Today’s kitchens often feature open shelves instead of upper cabinets, and the trend shows no sign of ending. Open shelving presents opportunities both to store your kitchen necessities and to display favorite objects. But if you’re facing a bare shelf, you may not know where to begin. Here’s what you need to know about styling kitchen open shelves.
Before you begin unloading boxes, decide what purpose your open shelving will serve: storage, display space or both? You might use shelves closest to the areas you cook and eat for storage and others that are more out of the way for displaying treasured items. Or you may choose to have your shelves fill both purposes.
Next, settle on a color palette that harmonizes with the rest of your kitchen. Depending on the look you are going for, you may display nothing but white items or instead style your shelves with several bright colors. A tried-and-true color palette is white objects and clear glass with wood tones and greenery accents. Remember, you can style your open kitchen shelves with differing textures and shapes as well as colors.
Once you’ve resolved these issues, find a place for the largest pieces you’ll put on the shelves. You can layer smaller items in front of these. Remember to leave some open space to avoid a cluttered look.
Open Shelves: Stylish storage
- It’s practical to use your open shelves for the items you use the most frequently in or near your kitchen: plates, glassware, bowls and mugs. Place these near where you’ll use them, or on open shelves just above your dishwasher. Daily use of these items means they won’t become dusty.
- Put utensils in attractive baskets or crocks if you want to store them on your open shelving
- Small appliances with cords, such as waffle irons or slow cookers, can be unsightly. Leave these behind closed doors and style open shelving with more attractive pieces.
- If you need to store food on open shelving, remove the products from their original packaging and store them in identical glass or clear plastic containers with attractive labels.
- To expand storage space, install hooks beneath the shelves for hanging items like coffee mugs.
- Don’t forget the area beneath your shelving. If it’s your countertop or a table, that space can count as an additional shelf.
- Fill in where necessary with plants, cookbooks or pictures.
Displaying your favorite things
Open shelves aren’t just for everyday storage. You may own a collection of unusual pottery or a beautiful antique soup tureen that you want to prominently display on your open shelving. Here are some tips for styling open kitchen shelves for display.
- Display precious pieces securely. Small decorative easels can be used for items such as platters.
- Vary the heights of the objects in your display. Cluster like things together in groups of three if you can.
- Installing under-shelf lighting will highlight your display. You can even place a small lamp on a shelf.
- Don’t forget to dust little-used items regularly.
Check for balance
Once you’ve finished styling your open shelving, step back and take a look. Make sure each shelf seems balanced and that there is balance between banks of shelving, such as on either side of a stove or cooktop.