Just the thought of removing storage might make you gasp, but without upper cabinets, your kitchen will look larger, and countertops become a more pleasant work space when no longer shadowed beneath cabinets. Open shelving is one way to use above-counter wall space, but windows, pot racks, art and tile also shine.
Hang art or lean it on counters or shelves to give your kitchen instant personality. Bonus: You'll see it often. This kitchen also gets a style boost from the rich green hues of the walls and cabinets as well as the timeless appeal of marble.
We're floored by how fresh geometric designs look underfoot, whether in a pantry or the entire kitchen. Pick a style that nods to your home's architecture for the best staying power.
Humble shiplap rules as the current go-to wood, adding warmth and texture to ceilings, walls and islands.
The kitchen of this Nebraska farmhouse originally had dark wood cabinets, making the 10x12-foot room feel even more cramped. To open up the space, the homeowner painted the cabinets white and removed doors from upper cabinets flanking the window. A 39x19-inch island conceals recycling and trash cans on the sink side. A new apron-front sink, modern faucet and butcher-block counter meld with the country character.
Backsplash tile White 3x6-inch subway tile. Daltile. daltile.com  Dishwasher Built-in dishwasher with hidden controls. GE. geappliances.com  Faucet Fresco Prerinse. Giagni. giagni.com  Paint (On cabinetry) CC-10 Ultra White. (On island) OC-52 Gray Owl. Benjamin Moore benjaminmoore.com ; Perimeter countertop Ikea. ikea.com  Sink Farmer apron-front fireclay single bowl. Pegasus. Home Depot. homedepot.com 
At this Indiana lake house, an open floor plan relaxes beneath tall ceilings and windows capping the soaring atrium. Adding the atrium sacrificed some second-floor living space, but ensures an airy, bright kitchen. Warm wood floors, simple base moldings and Shaker-style kitchen cabinets further the country feel. Iron light fixtures and wrought-iron barstools with antique-reproduction bases add rusticity similar to the farm implements hanging on the upstairs walls.
A backsplash of robin's-egg blue glass tile sparkles in the sunlight streaming through undercabinet and clerestory windows in this kitchen of a Lake Michigan home.
The character in this Door County, Wisconsin, kitchen comes from a stone wall, soaring ceiling and hand-rubbed, stained cabinets.
Open shelving reflects the informal style of this Michigan lake home. Warm wood accents—most notably, the dark floor and vent hood—ground the all-white palette. To cover the stainless-steel hood, the owner’s uncle cheated the look of pricey walnut panels by cutting grooves in walnut plywood with a router then sealing it with satin water-based clear polyurethane.
Floor-to-ceiling blue cabinets and tile appear seamlessly serene—almost neutral—thanks to color consistency in this Arkansas kitchen.
Nothing says country like the barn look of flat-board paneling. Here, paneling adds texture to the island base and cabinet fronts and backs, while stained paneling puts subtle color on the walls. Dashes of barn red enliven the space.
Streamlined and inventive, the breakfast area of this galley kitchen multitasks as an entertaining bar with access to outdoor living spaces. A slim vintage console serves as an island or table without crowding the narrow room like a round table would. But don’t let the stature fool you: Its bold design commands full attention from early-morning bagels until the last call.
The small kitchen of a 1905 southwest Michigan farmhouse gets maximum impact from smart design. A free-standing island is both prep area and casual dining space; the pot rack to the left of the stove adds visual texture and frees up storage space elsewhere.
The center island in this kitchen doubles as a buffet when the family entertains and also offers additional work space. Mellow wood tones and cheery gold and orange accents make the kitchen warm and inviting.
Paneled cabinetry, open shelving, brightly colored accessories and pine plank floors combine to give this new Door County kitchen an old-fashioned cottage feel.
Mix salvaged pieces with modern stainless-steel upper shelves and appliances for a colorful, vintage vibe. In this Minnesota kitchen, a rusty metal sign propped against the countertop-to-ceiling tilework takes the place of a traditional backsplash behind the range. Instead of another cabinet door, vintage fabric hung on a tension rod creates a curtain to hide supplies. A red cup dispenser mounted on the window frame lets kids quickly grab drinks. A rusty 6-foot iron gate becomes unexpected decor on cabinet fronts.
Consider the style of your house when designing your kitchen. Here, painted cabinets, granite counters and crown molding are at home in a Colonial-style house. The red brick backsplash complements the warm wood counter on the island. Cabinet panels hide the appliances for a seamless look. The black counter stools and chandelier offer the finishing touches on the classic space.
A large window takes the place of upper wall cabinets and fills this Indiana kitchen with light. Painted green base cabinets wearing round white knobs pair with the natural wood flooring and island top for a casual feel. Boat paddles, vacation memorabilia and a yellow hutch with vintage dishware add cottage charm.
Energetic color works in the kitchen because it is such an active family space. Here, bright green upper cabinets pop above black base cabinets and white marble counters, creating a memorable palette. Stainless steel appliances and accents add the right amount of contemporary style.
The cottage-style kitchen in this Michigan home encourages guests to gather around the 9-foot-long island. Four barstools offer plenty of seating for socializing. Beaded-board cabinetry, a herringbone-pattern tile backsplash and open shelving highlight the casual design.
