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It is so much fun to look at all the beautiful kitchens on Pinterest and I could spend all day browsing my favorite design blogs.

As a dedicated DIY’er I am always looking for great ideas I can copy or a new idea to add to the dream boards I create for each room of the house.

Many times the looks I love are just not practical for my life, as I found out with an unfortunate pedestal sink install choice I made in our old house.

So I have learned the lesson – beauty is important but function has to be #1 and I needed to take time to think through the pros and cons of the looks I love, before I take the leap.

I thought it would be fun to take my Top 5 latest trends that I love and list some pros and cons for each so you can think through some changes, while I am deciding if it is a design feature I want to add to my own DIY to-do list. First up is

 #1 Open Shelves

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Open shelves are everywhere! You can hardly open a magazine or hop on Pinterest without seeing tons of open shelf options.


They can make a small kitchen look larger.

You can install them in places where a cabinet would not work or fit and add storage to small areas of wasted space.

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It is a great way to display beautiful dishes, glasses and containers.

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Depending upon the choice of material for the shelf – reclaimed wood, stainless steel, glass or even matching the cabinetry, it can add a real pop of interest and texture.

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Not a good idea if your collection of glasses and dishes looks like a giant mismatch mess.

If you have hard water you will need to wipe down every dish and glass since they come out of the dishwasher with tons of spots, no matter what detergent you try.

If your home has a lot of dust or you don’t use all your dishes on a regular basis you will constantly be wiping things out before using them.

If you choose to store your dishes and glasses on shelves in the open and you have a party your shelves will be naked – not a good look.


I would probably do this if I had a cottage and I could cover them with dish towels when we weren’t there or if I used it for more decorative items like water pitchers or tea pots.  I think that I would probably opt instead for adding a narrow glass door cabinet so the pieces and the dust was not so glaringly visible.

#2 Glass front cabinets

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Southern Living


There is never a question where the dishes are located – you don’t have to open every cabinet – convenient because you can see where everything goes which means that

guests can help themselves and feel right at home

and significant others have no excuse not to empty the dishwasher because they don’t know where things go.

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If you decide to go with clear glass you have the option to change out the glass for one less opaque or add a film to change the visibility later.

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Kitchen Design Ideas

Adding lights to glass cabinets really gives your kitchen beautiful ambiance at night.


You need to have a placement plan. Because it is not hidden behind a closed door it becomes a design element for the room.

If you like the minimalist look, the clutter in the cabinet that is always visible and that may drive you crazy.

I can lends itself to a less formal feel and a bit more country or cottage.


I had plans when the kids moved out to cut out two cabinets and insert glass. I thought I would have better control of the placement of the dishes in the cabinet after they were grown but since simplifying my life and all our dishes to only things we use all the time it would always be half to completely empty. So for me right now – not gonna do it!

 #3 Painted Cabinets

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Home Bunch


If your cabinets are an ugly color (think orangey brown MDF popular in the 80’s) or some sort of faux wood, painting can make your cabinets look new without replacing them.

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Picking white or cream can make a dark small room appear brighter and larger.

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If you have a cheaper material like MDF or Plywood, a painted finish will look more expensive then the faux stain look.

Also with the MDF or plywood because they do not expand and contract with seasonal changes like real wood, it will be less maintenance filling cracks and touch up paint.

If you have light oak wood cabinets they can really date a house and painting them will update your home instantly.


If you have real wood cabinets that are stained, they are more traditional and people place a higher value upon them, especially for resale.

The light color painted surfaces will show more dirt, hand-prints and dust, while the stained wood finish hides the dirt and grime better.

If you are painting wood cabinets, seams and cracks will be more apparent and caulking and touch up painting will be needed seasonally, as the wood contracts and expands.


The house that we are in had MDF faux wood, flat ugly tan painted cabinets when we moved in and I repainted them 10 years ago with a creamy white and a layer of brown antiquing to show the grain and they held up beautifully with one exception, I chose the wrong poly seal and the inside of the doors yellowed.

I am currently in the middle of slowly repainting them all with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White since the style has gone to a more solid color look – less antique. Already I have had to spot wash the ones that are done each week because they show every spot of dirt, but I love how they look and they are worth it. Watch for the tutorial coming soon.

#4 Two Tone Cabinets

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They can help give weight to a monotone white or cream room when the best practice of light on the top and dark on the bottom suggestion is followed or a different color is used on an island to add interest.

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It is a good way to make a built in stand out and look more like a piece of furniture as in this picture where the change in color makes it appear as if it is a hutch placed among cabinets.

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Kitchen Design Ideas

It adds interest and character and can make a very large area appear more intimate.


This seems to be fad that stops by every few years and doesn’t seem to stay long.

This one I know from prior experience – If used in a tiny starter home with very inexpensive cabinetry and you are a bargain hunter it can be perceived by friends that that they were close-outs and there was not enough to do the entire room so you bought two different colors to make it work!


I don’t think I would ever do this again. I ended up painting the bottoms to match the tops a few years after we put them in our home and before we listed our home for sale for staging to sell purposes.

#5 Sliding “barn” doors

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“Hot, hot, hot” Yes they are everywhere! Go to Pinterest and hit search and you will see every style and fabrication from reclaimed wood, painted and even glass inserts.

It is perfect if you have a tight spot where you need a door but either don’t want the expense of having a pocket-door installed and don’t have the room for clearance of the swing of a traditional door.


House of Turquoise


They are not great at keeping noise out because a gap between the wall is needed to slide the door without scraping the wall.

The track is completely exposed as is the door which may not be as aesthetically appealing to some homeowners.

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You need empty space where the door resides when slid open, which means the wall when the door is closed must remain completely bare.

If it is a DIY project please check with your local codes before installing a sliding door especially if you live in a condo or town-home you may be restricted by building codes in relation to fire codes and rating for their use in certain rooms and areas of your home.


I think that their popularity has exploded right now because of the show Fixer-Upper on HGTV  which uses them in the remodels, quite often.

I would install one in the home we are in if I had an area it would work, but there is nowhere that it would be feasible. When we sell in spring I may incorporate one into a kitchen remodel in the new house if the opportunity presents itself.

Well I hope this has been as fun for you as it has for me. If you get a moment please share your thoughts, questions or ideas you would like me to cover in future DIY Blog posts!



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