If you are thinking about renovating your kitchen, one of the decisions that you will have to make is whether you want to install open shelves or closed cabinets. While closed cabinets are the more traditional choice, open shelves have been gaining in popularity – and if done right, they can make your kitchen look like it came from the pages of a magazine.

But before you make your final decision, let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Cost

When it comes to cost, open shelves beat out closed cabinets for affordability. Open shelves are especially attractive for DIYers because they are relatively simple to install. Installing closed cabinets, on the other hand, is trickier and not a one-person job as they require someone who can hold them in place while they are being screwed into the walls.

It’s all on display

With open shelves, you don’t have anywhere to hide. All your glassware, dishes etc. are on display. This is a good thing if you are a very tidy person but how would you feel about this open concept if you are the type of person that likes to shove everything in the cabinet wherever it happens to fit.

Closed cabinets cover a multitude of sin, but open shelves are less forgiving.

Staying on trend

In line with everything being on display, with open shelving, it is more likely that you will want to stay on trend with your kitchenware. If you love to show off your unchipped and perfectly matched stoneware, then open shelving could be a good choice.

On the other hand, if your plates are a mismatched collection you have from your college days and your coffee mugs were all free promotional items that you picked up at trade shows, then you may feel more comfortable entertaining guests if these items were concealed within closed cabinets.

Lighting it up

Open shelving is going to be a challenge when it comes to lighting. Having large pots, and unusually shaped items in an open shelving system are likely to cast some pretty bizarre shadows if you aren’t careful.

With open shelving, you are going to have to be a bit creative and come up with a lighting solution that works.

And then there’s the dust

One of the nice things about closed cabinets is that they protect your dishes and other items from dust. Keep in mind that if you want to install open shelving, it means a commitment to wiping down your dishes from time to time and also cleaning the whole system more regularly.

In making your decision between open shelving and closed cabinets, you will want to keep all of this in mind and make a choice between form and function. Overall, closed cabinets are going to be more functional, but if you love the appearance of open shelving, you might be willing to do a little more work to maintain it.