Asked on Nov 02, 2012

I hate my ugly spindles under my cabinets. Do you have any ideas?

by Dawn
Update: The cabinets are down. We originally planned on doing it this weekend but we couldn't wait. The spindles were decorative. We took out all the screws and the cabinets wouldn't budge. They were attached to plywood that was bolted to a metal plate attached to a very large lag bolt (2ft.) that was bolted in the attic. There were 2 of these. Now I just need to figure out what kind of lights to use. I was thinking of pendant lighting or can lights. Maybe even a track light that is simiilar to the one I have over the sink but only bigger. What do you think?

We just moved into this house a couple of months ago and are doing some minor remodeling. I hate these spindles under my cabinet. I would love to remove the upper cabinets but I need the space for storage and I need something to support my cabinets. I would love any suggestions or pictures if you had the same issue and came up with a great solution. Eventually I would like to remodel the kitchen but that is much further down the road.
My kitchen
Cabinets down. Picture taken from the living room
Looking into the dining room.
  30 answers
  • Helen Eskelson Helen Eskelson on Nov 02, 2012
    glass blocks?
  • Warren G. Warren G. on Nov 02, 2012
    I have a like issue in a home that I am moving in to. I plan on making a custom glass china cabinet at the end of the eating bar. It will be a small nix knack case from floor to ceiling, just some place for my wife to display her collectibles and to support the upper cabinets and look good all in one. Or you could make a solid room divider / extra pantry closet at the end of the bar. It does not have to be large a small pantry can store a lot of can / package goods.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Nov 02, 2012
    @Dawn you Do not need more storage just have too much stuff. That kitchen has about twice the storage my kitchen has, and mine has been serving me well for 20 years. I am an active cook and spend quite a bit of time in mine. Removing that cabinet over the peninsula would be a great idea, you should also remove that soffit I did a project like that a few years back for a client. the peninsula was slightly widened with some wall depth cabinets that then brought the dining side up to "bar" height. overhead pendant lights were added. In his case the stub wall (where your ugly spindles are) had wiring in it. We build a custom column to house the wires and installed an outlet. This opened up the kitchen to the dining area so the space has a much more open feel. Yours would not need wiring work based on what I can see. If you are not set on a little material possession purge that kitchen is plenty big for a small island or portable work table / unit. Another way to maintain the same amount of storage would be to eliminate the whole rooms soffit and install taller upper cabinets.
  • Ellen H Ellen H on Nov 02, 2012
    Pictures may be deceiving but it looks as though you have room for a movable island/work station - in which case I would get one that has storage and remove those upper cabinets completely. It would make the counter much more usable.
  • Agree,@Ellen H - That is exactly what we were going to recommend! An island can be made or purchased and could give you just as much storage as those upper cabinets. Then you can knock out those upper cabinets and you would have a fabulous eat-in kitchen with more prep and serving space!
  • Carroll A Carroll A on Nov 02, 2012
    Have you had someone look at it? Are you sure the spindles are there for support? If they are I would see if it can be re-enforced from above and remove the spindles. Then open both sides of the cabinet and replace with glass doors, then you would not loose the cabinet space. But if you don't need it, I would remove it all together, open the space up. Love the island idea!
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Nov 02, 2012
    Perhaps consider a built in wine rack. Would add interest and be functional, but then you would need to like wine :) It would also be open at both ends.
  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Nov 02, 2012
    Agree with island for storage -- looks like you could have a 2' x 3' island, allowing 42" for walk ways
  • Helena @ Design Wotcha! Helena @ Design Wotcha! on Nov 02, 2012
    not sure of the dimensions from these picks but could you take down the upper cabinets, put them back to back at the end of the current counter (to keep same storage) and then add a butcher block top to meet the current counter height. this area could be used as a cutting station or wine bar.
  • Frances S Frances S on Nov 03, 2012
    Take the whole cupboard down.
  • Bobbye Wendt Bobbye Wendt on Nov 03, 2012
    then I would make candle holders out of the spindles :)
  • Cre8tive Designs Cre8tive Designs on Nov 03, 2012
    I would look up inside your cabinets to see if they are screwed into the soffit. If they are, then those spindles are just decorative. If not, then you could add support to them from the inside and eliminate the spindles. Adding an island is a grand idea.
