Glass front kitchen cabinets?
Emily Hurley
March 28, 2014 in Design Dilemma
Do you have glass front cabinets in your kitchen? What do you think are the pros and cons of them? I love the look, but I imagine I have to be a bit neater with my organization.

Share your experience! (photos encouraged)

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PRO
Linx Creative Kitchen & Bath LLC
If you are concerned about being able to see in, most local glass companies can double layer the glass where you can use a darker smoked glass behind a regular patterned clear glass. That way, when you look at the door you just see a darker background. Sorry the pic is kind of cut off. I'll see if I can find a better one.
March 28, 2014 at 5:22PM   
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Barnhart Gallery
If the placement is well thought out for access, it's hard for stacked dishware and barware to look messy behind glass.
March 28, 2014 at 8:49PM     
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mcgrunner18
I totally agree with Barnhart Gallery. I'm a confessed neat freak and have 2 glass fronted kitchen cabinets in which I have glassware and dishes in similar colors on each shelf. They always look good, with minimal to no effort!
March 28, 2014 at 9:11PM     
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rredpenn
Wonder how many times the homeowner in that photo has been bruised or injured on that sharp corner in the teeny space right where the coffee is? Yikes... I'd rethink that! First thing in the morning, before my coffee, I'm not the most graceful ballerina on stage... :)
March 29, 2014 at 8:44AM     
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Curt D'Onofrio
The pro: Can actually see what's in cabinet w/out opening the door. Imagine not having to open 6 doors to find something you need

The con:Can actually see what's in cabinet w/out opening the door. Not good when visitors come over.
March 29, 2014 at 9:11AM     
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PRO
Sustainable Dwellings
I have two glass door cabinets either side of my sink and wine rack... I keep beautiful glassware and antique heirloom pieces in them.
March 29, 2014 at 10:12AM     
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eightpondfarm
i wouldn't mind glass cabinet doors in the kitchen. our kitchen shelves are probably the most organized and pleasing shelves in our home. now, if it suddenly became trendy to have see-through closet doors i'd be in REAL trouble!!
March 29, 2014 at 10:39AM     
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eightpondfarm
for folks that like that modern sleek minimalist design, viewable kitchen cabinets might give that 'cluttered' look that y'all hate so much..?
March 29, 2014 at 10:41AM   
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rosecottagehome
I guess I must be a dish-oholic because it would seem I have many. I designed my kitchen with glass cabinet doors in mind to house my many dishes that I enjoy seeing, as well as using everyday. The second bank of glassed in cabinets in my kitchen, are home to rose colored dishes, which were passed on to me from my beloved mom, now gone. I have only good things to say about glass cabinet doors in a kitchen. They suit my style to a tea.
March 29, 2014 at 10:41AM     
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eightpondfarm
glass doors on kitchen cabinets seems more of a country or eclectic vibe. (which, btw, i prefer :)
March 29, 2014 at 10:42AM     
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Elizabeth Bolton - ReMax Destiny
I do! It's a four-door cabinet that came out of a building where I used to work. I had it in storage for years before installing it in the kitchen of my current house (above an old porcelain sink on legs that I also put in). It's filled with the vintage dishes I collect. The less visually appealing stuff goes in another cabinet with regular doors.
March 29, 2014 at 5:03PM     
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Charmean Neithart Interiors, LLC.
I like them, but the key is to not have too many of them. I usually like to do glass fronts close to the sink where one might keep pretty glasses and plates. Everything else gets tucked away.

