11 Clever Alternatives to Kitchen Cabinets

If you're looking to give your kitchen a facelift, look no further than the cabinets. Whether they store food, plates, appliances, or all three, cabinets often take up the majority of the real estate in the kitchen, both physically and visually. This means that your cabinets may be the most important decision you'll make in decorating your kitchen—along with a few other vital, big-ticket items like the refrigerator and oven. So why not look for cabinet options that will help set your kitchen apart from the rest? We found 11 alternatives that will keep feeling fresh and new, whether you’re sitting down to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

By Sara Carpenter | Updated Feb 22, 2019 10:10 AM

Antique Hutch

Antique Hutch

One substantial piece of freestanding furniture may provide enough centralized storage to let you free up wall space above your appliances, creating an airier look in your kitchen. An antique hutch like the one pictured here offers the best of both worlds—space to display your china collection and hidden storage for less decorative items.

Related: 8 Truly Unexpected Storage Spots

Better Homes and Gardens

Open Shelving

Open Kitchen Shelving

Best suited to organized minimalists who own coordinated or matching dishes, open shelving can help create an accessible kitchen atmosphere. Be sure shelves are securely hung—the last thing you want is to have to replace a whole set of broken dishes.


Repurposed Crates

Repurposed Wood Crates

Repurpose vintage wooden shipping containers or farm cabinetry to create a warm and rustic kitchen. Enhance the look by using old fruit crates to organize items on the shelves.


Shelves with Baskets

Kitchen Baskets

If you're organized, but your dishes aren't necessarily all worthy of display, open shelving is still an option. Use baskets to organize any items that might be an eyesore, along with foodstuffs that you want to keep handy but hidden.


Vintage Lockers

Repurposed Locker Cabinets

Seemingly straight out of high school, repurposed lockers add industrial-style storage to this kitchen. Do you have a problem keeping snacks out of your children's hands between meals? Just lock up the treats!

Home Decoration Advice

Frosted Glass Fronts

Sliding Cabinet Doors

If you aren't ready to commit to maintaining attractively organized shelves, an open shelving system outfitted with frosted glass sliding doors will let you get by with a little clutter. While some sections will be on display, plenty can remain artfully hidden.

Garrison Hullinger Interior Design

Sliding Door Pantry

Sliding Door Pantry

A sturdy door lets you take advantage of the handiness of open shelving without having to worry about chaos or order. Here, a common door is replaced with a sliding barn-style door that will command attention whether open or closed.

Jeanie Rhoades

Industrial Style

Repurposed Industrial Cabinets

Repurpose thoroughly cleaned metal storage cabinets and tool chests to give your kitchen a decidedly industrial feel. If you need more storage space, complete the look with open shelving and galvanized baskets.


Mix and Match

Repurposed Vintage Boxes

A collection of varied vintage wooden and metal boxes can be combined to create an unusual array of "cabinets" that pairs well with an otherwise understated kitchen. Containers of similar proportions help to pull this look off.


Modern Steel-Cut

Steel Cabinets

A clean and modern look in the kitchen is pretty common, but laser-cut steel doors aren't the usual way the look is achieved. If you go the steel-cut route, we recommend a simple pattern so your cabinets don't appear too trendy.


Reclaimed Faces

Reclaimed Wood Cabinets

If your existing cabinet exteriors are suited to it, reface them with reclaimed wood for a whole new look. If they can't easily be refaced, combine a simple shelving system with doors made of reclaimed wood to create a rustic atmosphere.


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