  • Tracie Tracie on Nov 03, 2012
    I'd take down those cabinets, personally. Anyway, I seriously doubt those spindles are anything but decorative.
  • Jenny@birdsandsoap Jenny@birdsandsoap on Nov 03, 2012
    bust 'em out with a hammer. Those spindles aren't serving any purpose, the cabinets are mounted to the ceiling joists.
  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Nov 03, 2012
    @Jenny@birdsandsoap careful about offering such a suggestion. I have seen some very pathetic installations .. gone bad. There is no way to know for sure if they secured into the studs above. Secondly, the construction of the cabinetry may not withstand the weight being held from above --- these clearly look like factory cabinets and their construction and warranty is dependent on installation on the back hanging rails.
  • Mary Lloyd Mary Lloyd on Nov 04, 2012
    Get a piece of glass cut to fit the space that the spindles are in now to replace them and still allow the light through. Frame the glass heavy enough to be a support for the cabinets if need be, but I doubt the spindles are there as a support. The othet upper cabinets seem to hang without spindles to support them without a wall behind them too. I certainly wouldn't just knock the spindles out without having someone take a look to double check how the upper cabinets are mounted and supported.
  • Can the cabinets and the spindles be removed? It would open up the space and you wouldn't have to stoop down to look into the adjoining room. Looks like you have enough space to turn those cabinets (that you take down) into an island instead, and you wouldn't give up any storage space.
  • Although it is a great idea to remove the spindles, and also the cabinets as what you have is now considered old school and the open look is in. I doubt as a few others said that you can remove them. The built down soffit over the top is not that strong in most cases and removing the spindles may cause them to fail. Unless you know for sure that they are properly secured to a properly constructed soffit, I would leave them in place or remove all of them including the cabinets as well. If storage is an issue, perhaps a nice island in the middle can make up for what you take down. It appears that you may have enough room. A good cabinet person may be able to re-construct the uppers that are removed and use the doors for a new island.
  • Donna S Donna S on Nov 04, 2012
    Are they needed to help hold the cabinets up. If not remove them.
  • Jan P Jan P on Nov 04, 2012
    I think they are decorative - I would take down the whole thing - will open up the whole kitchen!!
  • Michelle Powers Michelle Powers on Nov 04, 2012
    Hey Dawn! Funny seeing you here... I have no good information for you... just wanted to say hi!
  • Dawn Dawn on Nov 07, 2012
    Thanks everyone for the ideas. After some reorganzing of my kitchen I have decided to take down the upper cabinets from the peninsula. Since we had just moved I had not organized the kitchen very well. I was able to get rid of some things. Also by adjusting my roll out shelves in the bottom cabinets, I was able to store more things in them. We will be taking the cabinets down this weekend. Hopefully I won't have a lot of patch work to do. I will post a picture after they are down.
  • I think that is the best idea. However before you tear them down, check the Soffit area above to be sure there is nothing hidden there that may require some removal to make the ceiling flat.
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Nov 07, 2012
    @Dawn - sounds like a wise choice. You may be able to use the cabinets in either the basement or garage, or if you don't already have some in your laundry room, maybe there. Looking forward to the pics!
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Nov 08, 2012
    If you keep the soffit it might make a great location to install some can lights...or for a more modern look some hanging pendants. Here is an article I wrote on pendant lights some time back.
  • Dawn Dawn on Nov 08, 2012
    I am keeping the soffit as of right now. We do not have the time or money to take it out. We have other projects that have a higher priority. I am planning on putting pendant lights in. I already have electrical that was under the cabinet so we will be rerouting it and putting a switch in. Thanks for all your advice.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Nov 09, 2012
    post some after pics when you get it completed...I am like many of the other hometalkers here.... and we all love before and after shots.
  • Phyllis Phyllis on Aug 15, 2014
    taking them down was my answer; hang a cple of pendant lights above(3)
  • Evey trautmann Evey trautmann on Jan 11, 2015
    Looks very nice.Put oldhanging stained glass lite up.U will have lite.
  • Terri Terri on May 27, 2015
    Hi Dawn I googled spindles and old cabinets and got your post. Realizing this was a number of years ago, your help would sure turn out handy to me. We are buying a house with a kitchen much like yours, just smaller, but with the same ugly spindle problem. Can you up date me on how your kitchen looks now??? TIA.