We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

We have toured hundreds of kitchens, and even though no space is truly identical, we’ve picked up on a few key similarities, like how the most common place for an open shelf seems to be over the sink. We’ve spotted long ones that span the entire length of a wall, ceiling-mounted glass ones with multiple tiers, and even solid wood ones that bisect a window. This setup has been the leading trend—until now. 

Lately we’ve been seeing open shelves pop up in an unexpected place: above the stovetop. The idea appears to be all about function. Rather than treating it as a moment to display pretty cookbooks, swirly taper candles, and handmade ceramics, it’s a perch for the salt and pepper shakers, cooking oil, and cutting boards. Don’t get us wrong, there’s still the annoying part where you have to regularly dust it off (and wipe away cooking grease), but it’s a good option for avid cooks who want to have the essentials at their fingertips. Here are three riffs on the idea we’re loving.

The Spice Nook

New York City–based designer Karen Asprea carved out a small recessed niche underneath this kitchen’s paneled vent hood so the homeowners can keep a curated assortment of seasonings on deck. The jut-out is exactly the depth of a jar, so there is no opportunity for visual clutter. 

The Backsplash Lip

Sally Breer could have left this kitchen’s marble backsplash at 12 inches, capped it with a bullnose edge, and called it a day, but instead the L.A. designer created a rim out of the same natural stone so her clients would have a spot to stagger their necessities. 

The Sturdy Ledge

Because of the way the stairs protrude into this Brooklyn kitchen, architect Joshua Keay knew he wouldn’t have a lot of wall space left over to go wild with shelving. The solution was an asymmetrical arrangement, with the lowest shelf above the range made out of stainless steel. The slab of metal is bolted into the wall, bisecting the stone backsplash, and only around five-sixteenths of an inch thick, but it’s approximately ten inches deep, so it can hold daily essentials like olive oil and spices.