One of the easiest ways to open up your kitchen is with open shelving–like these below. Here are tips on how to style glass front kitchen cabinets.
When we remodeled our kitchen we took down the existing cabinets and added these glass front kitchen cabinets that used to be in the butler’s pantry.
Maybe it’s because they look so classic.
Maybe it’s because they make a room feel so much more open.
Maybe it’s because we already had them and they were free.
Maybe it’s because they remind me of Emily Gilmore’s kitchen on Gilmore Girls.
I can’t help it. I just love glass front kitchen cabinets.
I think I need to write another post about free cabinets and how to add a little plywood and some molding and re-use them and re-create them and make them feel like they stepped out of the pages of a high-end design magazine. But I thought I would start with the basics first. Like what to put in them and how to make them feel open and how to make them feel uncluttered.
Here’s how to style glass front kitchen cabinets and the dishes that love them.
Why glass front cabinets
Every time I bring up glass front cabinets I hear comments like these:
“My dishes aren’t cute enough to show the world.”
And “How do you keep them organized?”
And my personal favorite “Where do you put all your Tupperware?”
I get it. I understand. I know it seems like glass front cabinets might be a little intimidating, but truly? They are easy to keep clean and organized and un-tupperwared if you use a few simple tips.
What to put in glass front cabinets
These are our actual cabinets. The ones we use every day. They are full of our dishes and plates and bowls and cups that we use every single day.
I think so many people make the mistake of thinking that glass front cabinets have to be a museum display. How many times have you seen a glass front cabinet full of impractical, unusable, things like fancy glass dishes and figurines and squirrel nutcrackers?
The most successful way to enjoy glass front cabinets and make them practical is TO USE THEM. All this stuff? It’s what we put our chicken nuggets on and frozen pizza on and drink our coffee from and pour our sweet tea.
We have three sets of glass front cabinets in our kitchen where every single thing in them gets used on a regular basis (except the top shelf because when you are five feet tall top shelves just aren’t really a thing).
How to create the look of built-in plate racks
When you style a glass front cabinet, you want to start with the plates. These are not fancy plates. Not even close. They are a lifetime of white plates collected from every corner of the globe and every corner of a yard sale.
You can see they are different patterns. You can see they are different colors. You can see they are different sizes. That is their charm.
Individually they are imperfect plates.
They are perfection.
- Normally, with high-end glass front kitchen cabinets, you might have plate racks installed. But these are not fancy cabinets. These are recycled butler’s pantry almost ended up in the trash kind of cabinets.
- They need their own unique kitchen solution—wood plate racks. You can find them here.
- Plate racks like these come in a set of two. I used three plate racks to fill the width of my cabinets.
- They come in a natural wood color, but I spray painted them white to match the cabinets. You can also see where I used them in my butler’s pantry at the farmhouse here.
- You can attach them to the kitchen cabinets to the bottom of the cabinet shelf, but I just put them up there and they pretty much stay in place.
How to style glass front kitchen cabinets with mugs and cups
These are the glasses we use every day.
- You want to start with glasses that you actually use. I have had them for over four years and they still look like this. And they are PLASTIC. And monogrammed. And they just look so fancy and cute and friendly up there in the cabinets. Like all they need is sweet tea and a party.
- I just line them up on the bottom shelf and place the coffee mugs on the top shelf.
- You can order them in a set of six with the monogram here.
- Those coffee mugs? They are a hot coffee mug mess. They, too, have been collected over the years with different styles and shapes and handles. But when your mugs are all the same color, it just works.
- At first, I was going to hang hooks from the ceiling of the shelf to give me even more room to put more mugs, but then I moved most of the cups to the butler’s pantry.
How to style glass front kitchen cabinets with bowls
Here’s my yard sale bowl collection. Most of it is still in the dishwasher from breakfast.
Again, see how they don’t match?
- Notice that they are different patterns and sizes and colors.
- My favorite tip for styling bowls is to match them with smaller plates.
- See the small stacks of plates? They are just stacked together in this cabinet and then the bowls are layered on top.
- I also like to place some plates flat against the back of the cabinets. That way they fill out the cabinet a little more.
- I never stack the bowls straight. I just think they look so much cuter a little katywhompus. I turn them this way and that way when I unload them from the dishwasher. That way they aren’t so matchy matchy.
How to style glass front kitchen cabinets with pitchers and large bowls
On the side of the end of the cabinets, we added this open shelving to make it fit into the kitchen.
I’ll share more about how we did that in the post I’m going to write on how to upgrade free cabinets. It was such a simple fix and the shelves are the perfect place to put all the larger entertaining pieces like over-sized bowls or pitchers or large whiteware pieces.
I use pieces like this one every couple of weeks for entertaining or family dinners.
How to style the shelves of a hutch
I also have open shelving on this hutch in the kitchen. Here are a few tips on styling it.
- I hang plates on the back of the hutch with plate hangers for height.
- I place oversized platters in the middle.
- I place plates along the back of the hutch.
- Then I style bowls and other whiteware pieces in front of them.
- I add a small lamp to light up the entire hutch and make it feel welcoming.
I think that glass front cabinets should just be enjoyed.
They do look so classic.
They really do make a room feel so much more open.
And they do remind me of Emily Gilmore’s kitchen on Gilmore Girls.
But truly? I don’t overthink the styling. I don’t overthink the shelves. I don’t overthink what goes in them. I just style the kitchen cabinets with what I have and know I’m going to use on an every day basis and with what I love.
It makes them beautiful.
PS If you use your dishes every day, you don’t have to worry about the dust, either. 🙂
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