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Open Kitchen Shelves

Many of our clients are opting for the updated look of open kitchen shelves. If you’re thinking about it, it’s good to consider a few factors, such as where to put them, the material you’ll use, what they’ll be close to and what you will store or display on them. Take a look at a few recent projects to get some ideas. And if you decide to hire us, our design team will work with you to come up with the best open shelf plan for your kitchen.

Open kitchen shelves

Open Shelves for Everyday Items

This kitchen was part of a full lower level renovation. It serves an adjacent living room, the pool outside, and it serves the homeowners’ overnight guests. Open shelves are great in a space frequently used by guests, because everything is right there to see. There’s no opening and closing multiple cabinets just to find a coffee cup. This is especially helpful first thing in the morning when searching for a coffee mug!

Other elements worth noting here are the angled glass lamps that illuminate the shelves. We can also add lighting within open shelves to illuminate the shelf or countertop below. We also love the way the textured backsplash reflects the natural light coming in from across the room.

Tip: Consider capping off the top of a backsplash with an open shelf. Here the top shelf provides a clean edge where it meets the tile.

Open kitchen shelves

Open Shelves in a Beverage Station

This kitchen has everything the homeowners need for serving beverages in one place. A standalone fridge and freezer flank this beverage serving counter, complete with a wine cooler below and shelves full of glassware above. The use of  Shaker-style cabinetry, subway tile and quartzite create a classic style. The copious use of white makes it elegant.

Tip: Think about the colors and materials of the items you’ll store on your open kitchen shelves. Here, our clients opted to fill the white shelves with clear glass and white ceramic vessels to maintain a clean, uncluttered look.

Open Shelves for Display


These clients chose a renovation option we call a kitchen refresh. The scope of a kitchen refresh is more cosmetic than structural — no gutting involved! Anyway, our clients hated that corner with the microwave. We also replaced the existing peninsula with an open eat-in countertop and got rid of the bar sink and some cookbook shelves there.

Open kitchen cookbook shelves


We were able to remove their microwave and replace it with a microwave drawer in their existing island. When we redesigned the peninsula, they lost their cookbook shelve space. We used the space where the microwave and odd cabinets above it were as an opportunity to add open shelves. The wood adds nice contrast to all the white in the room. It’s a good spot for favorite items, small paintings, cookbooks and/or plants.

Tip: Have some fun playing around with different arrangements in an open shelf display. And change them up regularly to make your kitchen feel a bit “new to you.” This will also remind you to dust them regularly. Dust is one drawback of the open shelf option!

Learn more about this kitchen refresh

Open Shelves Next To a Window


This kitchen felt confining and had dark and dated finishes. Our clients were ready for something light and bright.

Open kitchen shelves


We opened up the layout by getting rid of the peninsula and replacing it with an island. The kitchen has a lot of white and light gray finishes that lighten it up. But our clients didn’t want a sea of all white. So we added contrast with  gorgeous natural wood on the island, then repeated it on a few different open shelves around the room.

A great place for open shelves is next to a window. Think about it — upper cabinets can make the window feel closed in and block natural light from getting past them. Open shelves allow for more open space creating a sense of airiness. They also allow for a backsplash to continue up the wall, and a light polished backsplash like the one seen here reflects the light and bounces it around the room.

Tip: Add some plugs to your open open shelf wall, as they are a great space to place an attractive Bluetooth speaker when you need some tunes to cook by, or an iPad when you want to catch up on your shows.

Open Shelves as a Statement


Our clients were ready to change up the look of their kitchen and they didn’t need quite so many cabinets. This project was another kitchen refresh as they opted to paint their existing cabinets rather than refacing or replacing them.

Modern kitchen design showcasing wooden stools, black & white island, and stunning floating hanging shelves.


Our clients loved the idea of  adding long open shelves that make a big statement in their kitchen. We added extra structure in the wall to make sure it could support the shelves and the weight of the items on them. These shelves have completely transformed the kitchen, serving as a fascinating focal point that they can change up on a whim. We centered the island on the shelves for pleasing symmetry.

These homeowners also had an enviable collection of ceramics and other items. It’s a mix of tableware they will grab everyday, plants and some lesser-used pieces. We love that they chose a matte black faucet with a sleek silhouette to fit right in with their items. Even their soap and hand cream bottles fit into the color scheme! Also, the beautiful 3-D backsplash tile fits in with the style of their collections. Many of the pieces have Far East style and the tiles almost look like origami’s folded paper.

Kitchen design with floating shelves

Tip: If your kitchen is open to another room, think about how your shelves will be viewed from that space. Here the display can be enjoyed from the living room. All of the “kitchen-y” stuff liked the appliances are tucked away to the side, out of sight.

We are happy to lend our expert opinions about your kitchen remodel as well as the potential for open kitchen shelves. Schedule a consultation to let us know more about your project.

To get more kitchen remodeling ideas, check out some of our other recent blog posts:

Kitchen Renovation: 10 Special Cabinet Features To Know

A Creative Kitchen Cabinet Idea

What To Do When You Don’t Have a Pantry

5 Wine Storage Options

Six Kitchen Goals for 2021

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