How to Convert Kitchen Cabinets to Open Shelving

Give plain kitchen cabinets a new look by converting them to open shelving. See the step-by-step process for this easy kitchen project.

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Open shelving not only looks great but is functional in multiple ways. Make it easier on yourself to unload the dishwasher, set the table, and plate food with a storage unit that doesn't require opening and closing doors. For cost-efficient open shelving, convert an existing cabinet into this stunning kitchen storage unit. We show you how in this instructional video.

What You Need

  • Cabinets
  • Double-edge pull saw
  • Putty knife
  • Quick-drying two-part putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Trim
  • Finishing nails
  • Nail punch
  • Caulk and caulk gun
  • Damp sponge or cloth
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush

Step 1: Prep Cabinet

Remove doors and hardware from cabinet. Cut out the middle stile with a double-edge pull saw. Remove shelving and set aside.

Next, use a putty knife to remove splinters and loose wood from where the hinges were. Fill holes and any dings with a quick-drying two-part putty. Smooth with putty knife and let dry according to package instructions. Once dry, sand the surface smooth.

Step 2: Add Trim

Attach trim to the edge of the removed shelf with finishing nails. Countersink them with a nail punch. Fill holes with putty and let dry.

Step 3: Caulk and Paint

Caulk any seams with paintable caulk. Alternate using your finger and a damp sponge or cloth to remove excess caulk. Caulk should only fill the opening. Let caulk dry.

Paint the cabinet your desired color. For extra impact, paint the back of the cabinet with a contrasting color or line the back with wallpaper. Let dry.

Reinstall the shelves and fill cabinet with plates, bowls, and accessories.

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