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Kitchen Open Shelving NOT Practical!

last year

We bought a house with open shelving in the small galley style kitchen but no pantry. The open shelving looks great when styled and organized but I think its just not practical for our lifestyle. Our very old cabinets are stuffed with all our plates, glasses, etc. We have resorted to storing food on the open shelving which looks like an absolute disaster (I have tried baskets, bins, you name it to keep it organized and pretty). Nothing works and it lools like a food bomb went off in our kitchen.


Since we won’t be gutting and renovating our kitchen anytime soon, wondering how it would look to have custom cabinets built against the wall and under the open shelving??? The space is about 8 ft. wide and 4.5 ft tall. The breakfast table/chandelier would remain but we don’t use it (we store more food on top of the table!) I think it would give us all the room we need to store our food , bottled water, spices, etc!


Comments (47)

  • last year

    Why not get rid of the dust catching open shelves, and get a tall storage cabinet for that space?

  • last year

    My spouse thinks that would be too much work (and $$$) and isn’t willing to get those removed (and he also thinks they are cool).

  • last year

    Nothing works and it lools like a food bomb went off in our kitchen.

    LOL!

  • last year

    Seriously. Show more pics of the kitchen, especially the wall that has the shelves. You can probably add cabinets and cut the shelves back a bit.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    theres a few things you could do...the easiest would be a pantry cab in the little corner under the shelves at the far right with that bit of wall giving you the depth and the right side to build into.. a carpenter could build something say 15 inches wide ...more if you need it. you can buy jelly style cabinets probably about that height too. [I have one-they look good and are versatile] but if the chair has to stay there , off to the right..... put something where you have the wood stand-put the stand under the window.

    here's a jelly cabinet....and then something you could have built in..not complex....you have to pick your spot along the wall and know how big you want it. this all assumes no remodel of your space is on the horizon because redoing the kitchen allows you to get things as you need/want. but the wall there could take storage/ more vertical i think . with table I dont see the practicality of putting wall cabinets under that shelf. cabinetry lines also let you build a Hutch w base and upper cabs...more cost .....you could fit that in where the stand is .....a bigger investment.


    Single Jelly Cabinet - 51"H · More Info



    Pantry Storage · More Info


    SAUDER brand has this type of thing too: practical/not expensive.

    Sauder HomePlus Engineered Wood Pantry in White Finish · More Info



    Sauder Select Summer Home Pantry in Carolina Oak Finish · More Info


  • last year

    Sounds like you have a husband problem 😜. The shelves probably slide right off and would only need some drywall patching where the supports are screwed in to be good as new on the wall. Can you swap the light so that the table can move into the bay window area. That would give you room for a pantry cabinet

    Dina R.M. thanked User
  • PRO
    last year

    Tell him you do NOT think they are cool. Let him dust.

    SHOW A DRAWING WITH THE WALLS and all dimensions. feet and inches. You need some tall cabinet storage.

    I'm extremely tired of the " DH doesn't like it, DH thinks.....

    Who cooks and cleans the most? There ya go.

  • last year

    @User my husband is definately the issue - doesn’t want to renovate, get rid of shelves, use the storage system I put together! UGH! The shelves are very thick and built into the wall. The chandelier is almost a joke because the light is so weak. I would love to push the table over by the bay window and just get rid of the chandelier or move it.

  • PRO
    last year

    I've run into this problem both personally and professionally. One party is adamantly against what the other party wants. Most of the time it is a cost issue, but sometimes it's just a power play or a reluctance to admit there's a problem or just plain stubbornness.

    Can you get a neutral third party to mediate? Like a trusted friend or relative? Or a design professional? Nagging incessantly can work too. But you need to solve this problem before you tackle any design issues.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    the goal is EXTRA storage. you are not contemplating a renovation here. Let him keep the shelves....there are SIMPLE ways to get EXTRA storage. I say..keep shelves..get the vertical storage...pick out one you like....and then, you get a different light fixture.......it doesnt even have to be moved. "close to ceiling fixture" for better light / higher up, so you can shift the table a bit as needed/ if you need to. You are adjusting things in your space....better to .keep the discussion /tone at that level.

