Kitchen Without Wall Cabinets: Do You Need the Wall Cabinets?

Kitchen Without Wall Cabinets

A kitchen without wall cabinets? Unimaginable for some; after all, the whole storage space is missing. What design options are possible instead of wall cabinets, and for which living situations the concept with its advantages and disadvantages is suitable? You can learn here.

Kitchens without wall cabinets - isn't there a lack of storage space? We show which alternatives create space
Kitchens without wall cabinets – isn’t there a lack of storage space? We show which alternatives create space.

Kitchen Without Wall Cabinets: The Most Important Things at a Glance

  • Doing away with wall cabinets makes a kitchen look more open and airy, giving it more height.
  • Kitchen planning must be designed to eliminate wall cabinets and incorporate new design elements.
  • Midi cabinets and highboard compensate for the omitted storage space and offer more options for individual wall design.
  • Tall cabinets as a complete wall of cabinets are broken up with shelving and remodeling, making them a viable alternative.
  • Minimalist shelving picks up on the loft style and provides storage with display options.

What Are the Design Options in the Kitchen Without Wall Cabinets?

A kitchen without wall cabinets first gives the impression that there is much less storage space for dishes such as glasses and kitchen utensils. However, it is important to remember that it is not simply taking a classic kitchen layout and doing away with the wall cabinets. Rather, it’s about using a different arrangement of cabinets and wall shelves to compensate for the lack of storage space, thereby eliminating the need for wall cabinets.

Kitchen utensils and pans you need all the time can be attached to the wall with hooks. This way, they are always immediately at hand and represent a design feature in their own right.

Midi Cabinets Instead of Wall Cabinets

A kitchen without wall cabinets can be very well realized with midi cabinets. With a height of about 1.50 to 1.60 m, modern furniture is of the order of magnitude between a tall cabinet and a typical base cabinet. However, they bring the additional storage space of a wall cabinet. Due to the design, they give the kitchen an airy style and do not seem so bulky. Especially for built-in appliances such as ovens or elevated dishwashers, midi cabinets or high boards are ideal because they allow ergonomic work in the kitchen. In addition, at the height of 1.60 m, there is still enough space at a comfortable handle height for cookbooks or even decorative elements. A picture also looks very well staged above a midi cabinet.

A kitchen without wall cabinets can be very well realized with midi cabinets
A kitchen without wall cabinets can be very well realized with midi cabinets.

Decorating tip
Storage jars – transparent or opaque – look particularly good on midi cabinets and highboard. With the help of a plotter or paint pens, they can be labeled individually and give the kitchen its signature.

Shelves Instead of Wall Units

Wall shelves are a popular alternative to wall cabinets. As minimalist as possible, made of white or black metal with shelves made of wood or glass, they are perfect for the loft style in the kitchen. The storage space is similar to a wall cabinet, but the open kitchen design showcases the dishes. Especially with colorful dishes, what was once just a practical space becomes a house or apartment design element. The wall behind open shelves can also be suitably designed, for example, with a brick-look wallpaper, thus further enhancing the loft style of the kitchen. In addition, kitchen shelves lend themselves to indirect lighting by spotlights or LED strips. Thus, even more, specific accents can be set in the kitchen.

It does not always have to be a decision for or against wall cabinets. Different variants can also be combined. Thus, the continuation of a slim wall cabinet with an open kitchen shelf can combine both worlds.

Instead of wall cabinets can be used shelves
Instead of wall cabinets can be used shelves.

Tall Cabinets Instead of Wall Cabinets

Wall cabinets are popular because a wall of tall cabinets looks very massive and bulky. By dividing the wall into base and wall cabinets, the solid wall of cabinets is broken up and appears more open. However, storage space is lost in return. Experienced kitchen planners are much more creative regarding furniture composition: several tall cabinets can be framed by shelves or fronts in different colors – this takes away the bulky dominance of the wall and, in turn, makes it a modern eye-catcher in the kitchen. The shelves even create additional storage space, which can be used for kitchen utensils, decoration, and pictures – gladly in combination with indirect lighting.

Wall cabinets are popular because a wall of tall cabinets looks very massive and bulky
Wall cabinets are popular because a wall of tall cabinets looks very massive and bulky.

Furnishing tip
Make the most of tall cabinets with pull-outs and drawers. Pans, pots, plates, and supplies can be conveniently organized. Compared to a shelf in the cabinet, there’s no need for the hassle of cleaning out when you want to get to one of the items in the back. You conveniently pull out the drawer and get to all the things.

Kitchen Without Wall Cabinets: For Whom Is This Solution Suitable?

Kitchen plans without wall cabinets are trendy for island kitchens in open spaces. In the center is a block of various base cabinets; in the background, midi or tall cabinets give a framework. However, kitchens without wall cabinets also work in closed spaces, for example, U-kitchens. Here, midi or tall cabinets on one side can also be combined with base cabinets and shelves on the other – this still leaves enough workspace available. If only a very small space is available with a kitchen unit or a corner kitchen, you will hardly get around base cabinets in combination with storage space. However, multi-level shelves – if necessary in combination with wall cabinets – are a good choice for the modern look.

Especially in small kitchens, open shelves can create a more airy look. If there are light bands as windows in the kitchen, people tend to build over them with wall cabinets. But especially here, shelves or a wall decoration in the form of one or more pictures are better suited to make the strip light work. Even with large windows, wall cabinets to the left and right of the window can make the overall interior look squat.

Kitchen Without Wall Cabinet

Kitchen Planning Tip:
If you are planning a new kitchen and are considering doing without upper cabinets, look inside your current cabinets and clear out all the kitchen utensils you haven’t used in a year into boxes for storage in the basement or attic. You’ll be amazed at how many cabinets you can do without in the kitchen.

Kitchen Without Wall Cabinets: Advantages and Disadvantages of These Design Options

Advantages of Kitchens Without Wall Cabinets

  • Open and airy concept; the room does not look overbuilt and is visually higher.
  • Shelves as a presentation and storage space option.
  • Different styles possible: minimalism, loft.
  • Unique wall design through kitchen backsplashes, pictures, and decorations.
  • The kitchen looks more homely and cozy and is no longer purely practical.
  • Targeted placement of dishes and kitchen utensils as design elements.

Disadvantages of Kitchens Without Wall Cabinets

  • Depending on the layout, the shelves can look messy and cluttered.
  • Higher cleaning effort due to open shelves where dust remains.
  • Loss of storage space – depending on the kitchen solution.
Jemma Huyett
Design My Home | Online magazine about the design and improvement of homes and grounds