Attack of the “Pinterest Mom”

by Jessie K on August 14, 2013

Reader Charlotte brought up an interesting point yesterday about how the glut of fabulous decor content out there fuels this perception that it’s not enough anymore to live in a cozy, comfy home but interiors  also have to be highly styled. I thought about this last night and it’s so true! Sites like Pinterest — as much as I love it — put forth this notion that everything — right down to our magazine racks,  utensil drawers, the way we plate our food  have to say something really cool about us as individualscreative people whose lives are a living, breathing photo shoot. It is a world in which clutter does not exist, where giganto TV remotes are never seen and where even the inside of kitchen cabinets are perfectly ordered and color matched.

A prime example of this is the confounding open shelving trend in kitchens. It seems everyone anymore is tearing off their cabinet doors to give kitchens “a sense of space and airiness.” And by “everyone,” I mean denizens of the decor blogosphere.  (See examples herehere and here) Those bulky cabinet doors, they tell us, make kitchens look smaller, cramped and totally 90s.  But they conveniently gloss over the fact that dishes, utensils, plastic kiddie cups and Scranton County Fair coffee mugs are the very definition of clutter, thereby canceling out the intended purpose of open shelving.

The only way this trend might possibly work is if:

a) you’re a Zen minimalist who already limits your poor family to one bowl, one plate and one spoon each (all of the same color, of course) so showcasing these items is already like looking at a bare wall. Aaah, such space! Such airiness!

b) you don’t mind buying all new color coordinated plates, bowls and decorative objets to showcase how highly edited you are (never mind that you just dropped bucks on stuff you didn’t need).

c) you  suffer from “Advanced Pinterestia,” an increasingly common perception disorder in which following decor trends like this actually seems like a good idea.

d) your kitchen is so freakishly big you have plenty of other space for all the ugly stuff to go.

Here’s a peak inside my own kitchen cabinets:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat does this say about me? Well, for one, it says I didn’t pay for nearly any of it — it’s a random assortment of Grandmom giveaways, thrift shop finds and misguided gift shop purchases. It also says that we are out of space and require more cabinets–not less.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACheck out the decorative objets in another cabinet. Behold the charming canisters of Quaker Oats and Walmart “Great Value” raisins. And that delightful flask. And the whimsical collection of thermoses.

Not. My cupboard doors will stay on, thank you.


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarina August 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm


Um.. yeah.. I am too much of a clutter nut to have an open shelving concept in my kitchen. In fact.. those that I have seen seem to not have very much “space”.. since the shelving is generally more narrow than a typical upper cabinet would be. I guess it might work if you had a select one or two open concept shelves instead of some cabinetry.. and you could be more arty with your display of things on them. Another problem I would have is my appliances aren’t as purty looking as theirs.. the splattered mixer on display.. ha! It also might work better in a 2nd home situation.. where you are less likely to have as much stuff!

Penny August 14, 2013 at 2:24 pm


Amen Jesse.

Paula August 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm


The first kitchen you showed is attractive. The other two look like exposed clutter.

When we bought our first home, the first thing I did was take the doors off five of the cabinets and paint the kitchen white. I had enough exposed shelving to display attractive things where they were both decorative and handy to use. There were still closed cabinets for things better hidden, and to keep the room from looking too busy. (I’ve always been particular about having attractive dishes and cookware. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and deserve to work surrounded by things that are aesthetically pleasing.)

My mother warned me that I should save the cabinet doors, so I put them in the carport closet on a high shelf and forgot about them.

Eighteen years later, when we put the house up for sale, I mentioned to the realtor that I still had the doors. Sure enough, a couple made an offer, specifying that the cabinet doors would have to be put back up and painted to match the kitchen. We had a painter/handyman working on the house we were buying and I asked him to take care of that. I told him everyone had always thought the kitchen was so nice, why would anyone want the doors back on. He said it was one of two reasons, either the new woman didn’t have nice things, or she was messy.

Joie August 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm


This, 1000x. Pinterest is a little bit the devil in my eyes.

Paula August 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm


Agreed. I have a SIL who constantly asks me if I’ve joined Pinterest yet. I may occasionally look at it, but I just don’t see the point in making a pinboard on line of things I like. Seems a little narcissistic, and time consuming.