  • PRO
    last year

    No offense, but why the continual "cave"? To ( guessing ) someone who doesn't make 70 % of the meals or spend nearly as much time in the kitchen?

    Whether OR NOT the op has a job outside this HOME? She works. She has a say in the matter.

    A handy man can have the stupid shelves out of the wall in half day, and the wall repaired. Probably can address the light over the breakfast table too.

    Draw and measure the space and you will get ideas as to decent storage for the wall. Jeeesh!!

    Meanwhile? Save your money. Your own money .....and have at it. SEND HIM ON A FISHING TRIP WITH THE BOYS. You wouldn't be the first to nick the grocery budget : ) and stash.



  • last year

    Just the thought of having to keep the table there under that light when there is a beautiful bay window a few feet away makes me cringe. Do what you want and ask for forgiveness later.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    I'm shocked about all of the couples stereotypes here. They certainly don't fit any couple I know. Instead of trashing the husband, perhaps a rational conversation can be had about the underlying problem. I wonder if finances and money stress are the root. Custom cabinets are extremely expensive, ripping out shelves and changing locations of lighting are like opening a can of worms, then you need to paint the walls, and ceiling...

    Have this conversation: " We bought this great new place but the kitchen is hard for me to work in. What is a budget you can both agree on to fix this?"

    Here are some fixes that are much less expensive than custom cabinets:

    * Leave the shelves, have only a couple of decorative doo-dads on them, he agrees to do the dusting.

    * Set an agreed upon budget for freestanding counterheight case goods that you use for food storage. A buffet from Craigslist, a repurposed media cabinet from Facebook Marketplace, Ikea storage pieces, or perhaps the budget is large enough for something else.

    * Everyone I know who had a small galley kitchen in an apartment stores overflow cans, bottles, and boxes elsewhere until you are ready to open and use them. In my grandma's apartment extra oil and soup were stored in her tiny entryway key counter. I my apartment with a small galley kitchen, we have short shelves under our short hanging coat and keep extra bottles, cans, paper towels there.

    * If you have any coat closets or other closets where you have not maximized storage on the inside of the door, do so. There are lots of great storage pieces that you can use to move items out of the kitchen that you don't frequently use.

    * Move the table to the window area. Are there outlets there? If I can see pics of the whole kitchen I'd have a better idea of what to do with the light fixture.

  • last year

    About your initial idea of ’custom made cabinets built against the wall under the open shelving…” I think that won’t work & will look bad. Especially with the light & table right in front of proposed cabinets. If part of your goal is to not spend too much for the badly needed storage, I don’t think custom cabinets fits that goal. You’re receiving good input here with the little bit of info you’ve provided. It makes sense that adding storage to an existing galley kitchen is probably not doable and the needed storage will have to go into this space. Please show the full space or at least draw a floorplan with measurements & windows, doors marked so more ideas can be generated.

  • last year

    So, the way I would handle it with my passive aggressive doesn’t want to ever Reno anything husband is this: I do the research, make the plan, save the money, and then present it all at once. Then the part that most stresses him, the money part, isn’t an unknown.

    If he is especially stubborn, you can piecemeal it until he sees the light. He thinks the shelves are too hard to remove. Take everything off, and give a tug outward. They should slide right off, show him how easy it is. Patching drywall is something you can do yourself and is inexpensive.

    The light problem is easily solved with an inexpensive fixture on a chain, and a hook screwed in closer to the bay. It is something you two can easily do together. And requires no special tools. In fact, I would almost certainly do this first, and slide that table to the beautiful bay. Then he will see how nice it is, and you can point out how lovely it is that you have room on that wall for a storage cabinet now. Measure the height to the shelves, and look for a pantry cabinet that will fit under them. Sure, it may look dumb, but then you can show him how easy it is to remove the shelves

  • PRO
    last year

    I won't comment o the hubby / wife issue but for crying out loud why did you not put at least the dishes on the shelves and the food in the cabinets. I hate open shelving in kitchens and the ones you have are just plain silly where they are. I often do things we do not agree on becuase I know it will work. But I have been married for almost 60 yrs so those type of arguments are few and far between.

