I’ve always loved the look of open shelves in a kitchen, and how they make a space feel more open and airy by replacing the upper cabinets. I knew when I committed to open shelving in our kitchen remodel that we would be losing some cabinet storage, so wanted to ensure our shelves were serving both style and function. After styling and restyling dozens of times, here are some of my top tips for styling open kitchen shelves:
1. Display functional and decorative items.
About 85% of the items on our open shelves are everyday items. For example: a set of simple white bowls/plates, cups, canisters with flour/sugar, or cookbooks. This is important because if you are like us, you likely lost some upper cabinet storage when installing your open shelves. You want to maximize the space by displaying items that will be used often. I layer in a few decorative items to balance out the shelves. For example: a vase, seasonal decor, or florals/greenery.
2. Use different shapes and sizes.
Using different shapes and sizes will add interest to the shelves. This will take a bit of trial and error, so I recommend adding items then stepping back and assessing if your placed item fits. I usually start with my larger anchor pieces, and then fill in with the smaller objects to create layers.
3. Add contrasting textures.
Organic pottery, a warm wood bowl or cutting board, marble accents, rattan, and mixed metals are a few of my favorite ways to add texture to open kitchen shelves. Here are some great options:
4. Add a touch of greenery
Adding life to shelves always makes them look more clean and fresh. Although I typically stick to neutrals or one color scheme for styling our shelves, a small house plant (faux or real) adds just the right amount of color. Trailing plants with leaves that drape down (like a Pothos) helps to break up the lines of the shelf and create a natural effortless look.
5. Adjust for balance
As mentioned before, shelf styling takes a lot of trial and error and moving of objects. Try out different placements and adjust the various heights to create balance.
Styling shelves is an art form, one that I think is difficult to master. I’m learning more every day about what works and what doesn’t so I hope some of these tips are helpful as you style you own kitchen shelves. Have fun with it – your shelves should be a reflection of your personal style, but also functional 🙂
Don’t forget to take a #shelfie and share with me on Instagram. I love to see your styled shelves and to be inspired!