You wash, I’ll dry — but that’s a lot less work when I’ve got an open-air kitchen cabinet

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Zojila Cabana Stainless Steel Cabinet Plate and Utensil Drying Racks
Zojila Cabana Stainless Steel Cabinet Plate and Utensil Drying Racks

This is what I want NOW: a dish-draining cabinet. Instead of shelves, use open-bottomed slats to dry dishes. Water can drip down into the sink.

We’ve featured one open-air cabinet before, in Sarah and Tyler’s permaculture kitchen:


But honestly, I had no idea they were such a trend in Northern Europe! This cabinet style seems brilliant — cut down on work by cramming dish drying and dish storage into one step. I’m envisioning one for a far-off kitchen refurb. Anyone else got one of these beauties?

Comments on You wash, I’ll dry — but that’s a lot less work when I’ve got an open-air kitchen cabinet

  1. Since I was on exchange in Finland, where they’re really standard, I’ve wanted one of those for my own kitchen once I have an own kitchen… (still living in shared flats with other students). I just don’t know where to get one here 😉

  2. In Italy, this is a fairly normal system, and i always thought it was SO SMART. My sister’s kitchen had this in Bologna. I live in the US and would totally put on of these in, but it would block my glorious window 🙁

  3. I wish! Drying dishes always seems pointless to me so it’d be nice to be able to stack them and let them dry. I would be concerned about losing space though but only because my kitchen currently has pretty abominable storage so things are stacked in tight in some places.

  4. New Yorkers should take notes! My kitchen is abhorrently small. If only I owned my apartment. I would sooo do this. Then again, when I do buy, a nicely sized kitchen will be a non-negotiable. Still think this idea is ridic cool, though.

  5. I hadn’t even thought of this before! I really like it… then again, living in a dorm with one fork, spoon, (stolen from the caf) plate and bowl, I really haven’t much to dry yet, but when I get TWO spoons, man, it’ll be a party.

  6. While part of me is all like – WHAT?! Yes please!! The other part of me is like – but I only use half of my above-counter kitchen cabinets for dishes – the rest is food/baking supplies storage. And I really like having windows over the sink. So unless there was a viable alternative that let me keep my window (which a couple of the above pictures show), I’ll stick to regular shelves. Even if having cupboards like this would free up an insane amount of counter space.

  7. I recently moved back to the states from Naples, Italy. I had this above my kitchen sink and loved it. It was so handy. My husband hated it because I rarely emptied it. Either he did, or I just used the dishes from it directly. Having the dish drainer, for me, was definitely “out of sight, out of mind”.

  8. Great idea, but I already need a step ladder to get into our lowest shelves, and climbing with soapy hands seems like a really bad idea. Plus I’d developed the tetris-fu of fitting 5 sinks worth of washing up into one mini drainage board and thats a skill for life!

  9. I’m very surprised that these are from Northern Europe. I’m from North-West, so well below Scandinavia and my concern with these cupboards was always that it wouldn’t work here: the dishes would not dry or dry very slowly. So I wonder how they manage in Finland!

  10. For those who don’t have these or can’t, but love the idea… I feel like using a dish-draying rack and then fitting the whole thing into a cabinet once it’s dry could be a similarly easy method of combining drying and storage. As long as you have the right size drying racks that could fit in your cabinets, I would like it could be pretty easy. Although you still take up the counter space while they dry, and you do have that one more added step of actually putting the rack away when they’re dry… still, it’s an idea.

  11. This is an awesome idea, but could be made more awesome if there was a sort of water collection shelf on the bottom of the cabinet fitted with a tube so that the water would flow directly into the sink through the tubing. That way, the cabinets do not need to be directly above the sink. I’m a chemist, and these sorts of drying racks are in every lab, tube and all.

    • mine had a shallow plastic tray at the base to catch any accumulated water. Every once in awhile, I would need to wash it, but it kept water from draining where you didn’t want it. That seemed to be pretty standard based on looking at my friend’s kitchens too.

  12. Not only in northern Europe, I have one of those here in Spain, and they’re pretty common! The thing is, now that we’ve bought a dishwasher (I feel so grown up!) it’s pretty weird taking out the already dry dishes and storing them there, instead of just stacking them in a regular cabinet.

    My mom, who does not have one of these, just uses one side of her double sink to sort of build a mountain of dishes/glasses -taking care not to pile anything too neatly, otherwise they won’t dry properly- and leaves it there for a few hours. Then it’s all dry and ready to put away.

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