March 29, 2014 at 5:07PM     
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Elizabeth Olin
A friend gave me a sheet of vintage glass that we incorporated into our very modest kitchen redo. I like the look of glass-fronted cabinets, even though I have only one. Ours is a very ordinary, 100 year old bungalow home, and nothing is fancy. We like it that way. :)
March 30, 2014 at 4:45AM     
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janec146
I have glass doors on three lighted cabinets that hold my blue and white dishes, my stemware, and decorative serving dishes. I used glass shelving as well and absolutely love them! They look inviting all the time--but they do have to be cleaned a couple of times a year, meaning all the stuff has to be removed too. Its a good chance to wash my antique stemware and cut glass in the diswasher for sparkle. Still worth it.
March 30, 2014 at 11:13AM     
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meranda
I have shelves and glass front cabinets in my kitchen and absolutely love them! It opens the space up. I use my dishes as a design element or artwork now. Really it's not that much different... Everything is in the same place just more on display now.
March 30, 2014 at 1:03PM     
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lizen
We're using seeded glass in some of the cabinets, but not all. The glass isn't perfectly clear and adds nice texture. The dining room built-ins will have clear glass because they're more for display.
March 31, 2014 at 8:06AM   
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Bill Yockey
Had glass cabinets in my old kitchen and loved them. The top shelves were mostly for display and the rest were for day-to-day dishes. Would do it again. Interesting enough, I have a friend who just bought a house and their kitchen has glass doors on the bottom--to me, that would be an accident just wating to happen.
March 31, 2014 at 8:20AM     
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vtitlow
I've had glass front cabinets for 25 years and love them. They add light to the room and help organization. I use them for my bigger bowls, special glasses, and the like.
March 31, 2014 at 8:41AM     
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Madeline Small
We live in a 60 year old Cape Cod home, and before we renovated our kitchen (approx.
15 yrs ago) we added glass to an upper cabinet located on the side of the room that was above a built-in desk, which I painted bluish-gray. When we renovated, we kept the cabinet for its charm and the new upper, corner cabinet has a glass front. I agree with not having too many glass-fronted cabinets, and think they create interest and help increase a room's spaciousness by reflecting light from doors/windows. As a bonus, pretty dishes or antiques can be displayed!
March 31, 2014 at 10:44AM     
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lsjmarcom
There are so many glass textures and designs that can be used in cabinets. 3M has some beautiful films that can be adhered to glass as well.
March 31, 2014 at 12:05PM     
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Sharron Todd
hi i love the glass cupboards its a great way of making you organized, and there,s nothing better than a neat kitchen,to come home to .
March 31, 2014 at 6:30PM     
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quinciettajane
I live in one of the worst air pollution areas of the nation. I had a hutch with pretty glass doors to showcase my crystal and special expensive Swedish glass. For some reason, the pollution sticks to this glass and becomes a sticky cloudy mess. Thus the lighted shelving just shows the dirty stemware. Its odd. This type of pollution sticks to certain surfaces and is almost oily dirt. Our days are most often in the unhealthy range. For that reason I'll never have glass doors again. Funny, the doors did not get this film. Just my better quality glassware--behind glass or wood. So I'd prefer to hide them until I use them or it would be endless washing! Inexpensive glasses do not collect this film.
April 1, 2014 at 11:04PM   
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jenarm
Not i. I love the idea, and i love the look, but i live in the real-world land of kids. We have WAY too many ugly plastic cups and bowls with super heroes on them! That, and i just don't have enough cupboard space to have the luxury of glass cabinets with pretties in them. Someday.... When my kids grow up and i do that massive kitchen renovation. Following my lottery win. ;)
April 2, 2014 at 4:02AM     
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Karyn Jolink
I love them we have a set at our cottage I only keep my dishes and glassware in them arranged nicely but yet still works for everyday use I keep food and other items behind closed doors I also painted the interior and shade of blue it's fun and I am happy with it
April 2, 2014 at 4:17AM     
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johnson_v
I have glass that is patterned enough to show the colors of beautiful dishes and clear enough that I need to stack neatly. Love them!
April 2, 2014 at 4:20AM   
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kabatson
We are preparing for a total kitchen renovation and I am incorporating 2 glass-fronted cabinets for my dishes and glassware. They will be just above the dishwasher. I have a collection of Fiestaware and can't wait to see all of those bright, vibrant colors - to me it's part of the decor!
April 2, 2014 at 5:38AM   
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dpf44
Using some sort of translucent glass or fluted glass is a nice option. Also consider using glass shelves with glass doors for a cleaner look
April 2, 2014 at 5:57AM   
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Leslie Haney
I just redid my 47 yr old kitchen. I added a few glass front cabinets but opted for 'water glass' fronts. Its a great way to store my crystal and show it off and breakup the monotony of all wood panels. I wouldn't use all glass but if you have the space, certainly having some strategically placed glass front is a must. Consider lighting it and with LEDs now, its a great way to enjoy your beautiful stemware etc.
April 2, 2014 at 6:15AM     
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Kaaren Baumgartner
I have all upper cabinets in frosted glass...they are also lit from within and below and have glass shelves. (Kids are grown and gone.) Across the room, where the breakfast table and deck are, are large, wooden, rectangular boxes mounted in a staggered fashion on the wall above w/ counter and cabinets below; these have clear glass and are used for display of antique or holiday patterns. I chose the glass because the 70's kitchen had heavy, oak cabinets stained a dark walnut...they just stopped your eye flat. Even w/ the frosted glass it has lightened the kitchen so and lets the eye kinda travel through. I love them...glass is so easy to clean and gives brightness and adds light. Great choice for me.
April 2, 2014 at 6:21AM     
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djlingle
I'm in the process of remodeling a 1938 Craftsman style home. In the kitchen, I am putting in white shaker style upper cabinets and dark red/brown lowers. My cabinet maker had suggested only 2 glass cabinets. I'm leaning towards all upper cabinets to have seeded glass with lights. My reasoning is that it's a small kitchen, with only 5 upper cabinets and one window that looks onto an enclosed patio. I'm hoping the glass will give an elusion of more space and add more light. Kaaren it sounds like you are happy with your all glass uppers. My concern is that the "experts" seem to think only 2-3 glass cabinets are appropriate. CAN ANYONE ELSE WAY IN, PLEASE?
April 2, 2014 at 7:04AM     
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Brianna Malm
We are planning to put glass front cabinets in our kitchen. The look we are going for is more of a cottage/country look, so we plan to line them with lace to cover the kiddie cups and cereal boxes. :)

