How to Fix Kitchen Cabinet Open Upper Spaces


Kitchen cabinets provide essential storage space in the kitchen. The upper cabinets in particular are great for storing less frequently used items as they take advantage of vertical space. However, open upper cabinet spaces can make a kitchen look unfinished and cluttered. Fixing open upper cabinets is an easy way to create a cleaner, more polished look in your kitchen.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn several techniques for fixing open upper cabinet spaces, including:

  • Adding extra shelves or racks
  • Installing glass cabinet doors
  • Adding roll-up shades
  • Using tension rods for instant closets
  • Filling the space with decorative filler pieces

Properly fixing open upper cabinet spaces can make your kitchen look more complete, hide clutter, and even create extra storage space. With a few simple tools and materials, you can fix open upper spaces and transform the look of your kitchen.

How to Fix Kitchen Cabinet Open Upper Spaces

Add Extra Shelves or Racks

One of the easiest ways to fix open upper cabinet spaces is to add more storage. Extra adjustable shelves or slide-out racks can allow you to neatly organize items.

Supplies needed:

  • Shelving boards or metal racks
  • Shelf pins
  • Tools (drill, level, etc.)


  1. Measure the depth and width of the cabinet interior. Purchase boards or metal racks sized to fit.
  2. Determine desired shelf spacing. Mark and pre-drill holes for shelf pins.
  3. For boards, insert pins. Rest boards on pins to install shelves. For slide-out racks, screw racks into cabinet interior according to instructions.
  4. Organize items neatly onto shelves or racks. Label if desired.

Adding more shelves is an easy, budget-friendly way to fix open upper cabinet spaces while gaining storage. Adjustable options make it easy to accommodate various item sizes. Just be sure measurements are precise for a secure fit.

Install Glass Cabinet Doors

For a more finished, elegant look, install glass doors on open upper cabinets. The clear view keeps cabinets from looking dark or closed off.

Supplies needed:

  • Tempered glass panes
  • Cabinet door hinges
  • Cabinet door pulls or knobs
  • Tools (tape measure, drill, screwdriver etc.)


  1. Carefully measure the cabinet opening. Have glass cut to size.
  2. Mark and drill pilot holes for cabinet hinges on cabinet frame and edges of glass pane.
  3. Attach hinges, then lift glass pane into place and attach to cabinet frame with screws.
  4. Install handles or knobs on glass doors.
  5. Adjust hinges so doors align properly when closed.

Glass cabinet doors maintain visibility while concealing clutter. For safety, use tempered glass designed specifically for cabinet doors. Hinges, handles and knobs introduce stylish detail. Professional installation is recommended, but DIY is possible with proper measurements and materials.

Add Roll-Up Shades

For a quick and simple solution, install roll-up shades inside open upper cabinets. Shades neatly conceal contents when closed and roll up and out of the way when accessing items.

Supplies needed:

  • Spring loaded roll-up shades
  • Screws and drywall anchors
  • Electric drill and screwdriver head


  1. Measure width of cabinet opening. Buy shades 4-6 inches wider to allow for mounting.
  2. Mark screw positions inside cabinet. Pre-drill holes for anchors if needed.
  3. Fully unroll shades and insert screws through holes in cassette. Mount cassette inside cabinet opening.
  4. Attach provided brackets at shade bottom. Pull down and retract shade to ensure smooth operation.

Roll-up shades are easy to install and operate. They come in a variety of colors to match your kitchen. When rolled up, the compact cassette fits discretely to maintain the clean cabinet exterior. Close the shade when cabinet is open for a quick, easy way to hide clutter.

Use Tension Rods for Instant Closets

Tension rods turn open upper cabinets into instant closets for folded clothing and linens. The spring-loaded rods install in seconds without hardware or damage.

Supplies needed:

  • Adjustable-width tension rods
  • Clothes hangers


  1. Measure open cabinet space. Select appropriate tension rod size.
  2. Compress tension rod and position inside cabinet opening near front edge.
  3. Release tension rod ends to expand and press against cabinet sides for secure fit.
  4. Hang folded clothing, linens or other items using hangers.
  5. To remove, compress rod ends and slide out of cabinet space.

Tension rod closet systems are popular options for creating extra closet space in bedrooms. But they’re also perfect for instantly filling awkward open spaces in kitchens. Use them to neatly store aprons, towels, bakeware and more while hiding clutter.

Fill Space with Decorative Filler Pieces

For a decorative approach, fill uncomfortable open upper cabinet spaces with filler pieces that complement your kitchen’s style. Options include:

  • Framed glass cabinet inserts
  • Slatted wood fillers
  • Metal or wicker basket organizers
  • Ceramic, metal or glass canisters
  • Display shelves for decor items

Mix and match pieces for an attractive, blended look. Make sure fillers are securely installed so they don’t shift around or fall. Proper measurements are key. Filler pieces add style while camouflaging uneven cabinet layouts or gaps.

FAQs About Fixing Open Upper Cabinet Spaces

What are some benefits of fixing open upper cabinet spaces?

  • Improves kitchen aesthetics and provides a more finished, polished look.
  • Conceals clutter rather than displaying it out in the open.
  • Creates more usable storage space for kitchen items.
  • Makes better use of vertical space that may otherwise go unused.

Should I close up the space completely or leave some open?

This depends on your needs and preferences. Completely closing the space with doors provides maximum concealment. But some homeowners prefer to leave some open shelving for display purposes or easy access. Incorporate a mix of closed cabinetry and open shelves/racks for the best of both worlds.

How can I make roll-up shades retract more smoothly?

If your roll-up shades are getting stuck, creased or uneven when retracting, try cleaning the edges with a dust-free cloth. Over time, dust buildup near the edges can impede smooth operation. Avoid over-packing items, which puts extra weight on the shades.

What are good ways to organize items in open upper cabinets?

Use storage baskets or bins to corral small items like spices, medicines or bathroom essentials. Install sturdy shelves at varying heights to accommodate different item sizes. Place everyday-use items in easy reach. Label shelves or use shelf dividers for a clear visual organization system.

Should I have glass cabinet doors custom made or buy ready-made?

For simple standard cabinet sizes, ready-made glass doors are available. But for unusually shaped upper cabinets, custom glass likely will be required. Ready-made options tend to be more budget friendly. Have a glass shop precisely measure your cabinets if opting for custom doors.

Final Thoughts on Fixing Kitchen Cabinet Open Upper Spaces

Don’t tolerate awkward open cabinet spaces that show off clutter and an unfinished look. With some clever storage solutions, you can convert those gaps into functional storage space or attractive design features.

Extra shelving, glass doors, roll-up shades and fillers are all great options for fixing open upper cabinet spaces. Choose one or mix and match approaches depending on your specific kitchen layout and needs.

Be sure to precisely measure existing cabinet spaces before purchasing materials. Carefully follow installation instructions. With proper planning, you can fix frustrating open upper cabinet spaces and enjoy a more polished, organized kitchen.