  • last year

    Move the table and chairs into the bay window with the chairs on the side toward the kitchen. Take down the light and swag it over the table Google has lots of hints on how to do. You should check into replacing the shade with a glass one. (Or just replace with a new swag one. ) (Replacing with a flush ceiling light is a good idea also.)

    Look for a new or used cabinet to go under the shelves on the wall.. Check antique stores and Marketplace.

    Where do you store your pots and pans? Arrange them on the shelves instead of food. Any large platters on the shelves. Cookbooks also.

  • last year

    Yes, that is the type of cabinet I am talking about. We don't have an Ikea where I live yet, so I never think about them.However, you can get the same thing almost anywhere.

  • last year

    Maureen's idea is perfect. Maximize covered storage down where you can reach it, let the open shelves revert to display of seldom used (and hopefully attractive) items.

  • last year

    My spouse thinks that would be too much work (and $$$) and isn’t willing to get those removed (and he also thinks they are cool).

    Who does the majority of the cooking?

    And at worst get tall Ikea cabinets after you remove those awful shelves.

  • last year

    Had another idea, wallpaper the upper half of wall.


  • PRO
    last year

    Another vote for Maureen's idea!

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    What if the cabinets were underneath the shelves but went to the floor? There's no real point in having cabinets only above the wainscotting, it renders the floor space underneath pretty useless for anything but another storage piece anyway.

    It's interesting the comments about the family dynamics and how one sided they are. The assumption that the wife does 70% of the cooking, that the husband gives her a "grocery allowance" that she would have to "steal" from to get cabinets built.

    If it was the husband who wanted the cabinets and was in here saying "I want cabinets and my wife doesn't, if you were going to make the same "traditional family values" assumptions, would any of you be saying "Well who pays the mortgage?, You or Her". No, I doubt you would, even though that's the flip side of what you are saying here.

  • last year

    Man on man you must have gotten one super price on your new home!!! Don't feel bad or the need to explain. Open shelving was a stupid HGTV idea that for no reasonable explanation caught on. There are somethings that are not negotiable and this is one of them sorry cheap-o hubby. You need to be off to the store to order proper cupboards.

  • last year

    Maybe delay your cleaning of the shelves for a bit then have him do it- so he can see the grease/dust film that is landing on them (and whatever is stored on them)!

  • PRO
    last year

    The weekly chore wheel has him dusting for a solid month, and you take something else. Then have a talk.

  • last year

    I love Maureen’s inspo pics, but the shelves as is are just way too high to be functional. Maybe only the top one can be moved under the current bottom one to make them usable.

    Explain what you mean by “built into the wall”. Floating shelves typically are supported like this. It is an easy diy

  • last year

    Thank you everyone for your feedback!!! my husband is actually the one who does ALL the cooking/cleaning in the kitchen! However, I am the one who tries to keep things looking pretty and organized all throughout our home. He has no desire to do any home renovations and is fully content living with the house as is. He is very opinionated about decor and design so yes, suggesting a very simple update doesn’t go over so easily with him.


    My idea was to build a cabinet to sit flush with the wood shelves above. @herbflavor thanks for suggesting those cabinets! I actually saw something similar for sale on Facebook and thats where I got this idea! I also like the idea of going to Ikea to find some cabinets that would work.


    I would have no problem moving the table over by the window (its what I have always wanted to do but then I think about the chandelier). Right now, I have the small wooden cabinet from the 1st pic I posted sitting in front of window with my Jura coffee machine on top and I use the little cabinet for canned food storage.


