Published on August 7, 2018

Sure, they might be a bit divisive, but open shelves aren’t going anywhere. Not only do they provide much-needed storage in a kitchen, pantry, or even a dining room, but by their nature, they pretty much force you to stay organized. When you have all your glassware and dinnerware in full view, you’ll likely feel compelled to KonMari the things you don’t actually use and don’t really love—like that novelty pint glass you got at a fundraiser or that random bowl you inherited from a former roommate. 

With just a bit of forethought, open shelves can help you make your space feel more you, providing a place to proudly display your collection of Depression glass or family of plants. Need some inspiration (or a little more convincing that open shelving is really worth it)? Just take a look at these 12 #Shelfie-worthy rooms.

The Cool Corner

imagePin It
photo by @thejoshuatreehouse

When you narrow down your dinnerware and drinkware to just the essentials—the things you actually use—a simple corner ledge can house them easily. The Joshua Tree House’s terracotta tableware makes the nook extra-cozy.

The Eclectic Stash

imagePin It
photo by kaitie moyer

Kaitie Moyer’s kitchen is proof that open shelving doesn’t require a full renovation—just simply take the door off your cabinet.

The Museum Display

imagePin It
photo by sara tramp, designed by Jess Bunge for Emily Henderson Design

Open shelves aren’t just for dinnerware. If you have the space, take the doors off multiple upper cabinets, like Emily Henderson Design. Then intersperse your plates and cups with beautiful vases, baskets, and those vintage casserole pots you scored at that garage sale. 

The Dining Room Hero

imagePin It
photo courtesy of katherine carter

Let’s be honest: China cabinets can be bulky and difficult to style when you have more stuff than space. That’s why we love Katherine Carter’s alternative—built-in shelves that make a massive collection of teacups and vintage glasses look artfully curated.

The Double Feature

imagePin It
photo by @kate.lavie

In her kitchen, Katie Spiers shows that shelves don’t have to be totally utilitarian. A few plants placed in between dishes instantly brightens up the space (and that cool herringbone backsplash doesn’t hurt either). 

The Wood Wonder

imagePin It
photo courtesy of bespoke only

You don’t have to give up your cabinets to get in on this trend. A small stack of shelves in this kitchen by Bespoke Only balances out the heavier wood cupboards.

The Acrobat Act

imagePin It
photo courtesy of katie hackworth

Even windows don’t have to get in the way of your open shelving dreams. Here, Katie Hackworth installed transparent shelves from the ceiling for an unexpected take on the storage solution.

The No-Frills Setup

imagePin It
photo courtesy of nicole franzen from the emily katz modern macrame book

Paired with matching cabinets, the unfinished oriented strand board shelves (similar to particleboard) in Emily Katz’s kitchen show that sometimes the least complicated option is the best option. 

The Best Brackets

imagePin It
photo courtesy of space exploration design

Sure, shelves are a storage solution at face value, but they’re also an opportunity to have fun. We love the bold black brackets supporting the shelving in this room by Space Exploration Design.

The Eternal Classic

imagePin It
photo courtesy of studio db

White marble is timeless in a kitchen, but Studio DB shows that it’s not always best on a countertop or backsplash. Here, it makes a trio of ledges look extra-refined.

The Petite Nook

imagePin It
photo courtesy of studio mcgee

This kitchen by Studio McGee proves that even the narrowest corners can make for a pretty shelving moment—just design up instead of out.

The Three-in-One

imagePin It
photo courtesy of jean charles thomas

In this space by Jean Charles Tomas, striking black-and-white marble makes a great countertop, backsplash, and shelf. 

See more kitchen ideas:
9 Kitchens Where the Backsplash Is the Main Event
The Coolest Countertops We’ve Seen Lately Are Blue Marble
I’ve Renovated Over 30 Kitchens, This Is My Top Tip for Remodeling on a Budget

Discussion