djlingle, I say that it's your kitchen - do it how you want it, not how any "experts" say it should be.
April 2, 2014 at 7:28AM     
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Karen Newman
djilingle-I would say it depends on how much storage you have in your lower cabinets. If there is plenty of space below or in the pantry to keep the unsightly things like storage containers and cereal boxes, then go for all glass uppers. I have a tiny kitchen with only two sets of upper cabinets, both with glass fronts. They are just enough to hold my dishes and glass ware and fortunately I have lots of lower cabinets and a pantry for everything else. I love the lightness they bring to the small space and being able to see some of my prettier dishes.
April 2, 2014 at 7:34AM     
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ggsandiego
clutter, even if neatly arranged, makes me crazy so I've avoided using glass doors on all my kitchen remodels - even though I like the concept and have beautiful, colorful dishes that I've collected from all over the world that would look nice on display.
April 2, 2014 at 8:51AM     
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craigmerrow
I've always admired the stained glass patterns that Frank Lloyd Wright often used in his designs, and thought something like that would be a nice addition to a cabinet door. It would add visual interest to the cabinets (especially if they are backlit) and, depending on the type of glass and pattern, could also highlight certain dishes or hide/obscure others.
April 2, 2014 at 9:00AM     
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stephabs
I was thinking of ways to put a contrasting color at the back of my glass cabinets but I don't want to paint for fear I'd hate it later. I thought about painting poster board but I was afraid it would buckle. Any thoughts?
April 2, 2014 at 9:35AM   
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Christalyn
Is there a film that you can put on the inside of the glass that makes it look like you have organized, matching dishes? That is the only way I could get away with glass fronts. Ha!
April 2, 2014 at 9:44AM     
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PRO
John James O'Brien - Design for Inspired Living
Stephabs, I put a Chinese Red at the back of all cabinets in a white lacquer dressing room--a favourite colour of one of the owners. The surprise of colour is amazing--now mostly covered with clothes, of course, but I hear that the frisson (surprise and pleasure) continues like day one--two years later.

