Kitchen Cabinet Reveal


Hi there, Friends! Before the holiday I shared my Kitchen Cabinet Pinspiration…for updating the insides of my 2 glass-door kitchen cupboards. As in most of my DIY projects, it started out a simple paint project then morphed into an all-out Spring Cleaning redo. Once painted the cabinets looked great soooo I couldn’t just throw the stuff back onto the shelves and call it a day. I realized many of the dishware on the most convenient shelves were items seldom used anymore. That happens as you pass from one stage of family life to another. We are empty-nesters so our daily dishware seems to be minimal and pretty much the same few pieces day after day. So I edited these two cabinets to be both functional and “visually pleasing.” Let’s call that STYLING. That means that many items were relocated or I given away. A lot of dust got washed off too. I treated these two glass door cabinets as though they were Open Shelves because their contents were visible although obscured through the reed glass doors.

Photo below shows the unfinished wood backboard of one of the cabinets that started the whole project. I painted the cabinet inside back, top and sides, and replaced the old sagging shelves and added trim to finish off the front edges.


My pinspiration post helped me decide on gray  as the paint color. I tested out a dark gray paint that I had in the garage. It was a bit dark so I bought a much lighter gray paint to run a side-by-side comparison. Even with glass doors lighting cast shadows so the paint looked darker in some areas of the cabinet. The winner:  “B” the lighter gray paint, because it is fresher yet still allows the white dishes to pop against it.


Styling the Shelves:

Before (photo). I circled the items we Regularly USE. The rest, sadly, are just hanging out (never used), while taking up valuable shelf space…relics of another life… a hodgepodge of colors: blue, pink, green, yellow, brown, purple white.


BEFORE Wide cabinet

After styling…Based on my rooms’ decor  and the colors of dishware we still use, I decided on a color scheme of white & blue. I placed those items used regularly on the lowest shelf.


AFTER Wide cabinet



BEFORE Narrow cabinet, we only use 2 each of these 2 sizes of glasses.

After…this cabinet is closest to dishwasher so it stores our everyday dishware. The top shelf holds often used dishes and a pitcher often used for flowers. The color scheme is white/golden to orange tone/blue.

AFTER sm done

AFTER Narrow cabinet, with items we use daily are on two lower shelves.

Here’s How I did it…

  • Empty cupboards & wash everything
  • Repair or repaint insides, shore-up sagging shelves. (I replaced my shelves with pressed wood custom cut to size at Lowe’s for free)
  • Location is especially important in a kitchen. The cabinet location in relation to your workflow will determine the choice of items kept there. Meaning, the cabinet nearest the dishwasher should contain everyday dishes & glasses for ease of unloading. Also consider the size of the cabinet relative to the items you need to store. My chargers were too big to fit the depth of the upper cabinets and multiple stacks of dishes would be too heavy for the long unsupported shelves of my wide cabinet. I also opted to put my soup tureens in the back of lower cabinets, freeing the space for lighter and more used items. Get rid of things that are just clutter now, no need to hold on to them forever! Okay, all that was function & practical stuff…now on to the fun Styling.
  • Color: When doing open shelving All White dishware is the easiest to style. I am treating my glass door cabinets as though they are Open shelving. Using one color easily gives cohesiveness to all the different sizes and shapes. Similar to painting mix-matched furniture – the same color gives cohesiveness to the room. But back to shelf arrangement…adding a second color can work too if you follow the Arrangement Rules. That is what I had to do because I had a lot more white dishes than I thought I had but still not enough to go ALL White. I gathered all my white and all my blue and all my orange/terracotta dishware and used white/blue for one cabinet, then for the other cabinet, I used white/orange/blue. I know that is 3 colors two colors but it seemed to work okay. Here is the Shelf Arrangement Rule I followed…Think TRIANGLE or ZIG-ZAG. Insert the colored dishware amid the white so the eye travels in a triangle or a zig-zag as you look at the arrangement. The triangle can be even sideways or upside down. Just think triangle lots of them or just one big triangle. Zig-Zag is the same; insert color at the top beginning and the bottom end of the shelving unit, then sprinkle the color throughout so the eye smoothly hits on that color while moving from top to bottom. Below I show the triangle flows by color, for instance the orange line starts top shelf leading eye to second right, down to left bottom shelf. There is a blue triangle line for blue dishes and white line for white dish triangles and a white zig zag.


  • Balance: this is the bugger – Balancing is achieved by distributing WEIGHT (bulky/airy items), HEIGHT (tall/short items), TIP: stacking becomes your best friend! and COLOR (white, colored, clear, metal) – distributing so the shelving unit looks even; not too much of anything on one side or top & bottom. When I shut the glass doors I could plainly see where I had too many stacks of plates in an area or too much of one color. Tip: Edit down the glasses, bowls and plates to the amount really used and place them first on shelf, the rest of the set of 6-8-or 12 could either be used to balance the arrangement by stacking OR stored elsewhere. As in the Open shelving of regularly used items, Not Everything has to be displayed on the shelf. That idea of NOT keeping sets together was so far from my mindset before starting this project! I like looking at organized and pretty shelves each day, while having those extra glasses and plates that are in the sets, tucked away collecting dust while a few of their mates are visually balancing a convenient (near the dishwasher) cabinet : ) A perfect blend of Form & Function.

…before I knew it I had uncluttered and rearranged ALL of the cabinets in the kitchen. Whoo-hoo…I would have never planned to do all that if this project didn’t motivate me!

Where will you begin your Spring Cleaning?

Today the cabinets…tomorrow the closet???  Thanks for Meeting Me Lakeside!

new Kathy sig w wc & big mug 159x50