Kitchen Cabinets to the Ceiling? Your Crown-Free Guide

Adding extra height to your kitchen cabinets can give you more storage space and a sleek, modern aesthetic. But do you need to install crown molding for a finished look? Not necessarily! Extending your cabinets to the ceiling without a crown can be a budget-friendly way to revamp your kitchen’s style.

We’ll cover all the steps – from deciding if it’s right for your space, to prepping for installation, adding final touches, and styling tips. Read on to learn if installing cabinets to the ceiling without a crown could be a simple upgrade for your kitchen.

Choosing to Go Crown-Free

There are a few key factors to weigh when deciding between open shelves versus traditional crown molding:

  • Pros: More modern, minimalist look; easier to install and less expensive
  • Cons: Exposed clutter; need for decorative touches
  • Assess your storage and organization habits
  • Determine if open shelves suit your kitchen’s style

Crown-free cabinets will cost less than installing a crown, but do make sure you’re prepared to decorate the open space attractively. If you’re willing to keep shelves organized and decorated, it can be a simple, stylish option.

Preparing For Installation

Once you’ve decided to extend your kitchen cabinets upward without a crown, there are a few steps to take before installation day:

kitchen cabinets to ceiling no crown

Planning and Measurement

Carefully measure the height of your existing cabinets and the space between them and the ceiling. Account for any soffits, vents, or lighting fixtures when measuring. This will allow you to determine what size additional cabinet “boxes” you’ll need to build and install above your existing cabinets.

Selecting Materials and Finishes

While the main boxes can be simple plywood or MDF, take some time to choose cabinet faces, shelves, hardware and finishes that will coordinate with your existing cabinetry. Paint, stain, trim pieces and lighting should also be selected to unify old and new cabinetry after installation.

Preparing the Space

Clear kitchen clutter and belongings from the space above and around your cabinets. Remove existing crown molding if present. Patch holes in walls and prepare the area for your new ceiling-height boxes.

Installing Crown-Free Cabinets

Once prepped, it’s time to add your new crown-free cabinets. The key steps include:

  • Removing old cabinets if necessary
  • Building simple plywood or MDF boxes to precise measurements
  • Securing the cabinets properly into wall studs
  • Leaving room for trim pieces, paint, and lighting

Ensure the new cabinets are level, plumb, and installed securely before moving onto finishes. Reinforce as needed to support the weight they’ll hold.

Finishing Touches

While functional cabinets are now installed, a few finishing touches will give them a polished, integrated look:

Painting and Trim

Paint or stain new cabinets to seamlessly match existing finishes. Add trim pieces along the top or sides for a built-in custom look.


Consider adding recessed lighting above the cabinets to give the space ambiance. Decorative fixtures can also accent the new cabinets.

Styling Open Shelves

Carefully style shelves with decorative accents and only items you are happy displaying. Rotate items seasonally to keep the look fresh.

Maintaining an Organized Look

The key to maximizing crown-free cabinets is keeping open shelves looking tidy. Strategies include:

  • Use shelves sparingly and for decorative items
  • Group items aesthetically and keep clutter hidden
  • Rotate items seasonally
  • Dust shelves regularly

With some effort, your open shelves can continue looking beautiful versus disorganized over time.

Maximizing Open Shelf Storage

While open shelves have less perceived storage than enclosed cabinetry, you can still utilize the space efficiently. Ideas include:

  • Organizing bins and baskets for a tidy look
  • Displaying kitchen items attractively for easy access
  • Storing less attractive items in lower cabinets
  • Using vertical space for additional storage capacity

Get creative with shelf risers, two-tiered displays, and other solutions tailored to your space!

Achieving a Seamless Look

Tying your old and new cabinetry together comes down to a few thoughtful design choices:

  • Unify with matching paint, trim, hardware, and lighting
  • Select a durable countertop material to extend up the backsplash
  • Echo finishes from existing kitchen details
  • Hire a contractor to help devise solutions

With smart planning and design, your kitchen can look like a holistic space versus a disjointed mix of old and new cabinetry.

Extending kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling without a crown offers a simple way to gain storage and a modern, open look. But weigh it carefully against your needs:

  • Assess your tolerance for visible clutter
  • Consider whether your style embraces minimalism
  • Factor in the need for decorative touches
  • Review the steps for proper installation and finishing

Crown-free cabinets can be a budget-friendly kitchen update with the right expectations. For more inspiration and resources, check out our kitchen remodeling ideas and DIY guides.

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