22 Ideas for Styling Open Kitchen Shelves
Categories: Organization and Cleaning

22 Ideas for Styling Open Kitchen Shelves

Open shelving is everywhere right now, and we love it. Obviously there are pros and cons to this look, but when it’s done right, it can add extra color and personality to any kitchen decor. Open shelves are a great solution for small and large kitchens alike and create an open, airy energy in your kitchen. It’s also a great way to keep track of your items and keep clutter to a minimum. If you’re considering giving open shelves a shot or are just feeling the itch to redecorate your shelves, we’ve got 22 genius tips on how to have the most stylish kitchen in town.

1. Consider Contrast: If you’re rocking bold cabinets, keep the shelving simple and the display items in a monochromatic scheme so your kitchen doesn’t start feeling cluttered and overwhelming. (via Homedit)

2. Prop Them Up: Show off your great dishes or cutting boards and add more color to the kitchen by leaning them on their rims or edges rather than stacking them all. Just be sure they’re secure enough so they don’t roll or slide down and knock off your other items. (via Smitten Studio)

3. Choose an Accent Color: White kitchens look very crisp and clean, but adding a pop of color into the mix brings in personality and character and makes the space look more interesting. (via The House That Ag Built)

4. Organize Beautifully: Consider the things you use most often and keep them on the lower, easier-to-reach shelves. Plates, bowls and cups/mugs typically fall into this category. You’ll be so much happier with your beautiful kitchen if it’s more functional. (via HGTV)

5. Include Artwork: Don’t miss an opportunity for showcasing artwork you love by leaning some frames on the shelves behind your dishes. This is a good way to vertically expand the shelves too, especially when the dishes (like cups and mugs) are low. (via Better Homes and Gardens)

6. Carefully Choose Your Shelves: If you have metal shelves, try laying a cutting board or tray to allow storing of smaller items like flatware, food or salt and pepper shakers. Save drawer space for less attractive items like aluminum foil and plastic wrap, and keep pretty things at eye level. (via The Everygirl)

7. Reading Material: The kitchen is, above all, a functional space. Devote an open shelf to neatly organized cookbooks so you’re never lacking for dinner inspiration. The bindings will provide color and the books will be within easy reach. (via In My Own Style)

8. Include Natural Warmth: Introducing wood, or some other warm and friendly natural material, into the kitchen provides texture and warmth. If your shelves are white, consider some wooden bowls or baskets. (via Heather Bullard)

9. Colorful Shelves: This bohemian-chic kitchen is a perfect example of brightly colored shelves. Color provides uniformity and a clean look, no matter how bold your color choices are. (via Adriaan Louw)

10. Stack Them High: If your dishes are fairly monochromatic, one way to add visual interest and depth to your open shelving is to fill the shelves to brimming top. Try to make each stack of dishes reach the bottom of the shelf above it and scoot the stacks themselves close together. (via Mokkasin)

11. Create a Theme: Since the items on these shelves will be on display for all to see, it’s important they look good together. So pick a theme such as colored dishes, your favorite antique items, teacups or anything else that will look good together. (via Kitchen Sourcebook)

12. Mix It Up: A combination of open and closed cabinets is the perfect option for showing off what you want to show and hiding the things you don’t want to see all the time. (via One Kings Lane)

13. Fill It Up: Too many small items look insignificant and add clutter. When it comes to styling shelves, bigger is better, so use objects with substance like baskets and big bowls to fill negative space and add scale. (via House and Hold)

14. Balance It Out: Symmetry is important, so repeat similar items a few times. Also, if you decided to create open shelves by taking the doors off your existing cabinets, try painting the back of the shelves a dark contrasting color to make your dishes really stand out. (via Design Sponge)

15. Neutral Is Best: Shelf arrangements are at their best when grounded in neutrals so they don’t look cluttered. If possible, use warm grays, browns and ivories with woods and metals, then, if desired, scatter an accent color throughout. (via Remodelista)

16. Play Around With It: We rarely get it right the first time. Keep playing with the composition, shifting things around until you’re satisfied. (via Better Homes and Gardens)

17. Bring in the China: You want the shelves to look styled even when most of your dishes are in the dishwasher, so make sure you include things you don’t use a lot and big statement pieces. (via Remodelista)

18. Carefully Curate: Whether you have an entire library’s worth of cookbooks or just a few, store them away from messy cooking areas. Designate a high shelf to keep (and show off!) your beloved books. We’ll let you decide if you want to organize by color. (via Practicing Simplicity)

19. Edit Your Collections: We know it’s a challenge to cut down on clutter, but when it comes to collections of grains or spices, always upgrade your containers. You’ll be amazed by how huge an impact swapping out branded boxes to clean, clear jars can have on aesthetics. (via Bolig)

20. Go Low: Open shelving doesn’t always have to be up high. Take advantage of islands, bar carts and bookshelves for extra storage space, but make sure it still looks stylish and clean. (via Domaine Home)

21. Carry the Theme: If you’re living small, let your prettiest kitchenwares extend into your dining or living space. But don’t worry — as long as everything is organized neatly, people will think it’s all a masterful decorating statement. (via Domaine Home)

22. Show Off the Backsplash: Open shelving is ideal if you’ve got a pretty backsplash you’re dying to show off. (via A Beautiful Mess)

Have you experimented with open shelving? Share your tips and tricks for organizing kitchen shelves in the comments below!