I treat it the same way I do FB and twitter. I sometimes read what I can for entertainment, but no way am I joining and putting myself out there.

Leah August 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm


We were doing fine with blogs and everyone seemed to like facebook. Now we are going overboard with pinterest and whatever else. It does seem to be a way of trying to impress total strangers with MY thoughts, MY interests, MY ideas. A lot too much ME, MYSELF and I. Don’t even get me started on those “SELFIES”. Most self pictures posted are totally embarrassing examples of what not to broadcast to the world. A lot of those bare bodies are jokes I wouldn’t want shown around. Get real folks, you ain’t that much better than anyone else? What happened to modest, normal, caring people?

Jessie K August 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm


“What happened to modest, normal, caring people?” What is this language you speak? I don’t understand. Ha ha!

Ryan August 14, 2013 at 2:51 pm


How do you keep the pet hair out of the dinnerware if you only have open cabinets?

Also, I’m curious as to what that thing is in your second photo that says “Not for cooking.”

Jessie K August 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm


That, my friend, is my fancy pants organic olive oil that I only use for dressing and dips and the like. It’s far too tasty to merely cook with.

Jen August 19, 2013 at 7:06 am



Kim August 14, 2013 at 2:51 pm


Like Paula, I have open shelving for dishes and glasses, closed cabinets for cluttery stuff. Wasn’t so much a decision about looks, and it’s never been photographed at all, (let alone pinned!) – but it’s been nearly seven years now since I smacked my head on a cabinet door while unloading the dishwasher.

‘Nuff said.

Jessie K August 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm


Now there’s a good reason to remove cabinet doors if I’ve ever heard one: Minimize the risk of giving yourself a concussion. It makes sense now. 😉

Leah August 14, 2013 at 3:27 pm


When did you get in my house? How dare you take pictures of my cabinets? Just joking, but they do look just like mine. Welllllll maybe mine are messier. Ever stuff it in there and slam the door shut to get it closed before it comes back out at you? Moments before reading your blog the George Foreman jumped off the refrigerator at my son. Damn near beaned him on the head. Why do places always give you those advertising coffee mugs that are ugly but you can’t throw away?

Denise September 25, 2013 at 12:44 am


You can throw them away. Just do it! Especially if they’re ugly.

Karen S. August 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm


I’m pretty sure all my shelving should be closed, not just the kitchen. I love Pinterest, but I try not to pin too much for the home that I’m never going to do. I pinned ideas for my home office when I actually did my home office. I mostly pin food (some of which I may never actually make), home organization that I sorely need but can’t often pull off, and too many sarcastic funnies. I’m trying to limit myself. It’s a dangerous time management suck and not at all conducive to that Pomodoro method you once blogged about.

Charlotte August 14, 2013 at 6:41 pm


Awww. That’s *exactly* what was eating me — closed shelves here, especially since it’s both incredibly windy here and very dusty. When I first built my raised beds, I spent months looking at fancy garden books, and magazines and planning out this very ornamental potager. Ten years later I ripped it all out because it was impractical. The new one still looks great, but it’s also genuinely based on how I wanted to work in there.
Although I did love the DIY tips on the blogs you linked to —

Molly O August 15, 2013 at 1:16 am


There’s even the Pinterest pre-moms (posting cutsie ideas for kids rooms before they even have kids or are pregnant)! Personally, I can barely manage to write labels on the lids of my canning jars with a sharpie, let alone hand-craft pretty labels with flower petals and ribbon (isn’t it enough that I picked the berries and made the jam myself?)

Kristi C August 15, 2013 at 6:23 pm


Yes, it certainly is enough! I would love some homemade jam, fancy labels or no, to eat on my mismatched plates hiding behind my cabinet doors.

Bob F August 15, 2013 at 10:42 pm


tearing off their cabinet doors to give kitchens “a sense of space and airiness.”
What concerns me is that there are people who really believe that kind of bull cookies. I’m with you Jessie – keep the doors on the cabinets! There is a lot of common sense to keeping life simple – but sometimes common sense is hard to come by for some people.

Carrie at Living the Daly Life August 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm



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