I think that open kitchen shelves are really beautiful. Recently I was tempted to rip down a kitchen cupboard to make room for a few shelves. But as I started visualizing how it would look I realized I would need to style the shelves, meaning buy new (better looking) plates and expensive bowls that I wouldn’t use. And where would all the neon colored sippy cups and plastic toddler plates go? And better question yet, who was going to DUST these shelves? I quickly realized I am not in the season of life to own open kitchen shelves.
But I do think that exposing some dishware and glassware in the upper cabinets is a great way to add depth and interest to your kitchen. For me, I have a regular 21” cabinet to hide all of my everyday dishware that isn’t stylish enough to display. Right next to it is a 15” cabinet with the door removed. This is a nice way to get a taste of open shelves, without having to commit to a wall full of shelves and buy all new dishware.
As for what to put on these shelves, my advice is to keep it simple.
Use Neutral Colors
Or use just small pops of color. Don’t get me wrong, I think mismatched coffee mugs are cool and I’m not telling you to pitch your “Welcome to Vegas” and “#1 Mom” mug. But when it comes to putting dishware on display, using multiple colors and designs tend to look quite busy. By keeping colors neutral and uniform you create white space in your kitchen. Try varying shapes and sizes of items but keep the colors the same; this is a great way to add visual appeal.
Wine glasses or other glassware looks great displayed on open shelves. The glassware is clear so it doesn’t make the shelves look cluttered. And when the light catches them they add a wonderful sparkle to your kitchen. Note: the sparkling happens only when dusted. I’ve made the mistake of grabbing a wine glass for a guest and having to discreetly wash the dust bunnies off in the sink before serving. Although if you are in my house drinking wine you probably are a good friend and already know I’m not great at dusting. You don’t judge, and that is why you are my friend.
Add Decorative Items
If you took the time and effort to install open shelves that means you want to show off your kitchen goods. So show them off! What a great place to display those wedding gifts you’ve had boxed up for years or that Pottery Barn bowl buried in the back of the lazy susan. You’d be surprised how many display-worthy items you already own that are tucked away behind cupboard doors.
Make Guests Feel At Home
I have my coffee mugs and water glasses on open shelves and I strategically placed the coffee maker directly below. You’d be surprised how many guests just grab a mug or glass to fill up their own coffee or water. I’m not saying I like being a lazy host, but I do love when guests feel comfortable enough in my house to just help themselves.
Whether you are renovating your kitchen, building a new kitchen, or just looking for an idea to spruce it up I recommend adding a few open shelves. Even if that means just removing one cupboard door, I think you will be pleasantly surprised how much more character it adds to your kitchen.