How to Transform Your Kitchen Cabinets Into Open Shelving

How to Transform Your Kitchen Cabinets Into Open Shelving
Photo: By Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

If you like the look of open kitchen shelving, but don’t like the idea of (or cost of) tearing down your existing cabinets, you can actually convert them into shelving on your own. However, it is a little more involved than simply removing the cupboard doors — we’ll walk you through how to transform those outdated cabinets into open shelving.

How to turn existing kitchen cabinets into open shelves

First, empty any cabinets you’ll be converting and clean them out; now is the time to wipe up any dust or dirt that has built up over the years (and wonder how you didn’t notice how dirty things had gotten in there). Next, you’ll need to decide whether you want to remove the middle piece that separates the two sides of the cabinet. You can leave it intact if you’d like, but it will be a bit challenging (albeit not impossible) to work around as you proceed.

To remove it, use a double-edged pull saw to cut the bottom and top of the plank. If you have any trouble removing the piece after sawing, use a hammer to gently dislodge it. Once the middle divider is out, remove the inside shelving. Use a putty knife to scrape away any jagged pieces, fill in any small holes or dings in the cabinet with putty, and then sand the area until it’s smooth. Better Homes & Gardens also suggests adding trim to the front-facing edge of the shelves for a more finished look.

Watch their instructional video as an example of the transformation process:

Next, Better Homes & Gardens recommends caulking any inside seams of the cabinet with paintable caulk to seal them off. And finally, paint the inside and outside of the shelving the colour of your choice with enamel paint or paint made specifically for cabinets.

Log in to comment on this story!