    I have included an image of how the are was setup in real estate photos and so you can see from a different perspective. I included another image that kind of shows what it looks like when looking at the wall from the front. The shelves are approx. 8 feet long. I know a really good handyman who is pretty affordable and I’m sure he could knock out those shelves for us pretty quickly.


    And on the right side of the bay window is a door that leads out to the backyard which we NEVER open because we use the door from our living room to get into the backyard (both doors are very close together). I also thought about getting rid of door in kitchen and using that space to build a pantry (see image I included below). Probably wouldn’t be cheap BUT not as expensive as a full kitchen reno! Its just such a waste of space right now!!!!





  • last year
    last modified: last year

    @User wow!!! I had no idea that is how floating shelves are added to the wall! I guess to me it just looks like a solid permanent piece of wood that cannot be removed. But when I see it like this…..0

  • last year

    Don’t know if anyone suggested this… but… if you use upper cabinets on the floor they are shallower and fit nicely in shallow spaces like this..add whatever top you like …you can carry it all across or in whatever length works with the table..

  • last year

    Perfect spot and space for things like napkins, paper towels, dry cereal selections.. extra cups and glasses for entertaining?

  • last year

    @btydrvn That’s interesting. Haven’t heard that before. I would want the same cabinets to be carried all the way across the wall.

  • last year

    We made a pantry in our kitchen this way… have a cousin- artist that made it very pretty for me

  • last year

    She made other murals for me .. I loved because we have total open floor plan with high ceilings…

  • last year

    In your case just order the same cabinet you have in whatever height you need for that spot.. then add a top .. with whatever depth or overhang you like

  • last year

    Sorry for over sharing🙂

  • last year

    You can convert the overhead light to a swag, and hang it anywhere you like.

  • last year

    Thank you everyone for your feedback!!! my husband is actually the one who does ALL the cooking/cleaning in the kitchen!

    My rule is whoever does the majority of the cooking, gets the majority say for how the kitchen looks and functions. Sorry but that needs to be his domain.

  • last year
    last modified: last year

    Easiest way to add storage is to buy an inexpensive sideboard that would fit in that area. Lots of choices with IKEA if you have one near you. No need to DIY anything - just need to assemble

    https://www.ikea.com/us/en/cat/sideboards-buffets-10412/

    Move the table a bit to the right and swag the light fixture

  • last year

    This thread has me bothered. We hear all the time the DH doesn't want. . .

    I was born in 1961. I was part of the "Superwoman" generation. If your not old enough to remember the Enjoli perfume commercial that aired during my senior year in high school you should google it. This perfectly coiffed mother morphs from bathrobe to business suit to evening gown, while singing "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, ever, ever let you forget you’re a man. "


    Back in the 70s women did not have equal access to a college education, but by the time I graduated from college 50% of the graduating class was female. (Title IX was passed in 1972 prohibiting discrimination based on gender for any school receiving federal funding.)

    Women are now graduating from college at a greater rate then men (14% gap).


    My generation is now facing retirement. We did it all, but for a far lower rate of pay than our male counterparts and far greater sacrifice.


    I will be retiring from one the top fortune 500 companies. The company employs over 125,000 people. 75% of the employees are female. There are 8 people between me and the CEO in my management hierarchy. All 8 are male. Of the 8 Chief Executive roles 7 are male.


    Other female executives that are my age all tell the same story.


    Compare the compensation packages for the top paid executives and the top paid female executives.




    Why are women not making the same money and why are they not making it into the C Suites?

    Because we are punished by a society that still sees our primary responsibility as taking care of the home and family.


    The husbands who are in management look at the female staff under them the same way as they look at their wife. He is fully focused on his job, while she has to juggle responsibilities for the home and family and her job. She is clearly not focused enough on work to be a chief executive officer.


    Your husband may cook the meals and even clean up after cooking. All the top chief cooking competitions have taught our men that you can master cooking. It is a skill that they can learn and become accomplished.


