27 Timeless Ways To Add Open Shelving To A Kitchen


Every interior designer can probably tell you that open shelves and kitchens are a great match. Actually, open shelves, in general, are very practical for both storing and displaying items.

open shelves

In the kitchen they let you keep items handy so you don’t have to keep opening and closing doors every time you want to use them.

Moreover, they maintain a very airy and open feel which is always a good thing, especially in rooms that have lots of furniture and appliances. If you agree with us and you’d like to find a way to add more open shelves to your own kitchen, check out some of the following ideas.

Kitchen setup designs ideas with open shelves

A great way to accessorize the backsplash with open shelves

A great way to accessorize the backsplash with open shelvesView in gallery

The open shelves give this kitchen a dynamic look and at the same time maintain a classy and elegant look. This is a design created by Ashli Mizellduring a townhouse remodel in Philadelphia and a particularly beautiful detail in this case is the overall design and texture of the walls.

Let the walls stand out with floating shelves

Let the walls stand out with floating shelvesView in gallery

Speaking of open shelves and their ability to let the walls behind them stand out, check out this exquisite kitchen designed by Monique Gibson. It features a dark palette with predominant shades of black and gray. The chalkboard wall fits perfectly in this setup and the wooden open shelves complement it in the best way possible.

Symmetrical shelf placement

Symmetrical shelf placementView in gallery

Another beautiful design was created by Desjeux Delaye. The open shelving in this kitchen actually has a bit of industrial character and sits on top of the counter rather than being wall-mounted. Still, the slender metal frame is not visually intrusive.

Wrap the shelves around corners

Wrap the shelves around cornersView in gallery

As soon as we saw this kitchen designed by Shannon Tatewe fell in love with it. We love open shelves in particular. They fill that corner perfectly and they look super sleek and stylish in addition to also being super practical.

Try shelves that match the wall behind them

Try shelves that match the wall behind themView in gallery

This is a kitchen which celebrates the beauty of the industrial style with a design that looks surprisingly cozy and also a bit rustic. The space used to serve as an office and the transformation into an apartment was a very successful one. It was a project completed by Jaime Beriestain.

Add shelves beneath the cabinets

Add shelves beneath the cabinetsView in gallery

What’s great about open shelves is that they’re super versatile and can be installed pretty much anywhere. For example, you can have a few shelves installed on the kitchen backsplash so you can keep some items close at hand, such as favorite spices, your favorite cookbook or perhaps something beautiful to look at while you’re prepping and cooking. Let this design created bySpace Explorationinspire you.

Combine open and closed storage

Combine open and closed storageView in gallery

A combination of closed storage compartments, drawers and open shelves is usually the best choice in a kitchen whatever the overall style is. All of these elements can be combined in a variety of different ways, including some pretty compact options like this design which makes the most of the gorgeous contrast between the timber surfaces and blue finish.

Take advantage of a high ceiling

Take advantage of a high ceilingView in gallery

What a great design which takes advantage of the high ceiling in this open and very classy kitchen. The subway tile backsplash is a subtle yet powerful focal point and the two open shelving modules give the setup asymmetrical look. They’re actually hanging from the ceiling rather than being wall-mounted. This is a design done by studio Godrich.

Let them blend in

Let them blend inView in gallery

This is a very unusual-looking kitchen island. It’s a sort of hybrid between an island and a dining table and this gives the room an extra cozy and welcoming look even though the color palette is limited to neutrals. The white open shelves help to emphasize the pleasant ambiance. This was the work of interior designer and architect Stephane Chamard.

Match the shelves to the cabinets

open shelving is the most practical solutionView in gallery

Sometimes open shelving is the most practical solution due to circumstantial elements. For example, this kitchen has a rather weirdly placed window which doesn’t really allow wall-mounted cabinets to be installed.

Pair wooden shelves with a marble backsplash

Pair wooden shelves with a marble backsplashView in gallery

Studio Amber Interiors designed this very chic kitchen which features warm wooden flooring, matching marble backsplash and countertops and a set of simple open shelves that add extra storage without making the space seem cluttered or small.

Display shelves in groups

Display shelves in groupsView in gallery

If not for the three wooden open shelves this kitchen would look austere and definitely less welcoming. The shelves make perfect sense in this scenario and the tie together the entire room. This stylish kitchen was a project by interior design studio lark & linen.

Make custom shelves to fit your kitchen

Make custom shelves to fit your kitchenView in gallery

Installing floating shelves in the kitchen is actually quite easy and you don’t necessarily need the help of a professional to do it. you can even make the shelves yourself from scratch. They can be custom-made to fit in a corner or to complete an empty accent wall section. You can look for inspiration on biggerthanthethreeofus.

Make the most of an awkward space

Make the most of an awkward spaceView in gallery

Open shelves are also perfect for those small wall sections where cabinets either don’t fit or don’t make sense. A simple set of two or three wooden shelves can easily complete the design of your kitchen. You can actually add the shelves at any time and update the look of your kitchen, changing the ambiance without actually altering anything. Check out ourvintagehomelove for more details.

Integrate the shelves into a wall unit

Integrate the shelves into a wall unitView in gallery

To give the shelves a more wholesome look, you can integrate them into a more complex unit design, sort of like a wall-mounted cabinet without doors. The idea is inspired by a project completed byBrillhart Architecture in Miami.

Emphasize the horizontal lines

Emphasize the horizontal linesView in gallery

Kitchens with open floor plans often include floating shelves in their designs. It’s a convenient and aesthetically pleasing feature, one which makes sense in this context and many others like it. It’s also something to consider when re-designing an old kitchen. The breezy and airy shelves could be a wonderful improvement. Let this design created by Bates Masi Architectsinspire you.

Incorporate the window into your design

Incorporate the window into your designView in gallery

Interior design studio Savvy found a great way to add open shelves to this kitchen and to seamlessly incorporate the windows in the decor. The high ceiling ensures an airy and open feel throughout the space while the custom cabinetry offers plenty of storage in a compact and elegant way.

Use shelves to frame the appliances

Use shelves to frame the appliancesView in gallery

Three open wooden shelves on either side of the range hood give this kitchen a streamlined and symmetrical look. They’re also very practical and even though they cut a bit into the backsplash the fact that this is obviously intentional actually gives the space a lot of character. This is a design completed by studio McGee.

Open up the kitchen cabinets

Open up the kitchen cabinetsView in gallery

Not sure how or where to add shelving in your kitchen? What about in place of your current cabinets? Perhaps your kitchen could benefit from a more airy and open feel and you can achieve that look without replacing any of your existing furniture. A good source of inspiration and information is the makeover project featured on perfectlyimperfectblog.

Make corner shelves from scratch

Make corner shelves from scratchView in gallery

Corners are notoriously difficult to furnish and to decorate but there’s no room for that in the kitchen. In here it’s important to take advantage of every little bit of space and luckily open shelves let you do that. Build some custom floating shelves for the corner that fit perfectly in the space available to you. You can do it all from scratch by following the instructions on graceinmyspace.

Add some warmth to the kitchen with wooden shelves

Add some warmth to the kitchen with wooden shelvesView in gallery

As you know, wood is the perfect material you should be focusing on if you want to make a space feel inviting and comfortable. In the kitchen however we tend to prefer a more clean and easy-to-maintain aesthetic. Floating shelves are a perfect option in this case. They add a lot of warmth and character to the space without overwhelming it. Check out angelamariemade to learn how to make these ones.

Sleek shelves above the backsplash

Sleek shelves above the backsplashView in gallery

Shelves are also a nice complementary feature for the kitchen backsplash. They make the transition between the tiles and the wall look seamless. These shelves which you can find out more about on sammyonstate are really nice because they’re slender and the hardware is barely visible.

Use driftwood for more character

Use driftwood for more characterView in gallery

Don’t driftwood shelves look amazing? They always have so much character because each piece of driftwood is unique and they’re really great for adding a coastal vibe to any space, including the kitchen. You can make some really cool-looking shelves using driftwood and rope. Check out the design and the details on sustainmycrafthabit.

Give the shelves an interesting shape

Give the shelves an interesting shapeView in gallery

If your goal is to make some decorative shelves for your kitchen or for some other room this is a perfect opportunity to try giving them an interesting look. Try some less common shapes and instead of making them flat or rectangular try this drop shape instead for example. You can find out more about this project on ohohdeco.

Give them edges

Give them edgesView in gallery

We really like these shelves because of the edges which let you place books and other items on them without fearing they’ll fall off. Perhaps you could apply this design when making shelves for your kitchen so you can neatly place your favorite cooking books on them. Apart from being practical, this design from themerrythought also looks really nice and modern.

Play with geometric shapes

Play with geometric shapesView in gallery

Geometric shapes and patterns are often a signature of modern and contemporary design. With that in mind, check out these triangle shelves from acraftedpassion. They sure look really cool and they’re easy to make as well. Keep in mind however that they’re meant to be decorative so don’t store anything heavy on them.

Try live-edge shelves

View in gallery

There’s no doubt about it, live edge shelves look amazing no matter what style you prefer. They’re also great if you want to add something original and unique to your kitchen or you want an excuse to use wood without making the space look too rustic. Head over to diyinpdx to find out more about DIY live-edge shelves.



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