The same thing can apply in your kitchen--but pick a colour you'll want to see a LOT. I recommend starting with kid's construction paper blue-tacked up behind what you'll store. This will give you an instant sense of the effect. If you like it--paint some sheets in colours yoy prefer and tack the up to settle on the one that works in terms of the items stored, the mood you want to create, and the lighting at various times of the day/night.

Have fun!
April 2, 2014 at 9:44AM     
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elainevigg
Love glass cabinets, guests can find glasses, plates etc. House guests feel more at home!
April 2, 2014 at 10:35AM     
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djlingle
Thanks for the comments! I think I'm going to stick with my original plan - seeded glass on all upper cabinets. I'm also considering having the cabinet back painted red like Garden Oaks FA commented on.
April 2, 2014 at 11:49AM     
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kroze
I have shared my photos before, but always happy to do so again when appropriate.

I like glass doors because they add color and interest to a room.

I use all of these dishes on a regular basis. They are not there purely for decoration!
April 2, 2014 at 1:56PM     
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jalarse
I only have one up above cabinet. I'm vertically challenged and will never grow any taller. Besides I wanted windows. On the only above cabinet is where I keep the every day dishes and glassware. On the island across from the cabinet is the dishwasher, makes putting these away easy. I love glass doors on cabinets.
April 2, 2014 at 3:50PM     
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kroze
Beautiful kitchen, jalarse!
April 2, 2014 at 3:55PM   
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jalarse
Kroze, thank you, we enjoy it.
April 2, 2014 at 4:10PM   
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Kaaren Baumgartner
DJLINGLE: My glass is frosted where the everyday dishes, glassware, etc. is. We tried reed glass but it showed too much. Designer cautioned me to be sure, because if you don't like, at these prices, you're stuck w/ it (brushed aluminum frames and finger pull hardware, interior lighting, etc.). The reed glass was just too clear...you can put about anything behind the frosted glass and you see only a hint of color and outline. KAREN NEWMAN is right...I have small pantry maximized by Efla System, and all lower cabinets are drawers, no doors to open first. They have dividers and house the *uglies"? The food storage containers, pots and pans, baking pans, cutting boards, bags of all sorts (canvas/shopping/trash/etc.), junk drawer, baking drawer. The glass uppers house only dishes and glassware. Try the different glass samples. My daughter had rain glass, was nice too, but we are ultra contemporary, and she was more traditional/Pottery Barn/whatever. Get what you like. The glass really brightens. I love the lace idea of BRIANA MAIM'S...we use clear plastic/vinyl? available at Joanne Fabrics...still lets the interior light through and deadens the clinking on the glass shelves some. Can pull it out, wipe it off, and put it back.
April 2, 2014 at 4:55PM     
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bibishboy
A combination of glass and wood front panels for cabinets are the best options - for display and to keep behind doors stuff that are not fit for display. I have all wood and never had the problem of searching for things because I have had the same shelf assignment for many years - I don't need to scramble each time.
April 2, 2014 at 7:23PM   
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eaglenester
I made my own stained glass for my kitchen cabinet doors.
April 2, 2014 at 7:45PM     
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kroze
Wow, that is an impressive job, eaglenester!
April 3, 2014 at 4:37AM     
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PRO
Nicely Done Kitchens
Glass cabinetry can be a great way to break up a wall of solid-door cabinets. We especially like to use glass as an accent for a diagonal wall cabinet or a wet bar area. Used sparingly, it can brighten up the space and help relate to windows nearby in the room.

If your lifestyle simply isn't conducive to the high-organization demanded by see-through doors, consider a textured glass instead of the standard clear. There are also a lot of options for glass doorstyles - you can play around with lots of combinations of glass textures and mullion styles to fit your taste and lifestyle!
April 3, 2014 at 12:11PM     
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soberg
I have one upper with glass doors in a sort of hutch area. I like it to display my edited collection of random attractive crockery.

My bf thinks it's the ideal place to prop things he wants to not misplace....like hardened steel drill bits, bike parts etc. He "displays" them right in front of things like my great-grandmother's teapot.

