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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

3 reasons removing kitchen cabinets is a good idea (*for some!)

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

Not sure whether to whip your top cupboards off the wall & replace them with trendy open shelving? Read this to help you decide...

black and white kitchen
Before removing upper units

Removing kitchen cabinets in a kitchen makeover on a budget can be controversial & isn’t always a good idea, but one thing’s for sure: you can't open a magazine (or Instagram) without being presented with pictures of upper-cabinetless kitchens.

Sometimes, the upper cabinets have been replaced with open shelving, often formed from chunky bits of wood or scaffold boards fitted with industrial-style metal fixings, other times, the kitchens are decadently designed with acres of marble.

Once in a while, the kitchen in question resides in a modest family home (👋 hi!) and this had a few people scratching their heads… ‘What would possess someone to give up valuable cupboard space in their family kitchen?’, ‘…surely that’s a bad idea?!’.

I thought I’d share the reasons why this was actually a great idea for us, in case this is a question that you too are pondering. I've written a post here with all the details of my kitchen makeover in case it's of interest.

ledge kitchen shelf for styling after removing kitchen cabinets

Here are the 3 reasons why removing kitchen cabinets worked in our home…

modern white japandi kitchen
After upper units were removed

Very little storage was sacrificed.

Although adequate storage is essential for good kitchen organisation is The cupboards were very small and narrow - one, in fact, was a fake cupboard door positioned over boxed-in pipes, so stored nothing. The two main cupboards housed glasses on one side and general kitchen misc in the other ie first aid kits, torches, candles - all stuff (it turns out) that could be housed elsewhere.

modern minimalist kitchen

More space & light

Removing the units during our kitchen makeover on a budget, gave the feeling of more space by opening up the whole side wall. The cupboards made it feel cramped and blocked light, removing them helped the light bounce around.

white modern kitchen

Focal point

Once the cupboards were gone, I could extend the worktops up into a tall backsplash and add the ledge shelf, which although shallow, runs along the whole length of the wall and offers plenty of styling opportunities. I’m able to change up what is displayed on the shelves regularly - sometimes multiple times in one day! 😉


Would you consider removing kitchen cabinets or is it just a no-no for you? Let me know! If you love your kitchen cabinets but need ideas for how to use the space between the tops and the ceiling, I just wrote a post with 15 creative ideas for decorating the space above your kitchen cabinets which might be of interest and don’t forget to check out my post about how to revamp your kitchen cabinets in 1-hour

While we are on the subject of affordable kitchen revamps if you love a pantry check out my 15 pantry ideas post (packed full of inspiration for creative storage) or my post about kitchen breakfast bar ideas.

Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to keep you up to date with future DIY, decorating, interior styling, and upcycling projects, if you would like to receive my (not more than weekly & no spamming I promise) emails then please subscribe (scroll down to the box at the bottom of the page). Why not check out some of my other posts...

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