10 Minute Decorating Idea: Kitchen

How to Create Open Shelving in a Kitchen Without a Remodel

Every month a group of bloggers and I post a quick and easy decorating idea, one that is so easy it can be done in 10 minutes. This month we are sharing ideas for the kitchen.

Kitchen space saving decorating idea

If you have been following me for the past two months then you have seen this photo of the kitchen in my new-to-me house.

I wish we could take on remodeling the kitchen all at once like they do on episodes of Fixer Upper, but it may take some time to save up enough $$$ to do it the way we envision.  For now, instead of a major remodel, I will be tweaking it with paint and giving it my style using my bag of decorating tricks. (Here is how the kitchen looks a year later) It is my favorite kind of decorating… making what I have the best it can be on a dime and some DIY. :-)

After living in the house for a few days, we found the counter microwave (above photo – previous owner left it) was awkward to use and took up way too much counter space.

1970's kitchen updating decorating idea

In my search to find another place to put it, I looked up at an empty cabinet and wondered if the microwave would fit. I created open cabinets in my previous kitchen and really liked the look so I thought it just might work.

I took out my tape measure to find out.  To my surprise, it fit!  We even had an electrical outlet nearby to run the cord and plug out the side of the cabinet and into an outlet.

How to fix scratches in furniture and kitchen cabinets

How to Remove a Kitchen Cabinet Door

Taking a cabinet door off takes about 3 minutes, all you need is a screwdriver. Depending on how your cabinets are finished you may need to do some touching up on the cabinet frame where the hinges were.

If the cabinets are stained, a DAP Blend Stick will fill in the holes and blend the color where the hinges used to be. All you do is rub it over the holes and presto-chango…they will be filled in under a minute. These sticks come in many different shades from light to dark and are sold in packs of four colors so you are bound to find just the right color to match the wood tone you need.

There are also many other ways to do the touch-up… pens, markers, and even wood stain cloths. I like the DAP Blend Sticks the best since they fill in the hole at the same time you are touching up the color.  If you ever want to put the door back on, the holes will be easy to find again to make re-hanging the door easy.

If your cabinets are painted, it may take you 12 minutes from start to finish since you will have to open up a jar of touch-up paint to dab over to touch-up where the hinges were attached.

AFTER:  Cabinet Minus the Door

How to easily create open cabinets in a kitchen

Presto-Changeo… looks like a custom built-in. :-)

Easy kitchen decorating idea that can be done in 10 minutes

To add more interest, I added my favorite cookbooks and white pitchers to the top shelf.

how to create open shelves in a kitchen

It may not be perfect, but it sure is functional and has opened up needed space on the kitchen counter.

Use what you have decorating

I liked how well it looked since it broke up the row of identical doors that I decided to remove the two cabinet doors above the fridge, too. They are impossible to reach so I had left them empty.

how to fix a scratch on a stained cabinet

In a few minutes I had the doors off.  I also used the claw end of a hammer to remove the middle bar that separated the doors.

Interesting that the builder of the cabinets didn’t stain the cabinets before placing the hinges on. If they had, you wouldn’t see the raw wood where the hinges were.

How to fix a scratch on a stained kitchen cabinet

A little rub of the DAP Blend Stick and a Minwax touch-up pencil and the raw wood blends in.

Open kitchen cabinet dishes

Now I have shelves to display my collectible white dishes, pitchers and platters.

Do you have an unused or hard to reach cabinet in your kitchen that could be better used in a functional or decorative way?  Try it, if it doesn’t work, you can just hang the cabinet back up…no damage done.

Looking for quick and easy kitchen decorating ideas? Is your microwave taking up precious room on your kitchen counter? Check out these blogger's kitchen decorating ideas that can be done in 10 minutes. | In My Own Style

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  1. I like the ideas…but how in the world do you actually get heavy, hot dishes OUT or even INTO that microwave?? You must be very tall!! Not bad for heating up coffee, but a hot bowl of soup? Seems dangerous to me at 5’3″!!

    1. Hi Karen –

      It might not be good for shorter people to place the microwave in a high upper cabinet, but if your kitchen has lower cabinets, you may be able to use one of them.

  2. Hi Diane! Love your common sense approach to decorating and DIY! It looks like my microwave will fit in the cabinet near my stove, however it is a double door cabinet. You said you pulled the center bar off the cabinet above your fridge. So, no issues with cabinet stability? I would love to get the microwave off the counter as I have little counter space! If this solution won’t work I am thinking seriously about cutting the cabinet above the range and installing a range hood with built in microwave.

  3. Wow, good ideas! Looks great and gives you more space to boot…win! I’ve actually thought of removing the door above the frig. It is awkward as it opens up instead of to the side, so you have to hold the door open. Weird. I’m thinking it will make a good place to store cookbooks or maybe holiday dishes. Here’s to doing the kitchen step by step. :-)

  4. Diane, your creative problem solving ideas look incredible! Your ideas are such an imaginative way to take what was a space stealer and turn it into a decorative spot in your kitchen. I love the way your charming white dishes are displayed and the lovely spot of color your cookbooks add to the shelves.

