Open shelves are a viable alternative to built-in cabinets. You can build and install them in a weekend from your own workshop.
If you have nice looking plates, bowls, and glassware that won't embarrass you if left out, then open shelving is a great option for your kitchen. It's easy to locate where everything is, and by removing bulky cabinets you can really open up a small space.
This project uses 2.5cm pine stair treads, but you can go with any similar type of wood. It's helpful to have a table saw, miter saw, drill/driver, bandsaw, and sander to finish this project. It's totally doable without the large woodworking tools, but it does make the project go faster.
Watch the video above and follow the step-by-step instructions for building the shelves.
How to Cheaply and Quickly Make Open Shelves [I Like to Make Stuff (YouTube)]
Lifehacker's Workshop column covers DIY tips, techniques and projects.