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Kitchens without wall cabinets: design ideas and useful tips

January 23, 2024 | Updated on: January 23, 2024

white spacious kitchen with bottom cabinets only

Imagine a kitchen without the usual sea of cabinets lining the walls. The idea of a kitchen without cabinets may sound refreshing and liberating, but for many homeowners, the thought of a kitchen without wall cabinets can trigger a wave of uncertainty. Where will you stash the pots and pans, the mismatched Tupperware, or the myriad gadgets that have found a home in your cabinets over the years? The initial excitement of a more open and airier kitchen with no upper cabinets can quickly be replaced by the anxiety of where to put everything. But don’t worry because we're about to embark on a journey that explores the possibilities of a kitchen with no upper cabinets while ensuring you don't sacrifice an ounce of functionality or style.

In this blog, we'll guide you through ingenious design strategies and smart storage solutions that will make you wonder why you ever hesitated to embrace the concept of a kitchen without upper cabinets. From utilizing under-counter drawers to incorporating open shelving, we'll show you how to maintain a sleek and clutter-free kitchen with no cabinets while still accommodating all your kitchen essentials. Say goodbye to the conventional and embrace a new era of kitchens with no upper cabinets design that not only challenges the norm but enhances the overall aesthetic of your space. So, if you're contemplating a unique culinary space with a distinctive flair, stick around as we delve into the world of kitchens without cabinets and unlock the secrets to a stylish and functional haven.

Tips to design a kitchen with no top cabinets

L-shape kitchen with island and no top cabinets

Planning to break free from the traditional kitchen design and embrace the trend of kitchens without upper cabinets? The idea of a kitchen with no wall cabinets might seem daunting at first, but we're here to guide you through the process with eight practical tips. These tips will not only maintain functionality but also elevate the aesthetic of a kitchen without traditional cabinets.

  1. Embrace open shelving

Choosing a kitchen with no cabinets on top opens up an opportunity to showcase your favorite dishes and decorative items with open shelving. To achieve this, install sturdy brackets and choose shelves that complement your kitchen style, creating a visually appealing display while keeping essentials within easy reach.

  1. Invest in quality lower cabinets

Since you're going for the no upper kitchen cabinets look, it's crucial to maximize the storage potential of your kitchen with only bottom cabinets. Opt for deep drawers and pull-out trays to efficiently organize pots, pans, and kitchen tools. Consider customizing your kitchen with only lower cabinets to suit your specific storage needs. Kitchens with lower cabinets only tend to be easy to organize. Pots, pans, and other cookware can be placed on the bottom cabinets while jars and plates can be displayed on the open shelves.

  1. Create a pantry nook

If you have no upper cabinets in kitchen, you might worry about where to store pantry items. Designate a pantry nook with floor-to-ceiling shelving or pull-out pantry drawers. These are great alternative for no wall cabinets in kitchen. This dedicated space ensures that your groceries remain organized and easily accessible.

  1. Opt for minimalist design

Keep your kitchen sleek and modern by embracing a minimalist design for kitchens without top cabinets. Choose clean lines, neutral colors, and streamlined appliances. If you’re opting for no upper cabinets kitchen, minimalist appliances like these will give your kitchen space a clean aesthetic. Without the bulk of upper cabinets, a minimalist approach enhances the open and airy feel of the space.

  1. Utilize wall space

Even without upper cabinets, you can make use of your kitchen walls for storage. Install magnetic knife strips, pot racks, or pegboards to hang utensils and cookware. This not only adds a functional touch but also brings a decorative element to your kitchen.

  1. Consider island or tall cabinet

Introduce furniture-style pieces, such as a kitchen island or a freestanding hutch, to compensate for the lack of upper cabinets. These additions not only provide extra storage but also contribute to the overall aesthetics of your kitchen.

  1. Incorporate built-in appliances

To maintain a seamless look in your kitchen with no wall cabinets, opt for built-in appliances. Integrated refrigerators and dishwashers create a cohesive and polished appearance, ensuring that the focus remains on the beauty of your kitchen design.

  1. Maximize natural light

Kitchen ideas without cabinets gains the advantage of enhanced natural light. Install larger windows, skylights, or glass doors to flood the space with sunlight. This not only brightens up your kitchen but also complements the openness of the design.

By incorporating these eight tips, you can confidently navigate the realm of kitchens without top cabinets and create a space that reflects your style, maximizes functionality, and stands out from the traditional crowd. Say goodbye to the conventional and hello to kitchen design without cabinets that truly speaks to your unique taste and lifestyle.

No upper cabinet kitchen ideas

Slate-colored cabinets without wall cupboards in the kitchen

Ever wondered what kind of interior design style you can apply in a kitchen without cabinets design? In this section, we’ll tackle different kitchen without cabinets ideas that are considered versatile and straightforward when going for the no upper cabinet kitchen design aesthetic.

  • Modern kitchen without upper cabinets

A modern kitchen with no upper cabinets design concept embraces clean lines, minimalist aesthetics, and a focus on functionality. In a modern kitchen with no upper cabinets, cabinetry is replaced by open shelving or strategic storage solutions. To achieve this look, consider opting for handle-less cabinets or integrated appliances, contributing to a seamless and streamlined appearance.

