Kitchen No Upper Cabinets: A Stylish and Efficient Design


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Discover the benefits of a kitchen No upper cabinets. Learn how this design can create a more spacious, airy, and modern feel.

Have you ever walked into a kitchen and felt instantly refreshed by an open, airy design? If so, chances are it had minimal to no upper cabinets. This trend has taken kitchens by storm for good reason. Say goodbye to dark, cramped spaces and hello to a stylish, efficient design.

When you ditch the upper cabinets, your kitchen opens up in more ways than one. Without the bulky cabinetry overhead, natural light can pour in through windows. The space feels instantly more spacious as your sightlines extend upward. The minimal look also creates a modern, polished vibe.

If you’re worried about losing storage space, don’t be. There are so many creative ways to keep a fully functioning kitchen without the uppers. Stylish shelves, drawers, racks, and freestanding furniture can provide all the storage you need.

Ready to step into the light? An open kitchen design with minimal to no upper cabinets might just change the way you cook, live, and entertain at home. Take the plunge – your space and style will thank you.

What Is a Kitchen No Upper Cabinets?

What Is a Kitchen With No Upper Cabinets

A kitchen with no upper cabinets is exactly what it sounds like – a kitchen without the traditional wall cabinets overhead. This design features base cabinets and countertops but leaves the space above open and airy.

The Benefits

Open shelving or none at all above the counter creates a spacious, minimalist feel. You’ll enjoy an uncluttered space and better natural lighting without bulky cabinets blocking windows or skylights.

  • Easy access. Everything is within reach, so you can quickly grab what you need while cooking. No more fumbling around in dark, cramped cabinets.
  • Stylish and modern. An open kitchen design is sleek and contemporary. It highlights architectural details like ceiling beams, pendant lights or tile backsplashes.
  • Less cleaning. Upper cabinets mean more surface area to keep dust-free. Without them, you’ll spend less time wiping down and decluttering.
  • Customizable storage. Get creative with shelving, racks, and bins to store essentials. Or leave the space empty for an ultra-minimal look. The options are endless!
  • Improved traffic flow. No upper cabinets protruding into the room means easier movement for multiple cooks or when entertaining guests.


Some downsides to keep in mind: you may lose a bit of storage space without upper cabinets. Open shelving means dusting and keeping items organized. For some, the minimal style may seem unfinished or stark. But if you crave an uncluttered, contemporary kitchen, no upper cabinets could be the perfect choice. With the benefits of an open, airy space, easy access to everything, and less cleaning, this design will transform your time cooking and entertaining at home.

Benefits of Removing Upper Cabinets

Benefits of Removing Upper Cabinets

Removing your upper kitchen cabinets opens up your space in a big way. You’ll gain an airy, open feel that makes your kitchen seem so much more spacious.

More Natural Light

Without obstructive cabinets blocking the windows, natural light will pour in. This makes your kitchen a bright, cheerful place to cook and entertain. The boost in natural light may even improve your mood and productivity!

Easy Accessibility

Everything you need is within easy reach. No more fumbling around in dark, cramped cabinets or climbing on step stools to reach items in the back. An open design makes all your items visible and accessible.

Stylish and Modern

An open kitchen with no upper cabinets has a stylish, contemporary vibe. The clean, minimalist lines create a sleek modern look. If you want a kitchen that makes a statement, removing the upper cabinets is an impactful way to transform the space.

Additional Storage Space

Losing the upper cabinets may seem like you’re losing storage, but you can gain additional storage in other ways. Add a kitchen island with cabinetry or drawer space. Install shelves, racks, and hanging storage to keep items off your countertops. Floor-to-ceiling pantries are also great for maximizing storage in an open kitchen.

Removing your upper kitchen cabinets creates a kitchen that is as functional as it is stylish. You’ll enjoy an airy, well-lit space where everything you need is within easy reach. An open kitchen design with no upper cabinets brings a sleek, modern vibe and additional smart storage solutions. Your kitchen will become the heart of your home!

Maximizing Storage Without Upper Cabinets

Maximizing Storage Without Upper Cabinets

Without upper cabinets, you’ll need to get creative to make the most of your kitchen storage. Here are some tips to maximize space:

Open Shelving

Open Shelving

Open shelving is a great way to display items you use often while still keeping them within easy reach. You can use open shelving for plates, glasses, mugs, and decorative items. Make sure not to overload the shelves, or your kitchen may end up looking cluttered. Leave some open space in between items.

