DIY Projects

How To Create Open Shelving With Existing Upper Cabinets

Open Shelving In Kitchen with Dark navy paint and white dishes

I love the look of open shelving in the kitchen. But I cook a lot.

I’m a little too nervous about ripping out cabinets on the wall near my stove and watching grease pile up on all my dishes. While I was updating my kitchen cabinet doors and they were all removed from the frames and laying on the back deck, I had an idea.

What if I left a few doors off on the sink side? There’s no grease happening over there…

***To read an update on this post one year later, check out my new full review of open shelving**

remove cabinet doors

So I started by clearing everything out of the wall cabinets. Since I won’t need the hinge holes anymore, I filled them with wood filler and sanded them smooth. It was already looking fresh and open, but that middle piece was throwing it all off.

 I headed out to get the saw.

remove middle piece of cabinet

I sawed and sawed and sawed, and kept hitting metal. How the heck is there metal in this little piece of wood??? After I sawed around the edges as much as I could on the top and bottom of the cabinet, I broke out the hammer and had a mini “Demo Day” moment.

It was awesome.

remove cabinet middle piece

Someone obviously did not want these middle pieces to come out, because there were huge metal staples inside.

Between pliers, a steak knife, and a manual can opener (don’t ask), I finally got them all out.

paint inside of cabinets

Now the fun part! I painted the inside of the cabinets a dark navy blue (Corduroy Black by Valspar).

I know it’s really dark, but all my dishes are white, so I knew they’d really pop against the navy.

Polycrylic for cabinets

Since the dishes and glasses will constantly be moving around on these shelves, I layered on four protective coats of Polycrylic to ensure the paint didn’t scratch or scuff.

I let that dry for a full 48 hours before putting anything on the shelves.

Needless to say, it looks amazing! I’m so impressed with how something as simple as removing cabinet doors and adding paint can really add character to a kitchen.

And the cool part is, if I ever decide I want the doors back, I can just pop them right back on. I even kept the middle piece, just in case.

**See how they held up in my new post Open Kitchen Shelving- One Year Update**

I just can’t wait to show you the full reveal of the kitchen! We’ve been working hard to keep the reno on a tight and tiny budget, and the results are pretty awesome. I’ll be showing it all off very soon!

Want to follow along with my low-cost kitchen renovation? Check out these other posts I shared during the process.

DIY Shaker Cabinet Door Update

How To Paint Cabinet Doors And Install Hardware The Right Way

Open Shelving Kitchen Pantry And Coffee Bar

NEW: Small Galley Kitchen Reveal

NEW: Open Kitchen Shelving – One Year Update

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  1. Hi! Do you by chance know where the white bowls with the brown rim came from? Thanks!

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