Choose a monochromatic color scheme with bold contrasts, and incorporate high-quality materials like stainless steel or glossy finishes for your modern kitchen no upper cabinets. The absence of modern kitchen upper cabinets creates an open, airy feel, allowing the design elements and carefully selected decor to take center stage.

  • Minimal kitchen without upper cabinets design

Embrace simplicity with a minimal kitchen without upper cabinets. This design thrives on the "less is more" philosophy, eliminating clutter and prioritizing essential elements. To achieve this aesthetic, stick to neutral color palettes, clean surfaces, and unadorned cabinetry.

Choose concealed storage options to keep countertops clear and maintain a cohesive look. Integrate appliances seamlessly into the design, and opt for recessed handles or touch-latch mechanisms for a smooth and uninterrupted appearance. The key to a minimal kitchen is intentional simplicity, focusing on essential elements and creating a calming environment that transcends trends.

  • Farmhouse kitchen without upper cabinets

The farmhouse kitchen without upper cabinets design radiates warmth, character, and a touch of rustic allure. Achieve the farmhouse look by incorporating open shelves made of reclaimed wood or rustic materials. Choose vintage-inspired fixtures and hardware, like farmhouse sinks and wrought-iron handles.

A combination of painted cabinets and open shelving adds depth and showcases your favorite dishware. Consider incorporating a statement piece, such as a barn door or a distressed island, to enhance the farmhouse aesthetic. This kitchen design offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere with a nod to tradition.

  • Kitchen with shelves, no cabinets

Take a departure from conventional cabinetry and opt for a kitchen with shelves, no cabinets. This design choice brings an open and airy feel to the space while providing easy access to your essentials. To achieve this look, install floating shelves made of materials that complement your kitchen style.

Mix and match different shelf lengths for visual interest, and strategically place them to showcase decorative items alongside everyday kitchen necessities. Organize items neatly and consider incorporating baskets or containers for a cohesive look. The result is a kitchen that feels light, modern, and effortlessly stylish.


  • Kitchen with minimal upper cabinets

Find the perfect balance between storage and openness with a kitchen with minimal upper cabinets. This design choice maintains a clean and uncluttered look while providing some overhead storage. Opt for cabinets with sleek, handle-less designs to contribute to the minimalist aesthetic. Consider placing cabinets only where absolutely necessary, leaving ample space for open shelving or negative space.

Use light colors to create an airy atmosphere, and strategically place lighting to enhance visibility in areas with fewer cabinets. This design achieves a modern and sophisticated look, striking the right balance between functionality and visual appeal.

  • Country kitchen without upper cabinets

A country kitchen without upper cabinets gives warmth and comfortability to your kitchen space. This design embraces a relaxed and inviting atmosphere with a nod to traditional elements. Achieve the country kitchen look with open shelving, beadboard accents, and a mix of vintage and modern fixtures.

Choose natural materials such as wood and stone to add warmth to the space. Consider a farmhouse sink and traditional cabinet fronts to enhance the country charm. Embrace a soft color palette and showcase charming decor elements to create a kitchen that feels like the heart of the home, welcoming and timeless.

These kitchen ideas without cabinets open the door to creativity and personalization, allowing you to tailor your cooking space to your unique style and preferences. If you're tired of the conventional kitchen setup and crave a more open and airy space, kitchen designs with no upper cabinets might just be the game-changer you're looking for. Picture this: a sleek and modern kitchen where the walls aren't crowded with the usual storage units.

Embracing the concept of no upper cabinets opens up a world of possibilities for a cleaner and more minimalist aesthetic. It's all about breaking away from the norm and opting for a kitchen design without upper cabinets that not only looks stylish but also creates a sense of spaciousness. You can play with unique shelving solutions, showcase your favorite dishes, or even introduce hanging pot racks to maximize storage without sacrificing style.

Choose your kitchens without upper cabinets ideas and discover how this trend can transform your cooking space into a functional and visually appealing haven. Imagine a kitchen where you can seamlessly blend design and functionality, giving you a fresh perspective on what a modern and efficient culinary space can be.

So, if you're contemplating a kitchen renovation or simply want to revamp your space, consider the liberating charm of a kitchen without upper cabinets.

small kitchens without upper cabinets

Light colored kitchen with shelves instead of wall cabinets

Having a small kitchen might make you hesitant to explore the idea of going without upper cabinets. However, fear not – a small kitchen without upper cabinets can be a practical and stylish solution to make the most of your limited space. In this section, we'll address the concerns of homeowners with petite kitchens and provide practical tips on how to navigate the challenges while creating a functional and visually appealing culinary haven.

  • Open shelving for airiness

In a small kitchen with no upper cabinets, visual openness is key to avoid a cramped feeling. Embrace the concept of open shelving to create an airy atmosphere. Install floating shelves along one wall or above key work areas. Use these shelves to display visually pleasing items like colorful dishes or decorative pieces. This not only adds a touch of personality but also keeps your essentials within easy reach.