    Men have not picked up tasks like cleaning the toilet, dusting, vacuuming, laundry and don't take the day off work when the kids are sick or need to go to the doctor. They don't make the appointments for the doctors, dentist . . . they don't research summer activities for the kids or figure out how they are going to get to the summer or after school activities.


    Can I ask what DH wants to spend money on? Does he like getting his car detailed? Does he need his gym membership? How about the latest I phone or a bigger TV? My ex thought it was reasonable to spend $20 a day on lottery.


    We don't generally fight our husbands on how they want to spend the money. We want them to be happy. But yet when you want something that will make your home function better they aren't worried about keeping you happy. They need to exercise control.


    The superwomen failed you. We took on Corporate America, but we kept our husbands on a pedestal at home. We did it all, but we left you paying the price. We taught you that making your husband happy was a top priority, but we didn't teach our sons that keeping their wife happy was a top priority, we taught them to be men. Take charge, be a leader, earn a good living.


    It is up to your generation to gain equality at home and break into the executive boys club. You can't do one without the other.



  • last year

    Men have not picked up tasks like cleaning the toilet, dusting, vacuuming, laundry ...


    Does he like getting his car detailed? Does he need his gym membership? How about the latest I phone or a bigger TV?


    @Jennifer Hogan I loved your post and especially a trip back in time to the perfume commercial, which I remember seeing as a child. And, it is important to note how times have changed in gender and education but still not so much in the C-suite.


    The latter part of your comment had some stereotypes too that I think are fading. My husband couldn't care less about our car or the latest phone. He cleans the toilets, vacuums, and does laundry. I do think some of these gender stereotypes are thankfully changing in part because our society is becoming less homophobic so everyone is more comfortable and secure with men doing what was once considered "women's work". And, there seems so much less emphasis on the macho. (Though that might just be where I come from - living in the big city on the East Coast.) I don't want to be put in a gender box and am so glad that my husband does not clearly fall into one either. We are just two people making a great relationship work well so we both feel supported and loved.



  • last year

    Great points above…the only thing not discussed is how these things differ ….in different countries and cultures…I have in my life experiences noticed very different attitudes about life ..in general …in my travels…and many different types of outlooks are embraced and found acceptable in other places comfortably by their populations..it has drawn me to getting to know these people just for their differences🤷🏼‍♀️…it is probably due to a fairly nomadic upbringing…never settling long enough …any where …to establish lifetime circles of friends…but …allowing me to live and learn…all over the world…

  • last year

    Another option is Ikea's Besta wall cabinets - way less expensive than upending otherwise functional marital relationships.

  • PRO
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Not to digress from storage yet again......

    Countries, cultures, urban, rural, educated, not educated, faith based or not , people and attitudes vary. Who shall rule the roost, whether or not it is equal partnership in hosts of ways.

    Women make up 33% of the bench on the U.S Supreme Court. One of them has seven children. I surely hope THEY have a nanny, even if hubby pitches in equally.

    That is simultaneously contrasted with a celebrated rap culture that labels young women B's and ho's. No "pedestal" exists for these women. Nor their children.

    I have a client - brilliant radiologist who can spot a dust spec on the ass of an elephant from a distance three times the length of a football field, and he is better at removing it than clean freak me. His supply closet rivals the cleaning section at Bed Bath beyond. He was well past his teens when the "I can bring home the bacon" commercial aired.

    Point : Household norms vary and vary widely. Thirty years ago I heard a segment on an infamous call in radio show/female host. Tearful woman, and imagine the rest. Host chastising ......harshly given the plight of the caller.

    " Women have taken themselves off their own pedestals...." She even referenced the infamous bacon commercial. It stuck with me for hours that day, and remains nearly verbatim.Was the statement true?

    Were women EVER on a pedestal, ( the word "cherished" comes to mind )

    Are they, today....?

    Answer? Kernel of truth, definitely, definitely many, but just as many tragically far removed.