Under-Cabinet Space

Under-Cabinet Space

The area under your cabinets is prime real estate in a kitchen without uppers. You can install pull-out drawers, bins, or trays to store items like pots, pans, and cooking tools. For a budget-friendly option, use magnetic strips to hang knives and other metal tools.

Pantry Storage

Pantry Storage

A pantry, closet, or cabinet is essential for keeping food and supplies organized and contained. If you don’t have a walk-in pantry, use a freestanding cabinet or install pull-out drawers in an empty corner. Clearly, label boxes, baskets, and bins to make everything easy to spot at a glance.

Multipurpose Furniture

Pieces that serve multiple purposes, like kitchen carts, islands, and hutches, are ideal for a kitchen with minimal cabinetry. A kitchen cart can provide extra counter space, storage, and a place to prepare food. An island offers seating, storage, and a hub for activities. A hutch placed against a wall works well for storing dishware, linens, and other items.

Hidden Storage

Hidden Storage

Take advantage of any hidden nooks and crannies for extra storage. Mount a magnetic strip or spice rack inside a cabinet door, or install pull-out trays under the stove or sink. If you have an unused space between the studs in a wall, frame it in to make a narrow cabinet. Every bit of space matters in a kitchen without upper cabinets.

With some creativity, you can have a stylish kitchen that is also highly functional. Focus on multifunctional furniture, open shelving, under-cabinet space, pantries, and hidden storage to keep everything within easy reach in your kitchen with no upper cabinets.

Choosing the Right Backsplash for an Open Design

Choosing the Right Backsplash for an Open Design

When choosing a backsplash for an open kitchen design without upper cabinets, consider options that will complement the space while also being functional. Some stylish and low-maintenance choices include:



Tile is a classic backsplash material that comes in a variety of styles, colors, and textures. For an open, minimalist kitchen, consider large format tiles like 12×24 inches in a neutral shade. Their sleek, uniform look helps create a seamless flow in an open space. Porcelain or ceramic tile requires little maintenance and is resistant to stains, scratches, and heat.



Natural stone like granite, marble, or slate adds visual depth and richness to a kitchen. Their natural beauty works well in an open, cabinet-free design. Granite is a durable, heat-resistant choice available in many colors. Marble has a luxurious look but requires more maintenance. Slate offers an organic, textured feel with earthy hues. For stone, choose a polished, honed, or brushed finish based on how much texture you want.


For an industrial vibe, concrete is a unique backsplash option. You can stain concrete in various gray hues or leave it natural. Concrete is also versatile – you can stamp, etch, or polish different patterns into its surface. However, concrete requires yearly sealing to prevent staining.

•Metal: Stainless steel, copper, zinc and tin backsplashes provide an eye-catching metallic glint that pairs well with cabinet-free kitchens. Stainless steel, in particular, is a modern, low-maintenance choice available in tile, panels or sheets. Metal backsplashes create a sleek, sterile feel, so you may want to balance them with other natural materials like wood or stone countertops.

An open kitchen without upper cabinets provides an ideal canvas to get creative with your backsplash. By selecting a material and style you genuinely like, your kitchen will have a warm, welcoming vibe for you and your guests. Focus on low-maintenance, minimalist options in neutral, earthy tones for the most cohesive look in an open space.

Incorporating Other Storage Solutions

Without upper cabinets, you’ll need to get creative with other storage solutions to keep your kitchen organized. Here are some stylish options to consider:

Open Shelving

Open shelving is a great way to display decorative dishes, cookbooks, and other kitchen accessories while still keeping them within easy reach. Choose shelving made of wood, metal, or acrylic to match your kitchen’s style. Leave some empty space on the shelves so they don’t look too cluttered. Open shelving works well for items you use frequently but also enhances the open, airy feel.

Pantry Storage

If you have an adjacent pantry, mudroom, or closet space, utilize it for food and lesser-used kitchen tools. Add pull-out drawers, cabinets, and shelving to keep everything neatly organized and off your countertops. A pantry also provides storage for larger appliances and bulkier items. For a small kitchen, a pantry cabinet or hutch adjacent to the main workspace can add significant storage.


