookcases in a wide variety of prices.

You can easily update your bookcase if you want to change the stain or color of paint.

Bookcases are incredibly versatile, which will allow you to use a combination of baskets, buckets, or open shelving.

Because bookcases are available in such a variety of sizes you can easily find one that will fit your space.

Smaller bookcases can be mounted onto the wall if you want to make sure that you are saving as much space as possible.

Cons

It’s important to anchor your bookcase to the wall so there isn’t any concern of it tipping.

In a smaller kitchen, it may be hard to justify giving up the floor space for this piece of furniture.

8. Open Boxes or Crates

Open space eat-in-kitchen with storage crates.

Pros

You can enjoy the feel and look of open shelving without having to commit to buying expensive shelves.

It’s easy to find quality crates or boxes in a variety of materials, such as metal and wood.

By installing the bottom of the crate or box flush against the wall, you will create cubbies for storage.

Cons

Any earthquakes can cause the items inside to bounce out of the crates.

It’s important that you dust regularly to keep your kitchen items clean. Additionally, you need to be aware of grease from your cooking settling on the items in these crates.

Older crates may look great but are more prone to breaking.

It’s important that you attach your crates to your wall with quality anchors or screws so they won’t wiggle or come off of the wall.

9. Dresser

Kitchen with vintage white-painted wooden furniture and a matching dining table.

Pros

This is a great choice for a smaller kitchen, as the top of the dresser can also be used as a countertop or workspace.

It’s easy to find dressers in many different budgets so you don’t need to worry about overspending when you update your kitchen.

A fresh coat of paint is all you need to update your dresser.

All of your items will be stored out of sight, which is great if you are worried about how neat or picked up your kitchen will be.

This is a great storage option for a very small kitchen, as you can find smaller dressers that still provide ample storage space.

Dressers can add fun architectural interest to your kitchen.

Cons

Depending on the décor and aesthetics of your home, a dresser may look completely out of place in your kitchen.

10. Metal Storage Racks

Modern kitchen with concrete bare walls, metal storage racks, and oversize pendants over the dining table.

Pros

Metal storage racks are sturdy. Some come with canisters for added portability.

Cons

They can look out of place in your kitchen.

11. Ledges

Professional stainless steel kitchen with pots displayed on a single ledge above the cooking area.

Pros

Single or double continuous ledges that run along the length of your countertop can make your kitchen look spacious. It’s even better when it’s the same material as your countertop for a sleek minimalist look.

Cons

Ledges require major editing skills to avoid a messy visual. You need to get matching wares or wares of varying heights and shapes for an interesting look.

12. Sliding Door Pantry

Sliding wooden doors for the reach-in pantry cabinets.

Pros

Switch to sliding doors for your reach-in or a walk-in pantry for an added space. It also conceals any storage chaos.

Cons

It can be tricky to use for display or shelving.

13. Stainless Steel Slatted Shelves

A bright kitchen with stainless steel slatted shelves, stainless steel furniture, and tile flooring with an area rug.

Pros

Stainless steel slatted shelves are functional shelving devices that can be used for storing various kitchen necessities from condiments to pots.

Cons

You need to pair stainless steel shelves with your kitchen backsplash or countertop or else they may look out of place. On the other hand, you run the risk of making your kitchen feel overly sterile or commercial.

14. Wooden Storage

Wooden storage with matching dishware for decorative and functional purposes.

Pros

Wooden storage injects warmth and an organic look to the kitchen space while providing additional storage.

Cons

You need to curate the displayed items or keep them organized to avoid a messy look.

15. Cubbies

Decorative cubbies used to store and display matching dishware.

Pros

Cubbies are space-saving hacks that double as decorative home decors and storage space.

Cons

You need to keep displayed items visually appealing or at least organized.

16. Frosted Glass Doors

Modern kitchen featuring cabinets with frosted glass doors.

Pros

Frosted glass doors let you get away with upper cabinets while still keeping a sleek open look for your kitchen. You can also get away with a little clutter while allowing other items to be artfully displayed.

Cons

Cabinets can be bulky and take plenty of real estate in your kitchen.



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