Stock kitchen cabinetry is budget-friendly and smart in this Indiana beach house full of active kids and summer fun. If a door breaks or gets stained or scratched, the homeowner can simply take it off the hinges and get a new door front.
Walls of windows fill this kitchen with natural light and connect the space to its beautiful surroundings. White trim on the windows emphasizes the crisp, clean aesthetic. Natural-grained cherry cabinets reflect the views of nature outside. A large island offers additional storage to make up for missing upper cabinetry.
Choosing just one metal finish, lighting style or counter surface is like settling for a one-ingredient meal. Spice things up with a more interesting blend, such as this kitchen's gilded hardware, chrome faucet, copper pendant and black sconces, all enhanced by warm woods.
White-painted recessed-panel cabinetry in the kitchen, paired with stately crown moldings and traditional hardware, keeps a cottage look grounded. Deepen the warm, collected-over-time vibe with a weathered island in an earthy hue. Then let a bright accent wall or lively backsplash, along with sassy accessories, serve as a vivid reminder of your overall color scheme.
Built for Baby Boomers who want accessibility but not an "old" look, this kitchen offers features such as easy-to-reach upper cabinets, drawer dishwashers and faucet foot pedal controls. Dark and light contrasts appeal to declining eyesight, but the dramatic dark cabinets, white counters and royal blue accents show this kitchen is anything but out-of-date!
Ample counter space eases entertaining in a space with a subtle beach look. Beaded-board accents, pale aqua on the walls, buttery yellow on the cabinets puts people in the focus, not decor.
This timeless white kitchen gets plenty of visual interest from a variety of textures -- a beaded-board backsplash, brown countertops, glass-front cabinets and stainless steel appliances.
One of the region's most-respected design teams, husband-and-wife architects Elissa Morgante and Fred Wilson, used their Chicago-area home as a canvas for experimenting with new materials and tweaking the rules. Among the features of this kitchen:
• The fridge and many cabinets wear Lumicor, a lightweight plastic that looks like glass.
• Although the kitchen displays a contemporary aesthetic, wooden elements ensure that it's cozy.
• Sleek, stainless-steel hardware accents white-painted cabinets to mirror appliances. Walnut banding outlines cabinets. A mix of open and closed shelving adds visual interest while providing plenty of out-of-sight storage.
• The perimeter wall of horizontal cabinets has walls that lift up, not out, so doors don't get in the cook's way.
• Hand-made backsplash glass tiles work with horizontal cabinetry and handles to create linear flow.
A mix of cabinetry colors creates a built-over-time look in this traditional kitchen. Intricately carved and distresssed corbels on the kitchen island continue the European theme.
The outdoors provided inspiration for this kitchen. Stacked stone creates textured accent walls that juxtapose with contemporary lighting and other modern details. A deer head carved from wood emphasizes the fresh take on lodge decor. Exposed beams continue the rustic theme, but stainless steel makes them modern.
This retro cottage kitchen was cleverly pieced together on a budget.
A simple movable island stands in for a more expensive built-in cabinetry piece. Fabric skirts hide undercounter storage. Open shelving stores often-used dishware, and paint brightens inexpensive cabinets. Folded tea towels mounted on tension rods make an easy, budget window treatment.
This kitchen gets some of its personality from the homeowners' love of salvaged and unusual materials. Open storage shelves brighten gray vintage-reproduction subway tile, while a salvaged industrial light fixture spotlights the island. Teak countertops and leather drawer pulls add style.
This soft-white kitchen gets its style from a variety of elements, including the apron-front sink, high arch faucet, cup pull hardware, upper-cabinet brackets, decorative sink cabinet legs and small glass-front display cabinets.
A striking wall-to-wall glass tile treatment, asymmetrical upper cabinet placement and a tall stainless steel backsplash/range hood combine to act as this kitchen's eye-catching centerpiece.
This kitchen remodel was a do-it-yourself family affair. The compact room gets a facelift with blue-painted cabinetry, glass inserts in cabinet doors, a diamond-pattern backsplash, and a one-of-a-kind concrete countertop that includes bits of glass and other materials from the remodel.
A tiny second-floor condo features a charming open galley kitchen that gets great personality from the homeowner's collections and vintage light fixtures. White walls and cabinetry combine with plenty of natural light for a bright, airy look.
Splurges on a high-arc faucet and streamlined cabinet hardware modernize the look of this classic white kitchen.
In this Chicago-area kitchen, the homeowner uses a vintage library cart on wheels in place of a kitchen island. “I like that it can be moved around,” she says. She removed cabinet doors under the farm sink and hung a skirt of vintage fabric for old-fashioned charm.
Designing a fully wheelchair-accessible kitchen was a challenge for this Ohio homeowner, but clever modifications give access to the prep areas and appliances. In fact, many of the design decisions make cooking easier for everyone. Appliances, such as dishwasher drawers and a side-opening wall oven, are easy to reach.
Classic beaded board, an apron sink and hardware give this kitchen its cottage style, but teak counters, a wrought-iron divider and glass transoms dress up the look. Separate cooking, cleanup and prep areas make it super functional.
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