Deep drawers, especially those with organizers, are ideal for storing cutlery, utensils, towels, and other essential tools. Look for drawer dividers or trays to keep everything sorted and prevent jumbling. Tiered cutlery trays are perfect for organizing forks, spoons, and knives. Soft-close or self-closing drawer glides allow drawers to close slowly and quietly.

Kitchen Carts and Islands

Kitchen carts or movable islands provide extra countertop space as well as storage underneath. They can easily be rolled out of the way when not in use. Look for ones with drawers, cabinets, and shelving to store linens, pots, and pans or small appliances. Some carts come with butcher block tops that can double as extra prep space or a casual dining area.

Under-Cabinet Racks

For smaller items like pans, lids, trays, and cutting boards, install under-cabinet racks. These racks attach to the underside of wall cabinets or soffits to take advantage of unused space. They keep items off countertops but within easy reach when cooking. For a minimalist look, choose racks that match your cabinetry.

With the right combination of these storage solutions, you can achieve an efficient kitchen design without upper cabinets that still have a place for everything. Your open, airy kitchen will feel stylish and uncluttered.

Lighting Tips for an Airy, Spacious Feel

To maximize the open, airy feel of your kitchen with no upper cabinets, proper lighting is key. The right lighting plan and fixtures can make a space feel more spacious and pull together the overall design.

Natural Light

If possible, incorporate natural light sources like large windows, skylights, and glass doors. Natural light brightens the space and creates an open, airy ambiance. Consider windows that span from the countertops to the ceiling to let in as much light as possible.

Task Lighting

Undercabinet or counter lighting provides task lighting for prepping and cooking. LED strip lights are easy to install and provide even lighting. For a more stylish option, pendant lights or track lighting can be used under the cabinets or over countertops and islands.

Ambient Lighting

For ambient light, opt for ceiling fixtures like flush mount lights, pendant lights, or recessed lighting on dimmers. Dimming the lights creates a cozy ambiance for dining and entertaining. Chandeliers or statement pendant lights also provide ambient light while enhancing the decor.

Accent Lighting

Don’t forget accent lighting to highlight decorative details like tile backsplashes, stone countertops, or metallic hardware. Wall sconces, recessed spotlights, and track lighting work well for accent lighting in a kitchen with no upper cabinets.

By combining natural light with task, ambient, and accent lighting, you can achieve a bright, airy, and spacious feel in your kitchen without upper cabinets. Carefully consider the types of activities in each area to determine the appropriate lighting needs. And be sure to install all lighting on dimmers so you can adjust the level to your mood and needs. The right lighting plan will transform your open kitchen into a stylish, functional space.

Design Ideas to Highlight the Lack of Upper Cabinets

Without upper cabinets, your kitchen design options open up. You can highlight the open space in stylish, functional ways.

Open Shelving

Open shelving is a great way to display decorative dishes, glassware, and other kitchen accessories without hiding them behind cabinet doors. Stagger the shelves at different levels for visual interest. Leave some empty space between items so the overall look isn’t too cluttered. Open shelving also makes items easily accessible while keeping the space feeling airy.

Pendant Lighting

With no upper cabinets blocking the way, pendant lights can make a stunning focal point. Cluster three or more pendants together over a kitchen island or peninsula. Or do a row of mini pendants over a countertop or bar area. Pendant lights provide useful task lighting while enhancing the style of your open kitchen.

Wall Treatments

An empty wall above your countertops provides an ideal canvas for a decorative treatment. Consider tile, stone, or wood planks. Or go bold with wallpaper. A textured or patterned wall treatment will make a stylish backdrop for your open kitchen design. Keep the rest of the walls a complementary solid color so the accent wall becomes the star of the show.


Bring life into your kitchen by incorporating plants. With more natural light coming in from the lack of upper cabinets, houseplants will thrive. Place pots on the countertop, open shelves, or the windowsill. Greenery helps connect the kitchen to nature while also looking chic in a contemporary space.

Ceiling Beams

Exposed ceiling beams are an architectural element that suits an open kitchen well. Wooden beams spanning the width of the kitchen help define the space in a rustic yet stylish way. Ceiling beams also draw the eye upward, emphasizing the openness and height of the room. Paint them a contrasting color from the ceiling and walls for extra drama.

