open kitchen shelving ideas wood shelf

Open kitchen shelving ideas

If you’re looking to update your kitchen and create a beautiful, functional cooking space, open shelves are a great option to consider. With open shelves, you can create a stylish and practical kitchen that allows you to showcase your favorite items and keep everything within easy reach.

In this article, we will explore different open kitchen shelving ideas that will inspire you to create your perfect kitchen and brighten up that wall space (or make use of empty wall space!).

Why choose open kitchen shelving?

Open kitchen shelving is an excellent way to add both functionality and style to the upper cabinets in your kitchen. By removing the cabinet doors, you can create a more open and airy feel in the space, which is especially beneficial in smaller kitchens. Additionally, open shelves can provide extra storage space depending on how you arrange them, giving you more room to organize and showcase your items.

Another benefit of open shelving is the ability to display your favorite dishes, glassware, and other items. By styling your shelves with decorative pieces, you can add a personal touch to your kitchen and create a warm and inviting space.

For more home decor ideas, check out our post: Simple home decor ideas to spruce up your home.

Open kitchen shelving design ideas

There are many different types of open kitchen shelving designs to choose from, depending on your style and the layout of your kitchen. But, whether you have a farmhouse or country-style kitchen or a minimalist space, switching up your kitchen storage can make a huge difference.

Here are some popular options to consider:

Floating shelves

Floating shelves are a sleek and modern option that can work well in many different kitchen styles. These shelves attach directly to the wall without visible brackets, creating a seamless look. Floating shelves are also highly customizable, as you can choose the length, width, and depth of the shelves to fit your specific needs.

Reclaimed wood shelves

If you’re looking for a more rustic look to existing cabinets, reclaimed wood shelves are an excellent option. These shelves are typically made from salvaged wood, which can give them a unique and weathered look. Reclaimed wood shelves can add warmth and texture to your kitchen and work well with other natural materials like stone, metal, and rustic bowls and glass jars.

Glass shelves

For a more modern and sleek look, consider glass shelves. These shelves are perfect for showcasing decorative items like glassware and vases, and they allow light to pass through, creating a bright and airy feel in the space. Glass shelves are also easy to clean and maintain, making them a practical option for any kitchen.

Open corner shelves

If you have an awkward corner in your kitchen that’s difficult to utilize, consider adding open-corner shelves. Whether you add one shelf or do an entire wall of shelving, you can create purpose for lots of extra space that would otherwise be unused. These shelves can also provide valuable storage space while also creating a stylish focal point in the room.

Light wood open shelving and glassware with rose gold accents.

Stylish kitchen shelves

Open kitchen shelves are a great way to add both functionality and style to your kitchen. They can display your favorite kitchen items, while also making your space look more open and airy. Here are some tips for styling your kitchen shelves, storing everyday items, and displaying decorative pieces to achieve a cohesive and organized look.

How to style your open kitchen shelves

When it comes to styling your open kitchen shelves, the possibilities are endless. Here are some tips to get you started:

Displaying Decorative Items

  • Use decorative items such as vases, candle holders, or figurines to add interest and personality to your shelves.
  • Group similar items together for a cohesive look.
  • Vary the heights of your decorative items to create visual interest.

Storing Everyday Items

  • Keep everyday items, such as dishes, glasses, and utensils, within easy reach.
  • Group similar items together and place them on designated shelves.
  • Use baskets or trays to corral smaller items and prevent clutter.
  • Use hangers for things like cooking utensils.

Using Plants

  • Plants add a pop of color and life to your shelves.
  • Choose plants that thrive in low light, such as snake plants or pothos.
  • Place plants in decorative planters to add extra style.

Mixing and Matching Items

  • Mix and match materials such as wood, metal, and glass to add texture and interest.
  • Vary the sizes of your items to create a balanced look.
  • Use items with different shapes and styles to add visual interest.

Tips for installing open kitchen shelves

Before ever installing shelves, it’s important to measure and plan carefully. Here are some tips for installing your shelves:

Measuring and planning

  • Measure the space where you want to install your shelves.
  • Determine the number of shelves you need and the distance between them.
  • Consider the weight of the items you will be placing on the shelves when choosing the size and thickness of the shelves.

Choosing the right brackets

  • Choose brackets that are strong enough to support the weight of your shelves and the items on them.
  • Consider the style and color of the brackets, as they will be visible.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when installing the brackets.

Securing the shelves

  • Use a level to ensure that your shelves are installed evenly.
  • Secure the brackets to the wall studs for maximum stability.
  • Double-check that the shelves are securely fastened to the brackets before placing items on them.
A white and black kitchen with a brown open shelving unit.

Who might not want open shelves?

While floating shelves have become increasingly popular in recent years, there are some people who might not want them in their homes.

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Those who value privacy.
    1. Open shelves leave everything on display, which can be an issue for those who prefer to keep their personal belongings and decor hidden from view. For some people, having everything out in the open can feel too exposed and intrusive.
  2. People with cluttered habits.
    1. If you struggle to keep your space organized and tidy, open shelves might not be the best option for you. The lack of doors or drawers means that your mess is always on display, which can make your home look cluttered and chaotic.
  3. Those with children or pets.
    1. If you have small children or pets in your home, open shelves can be a hazard because everything is easy access. Kids and pets can easily knock items off the shelves, causing them to break or become damaged. Additionally, certain items like glassware or sharp kitchen tools can pose a danger if left within reach.
  4. Those who want to protect their belongings.
    1. If you have items that are particularly valuable or sentimental, you may want to keep them protected from dust, sunlight, or other environmental factors that can cause damage over time. Closed cabinets or display cases can provide the necessary protection that open shelves do not.

So, while open shelves can be a great addition to many homes, they are not necessarily the best choice for everyone. If any of the above scenarios apply to you, it might be worth considering alternative storage options that better suit your needs and lifestyle.

That being said, you could create a more modern shelving look by removing a few pieces of closed storage or using just one wall surface for an open shelf. This way, you can revamp your kitchen space with just a few well-placed shelves without having to commit to a total overhaul.

Open kitchen shelving ideas for glass shelves: Two glas shelves with plants, a diffuser, and a candle with a marble white background.

To sum it all up…

In conclusion, open kitchen shelving can be a practical and stylish addition to any kitchen. By following the tips and ideas provided in this post, you can create a functional and visually appealing display for all of your kitchen items.

From displaying decorative pieces to storing everyday items and pots and pans to incorporating plants, the possibilities for styling your open kitchen shelves are endless. Additionally, with proper planning and installation, open shelving can be used in any kitchen, regardless of size. With the right organization and cleaning habits, your open kitchen shelves can become a beautiful and functional focal point in your home.


Check out these other posts for some more reading material!

FAQs about open kitchen shelving ideas

Why choose open kitchen shelving?

Open kitchen shelving is a great way to add both functionality and style to your kitchen. It can create a more open and airy feel, provide extra storage space, and act as an area to display your favorite dishes and glassware.

What are some popular open kitchen shelving designs?

Some popular open kitchen shelving designs include floating shelves, reclaimed wood shelves, glass shelves, wooden shelves, and open corner shelves.

How can you style your open kitchen shelves?

To style your open kitchen shelves, you can display decorative items, group similar items together, vary the heights of items, keep everyday items within easy reach, use baskets or trays to corral smaller items, and use plants to add color and life to the shelves.

Home design by Mama’s Must-Haves

Learn how to decorate your home the Mama’s Must-Haves way. Whether you need inspiration or advice for a specific room, we’re here to help!