Surely by now, you’ve seen it on every pin board and at the top of every home design search on Pinterest. The muted pastels, vibrant patterned floors, and sleek lined cabinet doors without hardware or detailing, but something is missing… where are the upper cabinets? Perhaps you saw the single floating shelf neatly displaying a few glass jars and a painting, or you saw the absolute lack of anything from the counter all the way to the ceiling. And you were completely perplexed. How could anyone consider a kitchen without upper cabinetry to be a functional kitchen?


But what if instead of nothing, you saw an exciting tile opportunity?


Understandably, not every kitchen, cook, or family would do well with a kitchen lacking upper cabinets, but we want to delve a little deeper into the concept of it and how it could benefit a particular design-oriented individual: the Tile Lover.


modern kitchen


Visual minimalism has redesigned and streamlined the most fundamental room in the home. This has left the figurative door open for other trending design elements that are emerging, such as smart tech and integrated kitchen appliances, or in many cases re-emerging: pantries, wall-to-wall windows, exposed beams, and intricate ceiling trim and moldings.


After the reconfigure is done and everything has been placed in pantries, base cabinets or drawers, the blank slate of an open wall is left. One might argue to just throw on some paint and stop right there, but we would beg to differ. Depending on your custom renovation costs, you could be saving a significant amount of money by not having upper cabinetry, thus providing more funds for that tile that you absolutely loved. 


Here’s your chance to bring a totally unique design element into your home. A full wall herringbone mosaic? Hello gorgeous! Counter to ceiling subway tile?  Yes, please. That hand-painted porcelain wall panel that was stunning, but you had nowhere to put? Now you do. Oh, and all those pins you saved of luxury solid marble backsplashes? Allow us to introduce you to stone-look porcelain slabs.


The concept of a kitchen without wall storage isn’t new, but it is a refreshing rebellion against the heavy oak cabinetry that reigned supreme for the last few decades. Long gone is the need for “more”; people are reevaluating what is essential, and channeling all of their inner Marie Kondo’s, purging the unnecessary things that live behind the topmost un-reachable doors in their kitchens. And those unnecessary items don’t bring us joy. But the room we spend the most time in with family and friends should.


The removal of upper cabinets lets the space breathe and provide more visual comfort, reducing the cave effect making the space feel larger, and allowing the kitchen to feel like an extension of the home rather than a separate space. But, it is a big commitment, and a total remodel of what most of us consider a kitchen to be.


If you’re still not convinced by the idea of removing your top cabinets, but still want to be more creative with your tile options, try replacing your solid panel doors with glass front doors and remove the back of the cabinets to lend more visibility to your beautiful tiled wall. Now you can satisfy your tile dreams, and have your upper cabinets too.


Going for a rustic or shiplap look? Explore our wood-look porcelain options, and get the aesthetic you’re looking for without all the issues or maintenance involved with real wood. Looking for some delicate mosaics or handmade brick? Explore our artisan brands and find that perfect glam piece for your splash.


We may be a bit biased, tile is in our name after all, but you should love coming home! So decorate with the durable, affordable, sustainable product - decorate it with tile. Tile X Design has everything you didn’t know you were looking for! Explore our expansive collections of product online or stop by our Plymouth showroom.