  • Utilize wall space smartly

In the absence of upper cabinets, it's crucial to make the most of your available wall space. Install hooks or racks to hang pots, pans, and utensils. Magnetic knife strips can free up drawer space, and pegboards can be customized to hold various kitchen tools. By utilizing your vertical space, you create a more organized and efficient kitchen.

  • Compact and efficient appliances

Consider downsizing your appliances to fit the scale of your small kitchen no upper cabinets. Opt for compact and efficient appliances that still meet your culinary needs without overwhelming the space. Look for innovative designs that save counter and storage space, ensuring that every inch is used wisely.

  • Customized cabinets for efficiency

Invest in customized lower cabinets that are tailored to your specific storage needs. Pull-out trays, deep drawers, and organizers can transform your lower cabinets into efficient storage solutions. Customization allows you to utilize every inch of available space, ensuring that there's a designated spot for each item.

  • Strategic lighting for brightness

Proper lighting is essential in a small kitchen, especially one without upper cabinets. Install task lighting under cabinets or open shelves to illuminate work areas. Consider pendant lights or recessed lighting to brighten the overall space. Well-lit surroundings contribute to the illusion of a larger and more welcoming kitchen.

  • Minimalist design for simplicity

Adopt a minimalist design approach to keep your small kitchen no cabinets visually uncluttered. Stick to a neutral color palette, streamline decor, and choose simple, unadorned cabinetry. By embracing simplicity, you create a cohesive and calming atmosphere, making the space feel more expansive.

A small kitchen without upper cabinets is a design challenge that can be met with creativity and strategic planning. By incorporating these practical tips, you can make your kitchen functional, stylish, and organized. Remember, it's not about the square footage but how effectively you utilize the space you have.

No cabinet kitchen pros and cons

various supplies to store things in the kitchen with no upper cabinets

When it comes to kitchen design, the debate between having upper cabinets or going for a more open look with only lower cabinets is gaining momentum. Imagine a kitchen with no top cabinets - sounds liberating, right? Let's dive into the pros and cons of embracing the trend of a kitchen with no upper cabinets.



Open and airy feel

One of the undeniable perks of having a kitchen without overhead cabinets is the sense of spaciousness it brings to the room. It's like giving your kitchen room to breathe. The absence of upper cabinets allows for a visually open and airy atmosphere, making the space feel larger than it actually is.

Limited storage space

Let's address the elephant in the room—the potential downside of a kitchen with no top cupboards is the sacrifice of storage space. If you're a culinary wizard with an extensive collection of cookware and gadgets, you might find it challenging to store everything neatly without upper cabinets.

Showcasing statement backsplashes or windows

Without upper cabinets blocking your view, you have a perfect canvas to showcase a stunning backsplash or capitalize on natural light pouring through windows. It's an opportunity to turn your kitchen walls into a piece of art, giving your cooking space a unique and personalized touch.

Exposed clutter

With no upper cabinets to hide away your less aesthetically pleasing kitchenware, maintaining a clutter-free look becomes more challenging. If you're not diligent about keeping things organized, your kitchen might end up looking busier than you intended.

Easier access and visibility

Reaching for items in lower cabinets is a breeze. No more standing on tiptoes or digging through dark corners. With a kitchen with bottom cabinets only, everything is at eye level and within arm's reach, promoting a more ergonomic and user-friendly kitchen experience.

Dust and grease factor

Open spaces mean more exposure to airborne particles and cooking residues. Without upper cabinets acting as a barrier, keeping your kitchen walls and lower cabinets free from dust and grease becomes an ongoing battle. Regular cleaning is a must to maintain that fresh and tidy look.

Modern and sleek aesthetics

Opting for a no cupboard kitchen design embraces a modern and sleek look that's in vogue. It's a minimalist approach that caters to those who appreciate simplicity and clean lines, making the kitchen a focal point of style in your home.

Design challenges

Designing a kitchen without top cabinets requires careful consideration. You'll need to think strategically about where to store certain items and how to make the most of your lower cabinet space. It's a challenge that demands creativity and planning to ensure both functionality and style.


A kitchen with no upper cabinets is a design choice that brings both benefits and challenges. It's about finding the right balance between aesthetics and functionality, embracing the open concept while addressing the practical needs of a busy kitchen. Whether you're drawn to the modern look or concerned about storage, weigh the pros and cons to determine if this trend is the perfect fit for your culinary space.


Article by:

Valentina Melnikova - Lead Designer at Cut2Size

Office 403.366.7411

Hi there! I’m a millwork designer and an owner of a kitchen cabinet manufacturing company. With a team of professionals, I work on designing and manufacturing high-end millwork. Combining professional designing and manufacturing skills is what allows us to develop and translate our plans into a reality through our uniqueness and exclusive ideas. Our employees are highly skilled and creative thinkers that also utilize their professionalism and experience to take millwork to the next level. I’m very familiar with the industry and I take on each project from the design to the final product. With that said, if you’re looking for design advice or technician help, you’re in the right place.