  5. Very nice. BTW, I have those cabinet hinges and my door pulls are in the middle of the cabinet. Hate ’em. I don’t think my cabinets are real wood though. Still, I think I’m going to try painting them like you did your ‘mud room.’ Would love to get my microwave off the counter, but above my stove is the ventahood. Not sure if it will fit anywhere else. Nice tip though. Oh, and I am a Barefoot Contessa fan also.

    1. Hi Vicki Thanks…I can credit my many years of working in retail display for coming up with ideas. We never had a budget and truly had to come up with ideas using only what we had in a prop room. It makes you look at everything with new eyes and say…”what if… we did….” :-)

    1. Hi Julie – Thanks. I have seen whitewashed oak on cabinets… very pretty. I set aside the doors I took off to experiment with paints and waxes to see how easy they will be to makeover. I will probably end up painting them, and maybe glazing. I want to remove the big center pulls. I will have to fill the holes on each and then sand smooth. Paint will hide the patching. :-)

  6. Love the microwave idea. My Mom had a cabinet like this in her kitchen and I always thought it was a clever use. But using the shelves over the refrigerator for display is genius! And thank you for your tips on how to take care of the cabinet marks made by the door.

  7. I thought the idea for the microwave was wonderful, but over the refrigerator was pure genius. Who uses those spaces anyway, thanks to you I now have something new to work on in the kitchen.

    1. Hi Heather – The fridge is so large, it made it truly impossible to get to the cabinets, even with a step-stool. The open display is not perfect by any means, but it does give the space some character.

  8. Wow, they do look like custom cabinets. Great idea…I may “steal” the one for over the fridge…right now that one is useless as I am not 6′ tall and able to use it without getting a chair or ladder out!

  9. Love the microwave move and open cabinet idea. Just wish there was a ‘stand back’ look at the kitchen now picture to get the overall look and changes. But keep it up, love this site.

    1. Hi Daisy – I took a “stand back”photo of how the whole wall looked, but it did not come out. I will take another one and add it to the post tomorrow so you can get a better idea of how the open cabinets add some interest to the wall of cabinets.

  10. SUCH a brilliant idea! How have I never thought of this?! LOVE the way you’ve put those shelves to work, they look wonderful!

  11. You’re fortunate you had a wall with the depth created for wall ovens. I’ve considered using one of my cabinets for a “built in” microwave but upper cabinets designed for dishes, glassware, etc. are not deep enough for a microwave. Love what you were able to do, both for the microwave and above the fridge. I am able to copy the above the fridge idea, although not sure I will due to not being able to reach it easily to clean the objects displayed. Thanks for showing us what you’re doing – you will benefit us all.

  12. Wow! I can’t believe how well this DAP stick and stain covered the hinge marks!! So clever of you to remove the middle bar and open up the cabinetry for some display space of your gorgeous whiteware! Pinned!

  13. wow the microwave does look like a built in and those cabinets above the fridge are the bane of every one i am tall and can reach the top of all of the cabinets except those, we just shoved stuff we don’t use in it but i love what you did and those sticks are marvelous huh? xx

  14. Good Morning Diane ~
    Now this is what a blog should be all about.
    I love what you did with your microwave it fits perfect.
    And you stone ware is beautiful.
    Looking forward to more of your ideas.
    Have a great day’

  15. Of course I love your microwave above your walls ovens…..the former owners did the same in our house and we’re so happy they did! :-)

    I also have cabinets above my fridge…I think I outta take the doors off and display the pretty vintage silver coffee serving set I found. Thanks for the great ideas Diane!

    I’m always so excited to see what you’re doing next to your new-to-you home! Love it all!

  16. We the exact same thing when we bought 70s ranch with a built-in ice maker but no room for a microwave. Loved the post!

  17. New to your blog and loving it! Did you remove the center bar in the cabinet above the refrigerator? I love the look!

  18. Great use of space. I wish I had thought about taking the doors off the cabinet above my refrig in my old kitchen. I lived with that crazy cabinet for 28 years. This past year we updated our kitchen and changed out the cabinets. I brought that cabinet space forward to meet up with my refrig and had it divided for all my baking trays/pans. LOVE IT!

    The microwave looks great too. You are a wiz with the blending sticks:)

  19. I did the same thing with my microwave in my small kitchen. I had to cut a hole in the cabinet side for the electrical cord to come through, but it is so much better than having it on my much needed counter space! When I repainted my cabinets this summer I put putty around the cord in the hole and painted the cord the same color and it disappears!Looking forward to more posts on the remaking and restyling of this “new to you” home.