These Stand-Alone Cabinets Make It Possible to Pass on a Custom Kitchen
Millwork isn’t the only way.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:40 AM
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Kitchen cabinets come in all colors (from green to gray) and styles (from Shaker to farmhouse), but when they’re handcrafted for your space and permanently attached to the walls, they fall into one category: expensive. And IKEA will only get you so far when you’re designing your space from scratch. That’s where stand-alone kitchen cabinets swoop in: They not only increase your storage, they beat paying for custom millwork by a long shot.
Not all stand-alone kitchen cabinets work for every space—it really comes down to how much square footage you have to spare and the amount of stuff you have. Some cupboards are completely open (great for displaying), while others feature fluted glass panels (better for hiding). And there are those that are meant to double as islands or even feature special niches for vino. Fly solo with these nine options:
If You’re Lacking a Hardworking Pantry
Avoid a snack labyrinth with this decked-out piece that boasts four roll-out drawers on one side and adjustable shelves, back-of-door storage, and vertical compartments for skinnier items like wine bottles on the other. Walk-ins have nothing on this.
If the Rest of Your Cabinets Are Drab
From the arched shape to the emerald green hue, this cupboard can cure any boring white kitchen. The highest shelves are ideal for displaying china, but there are also gliding wood drawers at the bottom where you can stow away cooking tools and small appliances.
If There Are Always Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
Switch up your floor plan in a flash with a stand-alone kitchen cabinet that doubles as an island—and a mobile buffet. Just move the furniture aside when guests arrive.
If You’re in a Studio
The teeniest galley is no match for this piece, which offers both additional storage and prep space. The top cabinet is illuminated by LED lights—a prime spot for prized glassware—while below the Carrara marble countertop is a full-on bar: The wire mesh doors disguise wineglass racks and adjustable shelves that can flip over and hold four bottles in each nook.
If You’re Seeking Vintage Vibes
Psst: Those little blocks aren’t ceramic tiles. The squares are made of elm (the designer, Piet Hein Eek, chose the wood variety for its structure and varying tones). When all the doors are closed, the piece takes on a new life as a sculpture.
If Your Dinnerware Is a Mashup
We’re all for open shelves, but sometimes a little mystery is a good thing. This freestanding option features opaque wired glass doors, leaving a little more leeway for clashing dishes.
If You’ve Got Plenty of Uppers
Find yourself constantly whipping out the step stool? Keep your everyday cookware in an easier-to-reach spot—one that’s at your level (well, a little lower). This IKEA cabinet is made out of powder-coated galvanized steel, so it can take a beating from pots and pans.
If You’re Missing an Island
Oversize islands have the tendency to soak up a lot of floor space without giving much back in return. But this white lacquered one comes with all sorts of nooks and cubbies for appliances and serveware; you can even pull up a counter-height chair on the side with an overhang.
If Your Heart Is Set on Custom
Brooklyn-based designer Shengning Zhang of Studio Snng made this pair of cabinets (and a matching fireplace door) for a brownstone parlor, but the walnut-framed, solid-surface pieces would look right at home next to a refrigerator or pantry. Buh-bye, built-ins.
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