How to Style Open Kitchen Shelving


Open kitchen shelving is more than a trend in kitchen design. This look has so many advantages, we can’t seem to find a reason not to give it a try. Here are our tips on how to style your open shelving. 


Kitchen shelves

Open kitchen shelves are a great way to display an eclectic collection or keep day-to-day dishes handy. How do you use open selves in your kitchen?

Location and look

The style of your shelving will likely depend on where your shelving is located. Shelves hung above a prep area or sink lend themselves to more functional usage, while shelves near the dining area or on an opposite wall are ideal for display.

A functional set of shelves can be a lifesaver in a small or cramped kitchen. Not only do they bring in easy-to-reach storage, open shelving takes up less space than a traditional cabinet. For an already-too-small kitchen, this can help give needed storage without overcrowding.

If you plan on using your open shelving for daily storage, create a hierarchy on your shelves. Things used most often, like plates, mugs, or bowls, should be on the lowest shelf. Larger, less frequently used items like mixing bowl sets and service ware, belong on the second shelf. Higher shelves, that may require a step stool, are a great home for items that can be difficult to store or are seldom used. Vases, heirloom pieces or vintage treasures should be stored here.


Stack it up

No matter if your shelves are a used as a display of vintage service ware or a replacement for a dish cabinet, don’t be afraid to stack it up. This technique will create more space and give an interesting, layered look.

Need a few ideas?

– Stack up a set of bowls, or a few mismatched mugs.

– Layer a dinner plate, salad plate, bowl and glass, beside the separate stacks of dinnerware.

– Use a pile of plates as a casual stand for a favorite piece of art, as seen above.


Mix and match

For a refined look, give your shelves a bit of color by incorporating a few mismatched pieces. If a collection of milk glass is carefully displayed, add in a few pieces of green vaseline glass. Limit the number of mismatched pieces used and instead of stealing the show, they’ll help showcase their contrasted counterparts.

For a more casual take on open selfing, limit the matching and embrace the mixing. The kitchen shelves shown here display a fun collection of dishes that span styles and decades. If your collection is more along these lines, show off your eclectic taste by piling up your favorites and enjoy their unique colors and patterns.


Will you give open shelving a try?


By Sarah Jane O’Keefe

Photo by Bret Gum


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *