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8 Ways to Style An Open Shelving Kitchen

You NEED kitchen shelves in your life! Ready to modernize your home with an open shelving kitchen? Here are 8 easy ways to style your new kitchen shelves!

Open shelves in the kitchen have been one of my favorite trends for the past couple of years. If you ask someone if they are a fan of the kitchen shelves, you’ll get you a strong answer—simply put, people love it or they hate it.

I happen to fall in the love category—not only are kitchen shelves practical, but they can be completely gorgeous too!

Here’s how you can style open shelves in the kitchen to add a pop of personality into the heart of your home. 

Open Shelving Kitchen Ideas You Need

After you put the shelves up…now what? I know the feeling!

Fall in love with open shelving in your kitchen with these 8 ideas. All of them are so gorgeous that you’ll grab your keys and want to install shelves yesterday.

Here we go!

1. Kitchen Shelves Can Highlight A Collection

Open shelves are the perfect way to display kitchen-related collections. Love colorful whisks, pretty patterned bowls, or vintage canisters? Why hide them in cabinets and drawers when you can show off your goodies with pride?

I love how Cassie from Primitive and Proper styled her kitchen shelves in the photo below.

If you want some shelves like the ones below, check out these from Amazon.

White kitchen shelves holding plants and dishes above a stove with blue tile

2. Kitchen Shelves Draw Your Eye

Interior designers will tell you that it’s important to have one focal point in the room or else your eyes won’t know where to land. That’s the beauty of open shelving kitchen.

Open shelving can also serve the perfect focal point to display fun items that add personality to your kitchen like Jenna from Rain on a Tin Roof has in her kitchen below!

I love how she can quickly swap out seasonal items and decor in this area to completely change the look should she choose.

Jenna actually painted these shelves herself, but you can find similar ones from Wayfair that are already white.

Eclectic kitchen shelves with white pottery and a gold scale

3. Open Shelving In The Kitchen Is Actually Practical 

Open shelving can also be super practical. You can use shelving to house your everyday glassware and dishes—if your shelf is right above your dishwasher like Jess from Bright Green Door, then unloading the dishwasher can happen in a snap!

Plus, as you can see in the photo below, you can fit open shelves in any spot. These are a really great storage idea for small kitchens.

Love her cabinets? Jess and her husband made them herself, but you can find similar ones on Wayfair.

small kitchen shelves with stacked white dishes and glassware

4. Kitchen Shelves Can Set The Mood

Shelving can also completely transform your entire kitchen and set the tone for the entire space. This kitchen from Justina at The Iungalow showcases how you can make your kitchen totally Bohemian.

If that isn’t your style, you can easily make yours reflect whichever style you prefer!

All you have to do is choose how much stuff to put on your shelf. Then, be really choose about what you put on your shelf.

Your choices will affect how your entire room looks. (No pressure!)

These are completely custom made. All you need is some wood and the tools to hang up shelves.

Wooden open shelving in a kitchen with green subway tile

5. Use Kitchen Open Shelving to Showcase Art

Kitchen shelving is also the perfect place to add art. I love how Erin from Earnest Home Co. layered in art and a meaningful quote into her beautiful space.

When you put artwork on your open shelves, pull colors and patterns from the artwork and use it in other places. I love how Erin’s shelves, pictured below, are designed with a monochrome look to them.

These are also custom-shelves. You can find brackets like the ones below on Amazon.

Open kitchen shelves styled simply with white pottery, prints and glassware

6. Open Kitchen Shelving Makes It Easy to Store Larger Items

If you have some hard to store items, kitchen shelves can be your best friend. Whether it’s bakeware, serving trays or cake stands like the kitchen below from Design Sponge, you are able to have both form and function in your space.

Plus, often these items look stunning when you display them on your shelves!

They made the shelves from reclaimed bar beams – aren’t they gorgeous?

Kitchen shelving with eclectic mix of items

7. Add An Herb Wall To Your Kitchen Shelves

We had open shelves in our last kitchen and I loved them! We used ours to create an herb wall as well as store bulk pantry items that we didn’t want cluttering up our countertops.

When you make the herbs easy to reach, you’ll have way more success using them and keeping them alive.

Don’t forget to put them on a shelf that gets plenty of sunlight too.

These are just pieces of wood with a dark stain and hung on simple shelf brackets.

kitchen shelves with potted herbs

8. Kitchen Shelves are Just Plain Gorgeous

Finally, I just think open shelves in kitchens are beautiful! I love how the owners of the kitchen below from Better Homes & Gardens enhance their color scheme through their glassware and dishes. The white, blue and green with pops of pink might be one of my favorites of all time! 🙂

Open shelving in a kitchen with white cabinets and mint subway tile

Frequently Asked Questions About Open Shelving Kitchen

As you try to put up your own DIY open shelving kitchen, you might run into a few problems. It’s ok, I’m here to help! Here are some of the most common questions people ask – you might find some of your own questions here too.

What Do You Put On Open Kitchen Shelves?

This is the fun part! Be creative and put whatever you want on your shelves.

Here are a few things people normally put on kitchen shelves:

  • Dishes
  • Artwork
  • Large Appliances
  • Herbs
  • Knick Knacks
  • Towels and cloths
  • Utensils

How Deep Should Open Kitchen Shelves Be?

This depends on what you are storing on them. If you are going to put dishes on your shelves, then they should be at least 6 inches deep.

How Do You Make Open Shelving Look Good?

The best way to make your open shelving look good is to keep it clean and uniformed. If the shelves are becoming too crowded, get rid of a few things.

Every single thing on your shelves should have a purpose. Only display the items that you need to keep close by and that provide the best aesthetic.

Are Open Shelves Cheaper Than Cabinets?

Yes, open shelves are a budget-friendly kitchen storage idea. All you need from some stunning shelves are a few boards, some stain (or paint), and some brackets.

More Kitchen Ideas

Designing and decorating a kitchen involves an eye for details and usefulness. Here are some more ideas to help you create an efficient and beautiful kitchen.

Collage of kitchen shelves styled differently
Photo of Tania Griffis, owner of Run to Radiance
 | Website

Tania Griffis is an accomplished writer, blogger, and interior designer with a Journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma. She started her popular blog, Run to Radiance, in 2011, demonstrating her design expertise through the personal remodeling of six houses to millions of readers across the globe.

Tania also owns The Creative Wheelhouse, a respected ghostwriting agency for bloggers, further showcasing her talent for creating engaging and informative content.

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  1. I love the open shelf look in kitchens!!!! Each of the ways you shared looks so good and I would have a hard time deciding what I like best. Perhaps a little from each! Haha!

  2. Its always so pretty & classy looking
    I know for me, I can’t keep my cabinets straight for anything. Mine would look like an train just rode by the house & shook everything down 😉 haha

  3. I love the look of open shelves but worry that they’ll become one more place to dust once a week, or that the cats will go on walk about. For those of you who have them, do you have to dust/clean the shelves more often that enclosed cabinets? Do you have naughty kitties who like to walk the shelves?

  4. Love these ideas! My husband and I currently have a bookshelf that we’re using as our “open shelving” (since our kitchen doesn’t have much storage and it’s an easy way to add some open shelves!). This definitely gave me a few ideas for styling it!

  5. I have combination of open shelves in kitchen and closed. Open shelves are OK for frequent used items ( everyday items ) like plates, coffee cups, glasses and often used spices etc… Those For other things i don’t recommend them for items which you don’t use every day other things because of dust which falls over them.

  6. Those open kitchens looks gorgeous, In Florida several of my customers have open kitchens they are small family owned hotels which serve their guests breakfast and for them it is much easier that kitchen has open cabinets.

  7. Just perfect, I am planing to open small restaurant designed in home style, where guest could see all meals when they are prepared to be served. That kitchen design is just what I was looking for. Thanks for idea.

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