An open kitchen without upper cabinets creates a welcoming, stylish hub for cooking, dining, and entertaining. Using decorative touches like open shelving, lighting, plants, and ceiling beams helps highlight the open space in an artful, put-together way. The result is a kitchen that looks and feels spacious, airy, and elegantly simple.

FAQs About Cooking and Living With No Upper Cabinets

No upper cabinets in a kitchen can prompt some questions about how it will impact your cooking and lifestyle. Here are some common FAQs and answers about living with this stylish design choice:

Where will I put all my stuff?!

With no upper cabinets, you’ll need to get creative with storage solutions. Consider open shelving, cabinets and drawers, a pantry closet, or kitchen islands for frequently used items. Store lesser-used gear in another area like the basement or garage. Pare down to the essential tools and dishes you really need. Your kitchen will feel more spacious and clutter-free.

How will I reach higher shelves?

Install shelving at a height that’s easily accessible, around 5 to 6 feet high for most people. For higher shelves, use roll-out drawers, or a step stool, or consider a pocket ladder that tucks away when not in use. Pull-down shelves are another handy option.

Won’t my kitchen get messy?

An open design means your kitchen may feel messier at times. Make it a habit to wipe up spills and splatters right away, do regular spot cleans, and deep clean your entire kitchen weekly or biweekly. Store appliances when not in use and group items by usage area. With some extra diligence, you’ll keep your kitchen looking as neat as possible.

How will I vent my stovetop?

You’ll want an effective ventilation system over your stovetop like a high-powered range hood or downdraft vent to prevent grease and odors from building up. Vent the exhaust outside if possible for the best results. Choose a model suited for your stovetop – more powerful for gas ranges. Run the vent for 10-15 minutes after cooking to clear the air.

Won’t I miss having cabinets?

You may miss upper cabinets at first, but will come to appreciate the open, airy feel and easier access to everything in your kitchen. The space will seem more expansive and modern without bulky cabinetry overhead. Your kitchen may even feel brighter with the extra light from windows or fixtures that would otherwise be blocked. An uncluttered, minimalist kitchen free of upper cabinets can be a stylish and liberating design choice for any home cook.

Gallery of Beautiful Kitchens Without Upper Cabinets

A kitchen without upper cabinets creates an open, airy feel that is perfect for smaller spaces. Removing the upper cabinets opens up the walls and ceilings, making the room appear more spacious and bright.

More Counter Space

Without upper cabinets crowding the walls, you gain extra counter space for food prep and serving. The open area above the lower cabinets and countertops is ideal for hanging pendant lights, displaying decorative items like plates or baskets, or installing open shelving.

Easy Accessibility

Everything stored in the lower cabinets and drawers is within easy reach. No more climbing on step stools to access items in high cabinets! This convenience factor is especially useful for those with mobility issues or of smaller stature.

A Streamlined Look

A kitchen minus the upper cabinets has a minimal, uncluttered appearance. The lack of cabinet doors and hardware gives the space a sleek, contemporary vibe. The streamlined look also makes the room feel more open and less closed in.

Added Storage Space

Although upper cabinets are removed, you can add other storage furniture like kitchen islands, pantry cabinets, or hutches to make up for the lost cabinet space. Installing pull-out drawers, lazy Susans, and other organizational tools in the lower cabinets also helps maximize storage.

Lower Maintenance

Without upper cabinets, there are fewer surfaces to collect dust and grime. The open space is easier to wipe down and keep clean. This minimalist design requires less maintenance overall compared to a traditional kitchen with full cabinetry.

A kitchen without upper cabinets offers many benefits for both aesthetics and function. Opening up the walls provides a spacious, airy feel while still offering ample storage and counter space. If you’re looking for a stylish, low-maintenance kitchen design, eliminating the upper cabinets is worth considering.


You’ve now seen the several advantages of having a kitchen without top cabinets. This minimalistic design decision makes the room appear bigger and more airy. Your kitchen will appear more chic and contemporary. You’ll have more wall area available for accent walls or other decorative pieces like paintings. Additionally, the roomy bottom cabinets and drawers will make it easier for you to locate your vital stuff.

Removing your top cabinets is a remodeling with significant benefits, even if change can be difficult. You’ll have a gorgeous, extremely practical kitchen. You’ll want to hang out in your area and enjoy showing off to friends and family. Remove the heavy upper cabinets to make your kitchen feel more spacious. You’ll soon wonder why you didn’t make this stylish and efficient change sooner!

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