    I grew up in the "go ask your mother, what did your father say?" household. Dad's steely blue eyes could flatten you in a split second, he diapered our rear ends, and walked circles in miles under the glittery dining chandelier to lull us to sleep. He knew one thing: ) A happy wife, is a happy life. Proof? Best friends for 55 years until they died within seven weeks of one another.

    What's the point? It all varies, always has, and always will.

  • PRO
    last year

    Jan, so well said!

  • last year

    What's the point? It all varies, always has, and always will.


    The point is that women have not gained parity with men and blacks have not gained parity with whites and that homosexuals have not gained parity with heterosexuals.


    Have we come a long way towards equality? Sure. We are better today about recognizing that blacks are not to be property that should be owned, they are not sub-human. Neither are Jews. Homosexuals should not be arrested or 'cured' through electroshock therapy. Homosexuality is no longer a psychiatric diagnosis. Ideas like a married woman's paychecks being paid to her husband have gone away. Since 1974 we can even have a credit card in our own name without our husband's permission!


    Social norms change over time. But if no one speaks out nothing changes and if we don't bring all the people to the table we won't see progress.


    We have spent decades teaching women how to protect themselves from being raped. It has only been over the past decade that someone had the vision to see that to change the rape culture we had to not only talk to our daughters, we needed to teach our son's the meaning of consent. We needed our boys to look at women like they look at their mothers and sisters, as a whole person, and not just an object of male sexual desire.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCA6EF3y23k


    In order to gain equal rights for all we need to continue to challenge the social norms.


    All of my nieces and nephews have heard the "other" story of the marriages of women in my mom's generation. Not just the Father Knows Best or Ozzie and Harriet versions.

    The women like my mother in law. She was a wonderful woman. Kind and generous, thoughtful and calm. She truly loved her husband, and he truly loved and appreciated her.


    But her story of being young, only married for a few years and seeing her husband walking down the street explained her struggle.


    She was walking up the street with her three young children in tow. She looked ahead and saw her husband walking toward her arm in arm with another woman. As she tells the story, she took a deep breath, held her chin up and continued walking toward her husband and the other woman. As she passed him she simply nodded her head and said "Good Morning Mr. Hogan". They never spoke of the incident again, but he knew that she knew.


    The first time I heard this story I thought "WTF". But I thought about her situation and understood. She maintained her dignity to the best of her ability. She couldn't fight with him, he held all the cards. She was married at 15, had 3 children by age 20, would have another 4 during their marriage. He was 27 when they got married. He earned good money at the Steel Mill. She could clean houses or tend other women's children, maybe work as a waitress or a store clerk, but she would never be able to support herself and her children, so she swallowed hard and dealt with the cards that had been played. She was determined to be happy with her life, enjoy taking care of her home, husband and family.


    Her husband was a good provider. He may have had an eye for the ladies, drank more than he should have and sometimes got mean when he drank, but he went to work every day, worked overtime when possible and told her how lucky he was to have such a good wife. That had to be enough,


    It was not all that uncommon for wives in the 60s to hide what was going on behind closed doors. They hid the bruises and ignored the late nights at the office. What else were they going to do?


    I was lucky, my mom married a good provider who also happened to be a good man, a good father and a good husband. She had divorced her first husband when he strayed. But I wonder if she would have done this after having children or if she too would have made the best of her circumstance for the sake of her children.


    It was the women of my grandmother's generation that fought for us to have the right to vote. It was the women of my mother's generation who fought for the equal rights in education.

    Women of my generation too advantage of these rights. We have continued to be wonderful wives, homemakers and mothers while attaining greater education and proving ourselves to be capable both in the home and work place.


    We have done well, but until we bring our husbands and sons into the conversation, help them see that we are equally deserving of promotions and pay raises as our husbands, that our daughters and granddaughters are equally capable of leading a fortune 500 company as our sons and grandsons and that our sons and grandsons hold just as much responsibility for managing the household and caring for the children as our daughters and granddaughters we will continue to see women excluded from the C suite fraternity.