Many homes are ditching upper kitchen cabinets to achieve an open concept look. But where do you store dishes and cookware if not in upper cabinets? Here are six alternative storage solutions for your kitchen.

pinterest pin alternative storage ideas for open concept kitchens

Gone are the days when kitchens were tucked away and hidden from view. Modern floor plans with a focus on an open concept often showcase the kitchen as the showstopping room of the home. Our kitchens have become a place to eat, gather and entertain.

As a result, the kitchen has become more stylish. It is another room where you can display your decorating style and personality. New and trending kitchens have fewer cabinets and more open space. You don’t want your windows,  counter to ceiling tile displays, and custom stove hoods overshadowed by too many cupboard doors. Instead, the kitchen is now a place to display your favorite art or cute mug collection.

So with less and less cabinet storage, where will you keep all those essential kitchen items? Here are six kitchen cabinet alternatives for storing dishes and utensils while keeping form and function in mind.

1. Open shelving

Replacing cabinets with open shelves is an easy and trending alternative for a kitchen with no upper cabinets. Open shelves provide ready access to items used every day. They can be styled to show off your decorating style, and, bonus: it’s a lot easier to put away dishes without opening and closing cabinet doors!

Keep everything you would use daily on the lower shelves, items that are used occasionally on a secondary shelf, and rarely used items or decorations on the highest shelf.

2. Better lower cabinet storage

Without upper cabinets, it’s important to keep the lower cabinets as efficient as possible.  Adding slide out drawers or other storage solutions can maximize space for kitchen items. When planning a new kitchen, replacing cabinets with large drawers can make better use of valuable space.

3. Add an island with storage

Photo From Fearfully & Wonderfully Made

If your kitchen does not have an island you can easily add one. Carli from Fearfully & Wonderfully Made uses an island space to provide a useful additional storage solution.  Not only can she store items right at her fingertips, but she also has an additional prep surface.

There are several similar items on the market in different sizes and styles to fit your kitchen and decor.  And who are we kidding — who doesn’t want more counter space?

4. What about an antique hutch, buffet table, sideboard, or bar cart?

Photo From Middle Sister Design

Any of these items would be a lovely addition to a dining space or kitchen nook, really depending on your personal style. Can’t find the perfect hutch? Selena from Middle Sister Design used a dresser for extra kitchen belongings and linens — designed perfectly for farmhouse decor!

Bar carts are also trending and a very fun addition to an entertaining space. They can add a bit of glam to your decor. Use a bar cart as a stylish, convenient place to store fancy glasses and spirits, or for the perfect coffee station. Plus, with wheels, you can take it anywhere.


5. An open shelving rack

Where there is no room on the walls for shelving, add shelves somewhere else. There may be room just outside the kitchen, or even in your pantry or a corner where you have room for some extra shelving.

Morgan from My Divine Home Blog added some simple shelf storage to her kitchen for extra dishes and supplies. Nassika from @living.repurposed has used a charming hutch as well as a farmhouse style bottle rack for some additional storage. She is also making use of number six on this list with that fun tiered tray on her counter.

6. Maximize counter space

Personally, I do like to keep counters clear. But there is plenty of space for items you use all day long to sit effortlessly on your counter. A tiered tray is useful and stylish for utensils and snack bowls. Here are some other alternative storage solutions, like a platter rack and a bottle dryer which keeps mugs easy to grab for a morning coffee.

Tuck you cutting boards up against your backsplash. That way they are never out of reach. Keep frequently used items close at hand in a crate instead of a drawer or cabinet in order to free up much-needed space and keep cooking easy.


Ditching the upper cabinets doesn’t mean you have to compromise on storage or style. With plenty of solutions for where to put those pots and pans, what do you think? Will you have the guts to say goodbye to all those cupboards?

About the Author

Kendra Yoho

I am a stay at home mom to 3 wild, courageous girls. Married to my best friend. A Midwesterner at heart; living in the Southwest. I enjoy shopping (too much), a DIY project, and singing or rapping in my car like no one is watching. I want to be an adventurous traveler, but these days you will most likely find me snuggled in bed watching a scandalous hour long drama.

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