Glass doors - the PRO reasons are the same as the CONs. You can see everything clearly displayed. When glass cabinets are styled for photo, I notice the dish collections are all perfectly matched.
April 3, 2014 at 12:49PM     
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djlingle
Soberg - I suggest you get your bf his own hutch to display his tools! LOL
April 3, 2014 at 3:59PM   
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eightpondfarm
i just remembered….we DO have a glass front cabinet!
April 3, 2014 at 5:40PM   
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judyrud
I invariably bang my head on anything that sticks out, so my dish cupboards (which are my only upper cupboards; everything else high up is open shelving) have sliding glass doors. My genius builder also designed them without sharp corners. Hard to get a photo sans reflections on a sunny day, but I think you can see that even though my collection is somewhat eclectic, I obviously favor cobalt and don't mind them being seen. The doors don't seem to get very dirty, so cleaning isn't really an issue.
April 4, 2014 at 12:58PM     
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llswink
I had glass front cabinets in my kitchen in California. It wasn't hard to keep up with them. The trick was, I only had them for the dish and glass cabinets. Pretty and decorative!
April 7, 2014 at 10:18AM     
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shelleyuk
All of our upper cabinets are glass. It makes the space feel light and open. But we do have plenty of base units storage and so having somewhere to put the less beautiful stuff is not a problem.
April 7, 2014 at 10:29AM     
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574steele
We recently moved to a house with one glass corner cabinet above the counter visible to all as it is an open concept space. After moving around and adding a shelf to the cabinet to make the best use of the display area for special pieces, I found the shelves did not line up with the horizontal trim around the glass panes. Solution? Painted all the shelf edges with a flat black so the shelves disappear and don't distract the eye from the cabinet doors. Fast and easy fix if anyone else has this problem.
April 14, 2014 at 8:45AM     
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PRO
Columbia Redevelopment
We like to do a mix of glass and wood front panels. That way you have the option of displaying some of your prettier dishes and making the kitchen feel more open, and it saves some money.
In this particular kitchen we did a mix of glass, open shelving, and wood panel doors. You can see other pictures here: http://columbiaredevelopment.com/contemporary-home-beaumont-wilshire/
April 14, 2014 at 5:26PM   
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patatas
Agree with Meranda that it really opens up the bloc of cabinets. I put lights and glass shelves in my four (out of 8) upper cabinets. It felt like a significant amount of extra work, but the lighting makes a huge positive difference in how the kitchen feels.
April 20, 2014 at 9:27PM     
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lauraslark
Jalarse I would love to see more pictures of your kitchen and dining area. I think it is absolutely gorgeous!! It looked so well loved!!
April 23, 2014 at 3:14PM   
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jalarse
Lauraslark, thank you so very much. In the most recent newsletter under the title kitchen ideas for foodies I posted a few more pictures. Have a great day.
April 23, 2014 at 4:55PM     
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Anthony Caruana
Only one glass cabinet, corner lazy susan which houses various spices. Nothing pretty about those jars of spices--put a red checkered cloth inside the glass to match the same fabric on my giant cork board (cork is covered too). Looks great!
July 15, 2014 at 7:28AM   
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brittanyrivard
I love mine,
I wanted to keep them looking clean, I use them mostly for decor, so make sure you have a lot of cabinet space!
September 11, 2014 at 1:23AM   
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kroze
They do not have to be just for decoration. They can expose your dishes and need not reduce your overall cabinet space.
September 11, 2014 at 4:06AM   
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sph137
Because my kitchen designer didn't finish the interior of my cabinet I chose obscure glass. I very happy with it.
September 11, 2014 at 4:09AM   
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PRO
Elite Interior Staging
Glass fronts are nice for your neatly arranged dishes (that match). Personally, I went with all wood to hide what's behind door #1, 2, 3, 4...all the doors :-)
September 11, 2014 at 4:16AM   
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dpf44
I like the effect of glass doors on some the the cabinets. However, I prefer some type of translucent glass with glass shelves inside. It creates the same effect as clear glass without exposing every detail of the contents.
September 11, 2014 at 10:15AM   
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